Tuesday, June 18, 2013

George Herbert Smith (1863 - 1927): RIP

Most of us in the Smith/Smith-by-marriage clan have at some point or another flipped through a scrapbook of English newspaper clippings about the death and funeral of our ancestor George Herbert Smith. (See photo in earlier post.)

If you’re of the baby-boom generation, GH was your great-grandfather. He was a pretty famous guy, a journalist in London, England who worked the royal beat, and somehow became friends with many of the royals of his day. He was knocked down by a car in 1927 and died a few days later.

Page 1 of George Herbert Smith memorial scrapbook

I don’t think anyone knows for sure the origins of the scrapbook. Who compiled it? Possibly GH’s widow, Kate (nee Langdale). Or possibly one of their younger children, Marjorie, who went by Molly, or Suzanne, great aunts to the baby-boom generation. Molly and Suzanne were probably still living at home in 1927 when their father died.

And how did it come to Canada? It may well have been part of Tom Herbert’s inheritance on his mother's death. Tom H was George and Kate’s eldest son, and the founder of the Canadian branch of the family with his bride Edith (nee Gladman). Tom and Edith emigrated to Canada before the Great War.

This is probably a picture of George Herbert
 & Kate (Langdale) Smith. If it is, it must
have been taken shortly before he died.

At one point, the original scrapbook lived on the shelf under the coffee table in my parents’ living room. Its whereabouts at this point are unknown. Sometime in the 1970s or 1980s, somebody – cousin Bob Smith thinks it might have been Tom Smith, I thought it might have been my father – copied the pages and compiled facsimile albums which were distributed in the family. If you’ve seen the scrapbook, it was likely one of those facsimiles.

One that had been in the Birkby family came into my hands a few years ago – thanks Sue! I’ve now finally completed copying and restoring, to the extent possible, the images of the original scrapbook pages. I’ve posted them as a PDF file here at my DropBox site. You can view the pages on a computer using Adobe Acrobat Reader, version 9 or higher, or on an iPad or other tablet or smartphone using a free Reader app.

Next post: More George Herbert by another Tom.

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