Saturday, 23 May 2015

A Mitchell Mystery Solved

Way back on 11 October 1999 I must have been trawling through St Marks Marriages 1906 to 1947.  And on that day I came across the following:

1909, 30 May - Page 89 No. 178

Joseph HANSON, 23, Bach, Groom, 7 Nelson St, Father -Alfred Hanson, Tool Maker
Amy MITCHELL, 22, Spin, --, 7 Nelson St, Father - Edward Mitchell, Plumber

Witnesses - Edwin Mitchell, Elsie Turner


And several pages later:

1913, 3 August - Page 202 No. 404

Edwin MITCHELL, 24, Bach, Glass Beveller, 7 Nelson St, Father - Edwin Mitchell, Fine Worker (Desd)
Marie GARDNER, 22, Spin, --, 4 Bk 57 Garbett St, Father - William Gardner, Caster

Witnesses - Joseph Hanson, Amy Gardner


Now these two marriages interested me because of the mention of 

  • Edwin Mitchell snr - we have an Edwin
  • Fine Worker - I took this to mean something to do with silver work which would have fitted with our Edwin
  • Hanson - our Mitchell line married an Alfred Hanson
  • Gardner - we had a Gardnor marrying an Arnold who in turn were married to the Mitchells
  • Nelson Street & Garbett Street - Our James family lived in these streets for many years
  • Turner - our Turners married a James
Over the years I had looked at this and tried bits of research here and there and made (incomplete) notes on a sheet of green paper.

Questions, questions, questions?
  • Were they connected to our Edwin Mitchell?
  • Was, for some strange reason, Amy Mitchell and Edwin Mitchell brother and sister?
  • Was Joseph Hanson the son of our Alfred Hanson?
  • Were Edwin Mitchell and Joseph Hanson best friends?
Well, I have a Yahoo group for our Mitchell descendants to collaborate and share research to try and avoid duplication of work.  This has not worked very well and I was trying to think of another way to do it. I suggested to the one person in the Yahoo group who is actually really interested in collaborating to install WhatsApp on his smart phone so we could instant message. He is in Australia and I am in England.  I am not sure why I find WhatsApp easier than having to log into my email account to pick up messages but it just works for me.  It also means that all the conversation is all in one place and easily searchable.  Anyway this last week or so thanks to my 3rd cousin 2x removed I finally got a couple of the questions answer.  He had asked me what I knew about a Frederick Mitchell and when going through my papers I happened upon the green paper with the Mitchell Hanson marriages. And thanks to my cousin I know now about WhatsApp web which meant I am able to copy and paste information from my family tree directly to a WhatsApp message via my computer.  And also with WhatsApp I was able to send a picture of the piece of green paper.  

It's not my Edwin came the reply.  He was born 1879 and this one is 1889. Oh, now what.  

Well, I thought, is this where my subscription to The Genealogist is going to become very valuable.  So I do an address search for 7 Nelson Street in the 1911 census and eventually I find a Mary Mitchell.  What a coincidence.  

1911 - 7 Nelson Street, Sandpits, Bham

William Mitchell, Son, Brass Turner



So Joseph was listed as Joe hence not showing up when I was searching for him.

So to find out the father's details I thought my best chance was to follow the family back through the census until I find the father listed.

With The Genealogist that is easy to do via a family search. So for the 1901 I looked for Mary, William, Amy (didn't want to use the nickname Ted which I had hoped was for Edwin).  I restricted the search to Warwickshire and 1901.  One hit only which included an Edwin Mitchell born 1889 and to know I had got the right record they were still living at 7 Nelson Street.


Again then searched again for the 1891.  One hit but this time at Garbett Street and still no father mentioned.  He must have died when the children were very young.  This would indicate why Amy said her father's name was Edward and Edwin said his father's name was Edwin. Could be an easy mistake if their father died when they were young, although you would have thought their mother would have made sure the name given was correct.



I then searched again for the 1881 census but took off Amy's name as she wouldn't have been born and added on Thomas. Again one hit - this time at 2 House 7 Court William Street.





And success, a father!  But Thomas rather than Edwin or Edward.  It must just have been the case that Thomas died between 1889 when Edwin was born and the 1891 census and maybe Edwin and Amy never knew his name. This would all have to be proved by obtaining the birth and death certificate though.  But it does help answer a couple of my questions.

