Tag Archives: ancestral profile

Ancestral Profile: Mary SMITH (c1807-1891?)

6 Dec

In recent weeks I have been jumping from branch to branch of my family tree when it came to choosing a subject for my weekly Ancestral Profile post, but this week I thought I would follow up last week’s post (featuring George MITCHELL) by writing about his wife Mary SMITH, my 4x great-grandmother.

Although Mary outlived her husband by nearly 50 years I know very little about her, this is not helped by the fact that her maiden name was SMITH and her married name was MITCHELL, neither of which are particularly uncommon. It also doesn’t help that each census return seems to give different information from which to calculate her date and place of birth.

The marriage to George MITCHELL took place on the 29th September 1828 in the parish of Cuckfield, Sussex. As I mentioned last week I haven’t checked the original marriage record for extra information. I also wrote last week that George and Mary had six children:

  1. Eliza MITCHELL (baptised 7th December 1828 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  2. Mary Ann MITCHELL (baptised 30th January 1831 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  3. Harriett MITCHELL (born c1834 in Slaugham, Sussex) [my 3x great-grandmother]
  4. Caroline MITCHELL (born Q3 1838 in Slaugham, Sussex)
  5. Alfred George MITCHELL (born 23rd February 1841 in Bolney, Sussex)
  6. William MITCHELL (baptised 14th April 1844 in Balcombe, Sussex)

It seems that her husband George died in October 1844 as the result of being hit by a steam engine, leaving Mary as a widow with six children. The 1851 census shows her as a pauper living in Slaugham, Sussex with her four youngest children.

I haven’t found Mary in the 1861 census, although there are several possibilities. In the 1871, 1881 and 1891 census she is living with (or next door to) her youngest son William and his family, initially in Bolney, Sussex and then Slaugham, Sussex. All of these show her as a widow and only the 1871 lists an occupation, which is “washerwoman”.

Below are the ages and places of birth from the various census years. In 1841 the age was rounded down, but taking the other years it looks like we are looking at a year of birth about 1807 +/- 2 years. All the places are quite consistent, in the same general area in mid sussex within a few miles of each other.

1841 – aged 30, born in Sussex
1851 – aged 42, born Cuckfield, Sussex
1861 – not found yet
1871 – aged 64, born Staplefield, Sussex
1881 – aged 76, born Cuckfield, Sussex
1891 – aged 84, born Slaugham, Sussex

There is a baptism in Cuckfield which seems to fit, Mary SMITH daughter of Samuel and Mary SMITH, baptised on 1 Nov 1807. Unfortunately there is also a Mary SMITH baptised in Cuckfield in 1805 who could just as easily be the one. Clearly more evidence is needed.

It seems likely that Mary died later in 1891. There is an entry in the GRO indexes for the death of an 85 year old in Q3 1891 in the Cuckfield Registration District. All of the parishes listed were in Cuckfield Registration District. I really need to buy the certificate to see if this is my Mary MITCHELL.

There is a corresponding burial in Balcombe, Sussex of an 85 year old Mary MITCHELL on the 19th September 1891. This would make sense if her husband was buried in Balcombe, but it looks like he was buried in Cuckfield. Why would she be buried in Balcombe when the 1891 census has her living in Slaugham? Did she spend her last few months living with someone else in Balcombe? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Ancestral Profile: George MITCHELL (1806?-1844?)

29 Nov

I have already written about one George MITCHELL in my family tree, but he was on my mother’s side of the family, this one is on my father’s side and was probably unrelated. This George MITCHELL was my 4x great-grandfather and in contrast with the other George MITCHELL I know almost nothing about his life.

The first record I have is his marriage to my 4x great-grandmother Mary SMITH. The marriage took place on the 29th September 1828 in the parish of Cuckfield, Sussex. As the marriage was before 1837 there is no mention of his father’s name, all I have is that they were both from Cuckfield and neither had been married before. I haven’t checked the original record, so there may be additional clues in the names of the witnesses, it is worth a look anyway.

In the 1841 census George and Mary are living in Bolney, Sussex but I can’t make out the name of the farm on which they are living. They have four children: Mary Ann, Harriett, Caroline and Alfred. The 1841 census provides the only piece of evidence for George’s birth, his age is given as 35 years and he was born in Sussex. In theory this should mean that George was aged between 35 and 39 years old, but this is by no means guaranteed.

