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Thread: Help me to solve a family Mystery: My paternal line before my great grandfather.

  1. #1
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    Help me to solve a family Mystery: My paternal line before my great grandfather.

    I guess now is as good of a time as any to start this thread. I'm looking to leverage the expertise here to help me solve a family mystery.

    I've been trying for most of my adult life to determine the identity of my father's paternal great grandfather. My surname "Mitchell" came from my father's paternal great grandmother, Elizabeth Margaret Mitchell (EMM). She gave her illegitimate son the name Edward Leopold Mitchell (ELM) when he was born in 1893 (hence my user name).

    Pertinent facts:

    1. Edward Leopold Mitchell (died in Chicago in 1969) was born at the Fulham Workhouse Hospital (51.487140, -0.219982), in Fulham, London, England on 18 Jun 1893. The English birth certificate shows the mother, Elizabeth Margaret Mitchell of 20 Green Lane, but the father's name is left blank. I haven't found a 20 Green Lane but there is a 20 Parsons Green Lane (51.476547, -0.201211) and a 20 Broad Green Lane ( 51.494003 -0.224001). Parsons Green Lane is near the hospital, while Broad Green Lane is near her home in the 1891 census.

    2. In the 1891 census Elizabeth Margaret Mitchell (b. May 1870 in Ardwick, Manchester, England) lived with her parents and siblings in Fulham, London, England at 51.471767, -0.190876. Her father John Rintoul Mitchell was born in Montrose, Scotland. Her mother Minnie Margaret Hester Wilson was born in Calcutta, India.

    3. In 1897 they lived in Wandsworth, London, England (known because of EMM's father's death certificate)

    4. EMM and family lived in Glamorgan, Wales from 1871 to 1875; Manchester, England 1875 to 1881; London, England from 1881 to 1909. She immigrated to Mobile, AL,USA in 1909 and died in 1944 in Knoxville, TN. Her paternal grandparents lived in Manchester, England until their deaths in 1874 (grandfather John Mitchell) and 1888 (grandmother Eliza Rintoul), and she had a paternal uncle and aunt living in Manchester in the 1880s as well (They had moved to Devon, England in the 1891 census). I mention this info as she may not have met the mystery man in London, but possibly in Manchester when she lived there or visited relatives.

    5. There is no known Edwards or Leopolds on the Mitchell side. He could have been named this because his mother liked these names, or named after two recently deceased English princes Prince Leopold (d. 1888), and Prince Eddy aka Albert Victor, son of Edward VII, (d. 1892), or for the unknown father...I have looked at all the Edward Leopolds (Leopold as a middle and last name) in England during this period.

    6. EMM had no other children. ELM and wife has one son, my father's father, Edward Rintoul Mitchell ERM (1918-1970). ERM has one son via his 1st marriage, and 3 daughters via his 2nd (one is still living)

    7. My father has done 111 marker y-dna test and the BigY test at FTDNA. He has also done autosomal testing at 23andme, FTDNA, and ancestry.com (gedmatch kit #s M462421, F249822, A876471 respectively). His maternal half-brother has done the autosomal test at FTDNA (gedmatch F269404); and a paternal 2nd cousin (Gedmatch A315593) related to ELM's wife, Dora Morgan has also tested. I'm hoping my father's paternal half sister will test soon.

    8. My father currently has no 37, 67 or 111 marker matches at FTDNA. His closest 67 marker matches using other available means are (GD is infinite/hybrid methodology):
    Guess GD=8/9, Zehendmeyer/Zentmyer GD=9/9, Edwards GD=10/11, Aguilar GD=11/13, , Boyland GD=11/13, Stewart GD=12/13, Stines GD=11/13, Williams GD=11/13, Baker/Becker GD=12/13, Harrison GD=12/13.

