Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin

Hanging by a thread Discovering the Smith family

Discovering more about the Smith part of the family tree has proved remarkably easy, after having put off looking for ages due to the very common surname.

See Entirely to the Water from Birth for first stages.

Now it was time to find great great grandmother Harriet Smith’s siblings and their immediate offspring. The practice of using the mother’s (or grandmother’s) surname as a middle name was very helpful –jane bacchus smith baptism1818_crop Bacchus for two of the girls, Harper (the grandmother’s name) for one of the boys. And also helpful that has Norfolk parish registers, even if the transcriptions and images don’t directly link. See Note 2 below for an outline of the children.

But there was the slenderest of leads for then tracing John Harper Smith junior’s children. Here’s how it went.

Taking it on spec

John Harper Smith junior, born 1825 Norwich, married Julia Ann Piller in 1847 and there’s a matching 1851 census – no children. However, later censuses (1891, 1901) clearly show our man with a Hannah, but again no offspring as they would have flown the nest by then {1}. There is a likely, second, marriage to a Hannah – either Baxter or Jones – in Yarmouth 1858.

The census records for 1861/71/81 for John junior couldn’t be found, despite using all sorts of search variations {1}. But looking again at those that could, the 1901 census includes a granddaughter, Emily Quayle, age 22. Old enough to be found in earlier census, hopefully with her parents.

Yes, with a distinctive surname, Emily was found in 1881 and 1891, and her parents’ marriage was in Poplar district, London, clearly giving the mother as Jane Emily J Smith. That looked right – so one child found in later life. Now, with her name and rough age, could she be found earlier?

Yep, an 1861 census appears to match, and one with sisters Ellen and Kate in 1871, but who was this Elizabeth Hunnebel or Hannible they were lodging with in Yarmouth? Let’s not worry about that, though, as Ellen’s marriage is also remarkably easy to find, with some Ancestry trees pointing the way to Arthur Nash, and Poplar again. Ancestry’s London parish registers have John Harper Smith not only stated as father, but signing as a witness along with sis Jane – here Jane Emily Jones Quayle. So absolutely no doubt that I have been tracing the right line, on spec.

Now going back to look for Jane’s marriage on the parish register, father is listed as John Arthur*, but his witness signature is clear, and sister Ellen Jane Smith is the other witness.

Jane Emily Jones Smith marriage 1878 crop

Persistence and experience pays, but nothing too complicated really.

* Down to a broad Norfolk accent no doubt.


1. Later searching on Hannah Smith, rather than John Harper Smith (junior), brings up the 1861 census – in Liverpool, 36 Bridgewater St, now a warehouses/industrial area {3}. The age against John appears to be 55 rather than 35, an error/ambiguity by whoever wrote up the original form and the reason why he couldn’t be found direct. No children with them. And still no sign of the couple in 1871 or 1881. Could they be on voyages out of British waters? Reminder: both John Harper Smith junior and senior are registered master mariners. More on this in Entirely to the Water from Birth. UPDATE The Cutlock article Word-Smithing from Smyrna (Feb. 2014) partly confirms their foreign journeys.

Also originally missed on the 1891 census as they are on the next page, son John W age 27 and wife Elizabeth age 23.

UPDATE: But where is John William in 1871, age only 7? Not with his sisters, who are in fact, at 9 Row 110, only a few census lines (and probably doors) away from aunt Matilda b Isaac (6 Row 113). At age 17, he is working in London.

2. John Smith senior (b 1792) married Lydia Bacchus – some Ancestry trees have her as Backhouse – 1809 Norwich. Lydia death registration probably 1857 Yarmouth, and John remarries to Mary Bilby nee Payne 1858.

Their descendants:

