GREEN ISLAND COVE, N.L. – A family celebration took place at the Green Island Cove Lions Club on July 11 when over 50 people — mostly Mitchelmores — came together in celebration and to learn more about the Mitchelmore family tree.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation by special guest Michael Mitchelmore who travelled from Sydney, Australia with his wife Elisabeth.
A world traveller, Michael’s first job was teaching in Ghana. He then studied in Ohio before moving on to teach in Jamaica where he met Elisabeth and followed her to Germany. Then the couple moved to Australia.
While Michael first became interested in the history of the Mitchelmores during his college years, it wasn’t until the personal computer and the internet became commonplace that he started to make real progress with his research.
Michael first learned about the Mitchelmores of the small fishing village of Green Island Cove on Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula through a message on an internet genealogy board. He replied to the message but didn’t get any response.
Then, in 2006, Connie Mitchelmore and Michael began corresponding online and shared information they had gathered about their family history.
Connie’s husband Kevin Mitchelmore is from Green Island Cove. The couple came from Leduc, Alberta to take part in the family celebration.
With Connie’s added information, Michael was able to identify Thomas Mitchelmore and linked him into one of the several Mitchelmore trees that he had been able to reconstruct.
According to Michael’s notes, Thomas – who came from Dartmouth, South Devon, England — was the first settler in Green Island Cove in the 1850s.
Connie said during his presentation, Michael gave more information about where Thomas came from and what life would have been like back then.
Michael also highlighted the long-term link between Dartmouth and Newfoundland.
John Cabot sailed from Bristol to discover Newfoundland in 1497. By the late 16th century, Michael said, an extensive trade had been established between the West of England and Newfoundland.
According to Michael’s notes, “Fishermen traveled to Newfoundland in spring, returning in autumn. Their catch was processed on land (salt fish, cod liver oil) and other ships took the produce to the Mediterranean and returned to England with fruit and wine... Later, ships going to Newfoundland in Spring also took supplies for those who had settled there.”
Thomas was one of the last, if not the last, Dartmouth fishermen to settle in Newfoundland.
Michael’s research is as extensive as it is fascinating.
While documentation on the Mitchelmores goes back to the 1630s, Michael said, inferences can also be made from genetic genealogy.
“Our DNA type is most common in Northern Germany so perhaps we are descended from the Jutes, Angles or Saxons that invaded England in the 6th century,” he said.
(More information on the DNA project can be gleaned from the website noted at the end of the article).
Michael had been saying for several years that he would like to visit Newfoundland. Connie said she and all the other Mitchelmores were delighted when they heard that Michael and Elisabeth were indeed coming to the province.
Michael said he and Elisabeth are enjoying the trip a great deal.
“I finally decided to come and see what all these Mitchelmores were up to here, why they settled here and what their life was like,” he said. “It’s a lovely community, really impressive. And I really enjoyed meeting them all and telling them about what I’d found out.”
Thanks to Michael’s efforts, Chris Mitchelmore said the family now has thousands of people on its family tree.
Chris – who is from Green Island Cove — is also St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows MHA and Minister of Industry, Culture, Industry and Innovation.
“It’s not every day you get to meet a seventh cousin, twice removed who can tell you exactly how you are connected,” he said.
Chris has always been fascinated by family history and in 2007 travelled to Dartmouth, Devon County England to learn more about the Mitchelmores.
“We are so thankful for Michael, his research and others who assisted along the way,” he said.
Anyone who would like more information about Michael’s research can visit www.mitchelmore.info.
Where to start?
When asked how people might go about looking into the heritage of their own family tree, Michael Mitchelmore suggested they start by researching such things as births and marriages.
You work back from there, he said.
“There are records available on the internet; then you have the difficulty of finding which one is your actual ancestry,” he said.
Michael’s research has revealed over 150 different spellings for the name Mitchelmore.