Caroline Margaret Smith
My sister and I have very different images in our heads of Caroline - my sister seeing her as a rather daunting old lady, and I see her somewhat like the lovely portrait above of Lady Dyke by Sir Edward Henry Landseer - a young lady. The other painting is also by Landseer of Lady Dyke - very recognisably the same lady. When we came into the possession of an actual photograph of the young Caroline, courtesy of our new-found Mollett cousin, it was gratifying to see that my image was not far wrong, though, in a nod to my sister the real Caroline does perhaps look somewhat more imperious. Caroline is our great grandmother and both of our images could well be right I guess. Pretty young ladies do sometimes develop into daunting old ones. To my knowledge, my father never mentioned her (his grandmother), but he must have known her - he would have been twenty three when she died, and lived in her house for some years I think. Given that one story he gave out was that he was raised by his aunts and given that they lived with her, then he absolutely must have known her well. So why no mention? As always, once you start looking into the family history you get more questions than answers.
But back to Caroline herself. Another Victorian type. A well-bred young lady, daughter of a prosperous miller, whose family, I suspect had close business connections with the Molletts. Somehow or other, anyway, she married the youngest Mollett, himself a prosperous accountant, and lived out her life in the leafy suburbs (then) of Camberwell and Dulwich. She produced the standard large family (not without the occasional tragedy), and outlived her husband living to the ripe old age of eighty four.
So 1845-1929. Horse carriages to aeroplanes, with World War two just ten years away and the swinging twenties all but over, crinolines to flappers, up-tight Victorian morality to women’s liberation and relative sexual freedom. The Victorians were an amazing group in very many ways, not least in their adaptation to rapid societal change. I wonder how Caroline coped with it all.
Caroline Margaret Smith
b 23 February, 1845 Brighton
m William Henri Colchester Mollett 22 April, 1871, Portslade
d 3 March 1929, Dulwich
Wilfred John 1871-1955
Frederick Lewis 1873-1939
Harold John 1875-?
Arthur Leonard 1876-1903
Margarette Jane May 1878-?
Elsie Fanny 1879-1974
Gerald Osmond Hubert 1882-1917
Jessie Kathleen Gertrude 1884-1962
Winifred Mildred 1886-1886
Dorothy Mildred 1888-1930
Census - 1851-1901
Gerald’s birth certificate
Some of the children’s baptism records
A feminine version of Charles, via the Germanic form Carl, which is from the old German meaning ‘a man’ in the superior sense (whatever that means) I think there was a Georgian queen or princess called Caroline, but am so far not aware of it being a family name of the Smiths
Carla, Carlina, Carlotta, Carolyn, Carolina
Carrie, Callie, Lina, Caro
Latin, from Greek, from Persian meaning pearl. I am not aware of any family connections with the name.
Margot, Margaretta, Marguerite, Magrett, Meaghan
Maggie, Margie, Peggy, Daisy, Meg, Peg