14 November 2012

More on James Smith

I received the transcript for James Smith's death certificate yesterday.

He died on 4 July 1879 at Hill St, St Leonards (now North Sydney). This doesn't surprise me because I have found records of Sarah living there after James' death.

James was listed as a labourer. I have found records which suggest he worked as a gardener, in a dairy, as a carpenter and as a quarryman. This all fits with my thought that he was a general labourer - perhaps the sort of man who could turn his hand to anything.

He died of "broncho pneumonia", which he had been suffering from for 14 days.

James' father was listed as John Smith, labourer, his mother Susan Tedfort. So obviously my speculation in this post was wrong. John Smith is the sort of name which would cause you to throw your hands up in the air and give up, however Susan Tedfort is a much more distinctive name. The only problem is that I can't find any Susan Tedforts anywhere. I suspect that the surname was not spelled correctly on the death record. Surnames I can find are Thetford, Tedford, Telfort, Titford, etc. I'll have to look into it.

James was born in Ireland, and he had been in the colony/state about 28 years (which suggests he arrived about 1851). This still doesn't help me work out how he got here - there's nothing that I can find that fits with that or is clearly him. On his son William's birth record his place of birth is listed as County Armagh, Ireland.

The children of his marriage to Sarah Ann Adamson (and their ages at the time of his death) were:

  • Ann Jane, aged 24. Ann Jane was my great great grandmother and married Robert Wickham. I'm guessing she was named after Sarah's mother.
  • James, aged 23. Named after his father. I haven't yet worked out what happened to James - what he did, when he died etc.
  • Ellen, aged 20. I cannot locate a birth registration for Ellen in the NSW BDM. Not sure why. Also, I can't find her death record either, but that's because I have no idea who/whether she married. Named after one of Sarah's twin sisters.
  • Eliza, aged 16. Full name Eliza Annie. Married Thomas William Stilling. Most likely named after Sarah's other twin sister.
  • Susan, aged 14. Susan died a couple of years later, aged 16. Probably named after James' mother.
  • William, aged 8. I haven't yet worked out what happened to William either. I also don't know who he was named after, but considering all the other children were named after someone in the family, perhaps his father James had a brother called William?
  • 2 boys and 1 girl deceased. Absolutely no idea who the two boys were. There are no obvious birth or death records for them in the NSW BDM. I've seen the birth record for William, and they are not listed on that, so perhaps they were born after that. The girl was Maria, who died when she was 8 months old, in 1861. I also don't know who she was named after - perhaps a sister of her father?

So, how could you get away without registering the births of some of your children? I wonder how common it was? Are the NSW BDM records infallible?!

I must acknowledge the assistance of a distant relative, Joanne, with whom I have been collaborating on this Smith research. Thanks Joanne!

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