I am searching for information on my grandmother.  The only thing I can find is a Passage for Fiancee of Harold Francis Smeeton.  I can find marriage details, but cannot find anything on her prior to the wedding.  Nothing.  My grand-mother's name is Lucy Smeeton (nee Armitage).  I can find no information on her parents or any siblings, birth date - anything.

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Comment by Tonia (from NAA) on February 13, 2012 at 21:33

Hello Jacqueline

I'm sorry, I missed this posting in the blog area.  The National Archives of Australia most likely would not have any information relating to your grandmother as we hold the records of the Australian Commonwealth government, dating from Federation in 1901.  However, the sort of information you are interested in is not held by the National Archives of Australia.  Registration of births, deaths and marriages is managed by the State and Territory governments, and you should be able to find the information on your grandmother's birth with the Registrar of Births Deaths and Marriages in the State or Territory where you think she was born.  A list of contact details for Births, Deaths and Marriages in each State and Territory can be found in our Fact Sheet 89 - http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs89.aspx.

You may have some luck finding information about your grandmother by searching in the National Library of Australia's Trove http://trove.nla.gov.au/, which is a collection of digitised newspapers dating from 1803 to 1954.  There is also another index of death notices published in newspapers in Australia - the Ryerson index at http://www.ryersonindex.org/ that may give you some clues as to her date of birth and where she was born, if you don't already know.  

For information on any travel from the UK to Australia, you could try the online index Ancestors Onboard  at http://www.ancestorsonboard.com/ which provides some information on outbound passengers from the UK between 1890 and 1960.  

I'm sorry I haven't been able to be of more direct assistance on this occasion, best of luck with your search



(NAA staff)

Comment by Jacqueline Isobel Barnes on February 17, 2012 at 22:09

Thankyou.  She is a bit of a mystery to me.  I can find nothing on her before she married my grandfather.  It is almost like she didn't exist before then.  I am thinking she came to Australia with an assumed name.  All I know is that her family back in England didn't want her to come to Australia and marry my grandfather.  They disowned her.  That adds thought to my theory. 

Thankyou for you help.  I will keep looking.


Comment by Debra on February 18, 2012 at 23:27

Hi Jacqueline,

There are quite a lot of births registered in the UK for the name Lucy Armitage (and variations) within a time frame for her to be of marriageable age in 1920.  Who does she say her parents are and where is her place of birth?


Comment by Jacqueline Isobel Barnes on February 19, 2012 at 6:30

I can't find anything on her parents or her place of birth.  I have no names.  I was told she was from Nottingham, but have no proof.  I can find no record of her.  It is like she didn't exist.  I was told that she came to Australia with her sister, but I don't have a name for her either.


Comment by Debra on February 19, 2012 at 12:18

Hi Jacqueline,

The standard practice for tracing ancestors is through documentation, and the only place you will find these details recorded is on her 1920 Queensland marriage certificate.  She should name both of her parents, including her mother's maiden surname, and give an age and place of birth.  You need to submit an application through the Qld BDM Registry at http://www.justice.qld.gov.au/justice-services/births-deaths-and-ma....

Harold Francis SMEETON


27 May 1920

Registration Number B025371

Page Number 87

Depending on her birth year, you can then look for her on the 1901 and/or1911 UK census.

It is difficult to tell from his service record where they might have met.  As far as I can see the last time he was admitted to hospital in England was at Lewisham in 1918.  The NAA document relating to Lucy's passage to Australia would most likely be an application to have her fare paid as his fiancee under the repatriation scheme.  You can request a copy of this and it may name the ship she came out on.

Good luck


Comment by Jacqueline Isobel Barnes on February 19, 2012 at 21:24

Thankyou very much for your help Debra.  I am just flying by the seat of my pants here.  I have no idea of my family history.  My mother died when I was 6 and I have had very little contact with her family.  All Mum's siblings are dead now and I only have contact with one cousin.  He knew less about my grandmother than I did.  I had a half hearted attempt at finding information a few years ago when Mum's brothers and sisters were still alive but they did not want to share anything.  I felt like a real outsider and just left it alone.  It is only now since my husband joined ancestry.com that I have decided to have another try.  I will follow your advice.  You have already found more than I have.  That is great!  Thankyou.

Comment by Jacqueline Isobel Barnes on February 24, 2012 at 17:13

How did you find the information on my grandfather being in hospital?

I really need to sit and study this stuff.

I find it very, very interesting.

I didn't know that kind of information was out there to be found.

Comment by Debra on February 24, 2012 at 23:03

Hi Jacqueline,

You can view Harold's WW1 service record on this site.  Just go to http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/using/search/ and click on "search as a guest".  When the search box comes up just enter the name Harold Smeeton and then "search".  You will see his record as the fourth entry down and on the right hand side of the page is a column headed "Digitised item" with an icon that looks like pages.  Click on that icon and his service record will open.  Turn the pages using the arrow at the top, and you can also enlarge the page.

He also enlisted in WW2 and if you look further down the first results page you will see that entry.  This record has not been digitised, but if you click on the number in the "control symbol" column (Q187144) you will see "request a copy" on the right hand side of the page.

As a bonus their son's WW2 record is also there and has been digitised.  It also includes photos.




Comment by Jacqueline Isobel Barnes on February 25, 2012 at 16:47

Hi Debra

It is so lovely to have a wet weekend and I can sit in front of the computer and do some catching up.  I have been having a look at these records and was looking again at the 'Request for passage for fiance of Harold Francis Smeeton'.  I was going to order a copy.  Will this have her name?





Comment by Tonia (from NAA) on February 27, 2012 at 10:06

 Hi Jacqueline

I don't know whether the request for passage will have his fiancee's name, however on the RecordSearch database listing for Harold Francis Smeeton's WWII service record lists a Lucy Smeeton as his next of kin and it was usual for men to list their wife as NOK if they were married (in WWI he listed his mother Ada).






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