I have made great strides in the last few days in extending the family back. This really was just dumb luck for the most part, searching a few key words that led me to the work of genealogical societies, historical societies and authors. If I have forgotten to thank you for your unwitting help, let me do it now. Thanks.
Now I have the largest task to perform for this site, and that is finding the actual Mitchell line. As you have probably noticed, there is a lot of information on Henrietta Day's side of the family, but William Everett Mitchell is a real bust.
Part of the problem was his own secrecy. It was a real stigma to have been placed in an orphanage. I am sure he felt that through his entire life. But he tried to cover his past, and that leaves us with very few clues as to the family history.
There are a few directions that this story could take:
1. There may have been no marriage, Maggie Patterson could be a remarried name, and we will never be able to trace the family. In fact we do not even know if we are Mitchells or Mitchels as he signed Mitchell for much of the documentation I have found, but Mitchel was on his orphanage records. Of course the phonetic sound was more important for most people for centuries, and in a poorly educated population, correct spelling was just ignored.
2. There may be a large family centered around northern Massachusetts..Lowell or perhaps Bradford where he said he spent his summers.. Perhaps they did not approve of William's mother, and when she remarried, no one would take the child when the new father would not. Certainly there are plenty of Mitchells around as candidates.
3. There is a family in Virginia where he always said that there was a plantation that belonged to his family. We know it could not be his Mother's family there as she said that she was from Ireland in William's marriage registration.
4. He may have had a brother Edward or Edmond who might be researched under the name Mitchell, Patterson or some other name we are not aware of.
5. The family could be loyalists from New Brunswick who had ties in Virginia. Many people like Henrietta Day came to the US for work in the 19th century. Henrietta listed herself as an "Operator".
6. The family may have come into the country with Experience Mitchell in the 1620s. They could also have been recent immigrants or anything in between! The first Mitchells of Haverhill Mass arrived there in the 1600s, but Clarence B. Mitchell was a prominent businessman mentioned in the history of Haverhill in 1905, who came there from Maine to start his women's clothing business.
I know for certain that William was born in 1874(or around there). I know his mother's name was Maggie Patterson if the registration is to be believed.(Could she have been a stepmother?) I know that he signed his father's name as William E. Mitchell. I know that he was placed in St. Mary's orphanage in Lowell Massachusetts before 1880.
I also know that William was a very common name used in Mitchell families wherever I find them. I also find a good number of men named Bruce.
Funny too is the fact that Mehitible is mentioned in Henrietta's family and also in the Mitchells of Haverhill. Now there is a name to carry through your life!
If anyone has information that will help me to proceed with this search, even the tiniest crumb, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me with any stories you may have at: firstname.lastname@example.org