Family history research creates many challenges especially when one of the ancestors is John Smith. Annie Smith is also a challenge to locate. Fortunately John Smith used more distinctive names for some of his children including the name of my great (x2) grandfather, Charles Septimus Smith.
My research has been assisted via my public tree on Ancestry and my Family Connections blog which have put me in contact with a number of people researching the same family and needless to say we are only too ready to share information that we uncover. Every little bit helps.
Earlier this year I received a communication via my blog from a researcher who discovered the name, Charles Septimus Smith, when researching her great (x2) grandmother, Mary Huskins. Mary had been arrested after attempting suicide and Charles Septimus Smith had paid the £50 bail money for her release from prison. The record was reported in a court record dated 23 August 1889 which I have not yet seen but there are references to Mary and her court case in Trove which provided background for the story. Below are some of the notes I made when investigating the story:
Charles had a large family - he and Sarah had fourteen children (one died when a baby). The family appear to have travelled widely, especially in NSW - Maitland, Singleton, Wollongong, back to Singleton, Newtown, Camperdown, Marrickville, then Glenbrook where he died. In 1889 he was probably living in Marrickville.
In the articles in Trove Mary was taken to Newtown Police Court and the doctor who spoke about the incident was from Croydon. Marrickville and Croydon are in a similar area.
Looking in Trove, Mary attempted suicide on Thursday 20 June 1889 at Edwin Street, Croydon. (Sydney Morning Herald 22 June 1889).Mary was almost 60 years old when she attempted suicide and was charged. She subsequently went to court and was sentenced to 6 months good behaviour.
Apparently Adelaide had been very ill for some time and Mary had been looking after her.If her daughter, Adelaide, married John Shepherd, Adelaide died on 30 June 1889 and lived at Turner Street, Ryde. (Evening News 8 July 1889). [BDM NSW 1790/1883 Marriage John Shepherd to Adelaide Hukins]
It is possible that members of the Smith family and Huskins family may have met at some time. I am sure that Charles did not have sufficient funds to regularly pay bail for people so there must have been an association. One day we may discover what that association was and also locate more information about Charles and other possible good deeds.
In the meantime we must admit that it appears to have been a nice or kind or compassionate act of Charles to assist Mary when she was in need.
Some people just want additional information for themselves and are not interested in offering any information in return. However my experience has shown that many researchers are only too happy to keep in touch and share information. The sharing of information among family history researchers often provides additional layers to a story and to the character of the person being researched. The internet has certainly provided additional opportunities for family history research.
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