Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Finally I have found the piece of information I have been looking for.

Around 1985 or so I began working on genealogy for my family. I got everyone I could around the kitchen table at 31 Palmer Street in Medford Ma. There were so many family members still alive then. Rose and Jake Cincotta, my mother Mary Cafarella Mitchell McLaughlin, Aunt May Cafarella, Jenny Vasquez etc. They helped me a great deal with the Cafarella side of the family.
On the Mitchell side, it was a different story. I barely knew the Mitchell relatives as there was something of a gap in ages, and those in Canada were hard for me to access till I was driving and the older members were quite old by that time. I could, of course, talk to my mother, but she had conflicting stories. It may have been that Mom got our Grandfather Mitchell in unguarded moments, and had more accurate information than others had. As a result, much of what she told me has proved right. She suspected that he was embarrassed by the circumstances of his youth, and kept much of it quiet.
Anyway, I started looking for William Everett Mitchell. There was not very much information available. I found his marriage info in Malden, and that was about it. I had to rely on Mom and some of the sketchy stories from Bertha Northrup in Hatfield Point, New Brunswick. Unfortunately, like many people, she was only marginally interested as a young woman, and some of the information was garbled.
So, I made a trip to the National Archives in Waltham Ma. This was a bit of an undertaking at the time as I was still living in far northern Maine. I will never forget how good Aunt May and Uncle Joe were to put me up regularly in Medford Ma., otherwise I would never have been able to become familiar with Massachusetts. They always had a place for us to stay.
I was extremely fortunate, as I found the information I wanted the very first day.
I was able to confirm that William Everett was in an orphanage. The story is elsewhere, so I won't go into detail here.
So, I duly recorded this in my notebook of family history which expanded exponentially for several years.
A number of years later, Mom asked if she could borrow the notebook. It contained original letters from family members about family stories etc. in pockets, as well as all the family trees for each branch. This was about the same time that she started borrowing things from me that came from family, and I would later find them in my brother's house. Oh well, I didn't get her thinking. Anyway, she kept the notebook for a couple of years, and died without returning it to me. That was the last I ever saw of it.
All of that work was lost.
Well, much has been recreated and with years of work I have added even more to it than I had before, with a few gaps here and there. However, no matter how much research I did, I could not come up with that research on William E. again.
A couple of days ago, I called the National Archives to get some information on whether the same records would be available. Things have changed in research. Records are often put into different formats, are unavailable for years at a time, or perhaps(I thought) adoption records may have become unavailable.
I could not really remember how I had found the record before, but I described it as best I could.
A nice young woman named Priscilla called me back, I missed her call and called her back. She called again. I love phone tag. Anyway, as I described my problem, she became intrigued, and began searching for the information....They do not do that!
But because of her interest, and desire to help, she was able to find another record that filled in the gap, and passed it on to me.
Thanks Priscilla!

William E was born in 1874, and was in Saint Mary's Episcopal Orphanage in Lowell Massachusetts as of the 1880 census. the reason I had a problem finding it was that the last name was spelled differently. At the time it was spelled Mitchel. This may have been a mistake, or perhaps it was the correct spelling and we have all been wrong for the last century and a half. We cannot know at present. It certainly opens up avenues for future research.

So, that was a long story for one nugget of information. I hope it was at least interesting.
...back to Mitchells that married into the Mayflower families in the early 1600s.