14 April 2012

Genealogy - the wonders of Google

Years ago, after I retired, I thought I'd see where my Smith ancestors came from.  Being of a frugal nature I thought I'd just try by searching with Google.  Searching UK, where my father came from as a toddler, with a name like Smith !!!  So the only search words I used were Smith, Penarth (where my father was born, Jenkins (Dad's mother and very rare name in Wales!!!) and eventually Pill near Bristol where my Smith grandfather had been born.  After a bit of periodic and persistent searching I found a note saying that a 'Peter Smith' was interested in a family of Smiths who shifted from Pill to Penarth about 1883.  This seemed about right so I started hunting for Peter Smith.  After three tries I received an Email from Peter Smith in England saying "Hello Cousin Barry, I've been looking for you for eleven years" - Boolean searches can be so good!!

A phone call and a visit to UK sealed the friendship and Peter generously gave me the Smith family history that he had amassed - back to about 1680.  It transpires that all the Smiths had originally been Smith-Flannagans but one of my great-great grannies objected to the Flannagan part of name and so the Flannagan bit was dropped! Most of the early Smiths were pilots of the Bristol Channel until the family migrated over to Penarth in Wales.  They were hard times for the pilots of Pill at the time and the move to Penarth proved successful.

Thanks to Google (and Peter) I now know something about my Smith origins. More  on the ancestors from Pill here pukawaparadise: Nautical Ancestors

Pill Pilots - An Ancestor Here?