My paternal grandfather’s great grandmother, my fourth great grandmother, was a London woman named Ann Mitchell (1805 – 1831), a missionary’s wife. The bare facts of her life can be established, and it is possible to speculate with some confidence about her immediate family.

Here she is getting married:

On 5 January 1826 Ann Holmes, aged 20, of the parish of Saint George Bloomsbury, married Rev. William Mitchell of the Parish of Saint Mary Islington, clerk, bachelor, full age. William Mitchell had obtained a licence the day before from the Diocese of London. Since Ann was under twenty-one, her mother Susan Holmes, widow, gave her consent to the marriage.

On 7 January 1826 the marriage was noted in the Oxford University and City Herald:

Clergymen married: On Thursday last, at Islington, by the Rev. E. Bickersteth, the Rev. Wm. Mitchell, of Bombay, to Ann, youngest daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, of this city.

Soon after their marriage the Mitchells travelled to India, in connection with the work of the Church. There they had three children:

  • Annie born 1826
  • Susan Augusta, my third great grandmother, born 1828
  • William Owen born 1829

Ann became unwell, however, and the Mitchells returned to England.

On 23 March 1831, Ann died, just twenty-six. Her death was announced in the Oxford University and City Herald on
26 March:

On Wednesday evening the 23rd instant, died, after a painful and lingering illness, aged 25 years, Ann, Wife of the Rev. William Mitchell, late of Bombay, and youngest Daughter of the late Mr Thomas Holmes of this city.

What about her parents and siblings?

I looked for other newspaper notices concerning Thomas Holmes and his children. I found a notice for an Alice Holmes, probably Ann’s sister, in the Oxford University and City Herald of 1 February 1834:

On Saturday last was married, at Newgate-street, London, Mr Robert Stuckey, of Cheapside, to Miss Alice Holmes, fifth daughter of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, of this city.”

Sadly, Alice Stuckey died a year later. The ‘Oxford Journal’ of 21 February 1835 has:

On the 2d inst. died, of consumption, in the 30th year of her age, Alice, the wife of Mr. Robert Stuckey, of Cheapside, London, and fifth daughter of the late Mr. T. Holmes. of this city.

It was possibly consumption that also killed Ann Mitchell, Alice Stuckey’s sister.

I also found a notice in the ‘Oxford University and City Herald’ of 19 November 1836 mentioning Ann’s brother-in-law:

On Monday last died, at Walworth, Mr Geo. Stanley, many years clerk in the Bank of England, son-in-law of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes of this city.

George Stanley married Elizabeth Holmes on 5 September 1814 at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, England. Stanley was a widower. One of the witnesses was Susan Holmes, probably the mother of Elizabeth and Ann.

In 1852 Ann’s mother died. The ‘Oxford Journal’ of 27 November 1852 has:

Nov. 25, at New-cross, near London, in the 87th year of her age, Mrs. Holmes, widow of the late Mr. Thomas Holmes, formerly of this city.

Death and burial records confirmed that this Mrs Holmes was Susannah Holmes aged 86 who died at Newcross Surrey and was buried at Nunhead, Surrey.

I looked at parish records for Oxfordshire and found the baptism for Alice Holmes, daughter of Thomas and Susannah, baptised on 13 January 1804 at All Saints Oxford. There was a baptism for Ann, daughter of Thomas and Susannah Holmes, at All Saints Oxford on 8 January 1806. I found some other baptisms including for a daughter Catharine baptised 11 May 1788. I also found the marriage of Thomas Holmes and Susanna Burton on 17 January 1785 at Saint Giles, Oxford. I believe this is the marriage of Ann’s parents.

I found two death notices for Thomas, one on Saturday 14 March 1812 in the Oxford University and City Herald: “On Thursday died Mr. Holmes, shoemaker, of Bear-lane, in this city.” The other in the Northampton Mercury of 21 March 1812 “Thursday sennight, in the 49th year of his age, Mr. Thomas Holmes, of Oxford.” I think this Thomas Holmes is Thomas Holmes the father of Ann.

I also found the burial record for Thomas Holmes, aged 49 on 18 March 1812 buried at St Ebbe’s, Oxford.

Reverend William Mitchell married again, and returned to India. In 1838 he was appointed by the Western Australian Missionary Society to help supply the spiritual needs of the residents of the Swan River Settlement, in what was to become the new colony of Western Australia. The Mitchell family, including the three children by his first wife Ann Mitchell nee Holmes, arrived there in 1838.

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