Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Crumpity, Crumpity, Crump

Edward Steele notes a thing most important regarding my researches, in his journal. He relates the departure in 1858 of George Smith, brother of R.S.Smythe, for Australia. Having recently married in 1857 he was easier to find than I had thought. Married in North Surrey/Wandsworth/Lambeth-ish area with the father's name Edward Smith, and he himself by occupation, a saddler. So far all details correct (father's occupation given as draper). He married a Mary Victoria Crump and sure enough on the shipping list in early 1858 arriving at Melbourne, there he his, the only one of correct age, with a wife, M. V. Smith (daughter of John Sleath Crump). Evidently the plan was for Robert to fund the emigration of the entire family. Eliza and Frederic stayed behind.


There is a small shadow on this revelation; a family on ancestry has already claimed Mary Victoria Crump/Smith as never having left England. We have both made claims upon the same marriage certificate. Having said that I can find no M. V. Smith dying here anywhere, and R.S.Smythe makes no mention of George in his will, nor any offspring of same.

What happened?

Edward Smith Jnr, George's brother was already potted deep in the soil of South Australia and Robert was in the Riverina, I think, but most definitely in Victoria. I hope George settled here in Victoria, for if he settled in South Australia it's as good as throwing him onto the deck of the Flying Dutchman.

So, George - show yourself!

Sparrows, more confused than ever

Edward Steele, the brother in law of robert Sparrow Smythe states quite plainly in his journal that the real father of the family was Edward Sparrow and that the family (the mother) had simply adopted the name Smith, and that in knowledge of this Robert Smith played with the spelling of his name, sometimes changing Smith to Smythe but always taking the name Sparrow as his middle name.

Edward 'Smith' Sparrow was supposed to have died in a carriage accident leaving the mother a 'widow' and indeed in 1851 she enumerates herself as a widow. ten years earlier the father had been alive. So Mr. Sparrow died between 1841 and 1851 and left a real widow and children. So who was he?

His illegitimate eldest son, Edward was born in 1826, seven full years before Robert Sparrow Smith. Why the gap of seven years? What on earth was going on? A syphilitic period? Absence? Legal threats? No other children are mentioned by Edward Steele in his diary.

The man, who ever his was, was meant to be somewhat wealthy as goes the family law. "Of Ludgate Hill" is another piece of lore. F and R. Sparrow were indeed wine merchants and tea-dealer, but there is no Edward at all. The number of Edward Sparrows that died in the 1841-1851 decade are two in number, neither of which match or fit. He is described variously as printer, drapers clerk/merchant or commercial traveller.

So where is the truth of this?

Oh, and George Smith, the remaining brother of Smythe emigrated with Mary Victoria, his wife, to Australia in 1858. Their marriage certificate lists Edward as a draper. Just what the heck is going on?

I'd love to know.