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23 Dec 2015

And your prize is... nothing!

For a couple of years I've had unanswered questions about my 6x-great aunt Catherine REES from the Vale of Neath, Cwm-neath, who snared a Cornishman, who died about a year after their marriage. So they have a son together, posthumously, so simple?

Except that William SMITH the boy married Janet HOGG and lives at Sully Glamorgan, and there is another couple in the parish: William HOGG and Catherine SMITH!

This lady had names that couldn't be ignored. Her burial shows she was three years William's junior, which took some explaining...

Finally, a rather long-winded path led me to conclude she was Scottish, daughter of Ralph SMITH of Pitlivie, Angus, and nothing to do with my 6x-great aunt at all.

Clue #1 was a birth recorded of Catherine Smith QUICK which eagle-eyed researchers at Azazella Proboards had linked to (Catherine's daughter) Elizabeth HOGG
Clue #2 was the 1841 census for Newcastle, that everyone at Azazella had missed, showing Catherine's daughter at the home of Scotsman William SMITH born 1790 Scotland
Clue #3 was the 1851 census for Newcastle, suggesting this William had married late in life to Miss PIPKIN
Clue #4 was the marriage record at FamilySearch, Newcastle 1841 of William, shown as Ralph's son

This led directly to the baptisms of Ralph SMITH's children on the Scottish east coast including the crucial Catherine SMITH, 1785.

So, the game changing clue was the 1841 census (Newcastle), often derided for its lack of genealogical data that helped prove decidedly that my 6x-half-great aunt did not have an illegitimate baby 55 years earlier all the way over in Neath, south Wales.

This possibility had been gnawing at me, and now, my prize is... nothing!