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My Curgenven Connections

 and the  

Mitchell's from Cornwall



The Curgenven family tree has interesting origins. The name Curgenven appears to be an invention of the Reverend Thomas Lean, the son of John Lean of Uny Lelant Cornwall, a small landowner.


The information below traces the connection through the generations of my Curgenven connection to the Reverend Thomas Lean.

On the 'Family Genealogy Pages' above in the Curgenven Family Tree & Dynamic Family Tree, I have ALL the currently connected Curgenven descendants, which includes quite a lot of notes and a few photographs. This has been compiled from many sources.

I must acknowledge the huge amount of effort that Thea Clinton (nee Curgenven), Helen Boulden (mother a Curgenven), Alan Kent (another Curgenven descendant and noted genealogist) and others have done in researching the Curgenven family tree. I have used some of their findings in developing the information that can be found in Curgenven names by following the link to the The Curgenven - Lean Family Tree and/or DYNAMIC FAMILY TREE.


Thomas Lean on 8 September 1662 entered Exeter College, Oxford and leaving 12 December 1664.

Around 1670 he changed his name to Curgenven. In 1680 he married Dorothy Pitt the daughter of Thomas Pitt (of the family that produced two William Pitt’s).

From 1683 to 1695 he was Headmaster of Blandford (Sherbourne) School. He was later Rector of Foulke, Dorset.

The Rev. Thomas Curgenven/Lean and Dorothy had no children of their own, so it is only through the adoption of his brother’s children on the early death of William and his wife Rachel that the name Curgenven seems to have proliferated.


William Lean, Thomas’ elder brother, married Rachel Richard in 1667 and they had eight (or nine – see Benjamin below), children. When William and later Rachel died, Thomas ‘adopted’ Peter, the youngest of their children who then changed his name to Curgenven. Thomas, William, Richard and John also changed their name to Curgenven – perhaps it sounded more distinguished!


Benjamin Curgenven/Lean born about 1681, little is known of his origins. He does not appear in the Will of the Rev. Thomas. It is possible that he is one of the three children mentioned in the Will of John Lean as children of William and Thomas’s other brother John, (who also changed his name to Curgenven). Of this John’s three children the only one that seems to be known of is another John born in 1670. The other two are not known. Benjamin Curgenven/Lean in this family tree has been placed as another child of William and Rachel at this time. (The birth dates fit in with other children of William and Rachel and he did refer to himself as a Curgenven).


Which ever way you look at it, the family origins appear to have descended from John Lean and his wife Ann.

See Allan Kent a Curgenven names researcher at http://www.ellis.genproxy.co.uk/curgenven.htm


My connection to the Curgenven family tree is through Richard, the fourth child and third son of William and Rachel.

Richard was born in St Michaels Caerhays, Cornwall about 1675 and died there on 21 January 1745. Richard married Frances Collett in Veryan 1711. They had seven children – Peter 1712, Rachel 1713, Ann 1715, Richard 1719, John 1721, Sarah 1723 and Frances 1730.  Richard inherited from his youngest brother Peter, who died in 1729 leaving no children, £1,000 and from his father £3.


The family tree continues through the fifth child John who married Elizabeth Ball on the 12 December 1747 in Veryan. He and Elizabeth had six children – Susanna 1747, John 1754, Elizabeth Ann 1756, Jenkin 1760, Thomas 1763 and Richard John Jenkin Ball 1766. (Elizabeth had a child prior to marriage – likely Richards’ as he was named Richard Curgenven Ball in 1743).

Richard obviously had time on his hand as he also had an ongoing relationship with an Elizabeth Wakeham with whom he fathered three other children – Peter 1757, Mary 1759 (d 1761), Mary 1761. John died 29 November 1794 and Elizabeth (Curgenven) in 1793. He also inherited the Calendra properties in Veryan from his father in 1745.


Their fifth child Thomas continues my tree. Thomas married Elizabeth Paynter (Painter) 14 May 1795 in Veryan. They had five children – Elizabeth Ball 1796, John 1798, Jane 1802, Sarah 1807 and Thomas 1811. In 1795 he is described as a Husbandman and in later census of 1821 and 1841 as an Agricultural labourer.


Thomas & Elizabeth's  second child and first son, John, continues the family tree, marrying Ann Tapper in Veryan 31 August 1822. John and Ann had six children – James 1823, John 1825, Elizabeth Jane 1826, Mary Ann 1831, Jacob 1835, Susanna (Susan) 1838.

There is an interesting anecdote which quite likely refers to John Curgenven  in his youth, as the age would be correct.


