Family History - tales around the tree
© 2022 smhopkins. While every reasonable effort is made to ensure that the information provided on this site is accurate, no guarantees for the currency or accuracy of information are made. If you do make use of any of the information here or have anything to add or correct, please let me know. sue [at]


Blundell - Wigan & Wirral Boniface - Sussex Bradley - Suffolk & Essex Bustin - Oxford Campleman - Hull & SE England Catt/Cattley - Kent & London Courtney - Wirral & Liverpool Cox - Dorset & Sussex Coyne - Ireland & Chester Curtin - Ireland, Midlands & USA De Normanville - France, London & South Australia Divall - Sussex & Lewisham Foot - Dorset Greenway - Sussex & London Griesel - Germany, London & Essex Grubb - Lewisham Holbrook - London & Essex Hopkins - North Shields, Wirral & Liverpool Hurst - Hounslow & Rhyl Laird - Surrey & London Lovel - North Shields Milleman - Holland, Kent, London & USA Molnar - Hungary & London Morgan - Devon Murray - Kincardineshire, London & South Australia Paver - Hull & London Pearl - Suffolk & Essex Rankin - Glasgow, Midlands & Canada Robson - Lewisham & London Skinner - Essex Smart - Essex, London, Canada & Seattle Starr - Norfolk & Westminster Still - Kent/Sussex, Essex Tales around the tree unrelated stories I’ve come across in the course of research and too good to ignore The Gallery revived School photos, Midhurst and Birkenhead & more
Tuesday 8th March 2022 - Jagger to Smart When Thomas Jagger, a blacksmith of Newport in Essex, wrote his will on the 11th October 1830, he left, after all the usual payments "all the rest residue and remainder of my monies securities for money goods & chattels stock in trade personal estate and effects whatsoever and wheresoever" - sworn value under £300 - to his wife Elizabeth. He died aged 74 on the 9th November that year, and this Elizabeth was his second wife, a widow whom he had married in Newport on the 28th December 1808. There were no children from this second marriage, but from his first marriage to Elizabeth Smart on the 9th December 1782 in Debden he had at least five who had survived to adulthood and who by this time were all married with children of their own, some still living in Newport. Wills are usually a good source for identifying family relationships, but in this case you could be forgiven for thinking that Thomas Jagger was childless, or had already made substantial settlements on his offspring. His first wife Elizabeth Smart died in 1806 in Newport, and two of his daughters married there in 1808, just before his second marriage. His daughter Martha married Henry Beckwith who was the son of his soon to be second wife Elizabeth Beckwith, née Ware. The Beckwith family can be traced back as blacksmiths in Newport to at least the early 1600s, as can the Jaggers as blacksmiths in nearby Wendens Ambo, so this was a double linking of two families in the same working tradition. So why do none off these offspring appear in his will? I think it hints at a major family rift, instigated by the death of his first wife and his second marriage. His oldest son William Jagger, baptised in Newport on the 14th August 1791, worked as a blacksmith, probably his trade learnt from working alongside his father. By 1812 when he was 20 he was living in Linton in Cambridgeshire when he married Anne Baldwin on the 31st January. They had three children born in Linton: Thomas who was born and died in 1812; Eliza born in 1813; and Emma Elizabeth born in 1816. While having these children William managed to attest for the 48th Foot Regiment in Cambridge on the 1st February 1814. He is described as being 5' 7¼", having a fair complexion, blue eyes and light brown hair, with an oval "form of visage"; and he's a Blacksmith, born in Newport in Essex. Whether his military career took him anywhere is not clear - perhaps he was just kept on as a reservist, or did he desert? He next appears, with his family in Wanstead in Essex, when he and Anne have a baby baptised as Thomas William Smart (my great grandfather) on the 26th September 1819, and the family would continue to use the surname Smart - his mother's maiden name - from now on. If he was a military deserter that could explain the name change, but it doesn't explain why his brother James - Thomas Jagger's only other son - had also assumed the surname Smart by 1827 when he married Amelia Brill in St George Hanover Square. Between 1819 and 1831 William and Anne were living in Hackney where they had three children baptised, with William working as a blacksmith all this time. By 1831 they are in West Ham when their son John was baptised in All Saints church. There is no obvious baptism for the Joseph Smart who appears as their son in both the 1841 and 1851 censuses; born apparently in West Ham in about 1834, I wonder if he had been absorbed from some other part of the family, and assumed the surname Smart. William Smart and Anne and children James, Eliza, John and Joseph are living in Chapel End, Walthamstowe in 1841, not far from their Smart cousins, the children of their mother's brother Thomas Smart, who, born in Debden, are working nearby as gardeners. According to this census, where William’s age is rounded down to 45, he - along with the rest of his family - wasn't born in Essex; perhaps he didn’t consider Newport to be in Essex, but two of his sons were supposedly born in West Ham. William Smart died in Leyton in 1846, probably in the West Ham Union workhouse infirmary, before the more detailed 1851 census. His brother James however, now a shoemaker living in West Ham, reveals that he was born in Newport and is 52, so, he says, born in 1799; he was actually born in 1797 and baptised in Newport on the 20th August that year as James Jagger. William's family is lodging in Bow in 1851, with his sons Thomas William and John now working as blacksmiths. Living in West Ham in 1861 Anne gives her place of birth as Linton in Cambridgeshire; she is now living with her son Thomas William and his family. In 1871 Anne is living in the West Ham almshouses, and she died in West Ham in 1873 aged 80. It wasn't really a surprise to find that the Baldwins were also blacksmiths. Centred on Linton they moved between the villages on the Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Hertfordshire borders. Sadly I can find no baptism for an Anne Baldwin in Linton or any of the