Author Topic: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara  (Read 2910 times)

Offline Abby_Star

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Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« on: Wednesday 28 November 07 14:05 GMT (UK) »
Hello

I am trying to trace an ancestor who settled in Santa Barbara, Texas as a Mercantile. His name was John or James Smithers.

I have very little experience in tracing American family history so would be grateful for any advice or help.

Thank you

Abby.

Offline shellyesq

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #1 on: Wednesday 28 November 07 14:56 GMT (UK) »
Do you know when and where he was born or in what time frame he immigrated? 

I'm not that familiar with Texas, but I've never heard of Santa Barbara.  A search of census records didn't show anyone in a town by that name, and a quick check of Google didn't show any towns in Texas by that name.  Are you sure it wasn't Santa Barbara, California?

Offline Abby_Star

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #2 on: Wednesday 28 November 07 14:59 GMT (UK) »
The information I have is Santa Barbara, San Antonio, Texas.  He was born 1846 in Kingston.  He emigrated mid 1860's.


Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #3 on: Wednesday 28 November 07 17:41 GMT (UK) »
There are 2 Santa Barbaras in Mexico (thought Mexico wasn't far from San Antonio) but one in Guerrero (just south of Mexico City) and other further away in Chiapas (on border with Guatemala).
Don't see anyone in 1880 U.S. census that fits. Was he born in England?
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!

Offline jorose

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #4 on: Wednesday 28 November 07 19:22 GMT (UK) »
It could refer to the area/street Santa Barbara in San Antonio city.  As you're not so sure on his first name, it would help to give more information about the rest of his family - wife, children, siblings?

You should also tell us which Kingston, if you know.  Select from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingston_(disambiguation)

To me, I would assume Kingston-on-Thames automatically because I have relatives in that area of the world (and there are a James (16) and John (14) there in 1861 with parents James and Maria - but both of these boys seem to stay in England at least until 1881 - unless one of them took a short trip to the US and then returned).
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Offline Abby_Star

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #5 on: Wednesday 28 November 07 21:27 GMT (UK) »
Yep it is Kingston on Thames and James and Maria are the parents. 

One of the two brothers went to America in the aftermath of the American Civil War after selling his share of the business to his brother, the firm being Smithers and Sons.  I was told he emigrated in the 1860's to Santa Barbara, Texas. 

Supposedly whichever Smithers it was became a good friend of Jesse James.    I expect many settlers were though! (Especially after his death).


Offline jorose

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #6 on: Wednesday 28 November 07 23:33 GMT (UK) »
In 1861, John is a Pupil Teacher.  I believe that he's the John Smithers b. Kingston aged 24 in 1871, schoolmaster (in Flitwick, Bedfordshire), married to a Louisa and with a couple of children.  In 1881 he's back in Surrey (there is a niece Louisa Riel with them - name ring a bell with you?).  James Smithers remains in Kingston, marries first Sarah and then Emma. 

There's no sign either of these boys went to the US.  They did also have a younger son William and two older daughters, Grace and Mary - Mary may have died young, I believe Grace married William Summers and died before 1871 - if you don't have these censuses I can transcribe them for you.

Perhaps it was a brother-in-law or cousin or some other relative that went to the US?
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Offline Abby_Star

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #7 on: Thursday 29 November 07 08:42 GMT (UK) »
Thanks Jorose

Would you be able to give me the census references for John?  I have James up until his death.

I think I will have to cast the net further to find the elusive Smithers who went to America and became good friends with Jesse James.  I might find him in time for the film release!!!

Abby

Offline aghadowey

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Re: Searching for ancestor in Santa Barbara
« Reply #8 on: Thursday 29 November 07 10:29 GMT (UK) »
From what I can remember Jesse James did some bank robberies in Texas but didn't stay there. So maybe that part of the story is a myth (if the Texas story is correct).
Away sorting out DNA matches... I may be gone for some time many years!