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Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

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Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

Postby k-eight » Mon Mar 03, 2014 11:03 am

Hi,
my 3xG grandfather was Thomas Smith.
we are 99% sure this is not his real name. Thomas joined the Royal Artillery as 'Thomas Smith' in Kent during October 1830.
On his enlistment papers he states he was born in 1810 North Leith, Midlothian, Scotland (we don't think he was honest about his birth place or date either when enlisting into the army. on his children birth certs here in Australia he stated he was born in Ireland and in 1907). He also states on his papers he was married on the 21 May 1830 (we can not find a marriage cert anywhere, so we don't know whom he married or where).
During his very short service in the Royal Artillery he was a was a bombardier and paymaster master.
Unfortunately... Thomas continued to be untruthful and was arrested for forging payslips- he was tried and convicted in Kent Assizes in 1834 and deported to Sydney Australia for 14 years (where he re-married and had a large family). On his deportation papers it states he was married with 2 sons.

I would love any information on Thomas.
where in Kent did he enlist?
what unit?
where he lived. in barracks or with his wife and children?
who he married in 1830?
what were his sons names?
what happened to his wife and sons when he was discharged and deported?
etc...

if any one can help shed some light on Thomas it would be gratefully appreciated.
Many thanks
Kate
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Re: Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

Postby brunes08 » Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:44 pm

Firstly, you will not find a marriage certificate or a birth certificate in the British Isles before the latter part of 1837. Formal registration didn't start until then. Before that, you may possibly find Parish Register entries for baptisms, marriages and burials. However, unless you know places and names it will be difficult especially with a surname such as Smith. Sorry not to be of more help.


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Re: Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

Postby junkers » Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:23 pm

It is difficult if you don't know his real name to start researching him.

You say he was tried at the Kent Assizes (which may have been at Maidstone) in 1834, do you have a copy of the document and was he listed as Thomas Smith?. If he joined the Royal Artillery their Headquarters was in Woolwich but they were also scattered across the UK including Ireland, but his attestation papers should say where he joined. When he was deported it is likely that his family was left behind in the UK.
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Re: Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

Postby k-eight » Tue Mar 04, 2014 4:47 am

Thanks for your help.

We suspect his true surname was McKenzie (& he did names one of his sons born in Australia Kenneth McKenzie Smith). Family rumour was he caused some kind of misdemeanour which embarrassed his family back in Ireland, so he changes his name and left. We don't know much else about him, we don't know when he met his wife or when his boys were born.

I don't have copies of his military papers, but he did enlist as Thomas Smith. I am waiting for a lady in Tasmania, Australia to send them to me, but that will take some time as she has them all packed in a shipping container while they build their house (they are still waiting to get building permission).
Where would I go to get my own copies of his enlistment papers, court case record and possible Parish Register records for a marriage and births? (online, I live in Australian too)

I do have a copy of his Convict Indent which says:
Thomas Smith
Standing Number Of Convict: 35 / 537
Indent Number: 85
Age: 25
R&W – Both
Religion: Protestant
Single, Married, Widowed: Married
Children: Sons 2
Native Place: Mid Lothian
Trade Or Calling: Soldier, Brokers Clerk.
Offence: Forgery
Tried- Where: Kent Assizes
Tried – When: 21 July 1834
Sentence: 14 Years
Former Conviction: None
Height: 5ft 9 & 3/4
Complexion: Ruddy/Speckled, Brown hair, blue eyes and a Small scar on the inside of his forefinger of his right hand.

He was deported from Sheerness, Kent on the 27 Sep 1834 & arrived in Sydney, Australia aboard the ship 'Bengal Merchant' on 27 May 1835.

Thanks once again for your help,
Kate
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Re: Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

Postby brunes08 » Tue Mar 04, 2014 2:01 pm

Have a look at Kent newspapers. Many have now been digitised and are on-line. The site is on www.kentonline.co.uk. For the military records, you could try Ancestry or Find my Past or possibly the National Archives. Hope that is a bit more helpful than my last post.


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Re: Royal Artillery - Thomas Smith

Postby junkers » Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:07 pm

The Kent assizes records should be in the ASSI (Assizes) records at The National Archives (TNA) at Kew, London, and ancestry have some other details which supplement the ASSI records for which they have transcribed and have images of the official documents. His service record should also be at TNA, see also findmypast who may have copies of the images.
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