52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors #51 Nathaniel Mills

Amy Johnson Crow introduced the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge on her No Story Too Small blog in 2014. This year she continued the challenge, but also added a weekly theme. This week the theme was Nice.  Rather than try and find an ancestor to fit the theme, I decided to check my list of ancestors to find one that I haven’t written about yet.

Earlier this year (in January), I wrote about my 3x great grandmother Catherine Mills, and my search for her death certificate.  At the time that I found her death certificate, I did some additional research on her family.  When reviewing my list of ancestors, I realized that I hadn’t yet added the information to my family tree yet, so I decided to do my post this week about her father Nathaniel Mills.   Catherine’s death certificate had indicated that he was a goldsmith.

I decided to do a google search, to see if I could find any more information about him.  In my search I used “Nathaniel Mills Birmingham silversmith”, (I inadvertently put silversmith instead of goldsmith) and the first result was a Wikipedia article about Nathaniel Mills and Sons, silversmiths of Birmingham.  My immediate thought was “an ancestor who made it onto Wikipedia – nice”.   And that brought me back to the theme for this week, even though it’s a different meaning for the word nice.

The second result on google was about an antique Victorian silver snuff box made by Nathaniel Mills on ebay.  There were actually a number of snuff boxes made by Nathaniel Mills in the 1840s advertised on ebay.  Ebay also includes an article about Nathaniel Mills (the Wikipedia article quotes the article at Ebay as the source for their article).

An article “Judith Miller on Nathaniel Mills silver boxes” on the Period Living site also provides more information about the family, and mentions that Nathaniel Mills II introduced several new techniques to the industry.

At this stage, I only have a limited amount of information for the family, mostly from the
Birmingham, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812 collection at ancestry.

Nathaniel Mills (II) was christened 19 March 1784 at St Phillip, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England.  His parents were Nathaniel and Elizabeth Mills.

On 23 January 1804, Nathaniel married Maria Allen at St Bartholomew, Edgbaston, Warwickshire.

Nathaniel and Maria had 11 children:

  • William born in 1804
  • Elizabeth born in 1805
  • James Gorden born in 1808
  • Nathaniel born in 1810
  • Ann born in 1812
  • Maria born in 1814
  • Thomas born in 1816
  • Catherine born in 1818 (my 3x great grandmother)
  • Sarah born in 1820
  • Henry born in 1822
  • John born in 1824

After numerous attempts, I was unable to find the family on ancestry in the 1841 Census, so I decided to try MyHeritage, and found the following:

Catharine Mills
Gender: Female
Birth: Circa 1818
Warwickshire, England
Residence: 1841
Caroline Street, Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
Age: 23
Father (implied): Nathl Mills
Mother (implied): Maria Mills
Siblings (implied): Thomas Mills, John Mills, Nathl Mills, Elizabeth Mills, Maria Mills, Sarah Mills
Parish: Birmingham Series: HO107 Page: 128
City: Birmingham Piece: 1139 Family: 176
County: Warwickshire Registrar’s district: All Saints Line: 24
Country: England Superintendent registrar’s district: Birmingham Image: 10
Date: 1841 Enum. District: 2

The major advantage I found with My Heritage was the implied relationships – this makes it much easier to try and find the right family on the 1841 census.    After going back to Ancestry, I found that the family had been indexed under the surname Mells.

Mills family 1841 census
1841 census of England, Birmingham, Warwickshire, folio 27, page 10, Nathl Mills age 58; digital images, ancestry.com, ancestry.com.au (http://home.ancestry.com.au/ : accessed 22 Dec 2015); citing PRO HO 107/1139/1.

Nathaniel was buried 9 August 1843 at St Paul in Birmingham.  Nathaniel’s will can be found at the UK National Archives website –

Will of Nathaniel Mills, Silversmith of Birmingham, Warwickshire

I have not yet purchased a copy of the will or his death certificate.