    9. He has 186 25 marker matches, but I have eliminated all but a few by either using the TiP feature, being in a different Y haplogroup, or by finding they have high GDs on ysearch. His closest remaining 25 marker matches are:
    Bowles GD=1 (R-M269). Carpenter GD=2 (R-M269), Taylor GD=2, Glezen/Gleson GD=2, Harrison GD=2, Kindervater GD=2, Mergeay/Merget GD=2, Reid GD=2, Rushing GD=2, Waugh
    GD=2

    10. On the SMGF he has a match with a Thomas 24 markers GD=1, Davis 21 markers GD=1, Laws 26 markers GD=2, Allen 29 markers GD=3.

    11. On Ysearch his closest matches are, Leppert 26 markers GD=2, Stauffer 41 markers GD=4

    12. When ancestry.com had it's y-dna database up, he had matches to Sutton 43 markers GD=4, Fox 28 markers GD=3

    13. His closest match via BigY is MRCA Horatio Sylvanus Roberts 1822, London, with a 111 marker GD of 21/24 (infinite/hybrid). Yfull estimates the MRCA between Roberts and my father is 1000 BC.

    14. I know absolutely nothing about this mystery father to Edward Leopold Mitchell, however here are some interesting tidbits:

    a. For some reason my father thought that Elizabeth Margaret Mitchell's married name was Atkins...but I have found nothing on this, except that the next door neighbor in the 1891 census was a married man named Charles Joseph Atkins (b ~1853 in Bishop Monkton, Yorkshire). I've wondered if he might be the father but my father has no close y dna matches to any Atkins and I've found no autosomal matches to this line of Atkins.

    b. EMM did marry a William Whitcomb in the US around 1915. When EMM came to the US in 1909, she traveled with and lived in the US with a William Keeling Syson (WKS), his wife and their daughter. WKS was born in 1870 in Manchester, England and immigrated to the US in 1894. In 1909 WKS' daughter got sick on a trip to England and EMM traveled to the US with them as the family nurse. She was living with the Syson family in the 1910 census. I've wondered if WKS also might be the father, but again no matches to the surname at this time. This Syson line was originally from Nottinghamshire where the name was also spelled Sison, Siseton, Syerson.

    Well that's a good start as to what I do and don't know.

    Anybody up for a challenge is helping me figure this out?
    Last edited by MitchellSince1893; 03-09-2015 at 03:23 AM.
    Y-DNA R-Z49>Z142>Z12222>FGC12378>FGC12401>FGC12384
    Ancestry: 37% English, 26% Scot/Ulster Scot, 14% Welsh, 14% German 3% Ireland, 3% Nordic, 2% French & Dutch, 1% India

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    Hi Mitchell, thanks for posting your story. I'll see can I help in whatever little way I can.

    I looked around for a bit on the 1888 Ordinance Survey Map that's online. Using your co-ordinates, I had a sweep around searching for any 'Green Lanes'. Aside from the Parsons Green Lane Area; I cannot determine if there is a plain, 'Green Lane' nearby. I imagine that you've done the same with old maps.

    What's the significance of the birth being in the Hospital of the Workhouse? Were women incarcerated for being pregnant out of wedlock in Victorian Britain or is the infirmary here just providing a service to the public. If the former, there might be a paper trail of your ancestor being admitted to the institution itself which might yield some information.

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    The workhouse complex had an infirmary on site (now called Charing Cross Hospital) at the same location. It was probably the closest hospital to where she lived. I've assumed she went there to have the baby and left a few days later as the hospital records show her checking in on the day of the birth and checking out about 2 weeks later.

