Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Luck & Perseverance

When dancing with the ancestors, luck and perseverance play a big part.

This past weekend, while dancing with the ancestors at the State Archives in Nashville, Tennessee, I was going through a book about the McMinnville, Warren County, Tennessee newspapers that listed obituaries and other notices. I came across the following notice: Dock Mitchell uncle of Charles A. Mitchell of here is visiting for the first time in 43 years/lives in Eagle Springs, Texas.

First - tracking the Mitchell line has been a wee bit difficult since little was known about the Mitchell line. My Great Grandfather Charles A. Mitchell's death certificate only listed his parents surnames. No first names. No middle names. Just the surnames Mitchell and Forrest.

Great! Fine! Dandy!

Well, at the State Archives one Saturday looking through the book The Heritage of Warren County and, in a section about the Forrest family, I came across the following mention: Martha Forrest married William Mitchell!


I now had a bit more to go on, but . . . just had to prove I had the right Forrest family. It turns out I did. This was confirmed through DNA and getting in contact with other members of the Mitchell Clan . . . who I didn't know existed at the time, more on that later, and wouldn't have known existed if not for this blog and a comment a distant cousin left. Again, luck and perseverance.

If I hadn't known the last name Forrest, I wouldn't have turned to that section in the book, and found the reference to who Martha, daughter of Richard Albert Forrest, married. On the same day I found the reference to Dock Mitchell, I also found my 2 x Great Grandmother Martha Forrest-Mitchell's obituary that mentioned she was the daughter of Rev. Richard Forrest!

Can I have an Amen, Sistah? 

But, back to the reference about Dock Mitchell. As I mentioned, tracing this line hasn't been the easiest task in the Universe. The death certificate was not much help, other than providing 2 x Great Grandma's surname, which was a help. Then, there was the reference in the book that gave me her, and her husband's, first name. But, I was still operating under the assumption that Great Grandpa Charlie Mitchell was an only child. It's what my dad told me. I believed him. Why wouldn't I? Well, last October, when I mentioned that to my cousin in CA, she informed me that Charles had a brother that moved to Texas.

Well, now everything I was finding made sense. Every Census Record I discovered indicated that Charles was not an only child. Come to find out, he was one of 11 children. So much for that only child theory. I still have no clue where dad came up with that one.

So, back to good old Uncle Dock Mitchell. Since I didn't know anything about William, other than he had parents out there somewhere, and possibly siblings, this was the first major clue I had about his family, and maybe tracing back another generation.

Once home from the Archives, I get on Ancestry and with just basic - Dock Mitchell and Eagle Springs, TX - information, I . . . 

. . . discovered that Doctor James Mitchell was the son of Allen Mitchell and his second, if not third, wife Sarah Wilson, and that he was one of seven children.

I now had my 2 x Great Grandfather William C. Mitchell's father name, and the names of his half-siblings!

Woo-hoo, Amen, Sistah, and all that jazz.

This find was as much about perseverance, as it was about luck. So, when dancing with the ancestors, don't discount luck, and don't discount books regarding newspaper clippings. If not for that book, I wouldn't have been able to trace back to 3 x Great Grandpa Allen Mitchell.

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