  • Were they connected to our Edwin Mitchell? - No, nothing to do with our Edwin Mitchell and probably nothing to do with our Mitchell family full stop given that Thomas Mitchell was apparently from Warrington.
  • Was, for some strange reason, Amy Mitchell and Edwin Mitchell brother and sister? Yes, my feelings about this appear to be right. Amy was Edwin's older sister.
  • Was Joseph Hanson the son of our Alfred Hanson? Still need to work on that question.
  • Were Edwin Mitchell and Joseph Hanson best friends? This is one of those wishful thinking questions that will probably never be answered because it is unlikely to have been recorded and everyone is too long gone to be able to tell us. It would be nice to think they were though.

I now need to go and remove Edwin Mitchell, Marie Gardner and their children from my Family Tree Maker. I have already corrected by Ancestry tree.  This adds to my argument that you need some way of 'writing in pencil' on these family tree programs so you don't lose your leads but also so if anything happens to you or someone finds your tree online they don't take it as gospel .  But I will keep hold of their details as if it turns out that Joseph Hanson is one of ours I can add Amy and her brother Edwin and his family back on.

Update (19:30 ish 23/05/2015)

This is the reason I really need to sort this information out.  The notes about Joseph Hanson's parents on my green sheet of paper possibly being Alfred Hanson and Elizabeth Sanderson was niggling me.  The name Sanderson was just too familiar.  So I went searching for information that had been provided to me many moons ago by another 3rd cousin 2x removed. She had provided me with copies of certificates and also a large family tree on which she had written notes and low and behold amongst the many little boxes was printed...


Joseph Hanson (1886- )
& Amy Mitchell (1887 - )
m. 30 May 1909

And next to it was written 

Coachman to Tangye family in Smethwick.  Lived in Lodge to big house there (Tangye's were related to the Avery's).

So I can add Edwin Mitchell and family back on to my tree as the brother-in-law to Joseph Hanson (my 1st cousin 4 x removed).


  • Was Joseph Hanson the son of our Alfred Hanson? Yes!




Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Julia Mitchell & Thomas James - The Leather Merchants

Julia Mitchell, born the 9 June 1820, was christened at St Philip's Church, Birmingham (now Birmingham Cathedral) on the 20 February 1835 along with her younger brother, Alfred. Julia was the ninth of ten known children born to Robert and Elizabeth Mitchell (Jeweller of Snow Hill)1.

Julia was only 18 when lost her father and 20 when she lost her mother. So by the time of the night of the census on 6 June 1841 she was living with her older brother, Edward and her older sister, Emma and younger brother, Alfred at Sherlock Street. Edward is shown as pencil case maker and both Emma and Julia are listed as school mistresses2.

Less than two years later on the 9 May 1843, Julia was married by banns at the Parish Church of Harborne (St Peter's) to Thomas James, factor, son of Thomas James (dead), draper3. James Edward, possibly her brother in law, was one of the witnesses along with her sister, Emma Mitchell3. All parties appear to have signed their names3.

Thomas and Julia went on to have ten known children.

Their first was Ellen James born on the 13 May 1844. In a little over year she was followed by another girl, Emily James, who was born on the 22 July 1845. They were both christened in St George's Church, Birmingham on the 17 November 1845. The abode given was Unett Street and their father's occupation was factor4.

The rate books for 1845 show Unett Street, 164 Thomas James (3 Hampton)5.

It was almost two years before the next child arrived. This time a boy, George Frederick James, who was born the 7 April 1847. He was swiftly followed by a fourth child, another boy, Edwin James, who was born on the 8 June 1848. They were both christened in St George's Church, Birmingham on the 6 July 1848. The abode given was Guest Street, father's occupation this time was, agent6.

Their fifth child, James Henry James, was born on the 15 March 1850 and christened the following month in St George's Church, Birmingham on the 18 April 1850. The address given was Northampton Street, father's occupation was back to factor again7.

