Sunday, 23 August 2015

Smith family

In 1909 Estelle Maud Smith (1881-1961)  [daughter of Frederick Smith (1836-1915) and grand-daughter of John Smith (1800-1885)] married Bayer Spain (1880-1963).

After reading the blog post about James Campbell Thom (1863-1929) Kathleen, (also researching this branch of the Smith family) suggested that there could be a connection between the family of Bayer Spain and the family of one of the partners of the legal firm, Spain and Sly, where James Campbell Thom once worked.

Bayer Spain is an unusual name so it was easy to search Trove for articles about his career as a captain of small ships sailing along the NSW coast. I also found articles in Trove and online via Google about two of his brothers - Commander Staunton William Spain (1865-1946) and Alfred Spain (1868-1954). Alfred was an architect. Their father was Staunton Spain (1833-1888), a solicitor while their grandfather, William Spain (1803-1876) was an attorney. Searching Ancestry family trees was also helpful. Using Ancestry I also searched the Sands Directories Sydney and NSW  for entries for the Spain family in the 1870s and found entries for Staunton Spain in partnership with George Sly in the firm Spain and Sly from 1874. A search in Trove located an advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald 1 January 1874 stating that Staunton Spain had dissolved his partnership with the firm Roxburgh, Slade and Spain and was joining George Sly in the firm, Spain and Sly. Staunton Spain withdrew from the partnership in 1881.

James Campbell Thom therefore worked with Staunton Spain at the firm, Spain and Sly for a number of years. When Staunton Spain left the partnership with George Sly, James Campbell Thom continued to work for George Sly until 1887 when he left to form a legal partnership with his brother, John Stuart Thom. 

Annie Smith (1864-1911) was the wife of James Campbell Thom. She was the daughter of Charles Septimus Smith (1833-1912) who was Frederick Smith's brother. It is therefore possible that Bayer Spain and Estelle Maud Smith may have met via this previous connection between Estelle's uncle and Bayer's father. However it is probably a co-incidence, especially as Staunton Spain died in 1888 when Bayer and Estelle were children. We will probably never know.

References:
Death of Dr G J Sly

An article written about a house built for George Sly but it also has a well referenced article about George Sly and his career.

Mr J C Thom - obituary

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