Author Topic: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL  (Read 1264 times)

Offline OnTheRoad

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Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« on: Monday 14 November 16 12:09 GMT (UK) »
While researching my great grandfather, John William Mitchell born in Lopen, Somerset and baptised on 28 August 1864, I have come across two military records on FindMyPast with similar references on FamilySearch. My question is - how can I be sure that these records relate to my great grandfather? The middle name does not appear on these documents, but the birth place and year seem to match.

Also I don't quite understand what the documents mean. The first one appears to be where he has signed up for service in 1882 for 6 years with the 3rd Battalion P A Somerset Light Infantry, then in 1883 there is a similar document with the same name and birth details signing up for 12 years with Prince Albert's (Somersetshire Light Infantry) - 13th Foot.

Even more confusing is that I have also found him on the 1881 Census serving as an ordinary seaman on the vessel Mellona registered in Gravesend. I have assumed that he was in the Merchant Navy but have been unable to find anything to support this, other than the census.

I cannot find any other John (William) Mitchell born in Lopen in 1864 so it would appear that all of these records belong to the same person. I would be grateful if someone who has knowledge of these matters could advise whether it is likely to be the same person and, if so, how would he have been in the navy as well as the somerset light infantry?

He married late in 1884 then moved to Wales where he died a few years later in 1891, aged 27.

Thanks in anticipation :)
Cherryl
Dublin:  O'Leary, Greer, Webb, Hood
Seavington, Somerset: Brake, Gibbs, Bargery, Lockyer, England, Phelps, Bishop
Lopen, Somerset: Mitchell
Glamorgan: Mitchell
Pembrokeshire: Griffiths
Cardiganshire: Evans, Jones

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Offline seaweed

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #1 on: Monday 14 November 16 13:24 GMT (UK) »
You wrote
Even more confusing is that I have also found him on the 1881 Census serving as an ordinary seaman on the vessel Mellona registered in Gravesend. I have assumed that he was in the Merchant Navy but have been unable to find anything to support this, other than the census.

MELLONA was berthed in Gravesend on census night. She was built and registered in Guernsey. A relatively small Schooner of 126 tons.
As no central personal Merchant Navy records were kept from 1857-1913 the only records are the vessels Crew Agreements. The 1881 Crew Agreements for MELLONA, official number 14872, are stored here.
https://www.mun.ca/mha/holdings/viewcombinedcrews.php?Official_No=14872

There will be two C/A's for 1881 but the information contained within will be minumal. Probably his previous vessel (If he had one) and maybe his home address.

These 1881 Crew Agreements are available on line for free but are incomplete.  I cannot find reference to MELLONA

http://www.mun.ca/mha/1881/crews1881.php
Dim ateb yn well nag ateb anghywir. Nid oes dim yn ddall fel rhai nad ydynt yn dymuno gweld

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Offline OnTheRoad

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #2 on: Monday 14 November 16 14:28 GMT (UK) »
Thanks for the information, Seaweed. Looks like I have some more digging to do ::)
Dublin:  O'Leary, Greer, Webb, Hood
Seavington, Somerset: Brake, Gibbs, Bargery, Lockyer, England, Phelps, Bishop
Lopen, Somerset: Mitchell
Glamorgan: Mitchell
Pembrokeshire: Griffiths
Cardiganshire: Evans, Jones

Online MaxD

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #3 on: Monday 14 November 16 14:46 GMT (UK) »
Leaving the maritime bit to the expert*. the explanation for the two army documents is:

The 1882 one is when your man signed on to 3rd Battalion Somerset Militia.  The militia were a part time voluntary force and hence he continued his civilian employment while turning up for training periodically.  His militia service ends on 24 July 1883 when he:

decides he likes the uniform (or the regular money) and joins the regular army in the associated Somerset Light Infantry on 24 July 1883 and then serves until February 1884 when he is discharged unfit for further service.

maxD

*Should just add his first docs don't say anything about previous sea service, he is a carter by trade.
Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline OnTheRoad

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 15 November 16 03:10 GMT (UK) »
Thank you very much, MaxD, for that information. I am beginning to think that the Merchant Navy thread may be a red herring - there always seems to be plenty of them about! I have not found any other references to a life on the sea either. I will spend more time on the 1881 census to see if I can find another match for my John Mitchell nearer to home.