On the night of 30 March 1851, when the census was taken, the family were living at no. 7 Northampton Street, Birmingham. Thomas James was a 29 year old general dealer from Manchester. Julia is shown as 30 years old from Birmingham, Warwickshire. The following children were listed as being in the household at the time: Ellen, 6; Emily, 5; George FK, 3; Edwin, 2; and James Henry, 1. A visitor, Olynthey Hudson, an unmarried, 19 year old is shown in the household as a factor clerk of Manchester8.

Louisa James, who was born sometime later in Ravenhurst Street, Bordesley, was christened on the 29 September 1856 (need to establish if this was in St Michaels & All Angels or not). Her father was described as a commercial traveler9.

Three more children followed John Mitchell James, Alfred Ernest James and Edith Emma James but no dates of birth were provided. All three of them were baptised in Bordesley, Holy Trinity, Bordesley on the 29 December 1856. The residence was shown as Ravenhurst Street, Bordesley and their father's occupation was commercial traveller9.

By the time of the 1861 census, taken on night of Sunday/Monday 7th/8th April 1861, the family were living at 108 High Street, Bordesley. Thomas is shown as a 39 year old Commercial Traveller in the shoe trade from Lancashire, Manchester. Julia is shown as 40 years old with children: Ellen, 16, Domestic Duties; Emily, 15, Scholar; George F, 13, Scholar; Edwin, 12, Scholar; John M, 6; Edith, 5; Alfred E, 4 and shown as Blind; Louisa, 2. A 13 year old boarder, Harry J Foster? of Salop is also shown10.

Their last child,Charles William James was born in High Street, Bordesley date unknown and was christened in Bordesley, Holy Trinity the 28 August 1861. Father's occupation was again commercial traveller11.

On 11 September 1865, their eldest daughter, Ellen James, now 21 year old, married Felix McDonnal Welch, a 23 year old, batchelor, tailor of Bordesley. Felix father is listed as Joseph Welch, cordwainer. Thomas James is shown as a leather merchant. The witnesses to the marriage, which took place at St Peter & St Pauls, Birmingham were FredK Jas Roberts and Mary Roberts12. A child swiftly followed when Julia and Thomas' first grandchild Felix Edwin Welch was born on 28 July 1866 at 35 Paradise Street, Birmingham. Felix snr, a tailors assistant, registered the birth on the 8 September of the same year13. (see their story once it is written)

By the time of the 1871 census (on the night of 2 April) they are living at 200 Camp Hill, Bordesley. Thomas is shown as a 49 year old Leather seller (from Lancashire, Manchester) with wife Julia aged 50. Living with them are children: George F, 24, leather seller; Edwin, 22, Assistant; John M, 16, Upholsterer; Elizabeth, 15; Alfred E, 14, and Blind; Louisa, 12 and Cha W aged 9. We assume Cha W is Charles William James14.

In 1871 George Frederick James married Ann Mills (daughter of John Mills, Clothier), in Bishop Ryder Church, Birmingham on the 3 August 1871. George is described as a 24 year old bachelor leather seller of Camp Hill. Ann is described as a 27 year old spinster of Moor Street. The witnesses to the marriage were John Mills and Ann Mills15.

They had four children. Their first child, Annie James, was born in 247 Newtown Row and was christened in Bishop Ryder, Birmingham on the 26 June 1873. George was described as a leather seller16.

In the occupation index there is an indenture between Charles Stanley, boot & shoe manufacturer, Thomas James, leather dealer, William Handley, shoe manufacturer and the creditors of Charles Stanley dated 10 November 187317.

George Frederick and Annie has several more children. Mary James followed and was christened in 1875. Followed shortly by Edwin James who was christened in 1876. Lastly, came Beatrice James christened in 187920.

On 24 September 1880 according to a notice in the Birmingham Daily Post, Mr Thomas James, Leather Merchant, was appointed chairman at a meeting of creditors of William Sidaway, of No. 76 Angelina Street, Birmingham, formerly of Cradley Heath and Bromsgrove Street, Birmingham, boot and shoe manufacturer18.

