Michell family of Cornwall

We haven’t made any startling family history discoveries for a while, and recently I’ve been working on the Michell family of Cornwall. My great great great grandmother Mary Michell (1791-1873) married Richard Greenaway at Blisland, Cornwall in 1812, and they had nine children.

Mary Michell herself was the daughter of Benjamin Michell (1767-1848) and Elizabeth Lego (1762-1837) — I wonder if there is a rich relative somewhere who made a fortune out of children’s toys! I’ve been following up some of Mary’s siblings, and quite a number of their descendants seem to have emigrate to Ontario in Canada and then skipped over the border to Michigan in the USA. Several branches of the family seem to have changed the spelling of the surname to Mitchell, and even those who didn’t often had it recorded with that spelling by census takers and the like, so Michell was probably pronounced the same as Mitchell, with the emphasis on the first syllable.

So quite a number of Michell descendants ended up in Osceola County, Michigan.

Osceola County, Michigan, was originally called Unwattin, and is shown as such on this 1842 map.
By Henry Schenck Tanner – File:1842 A new map of Michigan with its canals roads distances by H.S. Tanner

The US and Canadian branches of the Michell family lived about 320 miles apart, though both were quite a lot further from Cornwall.

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Greenaway and Michell additions

I was looking in search engines for the Greenaway family and came across a new cousin, I think.

My 3 great grandparents were Richard Greenaway and Mary Michell, who lived on Bodmin Moor (mostly in the adjacent villages of Blisland and St Breward). So when I came across a web site that had both names, I looked more closely, and found that Muriel Trendell was indeed researching the same families as me, and had taken my family tree back a couple of generations back on the Michell side, adding Lego and Gelly branches to my family tree, which I had not known about before.

That was quite exciting, and finding new cousins is always interesting. But some family mysteries remain.

Muriel’s web side shows a Caroline Greenaway, born 1814, as a daughter of Richard Greenaway and Mary Michell. There is a Caroline, aged 26, staying with the Greenaway family in St Breward in the 1841 census. That census unfortunately does not show relationships in the household, but it looks as though she was more likely to have been a niece or some other relation. There was also a baby, apparently hers, named Reynold Greenaway. The only likely candidate on Free BMD seems to be a William Reginald Renney Greenaway, born at about the right time.

In the same census and in the same household there are a Thomas, aged 12, and a George, aged 6. Trying to find their families in subsequent censuses and other records is not easy, however. It appears that there were two Thomases born in St Breward about the right time, neither of whom was baptised there.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in these families, and trying to solve some of these mysteries, please get in touch.