surrounding parishes in the early 1790s, though DNA matches point me in the direction of the family of Joseph Baldwin who married Hannah Wright Cooke in West Wratting in 1785. Joseph's parents were Joseph Baldwin and Elizabeth Challis who had married in Balsham in 1761 and who had seven children in Linton. Joseph senior is probably a master wheelwright there in 1784 and it seems that two of his sons, and several grandsons went on to become blacksmiths. His son Edmund married in Haverhill in 1785 and had five children there before moving back to Linton to have a further six; one of these was a daughter named Ann, but she was born and died in 1797. Joseph and Hannah had one son Joseph - baptised as Joseph Cooke in West Wratting in 1785, nine days before they married - before moving back to Linton where they had two more sons - Samuel in 1795 and Thomas in 1797 - and a daughter, Elizabeth born in 1793. This is probably the family my Anne fits into as there is a gap of eight years between the births of Joseph and Elizabeth, and if there was another daughter she would most likely have been called Hannah or Anne and born around 1791. Of course the DNA link could be through Hannah Wright Cooke; she was born in West Wratting in 1765, the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Cooke and - I would strongly suspect - with a father surnamed Wright. Apart from the recently discovered DNA links to the Debden and Newport Smarts, I'd already suspected that William and James Smart were related in some way. Their familes both ended up in West Ham, and James's wife Amelia was one of the witnesses to the marriage of William's daughter Eliza to John Phillbrook in Bow in 1852. A hint to the family name change came from James’ son, James: he was baptised as James John Smart in 1829 in All Saints West Ham, but when he married in Shoreditch in 1853 he states his name as James Jagger Smart. William and Anne's daughter Emma Elizabeth Jagger born in Linton in 1816 also assumed the name Smart. She never married and lived out her life in Leyton, acquiring along the way two illegitimate sons: William born in 1847 and Henry in 1852. She died in 1866 and was buried in St Mary's Leyton where her father had been buried twenty years earlier. In 1851 she, with her son William, is lodging with the family of Richard and Catherine Hemingway; in 1861 she is described as Housekeeper to the now widowed Richard living in Leyton High Street, and both her sons are with her. For more on the next generations of Smarts but some needs updating now. Thursday 18th November 2021 - Sidney Tuffrey 1865-1961 A recent item brought into the Repair Shop on the BBC was a wooden military chest that had belonged to Corpl. Sidney Tuffrey of the 1st Oxfordshire Light Infantry. Just a few days earlier I had been researching the connections between the Oxfordshire Tuffreys and the Bustins, and this Sidney, born in 1865, was a first cousin three times removed. What further research revealed was that he had married Sophia Maltby who was a great great aunt; at their wedding in Islip in 1893 the witnesses were Edwin Bustin (great grandfather) and his wife Emily (née Maltby), Sophia’s sister, and our great grandmother. Sidney and Sophia were first cousins sharing grandparents Edward Terry and Charlotte Goldby. Sidney had joined the Oxfordshire Light Infantry on the 17th March 1886; born in Bletchingdon, he gave his age as 18 years and 6 months, and his occupation as Labourer. Most of his 16 years and 43 days of military service were spent at home, and he was transferred as a corporal to the Reserve in 1893, the year he married. He was re-engaged in 1898 and posted to South Africa in January 1900 to fight in the Anglo-Boer War, and finally discharged from the service in April 1902. He had trained in Mounted Infantry duties and gained a certificate at Aldershot in 1888, and was also awarded 3rd and 2nd class certificates of education; his character was said to be “Very Good” and “Exemplary”. He was paid a War Gratuity of £7 10s and awarded the South African 1900-01 medal - the Queen’s South Africa medal, with the Cape Colony clasp. According to Wikipedia the 1st Battalion “saw extensive service in the conflict, including in the relief of the besieged British garrison at Kimberley and in the defeat of the Boers at Paardeberg in February”. With Sophia he had three children: Trevor Sidney, who died in the First World War in what is now Iraq, and two daughters, Lavinia Emeline and Violet Maud. Sophia died in 1945, and Sidney, who survived a serious gas explosion in Wokingham in 1925 - he was working as a gardener at Wokingham Rectory, walked into the kitchen, lit a match and was blown across the room, suffering burns and other injuries - died in 1961 at the age of 95. The Coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure; Sidney had apparently been carrying a coal- scuttle down a short flight of stairs at his home in Wokingham when he tripped and fell, injuring his head; he died in hospital five days later. Sidney’s service record can be found on FindMyPast (subscription required) as can the newspaper reports of his accident and the inquest into his death. Thursday 2nd September 2021 -Wolvercote - Balls, Busbys and Bustins Frances Ball who was born in Wolvercote in Oxfordshire in 1792 married twice. Her first husband was Thomas Busby and they had five children born between 1815 and 1821, one of whom, Jane Busby, is one of our greatx2 grandmothers. Most Wolvercote girls married local men either from Wolvercote or from Oxford, but although there are local Busbys I can't place a suitable Thomas. If his origins are obscure so is his fate. Thomas Busby seems to have left the scene shortly after the birth of their daughter Elizabeth in 1821. Read more … Friday 27th November 2020 - Curtins & Rankins Read more … Tuesday 5th October 2020 - Charlotte Cox Read more … Tuesday 29th September 2020 - Jessie Mary Woodward Read more … Tuesday 4th August 2020 - The Queen’s Arms near Dartington, and the Alsop family of Newton Abbot Read more …
With family members from most of the counties of England (also Scotland, Ireland and continental Europe, and probably Wales and the Isle of Man) this is a collection of stories about people whom I have found interesting. This page reflects my current research and the sidebar lists the main names already researched to a greater or lesser extent.