Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Updated photo details 2 - Who were Hilda, Gladys and Beryl?

In May I posted an entry of photos of the BORDER and HODGE family in Watson’s Bay from ~1920 to ~1960, provided by Lynette COSGRIFF. The captions written on the photos were added at a later date by Margaret BURGESS (nee BORDER). The original post is at:

‘Mum the tall one Eileen Helen Hodge’ & ‘Hilda, Gladys & Beryl’

‘Mum the tall one Eileen Helen Hodge’ & ‘Hilda, Gladys & Beryl’ - On the back can just read "William - The City - Sydney". Eileen Helen HODGE, born 1900, Sydney NSW, married to Samuel BORDER 26 April 1922 at St John’s Church Darlinghurst NSW, died 1947. The identity of Hilda, Gladys and Beryl is not yet determined.

Whilst my great grandmother Eileen Helen Hodge (1900-1947) is present, her relationship to the three younger girls was unclear. They are not her siblings - her only sister Annie V HODGE (1900-1902) died in infancy, and there were no HODGE cousins of the appropriate age I could find, nor any HODGE births by that name in the appropriate period. Eileen Helen HODGE was born in 1900, and appears to be a young teenager (so the photo was probably taken 1912-1915).


Eileen was the daughter of Walter Herbert HODGE (1871-1956), who married Grace SMITH (1870-1934) on 30 Jun 1897. SMITH rings alarm bells when studying family history because of its commonality, and for this reason I've generally made little progress.

Despite this, I've started bringing together the facts on this family.

From her birth certificate, Grace SMITH, born 14 Mar 1870, Lower Campbell Street, Sydney to parents William SMITH and Ellen Charlotte nee ROBERTS. Ellen was in fact mis-written, and should have been Helen Charlotte - Helen and Ellen being homophones. Later certificates all state her name as Helen.

I know the following about her parents:

William Smith, a drayman, born abt 1835 in Hamburgh (Germany), parents not currently known. Given that he is probably German, William Smith may be the English translation of his true name. Arrival in Australia not yet known. According to his daughter Grace's marriage certificate, he was deceased by 1897, though the precise date of death is not known.

Helen Charlotte Roberts, born abt 1836 in London, England, parents not yet identified (marriage certificate did not contain details), arrival in Australia not yet known. She died in Sydney in 1918, aged 82 years, with the maiden name ROBERTS listed.

William and Helen Charlotte married at the Wesleyan Parsonage, Surry Hills on 16 Jan 1869. While few details are on their marriage certificate, the birth of their daughter Grace provides their address in 1870: Lower Campbell Street Sydney. This is confirmed in the Sydney Sands Directory for 1873 showing 'Smith, William, 23 Campbell St, lower'. Lower Campbell St is located in what is now ostensibly Sydney City, south of Hyde Park. Today Lower Campbell St does not contain residences - when the plague struck Sydney in 1900, several dwellings were demolished, and photos were taken of the residences demonstrating the slum-like nature of the dwellings - those remaining were terrace-houses.

Along with Grace, NSW BDM indexes reveal two other children born to William and Helen Smith in Sydney around this time:

1870 – Grace Smith
1871 – William E Smith
1873 – Alfred E Smith

Grace Smith’s marriage certificate to Walter Herbert Hodgein 1897 revealed Grace’s address as 383 Liverpool St, Sydney and that her father William Smith was deceased, but given that they only had the three children, it is likely that he died shortly after 1873.

1903 Electoral Roll - SMITH

The NSW Electoral Rolls for 1903 show Helen Charlotte Smith living at 383 Liverpool St, along with Grace and her husband Walter Herbert Hodge (he a clerk). Grace’s son Alfred Elphinstone Smith, a tailor, and wife Florence nee D’ARCY (married St Leonards NSW in 1902) were also living at the same address. By 1903 Grace and Walter Herbert had two children (Eileen 1900 and Annie 1902-04), so in 1903 the house at 383 Liverpool St would have been quite crowded. Between 1906 and 1910 Walter Herbert Hodge and family moved to 34 Hardie St (according to the Sands Directory) in nearby Darlinghurst.

Inspection of the NSW BDM records for children of Alfred Elphinstone and Florence HODGE (upper limit 1907) revealed two children:

1904: SMITH, Hilda H (parents Alfred E & Florence M), Sydney
1907: SMITH, Beryl M (parents Alfred E & Florence M), Sydney

These girls, cousins of Eileen Helen Hodge, correspond to two of three unknown girls in the photo shown at the top. So this photo is of Eileen Hodge and her cousins. Adding weight to this, when Eileen Helen Hodge married Samuel Border in 1922 at St John's Church, Darlinghurst, one of the two witnesses was Gladys E SMITH, presumably the third young girl listed in the caption.

While the fate of the Smith girls has not been determined, Alfred Elphinstone SMITH died in 1955 (parents William and Helen), registered in Bondi NSW. His death certificate will reveal more of the fate of this family. It is pleasing to be able to make a connection between Eileen and her younger cousins, who she was clearly close with – this is reinforced by the casual caption Eileen’s daughter Margaret added: ‘Hilda, Gladys & Beryl’.

So the caption can now happily read:

‘Mum the tall one Eileen Helen Hodge’ & ‘Hilda, Gladys & Beryl’ - On the back can just read "William - The City - Sydney". Eileen Helen HODGE, born 1900, Sydney NSW, married to Samuel BORDER 26 April 1922 at St John’s Church Darlinghurst NSW, died 1947. Her cousins: Hilda SMITH born 1904, Gladys SMITH bon 1907 and Beryl (birth not yet known), daughters of Alfred Elpinstone SMITH (Eileen’s maternal uncle) and Florence M D’ARCY.

No comments: