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TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS SEVEN: Thomas and Hannah Smith

Eric Trudgill    -    1 December 2013

TRACING GYPSY FAMILIES BACK DESPITE THE LACK OF RECORDS

SEVEN: Thomas and Hannah Smith

We have baptisms naming Thomas and Hannah as parents of the famous Salovino and Absalom Smith, tried for sheep stealing in Leics in 1808 (Absalom being sentenced to death but reprieved and released). For Thomas and Hannah’s other children we have to work round the gaps in the records.

Salovino Smith was baptised in Cropredy, North Oxfordshire in January 1761, vagrants. He married Sarah Davis in Claybrooke, Leics, presumably quite precociously, in November 1776, christening six children in Warwicks and Northants 1778-99. And in Lilbourne, Northants in 1815, as a widower of Cropredy, Oxf, he married Mary Clark, a widow of London. Absalom Smith was baptised in N Marston, Bucks in 1768, vagrants. He married a Mary (perhaps a Mary Turtle), and christened three children by her in Warwicks and Northants 1787-1790, another by a Sarah in Leics in 1791, and four more by Elizabeth Jones in Leics and Northants1798-1804 before marrying her in Hillmorton, Wks in 1813 (for more on Absalom see my article in Romany Routes June 2013).

The Evening Smith christened in Churchover, Wksin 1793, a gypsy child of unnamed parents, may have been Salovino’s or Absalom’s: Salovino christened a child in Churchover four years later, but he and Absalom travelled together, each christening children in both E Haddon, Northants and Naseby, Northants, and were arrested together in 1808; and if Salovino had a grand-daughter christened in 1798 as Avenay (which may have been the same name as Evening), the first child of Evening herself, christened in 1813, was an Absalom.

To Salovino and Absalom Smith, these two children of Thomas and Hannah, I believe we can add a Hannah, Lilburn, Thomas and Sophia Smith.

Hannah Smith, named after her mother, was born about 1763, and in Bletchingdon, North Oxfordshire in 1782 married Wisdom Smith, baptised in 1763 son of Cain and Sarah, and likely brother of the Cain junior who married Salovino’s first child, Trinity. Hannah’s first child by Wisdom was an Absalom, buried as an infant in 1783 in Marston Trussell, Northants, where seven years later Absalom senior christened one of his. Later Hannah christened a child in 1795 in Wolvey, Wks, where Absalom had christened his first two children in 1787, and in 1798 in Moulton, Northants she honoured Salovino by christening a son recorded as Salvino.

Lilburn Smith was born about 1765, and married a Robert Smith, possibly a cousin, though his parents have yet to be established. They christened five children in Leics 1784-95, one a Robert christened in 1791 may have been the Robert Smith who married Evening and fathered an Absalom, another a Sophia christened in 1793 married James Clayton/Booth and thereby helped release a mini-flood of marriages with Absalom’s descendants. And Lilburn was honoured by Ambrose, Absalom’s oldest son, giving her distinctive forename to a daughter and thereby down through his family.

Thomas Smith, named after his father, was born about 1773 and possibly baptised, son of an unnamed vagrant, in Swalcliffe, North Oxfordshire in 1773. He married Mary Holland, probably the aunt of the Robert Holland who married Absalom Smith’s daughter, Argetta, and baptised or buried seven children in Leics, Rutland or Warwicks 1792-1814 (for more on Thomas see my article in Romany Routes March 2013). Thomas showed himself to be Lilburn’s brother by christening a child in Sharnford, Leics in 1792, the year before Lilburn christened a Sophia there, and he showed himself to be Absalom’s brother by belatedly marrying Mary in Hillmorton, Wks jointly with Absalom as he belatedly married Elizabeth.

Sophia Smith was born about 1776 and possibly baptised in Warmington, Wks in 1776 daughter of Thomas and Hannah of Bugbrooke, Northants. She married in 1793 Samuel Smith, baptised in 1773 son of James and Mary, christening 1794-1818 eight children in Northants, and one each in Leics, Warwicks and Beds. She showed herself to be Lilburn’s sister by marrying Samuel in the Sharnford church where Lilburn on the same day christened her daughter, Sophia. And she showed herself to be Absalom’s sister by having him witness her marriage, and by christening a child jointly with him in Sapcote, Leics, next door to Sharnford, in 1798.

Hannah, Lilburn, Thomas and Sophia Smith, I believe, fill four gaps in the records of Salovino and Absalom’s siblings, but I suspect there are more yet to fill.

Copyright © 2013 Eric Trudgill