Wednesday, 14 May 2014

52 Ancestors #24 John Smith

Everyone needs a John Smith in the family to create additional challenges when researching family history.
John Smith was born on 26 July 1800 in Marylebone, London and his parents were Robert Smith and Mary Hancock. The above painting of John Smith was probably made when he was about 20. Inscribed on the back were the words, '44 Cornhill', which may refer to a street by that name in London.

On 14 June 1827, John married Ann Dodson at St George's Church of England, Camberwell. He was baptised at St George's on the same day. His address was given as Camberwell Road, Camberwell and his occupation was a warehouseman. John and Ann had seven children - Mary Ann (born 1829), Elizabeth (1831-1912), Charles Septimus (1833-1912), Frederick (1836-1915), Robert Hancock (born 1838), John (born 1840) and Edward (born 1842). The addresses provided when the births of the children were registered show the family living in Walworth. As the names of the streets varied the family appears to have moved house every few years. We do not know when Ann died but her name does not appear in the 1851 census where John was recorded as living at 4 Chryssell Road, Lambeth with Mary, Elizabeth, Charles, Frederick, Robert, John and Edward. John's occupation was given as warehouseman - silk.

Sometime in the 1850s John migrated to Australia. Exactly when and why he decided to change countries is not known. We do know that at least four of his children also left England to settle in Australia. Locating the life of a John Smith is a challenge. What we do know is that he died in Singleton on 25 June 1885. The death notice in the Sydney Morning Herald 26 June 1885 reads:

SMITH.—June 25, at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. George Newton, Singleton, John Smith, in his 85th year, father of Charles Septimus and Frederick Smith, of Sydney.

We know that Elizabeth Smith came to Australia as an assisted immigrant aboard the Java arriving in Sydney in April 1853. She would have been twenty-two. On 8 April 1857, Elizabeth married George Newton at St Paul's Church Newtown.  Elizabeth and George had ten children born between 1858 and 1876. George Newton worked for the railways as District Inspector, Locomotive Department at Singleton for many years and then as Superintendent of the Northern Locomotive Department, Newcastle. After retiring from the railways in 1905, George and Elizabeth moved to Marrickville where Elizabeth died on 29 February 1912 and George died 2 August 1921.

Charles Septimus Smith came to Australia towards the end of the 1850s and married Sarah McCallum on 22 June 1859. They had fourteen children. Charles and Sarah had fourteen children. Like his father, Charles worked as a warehouseman. He may also have sold sewing machines at one time and at times was listed as a draper. Charles died on 8 July 1912.

Robert Hancock Smith was certainly in Australia by the 1860s. References to his business at Windeyer, New South Wales, first appear in newspapers in November 1861. Robert was a general storekeeper and commission agent at Windeyer which was a goldmining town in the 1860s. He was also listed as a miner in some sources.

Frederick Smith was born in Newington, England on 21 February 1836. At some stage, possibly in the 1850s, he came to Australia and on 3 September 1783 married Jane Howitt at Surry Hills, New South Wales. Frederick and Jane had four children. Frederick worked as a clerk in the New South Wales Lands Department. He died in Sydney on 26 June 1915.

John Smith was my great (x3) grandfather.

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