Born in 1844 in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire and has the rare distinction of two birth records. One has his parents listed as John Fitch, a marine store dealer, and his wife Ann while the other shows him as the illegitimate son of Mary Fitch. In both the 1851 and 1861 census returns for Hoddesdon, John junior is listed as John senior’s nephew, not son, and there is no mention of Mary. It is likely that John was brought up his mother’s brother John and his wife Ann.
At six, John was living with uncle John and aunt Ann in Hoddesdon. He is listed as a scholar in the 1851 census.
When John was 16 the family was living at uncle John’s beer shop on Burford Street where John also worked as a labourer. Aunt Ann is listed as Hannah in the 1861 census and the household has three lodgers listed: Charles and Edith Bakery and their four year old daughter, Mary Ann.
At 25, John was working as a husbandman when he married Maria, daughter of George and Maria Kent, in the Hoddesdon parish church. John’s last name is listed as Finch on their marriage entry and his age is given as 23 while Maria is listed as 25.
John and Maria had their first child, Sarah Ann, 11 weeks after the wedding. They were living in Cross, Great Hadham, Hertfordshire at the time and John was working as a straw carter. The family name is listed as Finch on Sarah Ann’s birth record and Maria is listed as Emma Maria.
John is listed as 25 years old on the 1871 census when he was actually 27. Maria is listed as 27. At that time John was working as an agricultural labourer.
Second daughter, Esther Maria, was born in 1872 when John was 28.
Only son, George, was born in 1874 when John was 30.
Third daughter, Ellen, was born in 1878 when John was 34. The family name is listed as Finch on Ellen’s birth record.
Fourth daughter Martha Ann was born in 1880 when John was 36. John, Maria and the five children were living in their four room house with John’s 61 year old uncle, John Fitch. Uncle John was working as a hawker and John was working as a carman or brewer’s labourer. Sarah Ann was 11, Esther was 9, George was 7 and all three may not have been at school. Ellen was 3. The family name is listed as Finch while the uncle’s is Fitch in the 1881 census and John’s age is listed as 38, not 37. The family name is also Finch on Martha’s birth record and Maria is listed as Emma Maria again.
Fifth daughter, Emma Lois was born in 1883 when John was 39.
Uncle John died in 1884 in the Ware workhouse.
By 1891, Sarah Ann (21) and Esther (19) had left home. John was working as a hay binder and George (15) was working as a general labourer. Ellen (13) may have left school already as Martha (11) and Emma (8) are both listed as scholars in the 1891 census.
Maria may have died by 1901 when John and Emma were living in a four room house at The Ford in Little Hadham.
John (57) was working as a hay and straw binder and is listed as married but there is no entry for Maria in the 1901 census. Ellen (23) and Martha (21) had left home and Emma (18) was working as a general servant (domestic).