I am still trying to work out how I can be sure that the John Mitchell that joined the militia is the same person as John William Mitchell, born in the same place around the same time.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge.
Cherryl
Dublin:  O'Leary, Greer, Webb, Hood
Seavington, Somerset: Brake, Gibbs, Bargery, Lockyer, England, Phelps, Bishop
Lopen, Somerset: Mitchell
Glamorgan: Mitchell
Pembrokeshire: Griffiths
Cardiganshire: Evans, Jones

Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday 15 November 16 09:42 GMT (UK) »
Quote
I am still trying to work out how I can be sure that the John Mitchell that joined the militia is the same person as John William Mitchell, born in the same place around the same time.

You could compare the signatures on the army records with that on the marriage register
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk

Online MaxD

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #6 on: Tuesday 15 November 16 11:09 GMT (UK) »
I see the dilemma.  Have you followed this trail:

On the 1884 regular army form John Mitchell says he has a mother Elizabeth and a younger brother Samuel.  In 1871, a Samuel Mitchell age 6 is living with his grandfather Samuel England in Lopen and (among others) Elizabeth Mitchell married (no spouse there but there was a Thomas Mitchell/Elizabeth England marriage in Mar 1864)).  There is another grandson John age given as 4.  In 1881 however the same grandparents now have a son John England age 18 (not there in 1871) and grandson Samuel age 14.  The ages and names are a bit mixed up but given the age of the grandparents and the (possible) disappearance of father Thomas I'd look very closely at this lot being the family of the army John. 

Then we have (and I'm sure you have this already)
John William Mitchell baptised Lopen 28 August 1864, father Thomas mother Elizabeth is a very good match for the John (no middle name given) who joins the militia and then the regular army.  Age at joining the militia 17yrs 10mths gives Aug 1864 birth.  The precision of the age given suggests he isn't lying about his age and is consistent with the age he gives on the later army form.  It also gells with the Q3  1864 Chard district (includes Lopen) registration.  On the 1883 regular army form we see his mother is Elizabeth and he has a younger brother Samuel.

The Mellona man who calls himself John William gives his place of birth as Chard and age 18 (on 3 April 1881) giving a birth year of 1862 /63 and I find no connection with the Mitchell/England folk (although it may be there somewhere).  Like you I suspect, I can't find a good candidate for another man who later joins the Merchant Navy but who is then back in Lopen in 1882 as a Carter joining the militia. That said, my gut feeling is that they are two different people.  I would slant your search towards tying down the Mellona man  and try to prove he is not the army one rather that trying to proce them the same, just a different way of going about it.

Does his marriage certificate in 1884 say anything about being an army pensioner or refer to sea service?

Hope this doesn't confuse!

maxD

Double  Essex/Suffolk
Randle/Millington Warwicks
Sokser/Klingler Austria/Croatia

Offline OnTheRoad

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #7 on: Friday 18 November 16 06:01 GMT (UK) »
Thanks MaxD for taking the time to look at this for me.
I had already found most of the records you mentioned although the army records I have do not show the same level of detail. Where are you finding this information? I have located two records on FindMyPast but neither of them mention his mother, for example. Is there somewhere else that I can obtain more information about the army records? I have the signed attestation forms but nothing more.

In the meantime I have ordered a birth, marriage and death certificate for the John whom I believe to be my relative. but it takes such a long time for the certificates to arrive here in Australia. I usually wait about 4 weeks for them to arrive - very frustrating:-(

Elizabeth England seems to have come from Seavington and this would tie in with other relatives I have found there. The town has a great web site that is very helpful for researching.
Regards
Cherryl
Dublin:  O'Leary, Greer, Webb, Hood
Seavington, Somerset: Brake, Gibbs, Bargery, Lockyer, England, Phelps, Bishop
Lopen, Somerset: Mitchell
Glamorgan: Mitchell
Pembrokeshire: Griffiths
Cardiganshire: Evans, Jones

Offline ShaunJ

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Re: Somerset Light Infantry in early 1880s - MITCHELL
« Reply #8 on: Friday 18 November 16 07:36 GMT (UK) »
Quote
I have the signed attestation forms but nothing more.

There are more pages to those documents. Click on the arrow at the side to move on to the next image.
UK Census info. Crown Copyright, from www.nationalarchives.gov.uk