Bright, Mitchell, Bullimore and Alabaster

My mothers ancestors were mainly London based and as I have discovered, Londoners who did not achieve high status positions are hard to track down. But this does not mean the quest is any less interesting or the discoveries not as important, in some ways the harder people are to trace the greater the joy when they are discovered!

Londoners actually moved houses very regularly, this may have been due to the fact that houses and streets were always being modified, if you look back at old london maps streets changed names, houses changed numbers, and houses were knocked down to make way for new streets or buildings. For example when we went to "Tooley Street" in London to try and look at a house which we had discovered belonged to one ancestor, they were about 40 house numbers missing, and when we looked around, they had been knocked down to make way for the road which went over Tower Bridge. Often the move was only a few doors down the street or just into the next parish, also many houses and their deeds were passed through families, so one house may have several different members or branches of one family living there over a period of time. Another problem with London is that is that the districts and boundaries were changing regularly and still are! This makes trying to focus on one area quite difficult. For example when a relative states that there family have always lived in Bethnal Green, births, deaths and marriages may have actually come under a different registration area at different points in time.

My Grandmother, Lillian Bright, has always been superb at dressmaking (consequently my mum, me and my sister can just about manage to sew a button on) at when looking at many of her ancestors you can see that many of them also had this skill, as many of the women and men were in occupation such as dressmaking, sewing, clothing manufacturing and even hat making (bonnet maker!).

Lillian Bright's ancestors include the Mitchell's who were very much Bethnal Green, Hackney and Shoreditch based in recent years. On this branch, names were repeated regularly, with Louisa, Richard, Emily, and Lily occurring in a few generations. A few different occupations appear in my Mitchell ancestors including a boot finisher (links to sewing again!) harness maker (probably linked to sewing again!) and a shoe maker (need i say more!). My Mitchell family first came to London from Norwich when Richard Allen Mitchell (b:1817 in Norwich) and his wife Sophia Barnes (b:1823 in Norwich) moved to Holborn about 1848 and then to Bethnal Green a few years later. I presume they came to London as most people did to find work - Richard was a Cordwainer or Shoemaker.

Lillian Brights mother (therfore my great grandmother, who I called Nanny Bright) Lillian Elizabeth Mitchel(b:1901 Hackney)was the daughter of Richard Carlyle Mitchell (b: 1873) this unusual middle name was passed down to his grandson and then his grandson. Richard married Arabella Bullimore (b:1873 in Hackney) in 1894.



Bullimore is a very unusual name and I guess most people with the surname are probably related and do not have to go too far back to find the family connection - so please any Bullimores - contact me. The name Arabella has also been passed through this family branch , with the most recent being Great Aunt Bella who dies in 1980(Leytonstone) and then going back to Arabella Lucas born in 1782 (Finsbury). Occupations on the Bullimore branch include a wheelwright, pub landlord and a cow keeper! On this line i have gone as far back as Robert Bullimore, who was a Wheelwright, who married Ann Emen (my 5th great grandparents) who were married in 1796 in stepney. So this branch as far back as I have gone are very much East Londoners, and my grandmother only in recent years left Leytonstone.

Arabella Bullimore, who was born 1874, her grandmother was Caroline Alabaster (which makes that my 4th Great Grandmother) has a huge family which are too numerous to go into here, I have joined the Alabaster Society, so please visit their web site for more on this branch. This branch goes back to Hadleigh and Baylham in Suffolk in the 1500s and also has occupations linked to sewing! The name Arabella also runs through various branches and descendants of the Alabasters.

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My Great Grandfather Thomas Bright (b:1900 in Hackney) to Clara Alice Bright (a Dressmaker!) who was unmarried, and his birth certificate has no father recorded, but a family story passed down is that Clara actually left him with his fathers family, the story goes that they were a well to do family from Hackney, possibly in Politics, but then changed her mind and returned to claim him back! How much truth there is here I am not sure, but a definite quest to find out more lurks here! Also Clara has a brother who when he joined the army ( I presume underage), changed his surname to Rogers, I am in contact with descendants of him via the internet, and thanks to Roger Corti and John Forster for the information on this branch of the Brights known as Rogers.

The Brights have been traced back to the Suffolk/Norfolk borders, they came to London in the late 1820s when William Bright (b:1863 in Heigham) and his wife, Hannah Bacon (b:1798 Halesworth) moved to the West Ham area.

Other surnames on these branches include Gooch, Wenden and Bennet.