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Can anyone help me to find the elusive Margaret Austin Smith?!


New member
Hi everyone,

I have been totally stumped by this particular brick wall for several years now, so I'm just wondering if any of you lovely people can help me to solve the mystery (finally!)...

My 2 x great granny was Margaret Austin Smith, who married James Ayris (also spelt Aris/Ayres) in Bicester, Oxfordshire in 1897. According to their marriage record, Margaret's approximate birth year was 1869, and her father was William Austin Smith, a gold-refiner.

According to the 1939 Register, Margaret's full date of birth was 8th June 1872. On censuses taken during her married life, she always gave her place of birth as Sheffield, Yorkshire.

In 1901, Margaret's mother - Mary Smith, born approx. 1850 in London - was living with the Ayris family in Bicester. In 1911, Mary was living with one of Margaret's children - still in Bicester - and gave her birthplace as Camberwell, London.

However, the only trace of Margaret and her parents that I can find prior to her marriage are the following:

Margaret Austin Smith, aged 9 months, living with parents William Austin Smith & Mary Austin Smith in a boarding house in Nottingham on the 1871 census. Margaret's birthplace is Leicester, William's is Peterborough, and Mary's is Ireland.

Margaret A Smith, aged 10 years, living with parents William A Smith and Mary A Smith in Attercliffe-cum-Darnall, Yorkshire (not far from Sheffield - so perhaps Margaret simply grew up near Sheffield, and assumed that she had been born there?). William is working as a silver-refiner, and his birthplace is Deenethorpe, Northamptonshire; Mary's is Templeglantine, Ireland.

I strongly suspect that this may be the correct/same family...

The problem is, not only do they give conflicting birth year/birthplace information, but I do not believe that William and Mary ever married! If they did, then I've found no logical record of it happening!

I believe I may have found a likely baptism for William (William Smith, baptised in Deene, Northamptonshire in 1832 - son of Thomas & Mary Ann Smith). Unfortunately, I am totally stuck on Mary, as I'm unsure of her surname! It may have been Austin or Smith, but it may also have been something completely different... So I'm uncertain.

I am starting to think that Margaret was probably born in 1869/1870, rather than 1872.

I also think that William may have died a few months before Margaret and James' marriage in Sheffield Union Workhouse. I haven't found a death/burial record for Mary as of yet.

As far as I can tell, William and Mary didn't have any other children.

If anyone can help, I'd be extremely grateful! Thanks!
If she was 9months in the 71 then she must have been born 1870. I would think that was the most accurate birth year as she was only 9 months old so June of 1870 works with a Spring census 1871. Could she have been born Margaret Austin. I am wondering why the double name. Could her father have been illeg and used both names . I am not finding a Margaret Austin Smith being born.

Have you tried Sheffieldindexers.com Worth a try in case she was baptised there or the parents married later. Also at least you have a def occupation for William so perhaps a death/burial record might show something

Also you could track down workhouse records for clues. It is difficult but one little clue may solve it.

Margaret Austin SmithAge: 10Estimated Birth Year: abt 1871Relationship to Head: DaughterFather: William Austin SmithMother: Mary Austin SmithGender: FemaleWhere Born: Lester, Leicestershire, EnglandCivil Parish: Attercliffe cum DarnallCounty/Island: YorkshireCountry: EnglandStreet Address: 1 5Ct Bridge StreetEducation:
Employment status:


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Occupation: ScholarRegistration District: SheffieldED, institution, or vessel: 10Neighbors: View others on pagePiece: 4667Folio: 13Page Number: 23Household Members: NameAge

William - Deenthorpe,Northamptonshire c1832
Mery-Temple Galanton ,Ireland c1844
Margaret c1871Lester
Cant find Wm before 1871 nor a birth for Margaret around 1870.
There is a Wm Beavis in prison 1869 who also goes by Austin Smith but dates are hazy