My Family History & Genealogy



The Swaby Family

I have very little information on this family but am putting them on here in the hope that one day someone will stumble across this page and help me fill in a few blanks or finally after about 10 years help me kick down my brick wall!!!

William Swaby b. abt 1847 St Pancras, London was my Gt, Gt Grandfather.

All the information I have here is taken from Williams army records.  I have never found the following:-

A record of his birth; A census entry relating to him; A record of his first marriage; A record of his death; A record of his father in any census entry

According to his army records, William joined up at the age of 14 on the 6 July 1861.  He was 4’ ¾  ” tall, had a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair and his religious denomination was Church of England.  He gives his place of birth as St Pancras, London.  It says he joined at Davenport, however there are two Forms B267's and on the other there is a section where it is signed by him and the place is given as Westminster Palace Court.  They both say he joined the 61st Foot, 2nd Battalion Gloustershire Regiment. 

His Army ID Number was 890 however on another piece of paper this has been crossed out and the number 4053 was listed.

Between 1861 and 1877 he was based in the following locations:-

Africa for 5 years and 2 months

Mauritius for 1 year and 11 months

Egypt for 3 years and 4 months

At some point prior to 1877 he married a lady called Martha Williamson, however I've never found a record of the marriage.

On the 15 Dec 1877 his first daughter, Minnie Swaby was born in Dover.  She was christened in Dover on the 13 Jan 1878.

In February of 1878 his Battalion was deployed to Malta.

From there they sailed to India in 1880 and in 1885 were stationed in Poona.

At some point between 1878 and 1885 his wife Martha Swaby nee Williamson sadly passed away.

On the 16 Apr 1885 he remarries in Poona.  He is listed as a Sargeant Major.  His second wife is called Ella Ursula Connor.  Witnesses at their marriage are L C Wilkowsky and W Faithful.  His fathers name is given as William Robert Swaby and her father is William Connor but I've never had any luck tracing these two individuals.

On 20 Apr 1886 his second daughter Annette Lilla Swaby is born, she is christened on 3 Jun 1886 in Poona.

On 14 Jun 1887 his third daughter Winnie Elsie Swaby is born, she is christened on 14 August 1887 in Purandhar.

William remained in service in India for 21 years and 11 months.

The Gloucestershire regiment returned to the UK in 1895, however we believe at this point he changed Battalions as paperwork on his Proceedings of Discharge state that he is a Sergeant Major Number 5821 of the Welsh Regiment, 2nd Battalion. 

At the time of his discharge he is 55 years of age, 5'4" tall, of a fresh complexion, with grey eyes, fair hair and his trade is given as a soldier.  His special qualifications for employment in civilian life are Clerk and Accountant.  He didn't have these qualifications on his entry so we can only assume he earned them whilst in service.

He was discharged on the 15 July 1902 in Rawal Pindi which is in the India.

On his claim for army pension it states that his Chelsea Number is 34624; Regiment - Welsh; Rank - Sergeant Major; Name and Regimental Number - William Swaby 5821 it then lists his postings and gives his character as Exemplary.  Cause of discharge - Bombay unattached (can't read next word), Purhandar; Place of birth and Trade - St Pancras, London; Intended place of residence - states not known at Depot.  Date of discharge given as 7-7-1902

We believe he died in 1924 in Poona as we have a letter written by his wife dated Poona, June 1924 where she tells her daughter of his passing.  However we've never found a death entry for him or for his wife.

If anyone can help with this family then I would love to hear from you.  I've spent years trying to work my way backwards but to no avail.  I can't find a Swaby family in London that could be connected at any point.  His age of 55 upon his retirement ties in with his birth in 1847, however in her letter dated 1924 his wife refers to him being 79 years of age, which would put his birth about 1845.

You can email me direct at [email protected] If you believe you might be connected to the family please let me know. 

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