By the time of the 1881 census, taken on the evening of Sunday 3rd April, Thomas and Julia and the remaining children were living at 21 Belgrave Road, Edgbaston. Thomas is shown as a 59 year old leather seller currier with wife Julia, 60 years old. They have four children left at home: Emily, 35 years old and unmarried; Alfred E, 24 years old, unmarried teacher of music and states blind 21 years; and Louisa James aged 19. .They also have two lodgers living with them. John A Bird, 25, Managing Clerk of Hatshell HEF and Robert B Rennie, 25, Chartered Accountant, of Bristols GLS. Something must have happened to Alfred when he was 3 years old that caused him to go blind. Will we ever know what?19

By now George F was living with his in laws at 36 Barker Street, Aston. There are 11 people listed in the household. The head of the family being Ann Mills, widow aged 68 with her son and 4 daughters. George is shown as her son in law – a 34 year old Currier leather seller. His wife, Ann, is shown as 36 and they have four children. Annie aged 7 described as Grand Daughter – school girl. Mary aged 6 also described as Grand Daughter – school girl. Edwin aged 5 and shown as described as Grand son – school boy. Lastly, Beatrice aged 2 described as Grand Daughter20.

There is an entry for an Edwin James on the 1881 census at 213 Moseley Road. This Edwin is described as a 33 year old commercial traveler with wife Mary L James aged 35 and a 16 year old domestic servant from London called Laura Chamberlain21.

Also, on the 1881 census is an entry for Alcester Road, Kings Heath for a John M James, 26 year old, boot maker, employing 1 man and 2 apprentices. He is shown with wife Sarah A, 29 and children: Ernest A, 5, Scholar; Beatrice, 3, Scholar, born Lady Pool, Evesham; Rosana aged 1 born Kings Heath. Also listed is James Newman, Apprentice aged 15 born Kings Heath and Emily Stroud, a 15 year old, servant of Worcester22.

There are a number of baptisms registered at All Saints, Kings Heath.
  • Ross baptised to John and Sarah James, bootmaker of Kings Heath on 13 February 1881.
  • Oliver and Ethel baptised to John and Sarah James, manufacturer of Kings Heath on 18 May 1884.
  • Eva baptised to John Mitchell and Sarah Anne James, boot maker of Kings Heath on 18 October 1885.
  • Thomas Wilfred Mitchell to John Mitchell and Sarah Anne James , shoemaker of Kings Heath on 11 March 188723.
(This branch, like Ellen James and Felix McDonnal Welch, probably needs a story of their own).

It is believed that Alfred Ernest James married Charlotte Marion Barnes (1857-1893) on 3 December 1881 at Christchurch, Sparkbrook. Their first known child, Horace Tracey Barnes James was born in September Quarter 1882 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. Followed quite quickly by their second child, Norma Gladys James, born in 1883 in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England. (Norma Gladys went on to marry Thomas Edward Mitchell in 1905 and she died on 17 May 1915 in Birmingham)(evidence?).

In the trade directory for 1884 Thomas is listed as a leather merchant & boot & shoe manufacturer of 114 Pershore Street24.

Julia's husband, Thomas James, sadly died on the 9 September 1884 in Alcester25/26.

Birmingham Daily Post 
Wednesday 10 September 1884

SUDDEN DEATH OF A BIRMINGHAM MERCHANT

Yesterday, about noon, Mr. Thomas James, leather merchant, of 27 Pershore Street. Birmingham, died very suddenly at the Alcester Railway Station. The deceased gentleman, together with Mrs James had been on a visit to Alcester for some days past, staying at the Lord Alcester private hotel. Yesterday morning Mr. and Mrs. James walked to Great Alne, and returned by train to Alcester, immediately on alighting Mr. James was seized with illness. He was taken to the waiting room, and a medical man was sent for, but before his arrival he expired. It seemed deceased had been a great sufferer from heart disease, and had been attended by Mr. Badger, surgeon, Bromsgrove Street. The deceased was 62 years of age. The body was removed to the Lord Nelson Inn to await the decision of the coroner as to the holding of an inquest25.

This is the last will and testament of me Thomas James of Birmingham in the County of Warwick thereby direct all my just debts, funeral and testamentary expenses be paid and satisfied by my executrix hereinafter named soon as convenient maybe after my deceased. I thereby give, devise and bequeath all my household furniture, linen, books ??? and also all and every sum and sums of money which may be in my house, about my person or at my place of business. Also all stock and book debts owing to me the time my decease and all and everything of my effects whatsoever and wheresoever both real and personal to my dear wife Julia James to and for her sole use. I benefit absolutely and I nominate, constitute &; approve my said wife to be my executrix to this my last will and thereby revoking all my former or other wills heretofore made by me. I declare this to be my last will and testament. In witness thereof I the said James Thomas have to this my last will and testament set my hand on this the twenty first day of January in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and eighty two.

