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  1. #1
    Starting to feel at home
    Join Date
    Apr 2014

    Cool Those Pesky Smiths

    Hi Everybody!

    So Im struggling right now, I'll explain out as much as I can & would love any help people can give. I've made alot of progress and now hit this wall.

    My ultimate goal is to learn the identity of my grandads father, he was born illigitimately in Whitechapel, London in 1932.

    So I and other relatives have taken dna tests. Ive got quite good at the dna & have managed to paint out all my fathers grandparents etc.

    There are some matches for this unknown man, none of them particularly high. But what I have found is that I have quite a few matches who (seemingly) may be from the same family.They have ancestors by the name of SMITH who are from WHITECHAPEL.

    The problem I have is that I havnt been able to join up all these different families to find the common ancestor.

    A) I have 3 matches that decend from two children of a couple in Whitechapel
    B) I have 1 match who has smith ancestors but I cant get back any further to see if theres Whitechapel (but the match was born in Islington just north)
    C) I have 1 match who has smith ancestors in whitechapel
    D) I have 1 match who has a smith from whitechapel married into their tree & that I could possible decend from & therefore relate to both.

    I just need to try and link these people into one smith family.

    A) I got this lead from my highest unknown dna match (DNA). He decends from Charles Smith & Mary Eleanor Lewis, married in St Anne, Soho, 17 Jul 1842. Charles' father is listed as George, a fishmonger., George witnessed the marriage & so was alive still. Census records state St George In The East, Whitechapel as his place of birth in around 1823-5. I have been unable to find Charles, A ChimneySweep, or his father George on the 1841 census, & so have not been able to take this tree back any further. Quite interestingly Charles & Mary lived on Osborn Street, Whitechapel. This is a 2minute walk, about 50ft from the street my grandfather was born on, Flower & Dean, today Thrawl street is the only section of F&D remaining, the street continued across from here to join Bricklane, but is now a housing development. Osborn street is incredibly close. The fact my unknown mans ancestors lived so close to where my grandfather was born leads me to believe he still lived in the area. Charles & Marys son James Smith married Eliza Cole, (DNA) decends from one of their daughters. The other two matches I have decend from a different daughter, and then via two different lines. Giving me 3 DNA matches from this line.

    B) I second highest dna match, who I share with A, is (DNA2). He was born in Islington, just north of whitechapel. In looking back through his tree I found a smith line. But I cant seem to get back any further. The trouble is William Ernest Smith, born 1 Mar 1892/93, he died in Islington in 1987. He married a Kathleen Wright in Colchester in 1920. William is listed as a Electric Mechanic. His father is listed as Frederick John Smith, a Baker. I have been unable to find them on the 1901 or 1911 census, I found a few candidates but no Bakers. So unsure of how it links into A.

    C) A low dna match, but I have followed the tree of (DNA3) back to a George Smith, who married Maria Duperoy in Whitechapel on 9 Nov 1851. George is born around 1825, St George in the east, Whitechapel. He is listed as an Engineer on his marriage certificate, and his father is George, a Mariner

    D) This one is interesting, I have a couple of DNA matches here who decend from a couple Edward Mason & Elizabeth Wood, they were from Gloucestershire, & I have matches to two people decended from one of their sons. The reason Ive looked into this one is during my quest of Smiths in trees, I came across one here, Elizabeth Wood had a sister Tabitha Wood, she married a John Bettridge & they had a son Henry Leonard Bettridge. For me interestingly, Henry married an Eliza Smith, born in Whitechapel in 1830. This could be coincidence, but equally perhaps I decend from Henry & Eliza, that would allow me to match both these wood decendants and to via Eliza join into this Smith family from whitechapel. Unfortunately noone beneath Henry & Eliza appear to have tested, If I do decend from them there are only 6 possible men who could be my unknown man. Eliza Smiths father is George Smith (alot of Georges around this family), George is a Copper Plate Maker, married first to Elizabeth Spiers & then to Hannah How, born 1786 to Isaac Smith also a Copper Plate Maker, possibly died 1830 but unsure.

    So you can see why Im struggling, I think these smiths all have to link somewhow, but Im really struggling to find that link, It would be great if anyone was able to link them together at all.

    Many thanks

  2. #2


    I'm a little confused by the switch from the 20th century at the top to the 19th for all the discussion. Is "1932" a typo? If so, any Mod can fix it.

    I sometimes find that if I am really struggling with something, it helps to put the whole story to one side and approach from another (refreshing) angle. In this case, I would focus on the mother, whose name I assume that you have? Did the child use her surname? Leave the DNA results alone, and just look at what she was doing, and where she was living. Who was living in the same area? Where was she working? Critically, look for the baby's Christening. There's often helpful info - for example the Godparents - in the Church Register. Did the baby have any middle names? They sometimes provide a clue. Sometimes, an annoyed Minister (more usually in the Church of Scotland, which doesn't help you) mentions the father's name.

    However, I don't want to be discouraging but it's quite rare to definitively find a father if the parents were not married. Unless there is a paper trail (for example, application for or payment of child support), it's hard to identify the guilty party, even with a less common name!

  3. #3
    Starting to feel at home
    Join Date
    Apr 2014


    Thanks for your advice lesley. No typo, My grandfather was born 1932, and am attempting to find his father. The dna matches A-D are back on this line in 1820s/30s, so likely grandparents to the unknown father. My great grandmother doesnt appear to have been massively involved in the birth, he was not baptised and she did not register his birth, it was registered by a doctor 3 months later. I know all about her life and movements, but there arnt any clues there to the father. He does have a middle name however his full name is identical to his mothers brother, so likely where the inspiration came from.

    It is hard I know, But I believe if I can just link these families Il find my answer. :-)

  4. #4


    Charles' father is listed as George, a fishmonger., George witnessed the marriage & so was alive still.
    How do you know the George who witnessed the marriage was Charles' father; could he be a brother or other relative, and given Smith being a common name may not be related at all?

    There is this 1841 census which could be the Charles you are researching.

    1841, Marylebone. HO107; Piece: 675; Book: 11; Folio: 24; Page: 43
    Charles Smith 15 and George Smith 14 both apprentice chimney sweepers and born in county.


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