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Abraham Shoesmith

Eric Trudgill    -    4 December 2016

Abraham Shoesmith, baptised in Harrow, Mdx in 1791 son of John and Mary, married Herodias Heritage, baptised in Cuddington, Oxf in 1791 daughter of John and Elizabeth (Abrahamís wife was Herodias at baptisms between 1816 and 1823 and Rhoda at baptisms between 1829 and 1835).

Iím not sure Abraham came from a Gypsy family. When baptising their first child, Martha, in Wexham, Bucks in 1816 and their last one, Rhoda junior, in Wimbledon, Sry in 1835, he looked very much a Gypsy (a travelling basket maker of Harrow, Mdx on the first occasion and a tinman on the second), and he had two brothers who also looked like Gypsies (Thomas, a chair mender, who married Rhoda Fisher, and William, a basket maker, who married a Mary and had a Rhoda baptised in 1832). However, Abraham was not only baptised in Harrow, but himself baptised four children there (Caroline and James jointly in 1823, Thomas in 1829 and Sarah in 1832, Abraham being recorded each time as a labourer), and there are three plausible sons we can add, with no baptisms found as yet, all claiming to have been born in Harrow (Edward about 1818, Abraham junior about 1827, and Henry perhaps about 1831), although, since Abrahamís brothers also baptised children in Harrow, any or all of these three may have been his nephew, not his son.

Whether or not Abraham came from Gypsy stock, it may well be each of the three possible sons was more committed to the travelling life than his father. Edward appeared in the 1881 census aged about 60, with his wife Sarah (born in Mitcham, Sry) aged about 55, and their son William (born in Brentford, Mdx) aged about 15, which makes the parents here look like the Edward Shoesmith (full aged hawker son of William chair caner [the priest perhaps confusing the names of Edwardís father and son]) and Sarah Scott (full aged daughter of James hawker) who married in Mitcham in 1877. If Edward lived the Gypsy life, so by extension probably did the Henry Shoesmith, husband of Sarah, who had an Elizabeth born in Brentford about 1858 and a William born in Mitcham in 1861 (his mother Sarah formerly Brotherwood), and so probably did the Abraham Shoesmith, husband of Sophia, who had a Charles born in Croydon, Sry in 1849 (his mother Sophia late Smith, formerly Portis), and a Richard, Lucy, Abraham, James and Thomas all christened in Chiswick St Nicholas, Mdx 1851-57. However, if the three possible sons were more enthusiastic Gypsies than Abraham, his two certain sons were even more so.

James Shoesmith, baptised in Harrow in 1823 son of Abraham and Herodias, married Ann Odell (daughter of James tinman) in Buckhurst Hill, Essex in 1845, and christened four children in Essex who all married Gypsies: Thomas in Chingford in 1840 (gypsies), Naomi in High Beech in 1843 (peg maker), James junior in Barkingside in 1846, and Isaiah in High Beech in 1849; there was also a Goliath christened in Mitcham in 1852 (tinman) who died in Mitcham in 1855 aged three.

Of these Thomas Shoesmith married first a Mary Smith and had a Rhoda born in Eastbourne, Sussex in 1857, a Thomas said to have been 20 months old when buried in Mitcham in 1859, presumably the same Rhoda and a new Thomas baptised jointly in Mitcham in 1860 (their father a cane worker), a Silvanus born on Dartford Heath, Kent in 1862 (cane worker), and yet another Thomas born in Mitcham in 1866 (chair bottomer). Thomas married second (47 widowed tinman and brazier, son of James) Genty Palmer (40 widowed daughter of Joseph Dawson hawker) in Bethnal Green St Jude, Mdx in 1888.

Naomi Shoesmith married (full aged daughter of James deceased brazier) Solomon Smith (full aged son of Sidney chair mender) in Kensington St Clement, Mdx in 1869, and had an Annie, Caroline and Solomon born in Essex between about 1867 and 1873.

James Shoesmith junior married (son of James brazier) Permillia Smith (daughter of Frederick and Elizabeth) in Kensington St Clement two weeks before Naomi and Solomon. They christened an Isaiah in Loughton, Essex in 1870 son of James and Amelia chair mender, a Lementina and Goliath in Loughton in 1875, children of James and Pamela, chair mender (the first, born in 1872, married Arkles Smith son of Christopher and Elizabeth, the second, born in 1874, married an Alice), and an Alice in Crockenhill, Kent in 1894 (born in 1876). In addition James had a Job born about 1879, who married Alice Smith (18 daughter of William) in Crockenhill in 1898, and a William born about 1881, who married Prudence Williams (20 daughter of Samson) in Crockenhill in 1902.

And Isaiah Shoesmith married Mycelia (sometimes Amelia) daughter of Solomon and Silence Low, and had an Elizabeth born about 1873, a John christened in Trottiscliffe, Kent in 1875 son of Isaiah and Silence [the priest confusing the names of Isaiahís wife and mother-in-law], a James christened in Trottiscliffe in 1877, a Silence born about 1879, a Martha christened in Chigwell Row, Essex in 1882, a Mary, Isaiah junior and Solomon born about 1883-87, an Alexander christened in Chigwell Row in 1893 (born about 1889), a Medonia christened in Mereworth, Kent in 1890, and a Goliath christened in Chigwell Row in 1893.

Finally, Thomas Shoesmith, baptised in Harrow in 1829 son of Abraham and Rhoda, married into two well-known Gypsy families, the Halfords (whom Iíll be discussing next June) and the Buckleys. He married first (25 lab son of Abraham lab) Martha Halford (21 daughter of Hezekiah lab) in Stanwell, Mdx in 1854, and had a William christened in Hale, Sry in 1859 (china maker) and a Henry christened in Chertsey, Sry in 1862 (lab on the tramp).

He married second Justinia Buckley (baptised in 1833 daughter of Joiner and Sarah) during her temporary break from Woodlock Smith (baptised in 1833 son of James and Elizabeth): Woodlock and Justinia christened a Celia Smith in 1857, married in Shepherds Bush, Mdx in 1862, appeared in the census together in 1871, and christened a Lamartine Smith in 1872, but the Owen Smith, aged five and born in Wymondham, Nfk, with them in 1871 along with Celia 15 and Hezekiah 3, was birth-registered as born in Wymondham 4/1/1866 son of Thomas Shoesmith cane chair maker and Justinia formerly Smith, which surely means Hezekiah (also said in 1871 to have been born in Wymondham) was another son of Thomas Shoesmith, named by Thomas after his first wifeís father. Tricky business, this Gypsy Genealogy.

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