Signed Jany 21st 1882 in the presence of us Thomas James
present at the same time who have hereunto
subscribed our names witnesses in the George Rowland
presence of the testator. Charles James


Proved at Birmingham 10th October 1884 by oath of Julia James widow

27 Pershore Road, Birmingham - Leather Merchant died 9th September 1884 at Alcester £1363:11:1
Wright & Marshall Solicitors, Birmingham26.

James did not get to meet his namesake, Thomas Gordon James, born to Alfred Ernest and Charlotte in Birmingham in 1886. Nor their last child, Kingsley Eric M James, who was born on 15 October 1890(evidence?).
Julia died in 1890 so she too may not have been around to see baby Kingsley. She is shown in Deaths registered in October, November, and December 1890 index as Julia Mitchell James aged 70, registration district Kings Norton27.

In 1891 there is an entry for a Beatrice James, aged 12, granddaughter, living with an Ann Mills, Widow at Victoria Road28.


George Frederick James is shown in the Trade Directories from 1884 to 1888 at Oaklands, Trafalgar Road, Moseley and from 1892 to 1902 at 84 Trafalgar Road, Moseley29.

Sources
1 1835 Baptism solemnised in the Parish of St Philip's Birmingham in the Country of Warwick in the Year, page 518, No. 4024 Source Information Ancestry.com. Birmingham, England, Baptisms, 1813-1912 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Anglican Parish Records. Birmingham, England: Library of Birmingham.

2 1841 census Source Citation Class: HO107; Piece: 1142; Book: 8; Civil Parish: St Martin; County:Warwickshire; Enumeration District: 23; Folio: 27; Page: 17; Line: 1; GSU roll:464179

3 1843 marriage Source Information Ancestry.com. Birmingham, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1937[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: Anglican Parish Records. Birmingham, England: Library of Birmingham.

4 1845 Baptism (transcript)

5 1845 Rate book transcript taken on 17 November 1997

6 1848 Baptism (transcript)

7 1850 Baptism (transcript)

8 1851 census Source Citation Class: HO107; Piece: 2059; Folio: 245; Page: 29; GSU roll: 332122 Description Enumeration District : 11 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1851 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1851. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1851. Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. 

9 1856 Baptism (transcript)

10 1861 census Source Information Ancestry.com. 1861 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1861. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1861. Data imaged from The National Archives, London, England. 

11 1861 Baptism (transcript)

12 1865 Marriage certificate (photocopy)

13 1866 Birth certificate (photocopy)

14 1871 census Source Citation Class: RG10; Piece: 3137; Folio: 147; Page: 21; GSU roll: 839228
Description Enumeration District : 26 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1871 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. Original data: Census Returns of England and Wales, 1871. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1871. Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. 

15 Marriage (transcript)

16 1873 Baptism (transcript)

17 Occupation Index transcript taken on 17 November 1997

18 Birmingham Daily Post

19 1881 census Source Citation Class: RG11; Piece: 2954; Folio: 40; Page: 2; GSU roll: 1341707
Description Enumeration District : 11 Source Information Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 England Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. 1881 British Isles Census Index provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints © Copyright 1999 Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

20 1881 census (transcript from 1881 census discs)

21 1881 census (transcript from 1881 census discs)

22 1881 census (transcript from 1881 census discs)

23 Baptisms (transcript)

24 1884 trade directory transcript taken on 17 November 1997

25 Add Find My Past link

26 Transcription taken at Birmingham Library 1997

27 1890 Death of Julia Mitchell James Source Information FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Death Index, 1837-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.
Original data: General Register Office. 
England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. 

28 1891 census (transcript)

29 Trade Directory (transcript)

Notes
Obviously it is very much a work in progress and some of the detail has already been mentioned on the blog before .  However, I now have two branches roughly written up so hopefully if I keep going I might get it all drafted and then I can start to polish and look for the gaps and mistakes.