Sunday, May 7, 2017

Elizabeth Mitchell Baptism - Solved!

My 3Xgreat-grandmother was born Elizabeth Mitchell in 1820 (according to census records). She married George Ockenden in 1850 in Ifield, Sussex, England.

To go back further to the previous generation, I needed to get a record of her birth, but being born before 1837 I would need to get a baptism record. Census records confirm a birth year of about 1820 and a location of Crawley, Sussex. Her marriage record also confirms the birth year and gives a name for her father of James Mitchell.

A number of years ago, I did a search on the British Isles Vital Records Index for an Elizabeth Mitchell born in 1820 with a father named James and found a baptism record from Brighton, Sussex, which is not far from Crawley. So I made the assumption that this was the baptism record. The parents were James and Elizabeth Mitchell. Now, this was back in my early days of genealogical research when I really didn't know any better and so back then I was not as thorough with my research as I am now. So, I didn't bother questioning the fact that the baptism was in a different location than the other records would have suggested.

From there, I started researching the next generation by looking for a marriage between a James Mitchell and an Elizabeth as well as early census records.

Fast-forward to today and I'm undergoing a genealogy do-over of sorts. When I looked at the information I had, I started questioning how I knew that the mother's name was Elizabeth. I realized that the only proof that I had was the baptism index record for an Elizabeth Mitchell born in Brighton, and then started to question it. I did some more research and eventually found a baptism record for an Elizabeth Mitchell baptised in Crawley, Sussex in 1820 to a James & Mary Mitchell.

Not only does this Baptism fit the time and place, but when I had another look at the older census records I found that I had completely missed this clue from the 1851 census, the year after George and Elizabeth were married:

Living on either side of George and Elizabeth are his parents and her parents. I completely missed this because I was looking for a James and Elizabeth rather than a James and Mary. The answer had been staring me in my face all along!

As an added bonus, I have also noted that there is a family with the surname Bowers also on the census page. My suspicion is that Mary's maiden name is Bowers so I will need to look into that a bit further.

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