Helen Smith

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Born: Died: Married: John Balfour Mother: Father: Descendant: David Balfour
Census 1841 1851 1861 1871 1881 1891 1901 1911 1921

Helen Smith married John Balfour and was the mother of David Balfour.


She may be the Helen Smith who was born in Torryburn on the 12th May 1776 to Thomas Smith and Isobel Anderson, certainly she was married in Torryburn which might indicate she was born (or at least living) there. This is the only record of a Helen Smith born in the parish of Torryburn in the correct age range, and it would mean that she was 29 when she married John Balfour, and 35 when she had her son James Balfour.


Helen Smith married John Balfour on the 26th October 1805 in Torryburn.


They had four children that we know of:

  • John Balfour born 24th April 1808, baptised 8th May 1808, in Torryburn.
  • John Balfour born 14th April 1809, baptised 8th May 1809, Torryburn, Fife.
  • James Balfour born 7th May 1811, baptised on the 15th May 1811 in Torryburn, Fife.
  • David Balfour born 1st June 1817, baptised on the 15th June 1817 in Torryburn, Fife.

A John Balfour was buried in Torry on the 21st January 1816. No other details were recorded. This could have been one of their sons called John, or possibly her husband.

At a similar time there are also children born of John Balfour and an Isobel Smith, and a John Balfour and a Nellie Agnes Smith. All in Torryburn.

Nellie can sometimes be a nickname for Helen.

In the 1841 census she is living in the house (in Torryburn High Street) of her son James Balfour, along with her other son David Balfour. In the 1841 census the ages were rounded down to 5 years, her age was given as 65 (so was between 65 and 69) so her year of birth was between 1772 to 1776).

In 1851 Hellen Balfour is the head of a household at High Street, Torryburn, she is a widow and 75 (confirming her date of birth at around 1776). The only other member of the household is another Hellen Balfour, an unmarried visitor aged 17, who was born in Lowvalleyfield.

Next door is who I presume is her son, James Balfour, a widowed baker, aged 39, and his son James Balfour (a 12? year old scholar).


She died on the 23rd June 1860 in Torryburn according to her entry in the register of deaths. Her age was given as 85. She was buried in Torryburn churchyard. Her parents were given as Thomas (John crossed out) Smith (master slater, deceased) and Ann Anderson. I cannot find any records of an Ann Anderson marrying a Thomas Smith, so this is more likely to be another name (or mistake) for Isobel Anderson. The informant was David Balfour, son.

Other References

Records GROS (ScotlandsPeople): Birth/Baptism 12/05/1776 Helen Smith (to Thomas Smith, Isobel Anderson), Torryburn GROS 458/00 0002

GROS (ScotlandsPeople): 26/10/1805 John Balfour married Helen Smith, Torryburn GROS 458/00 0002

GROS (ScotlandsPeople): Birth/Baptism 15/05/1811 James Balfour (to John Balfour, Helen Smith), Torryburn GROS 458/00 0002

GROS (ScotlandsPeople): Birth/Baptism 15/06/1817 David Balfour (to John Balfour, Helen Smith), Torryburn GROS 458/00 0002