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A Smith Family Genealogy: Part 1 - My Father's Family

Researching my father Frank E. Smith's parents and their forebears.


This outline genealogy deals with the forebears of my father, Frank Edwin Smith, back to his great-grandparents. It is based on a mixture of family knowledge, searches on Ancestry.co.uk and downloaded images of census, birth, baptism and marriage documents, either transcripts or originals.


Outline - Paternal Line

Frank Edwin Smith was born in 1925 in Southwark, London to parents Oliver Smith and Edith Smith (nee Spear).

Oliver was born in 1884 in Kennington, London, being the son of George Smith, born in in 1838, and his second wife / partner Clara Smith (nee Lambert).

George Smith's parents were Willoughby Hector Smith, born about 1806, and Mary Elizabeth Smith (nee Bowcher), born in 1811, both in Middlesex.

Paternal Side of Smith family.

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Outline - Maternal Line

Edith Smith (nee Spear) was born in 1887 in Kingswinford, Staffordshire, being the daughter of Hezekiah Spear and Mary Ann Spear (nee Hale), born in 1858 and 1865 respectively.

Hezekiah Spear was the son of Richard Morris Spear, born in 1819 in Stourbridge, and Elizabeth Spear (nee Wood), born in 1828 in Kingswinford.

Mary Ann Hale, born in 1865 in Kingswinford, was the daughter of William Hale, born 1832 in St George's, Bristol and his second wife Mary Ann Hale (nee Shaw), born in 1838 in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.

Maternal Side of Smith family.

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Family Groups - Paternal Side

Willoughby Hector Smith and Mary Elizabeth Bowcher were married at St Martin's in the Fields, Westminster in 1824. Willoughby was a diamond setter by trade and in 1841 they were living at 4 Pearl Row, Finsbury - a small terraced row of houses located behind the Anderson's Building on City Road. George Smith was the fifth of six children recorded at 1841, when he was three years old.

James Plummer and his wife Martha were living in Little Queen Street, Westminster in 1841 and King Street (later called Wake Street), off Lambeth Walk, in 1851. James was born in Deptford, Kent about 1807. The census records give his occupation as carpenter and later as shipwright. James and Martha had eight children between 1834 and 1851. The second child was Martha, who was born in 1836 in Westminster and later became George Smith's first wife.

Edward Lambert and his wife Sarah were living in New Street (later called Newburn Street), Lambeth at the Censuses in 1851 and 1861. Edward was a housepainter. Their second child Clara was born in Lambeth in 1852 and became George Smith's second wife.

George Smith's First Family

George was recorded as a labourer when he first married, but thereafter worked as a Printer's Warehouseman from 1861. Trade unionism amongst craft employees in warehouses in printing establishments dates from 1840 when the London Society of Printer's Warehousemen was formed.

During the early 1870's there was a break-up between George and Martha and the marriage foundered. The three boys presumably went out in to the world if old enough or were taken in by the Plummer family perhaps. They were George Willoughby Smith, born 1858; Joseph James Smith, born 1861 and Harry Smith, born 1863. Their younger sister Elizabeth Martha remained with ther father.

There are records from 1881 on of a Martha Smith as a resident of St Saviour's Union Workhouse Infirmary, Newington. The details are sparse but give this person as: Married, aged 45, a Pauper, previously an Ironer, born in Westminster, Middlesex. The details tie up such that one could not rule out this being George's wife, but equally there is no additional evidence at present to enable one to say that it is her, with any confidence.

George Smith's Second Family

There is no readily available marriage record for the second partnership. The next record is the baptism of Clara Florence Smith in 1880, born to George Smith and his second wife / partner Clara Lambert. Clara Florence was born about 1877 but baptised later, at the same time as her younger brother William George.

Elizabeth Martha Smith, the youngest from the first family, joined George Smith's second household where she became the eldest child.

Offspring of George & Clara Smith.

George and Clara Smith had ten children of their own between 1876 and 1894, including Clara Florence, comprising six girls and four boys. One girl child, Katherine Mary Smith, died young sadly at age thirteen. The family lived in the late 1880's at addresses in Kennington and Walworth, then in Camberwell at the turn of the century and in Tooting at 21 Moring Road at about the time of the Great War. George died between 1901 and 1908.

The four boys were William George, born 1879; Edwin Edward Smith, born 1881; Oliver James Smith, born 1885 (Frank E Smith's father); Willoughby Hector Smith, born 1891.