    Some info about it here http://www.workhouses.org.uk/Fulham/
    and here http://www.londongardensonline.org.u....asp?ID=HAF009
    In 1880 additional land was purchased by the Fulham Board of Guardians and a new Infirmary opened in 1884, which later became a general hospital
    Y-DNA R-Z49>Z142>Z12222>FGC12378>FGC12401>FGC12384
    Ancestry: 37% English, 26% Scot/Ulster Scot, 14% Welsh, 14% German 3% Ireland, 3% Nordic, 2% French & Dutch, 1% India

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    Mitchell,

    No silver bullets here. I would cross your fingers that you get a close atDNA macth at ANCESTRY that is NOT on your Mum's line. I say ANCESTRY because with a little luck there may be a huge influx of British testers and eventually you might get some colaescence around surnames or places. It is so frustrating to be in your biat and done everything you can and still have no matches at all. Have you completed the weighting of your markers. My guess is you have a number of very rare markers making matching nearly impossible.


    I may have suggested this before but have a look here https://sites.google.com/site/wheato...ore-with-the-y

    I would be more concerend with SNP matches especially if you can get to a genealogical time frame. The back and forth STR mutations can really muddle the time frame.

    Although we have a group of about 14 matching WHEATONs L2 our closest downstream SNP still places our closest matches outside our cluster probably nthousand years back or more as well!
    I wish I coukd offer some real help......all you need is that one match!
    Kelly

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    Any Y-DNA matches to Rowse or Gallois?
    1891 census
    Edward Leopold Rowse, a young house doctor at some institution in Kensington London
    Edward Leopold Gallois, a teenager boarding in Hampstead London

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kwheaton View Post
    Mitchell,

    No silver bullets here. I would cross your fingers that you get a close atDNA macth at ANCESTRY that is NOT on your Mum's line. I say ANCESTRY because with a little luck there may be a huge influx of British testers and eventually you might get some colaescence around surnames or places. It is so frustrating to be in your biat and done everything you can and still have no matches at all. Have you completed the weighting of your markers. My guess is you have a number of very rare markers making matching nearly impossible.


    I may have suggested this before but have a look here https://sites.google.com/site/wheato...ore-with-the-y

    I would be more concerend with SNP matches especially if you can get to a genealogical time frame. The back and forth STR mutations can really muddle the time frame.

    Although we have a group of about 14 matching WHEATONs L2 our closest downstream SNP still places our closest matches outside our cluster probably nthousand years back or more as well!
    I wish I coukd offer some real help......all you need is that one match!
    Kelly
    Looking forward to the influx of the UK participants. Yes, on y-dna my father does have some rare STR values, in particular DYS395s1 values of 11-15. In fact I know of no one who is P312 that has these values. I have a feeling this must be a relatively recent mutation based on the lack of matches.

    For R1b types, my dad has the following minority/rare values: 391=10, 389i/ii=14/30, GATA-H4=10, 456=15, 576=16, 413a=21, 617=14.

    My dad has tested with ancestry.com so no worries about my mom's line there.

    Because my dad's maternal half brother has tested (FTDNA and on loaded to gedmatch), I'm able to somewhat narrow the potential matches that pertain to the mystery man (Mr. X) if they have tested at ftdna or uploaded to gedmatch. But one has to remember just because someone matches my father but not my half uncle, that's only the first step. The next step is to see if my dad and his half brother also share that same segment. Only when my dad and his half brother share the same segment and a third party matches my dad but not his half brother is this a possible match to Mr. X.

    In this situation there is still a ~50% chance the match is to my father's paternal grandmother (surname Morgan from Newtown, Wales). As I mentioned earlier, there is a Morgan 2nd cousin on both ancestry.com and gedmatch. So, I then look to see if this potential Mr X. line matches matches the Morgan line (again one has to have a shared segment between my dad and the Morgan 2nd cousin where they match my dad but not the 2nd cousin).

    Despite having 1000s of matches on Gedmatch very few meet all the above criteria. And even for those few who do, I attempt to figure out there ancestry. Of the hundreds or thousands of ancestors, which one is Mr X's line...if any?

    Hence trying to find the needle in a haystack. I've been at this for over 2 years, and still nothing. I may have already found the guy and not even know it...or none of the current matches are to his ancestry.

