William Smith, my great great grandfather, was born 25 Sep 1851 in Greenburn, Whitburn district, West Lothian, Scotland.1 He was the son of James and Isobel/Isabella (Aitken) Smith.2 He died on 23 Feb 1905 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.3 He was allegedly buried in Paxtang Cemetery in a grave donated by a family friend (or his son James was), although his death record states he was buried in Harrisburg Cemetery. I’ve not been able to prove or disprove either location.
William and his children have somewhat difficult to research—as one might expect given their surname. I was able to trace William as a boy in Scotland through the 1851 and 1861 Scottish census entries for his family. On 30 Mar 1851, James, Isabella and their children were living at Crossroads in Whitburn parish in Linlithgow, Scotland.4 William was listed as age 2.
James and Isabella both died in 1856, leaving their children orphans.5 Their sons—Thomas and William—were living with their aunt and uncle Margaret and Thomas Smith in Whitburn parish, Linlithgow in 1861.6 Thomas was working as an “engine man,” probably at nearby mine with his Uncle William who was a miner, while William was still in school.
Sometime after this William went to work as a ship’s engineer, presumably for the White Star line. Wingeard states William tried to emigrate to New York in 1871, but he must have returned to Scotland as he married Eliza Craig Bonnington on 12 Dec 1882 at The Manse, Uphall Parish, Linlithgow, Scotland.7 The daughter of Peter Purvis and Elizabeth (Buchanan) Bonnington, Eliza was born 2 Oct 1866 in Juniper Green, Colinton parish, Midlothian, Scotland.8 Eliza died 18 Oct 1846, at age 80, in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.9
William must have been determined to come to America, though. He filed a declaration of intent to become an American citizen in Berks County on 20 Sep 1886 and became a U.S. citizen on 12 Jan 1893 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. William and Eliza must have come over together and sent for their young children after they’d settled, because young James and Bess Smith were living with their grandparents on 2 Apr 1871 in Loanhead parish, Midlothian, Scotland.10
The family was all together, living in Harrisburg in Jun of 1900 at 1437 Zarker Street.11 William is listed as an engineer as is his eldest son James. According to the census, he immigrated in 1887 and had been in the U.S. for 13 years. This is the only document I have that shows the whole family together. William died just 4½ years after the census; his youngest son, Robert, was only 5 years old.
William and Eliza Craig (Bonnington) Smith had six children:
- Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith, born and died 17 Jun 1884, Liberton parish, Midlothian, Scotland
- James Smith, born 22 Jun 1885, Liberton parish, Midlothian, Scotland and may have died in Texas or Pennsylvania
- Elizabeth Marian “Bess” Smith, born 31 Oct 1887 in Liberton parish, Midlothian, Scotland and died 3 Jan 1973, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; she married Frank L. Lutz on 7 May 1917 in Elkton, Maryland
- William “Willie” M. Smith, born 28 Mar 1892, Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and may have died in France after WWI
- Isabella Aiken Smith, born 4 Apr 1893 and died 21 Jul 1962 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; she married William Howard Hocker on 13 Oct 1914 in Harrisburg.
- Robert “Bobbie” Thomas Alexander Smith, born 7 Apr 1899 in Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania and died 12 Nov 1970 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania; He married a woman named Ruth.
- William O. Wingeard, A German-American Hacker-Hocker Genealogy (Baltimore, Maryland: Gateway Press, 1991), page 309. ↩
- William Smith and Elizabeth Bonnington, marriage record no. 46 (1882), General Records Office, New Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland; extracted 28 Aug 2001, extraction no. 59192. ↩
- William Smith, death registration no. 790 (1905), Dauphin County Register of Wills, Register of Death Book H: page unrecorded. ↩
- James Smith household, 1851 Scotland Census, Linlithgow, Scotland, Whitburn parish, page 12, household 54; digital image, ScotlandsPeople, “1851 Census” (https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 6 May 2006); citing General Records Office, Edinburgh, Scotland. ↩
- James Smith, death certificate no. 14 (1856), Parish of Whitburn, County of Linlithgow, General Register Office, New Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland; and Isabella Smith, death certificate no. 54 (1856), Parish of Whitburn, County of Linlithgow, General Register Office, New Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland, 8 June 2006. ↩
- William Smith household, 1861 Scotland Census, Linlithgow, Whitburn parish, enumeration district 6, pages 63 & 64, household 331; digital images, ScotlandsPeople, “1861 Census” (https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 6 Jul 2007); citing General Records Office, Edinburgh, Scotland. ↩
- William Smith and Elizabeth Bonnington, marriage record no. 46 (1882), General Records Office, Edinburgh, Scotland. ↩
- Eliza Craig Bonnington, birth certificate no. 81 (1866), General Records Office, New Register House, Edinburgh, Scotland; extracted 28 Aug 2001, extract no. 236828. ↩
- Elizabeth Cochrane, death certificate no. 90063 (1946), Pennsylvania Department of Health, Division of Vital Records, New Castle, Pennsylvania. ↩
- Peter Bonnington household, 1891 Scotland Census, Midlothian, Loanhead parish, Lasswade civil parish, enumeration district 10, page 7, household 35, lines 5-13; digital image, ScotlandsPeople, “1891 Census” (https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk : accessed 20 Mar 2011); citing General Records Office, Edinburgh, Scotland. ↩
- William Smith household, 1900 United States Federal Census, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Harrisburg (Ward 9), enumeration district 78, sheet 7A, page 22, dwelling 132, family 137, lines 27-33; index and image, FamilySearch, “United States Census, 1900” (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M3SW-L3M : 10 Nov 2012); citing NARA micropublication T623, roll 1403. ↩