  • John Smith b 6 Oct 1809 Norwich (and probably dead by 1825).
  • Lydia Smith b 7 Jan 1812 Norwich, m John Denmark Dunch before 1837, d 1871. Children born Norwich:
    • Jane Lydia Denmark Dunch b 3 Jun 1837, m James Purple 2 oct 1886 Norwich, d 1929
    • John Denmark Dunch b 23 Dec 1840, d early 1841.
    • John Dunch b 1 May 1842, m Marion Fiske 15 Jul 1884 Great Plumstead, d 16 Apr 1919 Gr Plumstead.
    • Edwin Robert Denmark Dunch b 20 Jul 1847, not found after 1861.
    • Emily Laura Denmark Dunch b 8 Aug 1850, m Charles Isaac Kent 1888 Norwich, d 1915 Norwich.
    • Edgar Denmark Dunch b 1860, m Louisa Wigg nee Lee 23 Dec 1880 Yarmouth. Possibly lost at sea October 1881.
  • Emily Ann Smith b 1814 Norwich (baptism 20th March 1814 St Julian).
  • Jane Bacchus Smith b 8 Jan 1818 Norwich, m Thomas Crisp Press 27 Sep 1839 Norwich, d 1865 Yarmouth. Children:
    • Thomas b 1839, m Grace McQuinn Ipswich 1867. Children include Jane Bacchus Press, m Ernest Robert Sayers 21 Sep 1898, Thomas Crisp Press b 1874 m Martha Esther Rea 2 Jul 1893.
    • Jane Emily b 1841, m Arthur Lark 1863 Yarmouth. Children include Arthur Thomas m Ellen Mary Grimes, Jane Press Lark m Walter Bates Gedge.
  • Harriet Smith b 1820, see Neal family page.
  • Matilda Bacchus Smith b 1823 Norwich, m Joseph Isaac 1846 Gorleston, d 1882 Yarmouth. Children born Yarmouth or Lowestoft.
    • Rosina Matilda b 1847, m John Ashby Rainer 1871, d 1929.
    • Mary Ann Elizabeth b 1849 m George Stone 30 Dec 1869 Yarmouth, d 27 Oct 1942.
    • Jessina Clara b 1850, married Maxwell Innes 1885 Aberdeenshire and moved to Scotland. Maxwell is a shoemaker at 1881 but a ‘Salmon Flydresser’ at 1891, working on River Spey?
    • Harriet Emma b 1853 m Thomas Baker 18 Feb 1890 Forest Row, Sussex.
    • Elizabeth b 1855 m William Robert Hawes 21 Dec 1882 Yarmouth, d 7 Jan 1942 South Woodham, Essex.
    • Joseph John b 12 Jan 1857 m Emily Bertha Nicholls 1891 Islington.
    • Ernest E b 1860, m Emma Eliza Greystone 7 Jun 1883.
    • Edward b 1863 m Agnes Matilda Davey 15 Apr 1890 Yarmouth, d 1894 Yarmouth.
  • John Harper Smith, b 24 Jul 1825 Norwich, d 17 Jan 1903 Yarmouth, master mariner. Married Julia Ann Piller 1847, then Hannah Jones (or Watts) 1858, both Yarmouth. (1891 living in West Ham.)
    • Jane Emily Jones Smith b 1858 Yarmouth, m Alfred Thackeray Quayle pawnbroker 21 Apr 1878. Alfred died early 1893, Jane remarried to William Gladstone Sutherland 24 Dec 1893. Children include Emily Hannah Quayle m Walter Hunt,  Evelyn Kate Quayle, Gladys Roberta Quayle m Herbert Thomas Colley, Alfred John Thackray Quayle m Maud Kate Morris.
    • Ellen Jane Smith b 1859 Yarmouth, m Alfred Nash 30 Mar 1879 Bow, children Alfred John Nash m Emily Jessie Humphrey, Bertram Thomas Nash m Ellen Louisa Redgwell or Ridgwell.
    • Kate Smith b 1862 m John Cayley Jones 30 Oct 1886 Old Ford (Poplar). Children include Kathleen Frances Jones, John Cayley Jones chemist.
    • John William Smith b 1864 m Elizabeth Marion Brown 1891 Lewisham. Later in Godalming, pawnbroker.
  • Robert George Harper Smith, b 1829 Norwich. Nothing found after 1841 census, yet (unless he is licensee of Green Man in 1851).

3. Other items of note:

Jane Press Gedge nee Lark leaves an estate of £10,000 in 1956, about £200k at today’s prices. At 1911 Gedge was an ironmongers clerk – where did this small fortune come from? Perhaps from her father’s successful shoe making business in Yarmouth?

This is the first time Liverpool has appeared in the research other than as the port of departure for other shores. Alfred Quayle was born in Toxteth Park/Liverpool in 1851, and his mother-in-law Hannah Jones was also born there in 1832.

It is lucky that Kate Smith wasn’t given Jones as a middle name, as her sister Jane was, otherwise she would have become Kate Jones Jones!

Jessina is an unusual name – type Jessina Innes into Google and it wants to give you Jessica Ennis. The 1881 census for Jessina Isaac (before she married) was a little tricky but little doubt that Jessica Clare in Baldock, with an age a couple of years younger than it should be, is her. A Lady’s Maid in the household of Thomas Simpson, owner of the local brewery but absent at time of the census. So as well as wondering how she met her Scottish husband, how did she land this job, quite some distance from Yarmouth?

4. Thanks to Linda Smith (nee Press) for her help and information.


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