Edwin Edward (Ted or Edd) was a Post Office Sorter, unmarried, who served in a Royal Engineer Signal Company of the Territorial Force and was killed at Cambrai in late 1917. The other three brothers worked in the printing trade: William George was a folding machine operator; Ollie was a Printer's Warehouseman (with The Daily Mirror), also serving as a Storeman in the Royal Air Force later in the Great War. Willoughby was a Printer Layeron, who fought with the First Surrey Rifles / London Regiment in France with the Territorial Force.

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Oliver James Smith's Family

Ollie & Edie's children Kathleen Mary (Kit) John Oliver (Jack) and Frank Edwin Smith (my father) were born in 1910, 1917(?) and 1925 respectively.

The family lived in rooms at Cobham Buildings, Pocock Street, Blackfriars up to about 1929, then moved to the Briscoe Building, Brixton Hill SW2. In the mid-1930's Ollie and Edie moved to 71 Drakefield Road, Tooting London SW17 and shared this large Victorian terraced house with their daughter Kit and her husband Philip J Cassidy. The family remained at this address until the 1970's when the household moved to 43 Tooting London SW17. Ollie died in November 1969 and Edie in September 1979.

Family Groups - Maternal Side

William Hale's Family

William Hale was born in St George, Bristol in 1839 but lived, worked and raised a family in the Black Country. He married his first wife Sarah Shaw in 1852 at Brierley Hill, however she died within only a few years.

William's second wife/ partner was Mary Ann Shaw, sister to Sarah Shaw, and they subsequently raised six children, who were born between 1858 and 1874. The four daughters included Mary Ann Hale, born in 1865, who went on to become Edith Spear's mother.

William and Mary Ann Hale were in business as tenant publicans, and are recorded as running the Swan Inn, Amblecote in 1871, the White Hart, Wordsley in 1881 and the Angel Inn, Kidderminster in 1891 and 1901.

In the late 1800's many of the staff at the Angel Inn were William and Mary Ann's grand-children, born to their married daughters: Sarah Ann Hale, who married John Edwards in 1880 and Mary Ann Hale, who married our Hezekiah Spear in 1882.

One of the grand-children, William Edwards, a cousin of Edith Spear, took over the Angel Inn, Kidderminster and was running it with his wife Agnes in 1911 and during the Great War.

Richard Spear's Family

Richard Morris Spear was born in 1819 in Ludlow, Shropshire and lived and worked in the Stourbridge area of Worcestershire as a Millwright. His wife Elizabeth Wood was born in 1828 and they were married in 1844 at St Thomas, Dudley.

Their eight children were born between 1848 and 1866 and they lived variously at: Upper Swinford (1851), Wollaston (1861), Wordsley (1871) and Camphill, Kingswinford (1881), all these being in the Stourbridge area.

Their fifth child was Hezekiah Spear, born in 1858 in Wollaston, who later married Mary Ann Hale. The 1881 Census records that Hezekiah Spear aged 22 was living at home with his parents and was in employment as a glassmaker.

Hezekiah Spear's Family

Hezekiah Spear, and Mary Ann Hale were married in 1882 in Stourbridge. Their eight children were born between 1884 and 1905. The family lived in Amblecote and then in Birmingham during the 1890's. Hezekiah then moved his family to London, where he was employed initially as a glassblower at the Whitefriars glassworks factory, situated between Fleet Street and the River Thames.

By 1901, the family were living in rooms at the Ponsonby Buildings, Southwark, and in 1907 were at Pocock Street, Blackfriars, then at Westminster Bridge Road at the time of the 1911 Census.

The second youngest child Frank Spear died young aged 20 in 1922, but the remaining Spear children all married during the period 1908 to 1929. Several of the weddings took place on Christmas Day or Boxing Day.

Offspring of Hezekiah & Mary Spear.

John Spear, born 1884, became a Coachsmith and later worked as a chauffeur. Hezekiah Spear (junior) worked as a Printer's Labourer and served in the motorised Army Service Corp in the Great War. Edith Spear, born 1888, married Oliver Smith in 1908 as described elsewhere.

William Benjamin Spear, born in 1896, was a sheet-metal worker who served as a artisan in the Royal Flying Corps in the Great War. In 1911, Mary Spear, born 1894, was working as a dressmaker and Cecelia Spear, born 1891, was working as a book folder. The youngest of the Spear girls, Elsie, married Harry Pearcey in 1929.

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Sketch Overview Diagram

My father Frank E. Smith's side of the Smith family.

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