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Discussion in 'Travellers' started by Bob Spiers, Mar 2, 2021.

  1. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I can't ever remember having fun researching a 'Smith' family line. The fun generated by the marvellous variations in first names amongst the family members; particularly the females.

    Long story short, I was asked by a family member (who I shall refer to as M) widowed in 2016 after losing her SMITH husband. He had been a keen family historian, exploring his own and his wife's family line. Just prior to falling too ill to continue his research, had told her he had found the large Gypsy 'Smith' contingent in her line (something M had known about since childhood although not necessarily that they were Smiths). Shown in Censuses as Travellers, Gypsies, Basket & Chair Makers (and one Gypsy Fiddler). Later he told her he believed he had found a linkage between their respective lines. Sadly he did not live long enough for her to know how the linkage came about but had been left with copious notes and charts.

    Agreeing to help of course I duly received a large package from her containing his notes and charts and had to admire the work he had put in which made my job of following his trail much, much easier. I loved the humour in the notes on discovering the positively obscure, and virtually incomprehensible first (and often second and third) names bestowed on children, who then grew up, inter-married within their own 'Smith' line and that of 'Booth' cousins.

    I was able to confirm the linkage and enjoyed exploring his notes, quite unintelligible without following his references in Censuses and taking note of how names changed or were spelled differently in virtually every Census. The Gypsy line was mainly found in Leicestershire and Rutland with excursions into Lincolnshire and the odd Derbyshire. One thing became clear (and was a big help) that children were always baptised in the local church the location of which depended on where they set up camp.

    Here is just a taster of what I meant about name variations and none so striking as those of the female Matriarch of the root parents.

    Naphtali (1820-1865) & Wyramenta Smith (1817-1908)- both Smith born and cousins.

    Naphtali Smith remained the same down the line, but Wyramenta was never spelled the same twice. She was recorded in Censuses or Baptisms (as the mother) as Wymenty, Byenty, Viramenta and even Ryerdunty. I doubt any blame can be levelled at Enumerators (and by definition Transcribers) or Parish Clerks or Clergy as I suspect they just recorded what they thought they heard. I am just surprised Naphtali did not suffer in the same way.

    So one can appreciate when looking for some of the more common Smith first names; Thomas, Sarah, Robert, Elizabeth and the like, one could trace them by checking on (one of the variable) names for their mother.

    But to return to the the linkage between the two lines we must jump to the next generation and a son Napthali Smith (1847-1931) marrying his cousin Amadine Booth* (1835-1892). Napthali had a sister Adeliza (aka Eliza) Smith 1864-1948 and she married Nathaniel Booth (1863-1943). Nathaniel was the brother of Sibernia Booth (1856-?) who married Enoch Smith (1850-?)...Enoch and Sibernia were the 2nd great grandparents of her late husband.

    I have set all this out in a Genopro chart and emailed it to M. I assured her she need not worry too much as these generational tie ups are not that uncommon and as she had known since a girl that she had 'Gypsies' in the family, I could also add that from what her husband and I had discovered they seemed to be a most marvellous group of people to research, even if they were mainly all Smiths.

    *Amadine was recorded as Amadine Smith (but baptised as Booth) which confused both of us but given cousin inter-marriages perhaps we should not have been surprised.
  2. pjd

    pjd LostCousins Star

    I just wish my Smith antecedents had such wonderful names!!
  3. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Star

    Both my husband and I have Smith ancestors but none with such interesting names. A second cousin of mine used to draw political cartoons for English newspapers - David Smith. I have copies of some of them.
  4. Margery

    Margery LostCousins Member

    My husband's great grandfather was John Smith!
  5. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    I have just discovered Enoch Smith had a sister named Cinderella. I only hope she was able to go to the ball:)

    Usefully, as no parents were shown for Enoch, there was a copy of Cinderella's birth certificate in the paperwork which recorded them as Robert Smith & Rhoda (?) -pretty normal first names for a change. Her father's occupation was shown as 'Gypsy, Basket Maker & Gypsy fiddler... I am sure he would have been present at the ball. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2021
  6. Helen7

    Helen7 LostCousins Superstar

    Just picked up on this thread. Fascinating to hear about all the brilliant first names of this Smith family. Reminded me that my 6x great-grandmother, named Ann Boamer, married a man 20 years her junior named Spateman Smith, then after she died he re-married another Ann, this one with surname Jones - so Smith and Jones.

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