Thursday, June 17, 2010

Who were Hilda, Gladys and Beryl? - a third update

I originally 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). 

‘Mum the tall one Eileen Helen Hodge’ & ‘Hilda, Gladys & Beryl’ - On the back can just read "William - The City - Sydney". Eileen Helen HODGE, my great-grandmother 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 was not known at the time, but Eileen's 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. This opened the possibility that these were maternal cousins. 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 progress has been slow. 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 or van driver, born abt 1835 in Hamburgh (Germany) according to birth certificates of his children, parents not currently known and it is not clear whether he was actually German. Arrival in Australia not yet known, though his second son's name is Alfred Elphinstone - a William Smith arrived as a young boy on the 'Elphinstone' in 1840. The family lived in Lower Campbell St, Sydney (see header image of blog) and the SMH reveals that he died on 4 Jul 1874:

Sydney Morning Herald
Monday 6 July 1874

SMITH. July 4, at Liverpool, late of Lower 23, Campbell-street, Surry Hills, Sydney, William Smith, leaving an affectionate wife and 3 children to mourn their loss, aged 38.

Details of his death are not known. It is possible his occupation took him to Liverpool.

Helen Charlotte ROBERTS - I've written quite a few times on Helen (see latest at She was born 1836 in London, England. Her parents were William Richard and Charlotte (nee LAW) ROBERTS. She was baptised at St John the Evangelist, Lambeth, Surrey - revealing that the family lived at Waterloo Road, and that her father was a shoemaker. Her arrival in Australia not fully determined, mainly because she seems to have had at least one sibling also living in Sydney (Valentine Abraham ROBERTS) and their arrival can't be found. She died at 34 Hardie St, Sydney in 1918, aged 82 years, with the maiden name ROBERTS listed.

Marriage. 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 Ernest Smith
1873 – Alfred Elphinstone Smith

After William died in 1874 Helen did not re-marry. The NSW 'Sands directory' reveals that Helen and her three children soon moved out of Lower Campbell St as Helen had to work as well as raise her young children:
Sands directories
1875 Smith, H. Mrs, fancy bazaar, 373 Liverpool st
1877 Smith, Mrs Helen, laundress, 344 Brougham st
1883 Smith, Helen, 344 Upper Brougham st
1887 Smith, Helen, 344 Upper Brougham st
1888 Smith, Helen, 344 Upper Brougham st
Grace Smith’s marriage certificate to Walter Herbert Hodge in 1897 revealed Grace’s address as 383 Liverpool St, Sydney and that her father William Smith was deceased.

1903 Electoral Roll - SMITH
The NSW Electoral Rolls for 1903 show Helen Charlotte Smith living at 383 Liverpool St, along with daughter 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 SMITH 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.

The third, Gladys?
William Ernest SMITH married Annie CARTER at Waverley in 1899, and they had one daughter
1900: SMITH, Gladys E (parents William E & Annie), Sydney
It seems likely that Annie died shortly afterwards.

 What happened to them?

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’.

Alfred Elphinstone SMITH died in 1955 (parents William and Helen), registered in Bondi NSW, and his wife died in 1957. I believe Hilda Holly SMITH died in 2000, aged 96, based on an obituary I found in the Sydney Morning Herald. She was listed as Hilda Holly SMITH suggesting she may not have married. It appears that Beryl married Sidney MCCURE in 1930 at St John’s Darlinghurst (like her cousin Eileen Helen HODGE). An article in the SMH described the wedding:

The Sydney Morning Herald
Friday 11 July 1930
The marriage was celebrated at St. John's Church, Darlinghurst, on June 21 of Miss Beryl Smith, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Smith, Coogee, to Mr. Sidney McCure, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. McCure, Rose Bay. The Rev. M. Sanders officiated.
The bride was given away by her father. She wore an ankle-length gown of cream mirror velvet trimmed with white fox fur and long loose panels, which formed the train. Her veil was of honiton Ince, and she carried a sheaf of yellow orchids.
The bridesmaids, Misses Hilda Smith and Marjorie Goddard, wore ankle-length frocks of cream lace over yellow crepe de Chine and feather trimmed felt hats. They carried sheaves of blue delphiniums and daffodils. Mr. T. Norman Laycock was best man and Mr. Arthur Goldsmith was groomsman. The reception was held at Paris House. The honeymoon was spent at Kosciusko.

Searching in the Sydney Morning Herald I’ve found announcements for two children to Mrs and Mrs S McCure:
Diana Florence Lillian MCCURE, born 6 Aug 1933 at Clairvaux hospital Vaucluse.
Philip Sidney MCCURE, born 19 Feb 1936 at Denholm hospital.

William Ernest SMITH died in 1944 (parents Wiliam and Helen), registered in Waverley. In the 1936 NSW Electoral Roll William and his daughter Gladys (unmarried) were living at Shibden Dale, York road, Waverley. William's occupation was given as compositor. Gladys Eliza Smith also has an obit in the Ryerson Index for 1999, aged 98. Again she is listed as Smith suggesting she did not marry.

So the caption can now 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 born 1907 (daughters of Alfred Elpinstone SMITH and Florence M D’ARCY), and Beryl born 1900 (daughter of William Ernest SMITH and Anne CARTER). Based on their ages they are: Back left: Gladys, Back right: Eileen, Front left: Beryl, Front right: Hilda.

I hope I can learn more about these cousins, and perhaps find some distant cousins of my own. My great-grandmother Eileen died in 1947, and my grandfather (her son) died in 1953 so this arm of the family has been difficult to track, given that we have no family connections.


Sarah MCure said...

Beryl was my Grandmother :)

Matt Hall said...

Sarah I tried to reach you once last year and failed - any chance we can connect? My email is