By the 1851 census George has died and Mary is living as a widow, with four children: Harriett, Caroline, Alfred and William. This provides the only real evidence for George’s death, seemingly some time between the birth of William in 1844 and the 1851 census. Mary is shown as a pauper, so there may be some further clues among the records of the Poor Law Guardians.

It seems that George and Mary had six children, but apart from Harriett (my 3x great-grandmother) I know very little about what became of them. They were:

  1. Eliza MITCHELL (baptised 7th December 1828 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  2. Mary Ann MITCHELL (baptised 30th January 1831 in Cuckfield, Sussex)
  3. Harriett MITCHELL (born c1834 in Slaugham, Sussex)
  4. Caroline MITCHELL (born Q3 1838 in Slaugham, Sussex)
  5. Alfred George MITCHELL (born 23rd February 1841 in Bolney, Sussex)
  6. William MITCHELL (baptised 14th April 1844 in Balcombe, Sussex)

The fact that William was baptised in Balcombe possibly provides a clue to the death of George. There is a burial recorded in Cuckfield on the 30th October 1844 of a 38 year old George MITCHELL from Balcombe. It seems quite likely that this was my 4x great-grandfather, and there is a chance that he was the victim of an accident on the London to Brighton railway. The Times newspaper refers to the victim as Thomas MITCHELL, but I can’t find a death registration for either Thomas or George MITCHELL in the right place at the right time. Local newspapers my clarify this situation as The Times might have got his name wrong.

Ancestral Profile: Margaret SEWELL (c1777-1850)

22 Nov

I wrote yesterday that I wanted to look again at my Carlisle connections in preparation for a possible visit to the archives next year and Margaret SEWELL is one of those connection, so she seems a good place to start.

Margaret SEWELL was my 4x great-grandmother and although I have written much about her husband Thomas KINGHORN (of mail coach fame), I know very little about Margaret herself.

I don’t know a lot about Margaret’s early years, from her burial record I know she was born around  1777 and from the 1841 census I know she was born in the county of Cumberland. Unfortunately she died before the 1851 census, so I don’t know exactly where in Cumberland it was.

Margaret married Thomas KINGHORN on the 5th May 1803 at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle, Cumberland. The marriage was by licence, which may provide further clues, an index of the marriage-licence allegation and bond records that Margaret was from the parish of St. Cuthbert’s, Carlisle (which doesn’t necessarily mean that was where she was born). There is a reference to a George SEWELL of Carlisle, but I am not sure whether this relates to the allegation or bond or what his relation to Margaret was (father, brother or uncle?).

Margaret and Thomas had six children, it appears that all six were born in Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland (presumably where Thomas was based whilst working as a mail guard) but were baptised at St. Cuthbert’s Church, Carlisle south of the Scottish border.

  1. John KINGHORN (baptised 30th October 1803)
  2. Mary KINGHORN (baptised 3rd August 1806)
  3. Thomas KINGHORN (baptised 13th March 1808) [my 3x great-grandfather]
  4. Abraham KINGHORN (baptised 10th June 1810)
  5. Elizabeth KINGHORN (baptised 19th March 1815)
  6. George KINGHORN (baptised 11th May 1817)

I am not yet sure what happened to their two daughters Mary and Elizabeth, but only one of their sons (George) remained in Carlisle. Both Margaret and her husband appear to have remained in Carlisle. Thomas died in 1833, aged 52 and was buried at St. Cuthbert’s Church.

In 1841 we find Margaret living in the Botchergate area of Carlisle at No. 2 King Street. Her age is given as 60 years old (presumably rounded down from 64 years) and she is of independent means, possibly some sort of pension or benefit from her husband’s time with the Royal Mail.

Margaret’s death was registered in Q2 1850 in the Carlisle Registration District (I don’t yet have her death certificate) and she was buried at St. Cuthbert’s Church (presumably with her husband) on the 4th May 1850.

Ancestral Profile: Charlotte THATCHER (c1800-1882)

15 Nov

Charlotte THATCHER was my 4x great-grandmother and although I know quite a bit about her later years, details of her birth, baptism and parents still remain something of a mystery to me.