On Monday the 26th December last, from his master, Henry HOSKIN, Gent, of Lelant Town, in the County of Cornwall, John CURGENVEN, his Parish Apprentice, aged about fifteen years, four feet ten inches in height, fair complexion, and having a remarkable cut in his forehead. He wore away a blue short coat, thickset trowsers, with a blue linen frock over the same, and a new pair of shoes. Any person harbouring or employing the said Apprentice after this Public Notice will be dealt with according to Law. Lelant Town, January 10, 1815" [Royal Cornwall Gazette 14 January 1815]

Douch recounts that later in 1815 the Western Luminary reported details about a runaway apprentice, presumably John Curgenven: "a boy of fifteen was brought to our county bridewell about ten days ago pretending to be utterly dumb. His mouth was examined and the organ of speech appearing perfect, while his countenance at the same time betrayed consciousness, an arrangement was made in the boy's hearing to send for a surgeon to operate upon him. When in a moment of fear, the boy exclaimed, 'I can speak.' He now confessed that he had run away from his master in Lelant, that he fell in soon with an old vagrant who advised him to sham dumb; and he did so with such success that by the time he reached Exeter he had accumulated thirty shillings in silver, beside having bought himself clothes and food by the way." See DOUCH HL (1991) 'Gone away! Runaway apprentices in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries' in the Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall 1991, 85.


In later life John was with the Coastguard (1841 census). John died later in 1841.


John & Ann's second child and eldest son another John married Elizabeth Annear in Veryan 13 July 1844. Between them they had eight children – John William (William John) 1845, James 1848, Elizabeth Ann 1850, James Henry 1852, Emma Jane 1854, Jacob Edward 1857, Louisa 1861 and Mary 1867. John remained an Agricultural labourer throughout his life according to the census. He died in Ruan in 1893.


Elizabeth Ann Curgenven, the eldest daughter married Thomas Mannell Mitchell in Ruan on the 18 January 1873.

On the 18 October 1874 Elizabeth Ann, her husband Thomas and their infant child Harriet Ann left London for New Zealand aboard the Shaw Saville ship ‘Berar’. The ‘Berar’ a sailing ship of 902 tons made the trip to Wellington, New Zealand in 96 days arriving there on the 22 January, 1875. This trip was marred by 21 deaths of Scarlet Fever. Following this voyage a Royal Commission of Enquiry was convened into the outbreak of the disease and subsequent deaths on board.



 Painting thought to be 'Berar'


After a short period of time in Wellington, where their infant child Harriet Ann died at the age of 1, they traveled to Foxton on the west coast north of Wellington by a coastal vessel. From here they walked the 30 plus kilometres to Bulls, a small village inland to the north east of Foxton.


             Lower North Island                                                     Manawatu area


Elizabeth Ann (nee Curgenven) & Thomas Mannell Mitchell


In this general area they settled, living for a while in Fielding, Campbelltown, (later named Rongotea) and Sanson whilst raising their other children. Elizabeth Ann and Thomas had the following children in New Zealand. Henrietta (Ettie) and Florence 1878 (twins), Eva Mary 1880, Grace Ann 1881, Frederick Mannell 1884, Arthur Thomas 1886, William Henry and James Edgar (twins) 1889, Emma Elizabeth ?1890, Amelia Maud 1891. Florence one of the first twins died at 9 mths. James Edgar one of the other set of twins died at 6 weeks.


                                                  Maud, Emma, Henrietta, & Eva c 1930                                          

     Grace Ann 1908           Frederick Mannell c 1930             Arthur Thomas c 1958

Later in life they moved further north to the small town of Te Kuiti where they lived for the remainder of their lives. Elizabeth Ann died on the 23 June 1926 and Thomas a few years late on the 17 June 1934.


Eva Mary Riley (nee Mitchell) 1956                            Edgar Mitchell Riley c 1898


Eva Mary Mitchell became enamored with a young tailor Edgar Mitchell Riley, the eldest child born in New Zealand of James Agley Riley and his wife Amelia. Unfortunately, Edgar became severely ill with enteric fever and died after a short illness of sixteen days on the 29 August 1899. A son was born to Eva Mary on the 5 October 1899 whom she named Edgar Riley Mitchell (my father) a twist on the father’s name. Eva remained living with her parents after Edgar was born and later when she married Edgar Mitchell Riley’s cousin Gilbert Riley, the young Edgar remained with her parents through his school years in Te Kuiti. A close relationship was kept with his fathers’ family over the years and after leaving school, he moved to Te Puke where his paternal grandparents lived. It was in Te Puke when was working for Bookers Chemists that he met his future wife Sybil Browne (my mother). See also the Riley, Hickmott and Dynamic Tree - Genealogy Links.

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