    All of this is little pieces of a big puzzle. You never know what is the little piece you need to advance to the next step.

    For years I couldn't find Elizabeth Margaret Mitchell in the US. I looked at 1910, 1920, 1930 census records and nothing. When the 1940 census record was released recently, I did find her, but her name was listed as "Edwardia Whitcomb". I was like, what the hell is that? I had never heard either of these names. Then a year later I remembered I was told she died in 1943 in Knoxville, so I systematically went through all the death records for Knoxville in 1943...nothing...then I went to 1944, and bingo. Found a Margaret Whitcomb died in Knoxville in 1944, born in Mancheter England. That was my great great grandmother...finally found her. Equipped with this info I was able to find her in the 1920 and 1930 census records as she had married a William Whitcomb between 1910 and 1920 census.

    Same thing happened with finding when she came to the US. For year I couldn't find her arrival. But I had this old newpaper article from 1950 interviewing her son, Edward Leopold about how he arrived in the US. In the article he described how his mother has accompanied an American family from Mobile, AL to the US as the family nurse. About 4 months ago I was on ancestry.com searching arrivals to the US, and found this Elizabeth Mitchell who was listed as German nationality on the Lusitania in 1909. I had seen this entry many times before, but ignored it because my Elizabeth Mitchell was English. But I noticed that her occupation was listed as a nurse. Right below her entry was a husband wife and child (Surname Syson) all from Mobile, Alabama. BINGO! I finally found her arrival...that error on nationality and prevented me from digging deeper for years. With this info I was finally able to find her in the 1910 census living with the Syson family.

    I had seen this 1910 entry for her many times, but her birthplace was listed incorrectly as "Alabama" so I never pursued it any further...until I had the missing piece of the family surname Syson.

    My point being, although I don't feel I'm making much progress, I probably already have some puzzle pieces that won't make any sense until I get that connecting piece.
    Last edited by MitchellSince1893; 03-15-2015 at 10:28 PM.
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  13. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by J1 DYS388=13 View Post
    Any Y-DNA matches to Rowse or Gallois?
    1891 census
    Edward Leopold Rowse, a young house doctor at some institution in Kensington London
    Edward Leopold Gallois, a teenager boarding in Hampstead London
    I've researched Edward Leopold Rowse before but couldn't find anything that I connect to. No matches for Rowse and Gallois on FTDNA, 23andme. 1 match for Rowse at ancestry.com. Mary Rowse b 1710 in Norfolk, VA.
    Y-DNA R-Z49>Z142>Z12222>FGC12378>FGC12401>FGC12384
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    There is a great deal of luck with matches. That 'luck' being that a relative on your paternal line will have the motivation/curiosity/finance to order a test. In a British and Irish context, I imagine that our American cousins are more likely to get a test due to personal motivation to find out where one is from rather than someone with a traditional Irish/British surname who takes their origins for granted. That's why I think Family Surname projects have a bias in that the people who populate the projects are generally the descendants of those who emigrated with those surnames rather than the direct descendants of those of those surnames in those locations in past censuses etc.

    That's not to say that it's flawed, it's just that I don't think that there is such curiosity among people here in Ireland and the UK. That might change as the relative price of these tests continues to go down with new technology.

    As time goes on, the chances of you getting a hit on a direct match is pretty good. Do you have any siblings and other relations on this paternal line who have tested. That might be essential in eliminating some surnames from your list.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lamahorse View Post
    Do you have any siblings and other relations on this paternal line who have tested. That might be essential in eliminating some surnames from your list.
    My father has one living paternal half sister, whom will hopefully test soon. Edward Leopold Mitchell had no known siblings.

    I'm just hoping I can solve this mystery while my father is still alive. He's in good heatlh at age 74.
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    You mean you share a DNA segment with someone named Rowse?
    It's a very localised name http://gbnames.publicprofiler.org/Ma...y=GB&type=name

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