The first record I have of Charlotte is her marriage to Benjamin WREN on the 14th October 1828 in East Hoathly, Sussex. Benjamin was from nearby Framfield, Sussex so presumably East Hoathly was Charlotte’s home.

Because the marriage was before 1837 I wouldn’t expect to find her father’s name on the marriage register entry. Their marriage was by licence (granted on the same day), so there may be more details included on that which I need to check.

In the years following their marriage Benjamin and Charlotte appear to have had eight children in total, all baptised (and presumably born) in Framfield, Sussex.

  1. Benjamin WREN (baptised 31 May 1829)
  2. Charlotte WREN (baptised 21 August 1831) [my 3x great-grandmother]
  3. Charles WREN (baptised 7 December 1834)
  4. George WREN (baptised 23 October 1836)
  5. Alfred WREN (baptised 20 May 1838)
  6. Lewis WREN (baptised 19 July 1840)
  7. Mary Anne WREN (baptised 24 April 1842)
  8. Thomas Thatcher WREN (baptised 2 February 1845)

Benjamin died relatively young (not long after his fiftieth birthday) on the 21st December 1852. He had been a farmer and inn keeper, and whilst Charlotte appears to have carried on as a farmer, the inn keeping appears to have been dropped. Benjamin and Charlotte’s daughter (also called Charlotte) married Henry HEMSLEY in 1853, and the inn keeping part of the “business” may have passed down to Charlotte and Henry and may have been the origins of the Gun Inn at Blackboys, Sussex.

Charlotte carried on farming in Framfield with the assistance of various of her sons and grandsons. I need to do some further research to identify exactly where the farm was, what type of farming took place and whether they were just tenants or actually owned the land they worked on.

Charlotte died on the 19th November 1882 aged 83 years and was buried with her husband in Framfield churchyard on the 24th November 1882.

Going back to the beginning of Charlotte’s life, the best evidence I have is from the census, which indicates that she was born in Somerset, but it is not clear where in Somerset or exactly when. I wrote about this a while ago but haven’t really made any serious effort since to find her origins, but now would be a good time to review the available sources and see if anything helpful has appeared online in the intervening months.

My blogging schedule

6 Nov

In an attempt to simply matters for myself I decided to introduce a more rigid blogging schedule a couple of weeks ago. The idea being that I would spend less time deciding what to write about if I had a fixed theme each day.

So far I think it is working, but it is still early days, it does seem to have made things a little more efficient and freed up a bit more time for family history research, rather than just writing about it. The next stage is to try to get a few more posts planned ahead of time.

The seven themes I am using at the moment are:

Ancestral Profile - This a post focusing on one of my ancestors, some of these will be quite long and detailed whilst some will be quite short, depending on how much I know about the person in question. Once I have got a few more of these under my belt I will put up a page listing all the ancestors covered so far.

Picture Postcard Parade – This is a long running theme of mine, showcasing some of my postcard collection on this blog. Some of them are places connected with my family history, some are places that I have visited or mean something special to me and others are just postcards that appeal to me.

A-Z of English Genealogy – Each week I will use this post to write about one aspect of English genealogy, in an attempt to educate or at least provide something of use to my readers, aside from my usual scribblings about my relations.

Something Sussex – This post is an excuse to write about something to do with the county of Sussex, something that is not necessarily related to my family history but probably of historical interest in some way.

Free Friday – This theme allows me to write about anything I want to do about my family history. It will probably be related to the current project that I am working on but not always.

The Wandering Genealogist Unplugged – This will usually focus on something I have been doing away from the computer, hence the “unplugged”. This will usually mean either a visit to an archive, a visit to an ancestral location or graveyard, or just going for a walk. This means it will nearly always be on a Saturday, which is the only chance I have to get out.

Personal Genealogy Update – This is another long running theme, in which I write about what I have been up to during the previous week and what I hope to do in the coming week. Invariably the resulting post is mainly about what I have failed to achieve during the previous week.

I don’t know how long these themes will last. On a couple of occasions I have found myself with things to write about but they don’t fit in with any of the themes, perhaps in time I will do away with some of the rigidness of this regime, but for now it seems to be working.

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