Part 130s – Smith Robertson Genealogy – 1831, Which James Smith?

27 November 2009

Early Morning,

And I know above all, that the thought of developing a coherent strategy to research my genealogy and ancestors having the names “James” and “Smith” is certainly a mind-blowing task. A fixed search, that is, using quotations for example “James Smith”, produces only 300,000 results in Google. That’s only 300,000!

The new MS Bing search engine produces 158,000,000 for the same parameters. Yahoo yields 3,900,000 and AOL 134,000. Cuil drops the results to only 22,665 and Ask then increases the number of hits to 54,800,000.

According to the websites White Pages and, and the 1990 US Census, “James Smith” is the 1st most common name in the United States.

On Facebook it is the 10th most common name used for public Facebook profiles… And like I always say, and they agree, John Smith is a great alias, but James Smith is a real name! Sorry Johns. And then my name is not Mohammed, the forename, Chang or Zhang, the surname… referring to the most common in the world.

If I increase the search parameters to “James Smith” adding the word “Grenada” the results reduce, expectedly. Ask – 1,590; Cuil – 141; AOL – 1,170; Yahoo – 18,200; Bing – 7,000; and Google – 13,600… And then the issue here is that the first couple of hits, of almost all of the above-mentioned search engines, are my own writings, inquiries, or Blog postings.

And when I ask “How many search engines exist on the Internet?” my mind is boggled when I check the list provided by Wikipedia.

In my work searching for any genealogical clues, I have chanced upon a conundrum that I am trying to understand.

Here are some of the details and the pieces of information I’ve gathered.

Family history provides that GG-Grandfather James Smith, Jr. was a Carpenter, a Master Carpenter, and an Architect.

Some of the documented records reflect that GG-Grandfather James Smith, Jr. held the same three positions and occupations. (See Parts 116s; 106s; 107s; 119s; and 102s.)

Also stated in documented records; GGG-Grandfather James Smith, the senior, may have been a Shipwright (See Part 60s.) A shipwright is a carpenter who helps build and launch wooden vessels.

In a copy of The Grenada Magazine: Or Monthly Miscellany Of Religious and General Information, No. I, January, 1833, Vol. I on page 33 there is an entry entitled “Parish Church of St. David – With An Etching”. The Etching is the above insertion, and the piece follows.

I am curious of the highlighted sentence on the 2nd page that states: “The Architects were Messrs. James Smith and James Horne.” All-things-being equal this could be a reference to my ancestor. The article refers to the fact that the Parish Church of St. David “was finished in July, 1831.

In a mention from The Grenada Handbook, Directory and Almanac For the Year 1897, compiled by Edward Drayton, Colonial Secretary and published in London in 1897, it states on page 42, inserted below, that “The foundation stone of St. Patrick’s Anglican church was laid on June 29, and shortly after those of the St. Andrew’s and St. David’s churches; while in September the erection of the Presbyterian kirk in St. George’s was commenced.

The question I next have, was it gg-grandfather James Smith, Jr. who was the Architect of these churches? Or was it ggg-grandfather James Smith, the senior? Or could there have been another Architect named James Smith?

GGG-Grandfather James Smith could have been the Architect. He may have passed away in 1842 and the first record that I have on file is dated 1812, the birth of his daughter, gg-grandaunt Eley. The completion date of the Church in St. David was July 1831.

GG-Grandfather James Smith is referred to as an Architect in the 1855 Baptism Entry of his son, g-granduncle Thomas. It is also inferred by the reference to his 1876 Obituary that he “was an architect by profession, he returned to his native country after a thorough training in England…” (See Part 102s.)

As gg-grandfather James, Junior was born in 1815, he would have been just 15 years old when the Churches’ foundation stones were laid and the erection of the Presbyterian kirk in St. George’s had begun. He would have been 16 years old in July 1831 when the Parish Church of St. David was completed. Was he not a wee bit too young to have been the Architect? And during what years did he receive his “thorough training” in England? My present day logic does not quite grasp the concept that he would have been a professional architect at that specific time. It does make present sense to me that ggg-grandfather James Smith or another gentleman by the same name may have been the Architect.

And I keep searching. Please let me know your thoughts. Do have any supporting or other documentation that would make a case pro or con?




Zoe on November 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM said...

We, that is Toni and I, think that it is James Smith Sr. who was the Architect who was responsible for the various buildings mentioned in your Blog. Ray Smith may have some documents to that effect.

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