Friday, June 15, 2012

The Illusive Thomas Smedley


Since my recent discovery that my great-grandfather Thomas Joynes Smedley helped to invent an improved drain-tile machine I have turned my attention to his father, Thomas Smedley.  He has been a very hard fellow to track down.  If you read the Madness Monday post I did on him quite a while ago, you will get a taste of why I did a happy dance when I uncovered some information about him last week.

I found his name among a list of insolvent debtors published in The London Gazette. He was scheduled to appear at the "Court-House, at Nottingham, in the County of Nottingham, on the 25th day of October 1834 at Ten o'Clock in the Forenoon precisely."

The London Gazette, 3 October 1834, page 20
This little morsel is important because it puts him in Lincoln and in Harby connecting him with a wife and two children that no one knew he had.

Then I ran a search for him in the Gazette just in case there was more info to be had.....and there was!  November 15, 1842 he gave notice that he intended to petition for bankruptcy.


The London Gazette, 22 Nov 1842, page 14

Not only was he a brick and tile maker, but according to this ad he was also a Beer Housekeeper.

I found his name once more in  the Gazette.  A Richard Nash mentioned Thomas in his petition for bankruptcy advertisement.

London Gazette 17 Nov 1846, page 42

From this I learned that Thomas Smedley was in co-partnership with Richard Nash as a Brick Maker at Openshaw, Lancaster County.

I wanted to know if my great-great grandfather was actually in jail for being in debt.  I found my answer when Google lead me to Parliamentary Papers, Volume 44:


I never really thought that I would find something about an ancestor who lived in Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, and newly discovered Lancaster in a London newspaper. So let that be a lesson.  If your ancestors are news worthy, they could be published anywhere.


Leslie Ann

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