Having defined my objectives it is time to look at each one and decide what sources I am going to need to use to best achieve those objectives.
Trace the movement of William Henry and Harriet MITCHELL and their children across Hampshire between 1860 and 1901
This is a rather wide ranging objective, and whilst I already have some information on where the family were (mainly census information) there are many gaps and conflicting information.
To start with I am going to focus on baptism records, using the places of birth recorded on the various census returns I will work through trying to find where each child was baptised and hopefully that will give me the ‘abode’ where the family were living. I have a few likely baptism records from the IGI that need checking, so that will give me a head start on some of the baptisms.
Once I have a rough idea of where the families were at any given year I would like to check some school records, hopefully admission registers will tell me previous schools (and thus parishes) and when they leave the registers may tell me where they were going.
That will probably be about all I will have time for, but if time does permit then I would like to start looking at Poor Law Union records to see if they appear, because I fear they must have struggled at times with such a large family and only a labourers wage.
Ultimately I want to be able to draw up a timeline for the family and plot all these places on a map. Then the next step will be to return to the record office at another time and carry out some more research looking at estate records and rent or rate books to see if I can find out more detail about the family.
Find the parents and siblings of William Henry MITCHELL and his wife Harriet WRIGHT
This is perhaps an easier objective, I already have father’s names and occuption from their marriage certificate, and age and place of birth from the census returns. It should be a simple case of checking out the baptism registers for the place of birth around the right year to find them.
Once found I would work backwards trying to find any earlier children and then forwards to find any later children. Then I would switch to the marriage register and try and find a marriage record for the parents.
Having built a basic family group I should be able to compare this to families in the census and identify the correct one. This is probably as far as I can take the research in one day, as it will then be time to stop and take stock of the situation, identify any issues and plan the next stage.
to be continued…