My great, great, great grandfather, Thomas Hill, was born in 1797 in Coleshill Warwickshire. His wife Ann was born in 1800 in Sheldon, now part of Birmingham although back in those days it would have been a small village.

At some stage after their marriage Thomas and Ann moved to Little Packington, Warwickshire. Thomas Hill was a blacksmith by trade. He and Ann had four children who survived into adulthood, the youngest of whom was Sarah Hill, my great, great grandmother. Sarah was born in 1845, when her mother Ann would have been 45 years old.

At the time of her birth, Sarah's eldest brother John would have been nineteen years old. Her other siblings Elizabeth and George would have been nine and seven respectively. The family are first recorded in the 1851 census, living at 10 Bannerly House, Little Packington. Evidently the family was poor because although Thomas was working as a blacksmith, Ann was also working, as an agricultural labourer.

Little Packington was, and still is, dominated by Packington Hall and its 700 acres of grounds, home of the Earl of Aylesford. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries many of the inhabitants of Little Packington were employed by, or rented their homes from, the Packington Hall estate.

The Hill's eldest child, John, began his working life as an agricultural labourer on the Packington Hall estate. In 1850 he married Elizabeth Marlow, who was eleven years his senior, and they settled in Sharnford St Helen, Leicestershire, where John became a farmer. They had one child, Mary Ann, who was born in 1851. By the time of the 1901 census John, aged 74, was a widower and is recorded as living with daughter Mary Ann, by now a fifty year old spinster, on their farm at Sharnford St Helen. 

Thomas and Sarah's second child Elizabeth is recorded in the 1851 census as "employed at home", living with her parents. I can find no trace of her thereafter. She may have married and moved out of the midlands area.

George Hill followed in his father's footsteps and became a blacksmith. He moved to Foleshill, now part of north Coventry, where he lived with his wife Mary Ann and six children Elizabeth, John, Harriett, William, Sarah Ann and Ada. Unusually, George lived long enough to retire and in the 1911 census he and Ada are recorded in their seventies as living in Booths Fields, Little Heath, Coventry.                       

By the time of the 1861 census, sixteen year old Sarah Hill was working as a servant at the home of a retired farmer, John Greenway and his wife Elizabeth in Coventry Road, Sheldon. She later married my great, great grandfather Joseph Smith and settled in Little Packington, where the couple were joined by Sarah's mother Ann after the death of her husband Thomas.