Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday's Faces From the Past ~ Lillian Buck Smedley and Ladies



This is another photo that my cousin inherited. Obviously we know which one is Lillian. With the input of Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - RAOGK USA and one of my aunts I think I can say that the women in front of her is my grandmother Grace Ellen Poulsen Smedley.

If you compare this photo to one of her and grandpa, you can see the resemblance. And my aunt agrees with me that there is no other relative that looks like my grandma (well except for my dad and me).



You can definitely see that the hairline is identical. Her hair has just fallen a little in the photo on the right. It is also a small picture so when you make the photo bigger it's distorted a little around her face.

As for the identity of the other women in the photo, I have no idea. I am not sure if they are relatives or not. So once again I am calling on Bear Lake county, Idaho researchers for a possibility of identifying them.





Leslie Ann

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Smedley Family Lore - Where it all Began


Mansfield branch record
My great-grandfather Thomas Joynes Smedley was known throughout the Bear Lake Valley as the "Pioneer Brickmaker".

My grandmother who was his daughter-in-law wrote a history about him primarily based on her memory of him and information from my great-aunt Lillian (T. J. Smedley's daughter). I remember her telling me how he lived in Delaware and did business with Quakers.

Aunt Lillian also wrote a history about him that was published in the History of Bear Lake Pioneers. When it came to Thomas Joynes' father, Thomas Cotton Smedley, neither one of them got it quite right. They both reported his death as 1851.  Further research by two Smedley cousins and myself revealed that he immigrated in 1857 with his son and daughter-in-law.

After finding the passenger list and knowing that Thomas Joynes Smedley went back to England in 1896 to obtain genealogical information, I couldn't understand how the 1851 death date came about. Why wouldn't aunt Lillian know that her grandfather came to America with her father?

Just recently I finally discovered where that death date came from, thanks to my cousin and FamilySearch. She added a story on FamilySearch that was also written by Lillian Smedley Beck. It's not just a story, but more like research notes within the history. This writing is probably where the history published in the History of Bear Lake Pioneers came from. The following excerpt explains where the myth of Thomas Cotton Smedley's death came from:
"The last mention I found of Thomas Smedley Sr. was May 1852 in the Mansfield Branch Record. So he must have died shortly after that date."
 The image above is a copy of the Mansfield Branch Record she was referring to. And the "last mention" she found was March 27, 1852, the date he was cut off from the church:

Since Lillian couldn't find anything else on T. J.'s father, it looks like she just assumed his death happened shortly after. However, for some reason the baptism date of 1851 became the death date in the histories (an error, or attempt to deny the fact that he was cut off from the church?) and then naturally from there into numerous family trees. Thankfully some of them have been updated.

With help from some of the folks from the Facebook group Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - RAOGK USA I was able to decipher the reason for his cut off.

"for immoral like conduct"
It could have been for something as simple as not following the Word of Wisdom, such as drinking coffee or tea, using tobacco, or consuming alcohol of some kind.

Referring to Thomas Joynes and his bride Ann Eaton, Lillian wrote the following:
"He was married to Ann Eaton and came to America sometime in 1857. I have not found their shipping record, but in the New Radford Branch Record it gives the record of Ann Eaton born 5 October 1834, Oxtow, baptized 11 Jun 1849, Mansfield. She emigrated March 26, 1857. So he must have emigrated at the same time."
So we know that she was never able to find a passenger list for her father's first passage to America, but for the life of me I still can't understand why he wouldn't tell her himself of such an eventful part of his life which would include the fact that her grandfather shared this voyage!

From reading her words it is clear that he shared a story or two of his childhood as well as from his time in New Jersey and Delaware, but nothing from a 24 day voyage across the Atlantic?! Maybe he relayed some stories to his older children with Ann and grew tired of retelling. Or maybe he was so out of sorts with his father and/or the trip that he never wanted to bring it up. I don't know. It just eats at me!

As for Thomas Cotton Smedley's actual death date, that remains a mystery. 

So tell me, have any of you discovered the beginnings of any of your family lores?


Leslie Ann

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday's Faces From the Past ~ Group of Women



This photo was among a few that one of my second cousins inherited when her uncle passed last year. She graciously sent me over some copies. As you can see cousin Bruce has defaced the photo by circling his grandma's face and pointing to her. I think a note in the margin would have been much nicer. I guess I shouldn't complain. Grandma Smedley noted above is actually my great-grandma Ida Buck Smedley.

I have no idea who the other women are, or the three little children for that matter.  The photo was probably taken in Bear Lake County, Idaho somewhere. It was probably taken some time in the 1940s and it's quite possibly a group of Relief Society Women.

If you are a Bear Laker, or have ancestors from that area, it's possible that you may know some of these ladies. Please let me know if you do.


Leslie Ann

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ Crocheting Great-grandma


Ida Buck Smedley,  Gertrude Smedley holding Violet Smedley,  Lillian Smedley Langford,
Irva Smedley holding Bruce Langford, Ella Smedley


Leslie Ann

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Thomas Cotton Smedley ~ More Tidbits


You should have seen this girl do the happy dance when I found this FreeBMD marriage record for Thomas Smedley and Elizabeth Joynes on Ancestry.com! I have been looking for proof of this marriage for a long, long time!

If you have read my previous post The 
Elusive Thomas Smedley, you will know that this has been one of the hardest ancestors to learn about. It seems the more I learn about him the more questions I have!

I now know why it has taken me this long to find this marriage record. The family genealogy that has been handed down has always assumed that they were married abt. 1837 because their only child was born 16 August 1837. News flash - they were married in 1841 when he was 2 months shy of being 4 years old!

Thanks to The British Newspaper Archive I was able to get the exact date of marriage from this marriage announcement published in the Sheffield Independent on Saturday June 19, 1841:


We have always known Thomas Cotton Smedley as a brick maker. It was kind of strange to see him listed as victualler in this announcement. But it does coincide with the 1842 banckruptcy notice where he calls himself a "Brick and Tile Maker and Beer Housekeeper".

Of all the questions I have about great-great-grandpa, the one that moves to the top of the list is 'why did they wait so long to get married?'

Yesterday I ordered the marriage certificate from GRO (General Register Office). I can't wait until it gets here!


Leslie Ann

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