The Smiley / Smyley family from Belfast
Descendants of Robert Smyley (Smiley)
I don't know at present where Robert Smyley / Smiley but according to his death
registration he would have been born around 1812. This date would also fir with the fact he had married Mary Ann
Faulkner and were starting a family in 1839. Around that time Robert and Mary Ann were living around Sussex Street
in Belfast. Although I have Roberts death registration I do not know where he was laid to rest.
Robert was a pork cutter by profession and can be found at varying locations
in the area around Millfield and lower Shankill area of Belfast. Mary Ann out lived Robert by another 35 years
and died in Belfast just before the recording of the 1901 census where mysteriously she was noted as being
Robert Smyley and Mary Ann Faulkner had at least the following children
William John Smiley - born c.1839
Mary Anne Smiley - born c.1841
Martha Smiley - born c.1844
Mary Elizabeth Smiley - born c.1846
Samuel Smiley - born c.1856
Samuel Smiley is my wife's great grandfather and we hold a pretty good picture of the
family from Samuel down to the present generations. Samuel stayed in the Shankill Road area slowly working his way
up to what was generally regarded at the more affluent area of Woodvale. He worked from being a smiths helper to
being a blacksmith in his own right.
Samuel married Mary Anne McGrath who was born in Dromore, County
Down. Samuels grandchild, Stanley, often recalled visiting the farm of a Thompson family in the townland
of Ballynaris, Dromore when he was very young. I often wonder if this is where the family connection with the
Thompson farm at Ballynaris comes from even though there were also Gracey families in that area.
Samuel Smiley and Mary Anne McGrath had nine children, Jeannie, Emily, Mary Ann (died as
infant), Mary Ann, Samuel, Agnes, William, Sarah and Stanley. The only male line now carrying on the Smiley line is
that of Stanley and having three daughters the Smiley line stops there.
I do know that Samuels older sister, Mary Anne Smiley married a Robert McCormick in the
year 1862 in Belfast. Unfortunately at this point I know nothing of that family after that date. The other
noticeable thing is the gap of 10 years between the birth of Mary Elizabeth and Samuel. Samuel may well have just
been a late child but there is also the possibility of other siblings born in that 10 year gap.
If there were only the five children then that only leaves one male, William John Smyley
who may not have survived into adulthood. I am sure fellow researchers of the other children may also get back
to this Robert Smyley and Mary Ann. If you find anything in common with your own research here I would
love to hear from you.
I have a few leads I want to completely close off and I will update the web site with
any new information. I would especially like to solve the puzzle of the family connection with the Thompson
farm in Ballynaris, Dromore.
Obviously it also goes without saying that it would be great to find out more about
Robert Smyley and Mary Ann Faulkner and there origins possibly outside Belfast.