A new century clicked over, just eight years after Thomas and Ann’s son Richard was born in 1692. Ann was already thirty-six. Nevertheless, he was not the last of her children for, after a gap of nine years, another boy was born to the couple in 1701. They called their last son John.
It was Richard who prospered in the district. The others might have done well too, but I lost their trail.
Conditions in Hertfordshire were on the decline for the poor, and although the Finches were not poor, there was a lot of widespread dismay at the stealing of the commons and the loss of grazing rights and right of way rights in the countryside. Only the very wealthy, and not all of them, considered the fashion for enclosing estates with high fences which kept wild herds in, and the poor out, to be anything other than an outrage against human decency and English common law.
Richard Finch was no doubt a solid citizen and probably a handsome man but there was no doubt he married up when Sarah Coleman agreed to be his wife. They married in the lovely month of May in 1711. Sarah was 21 years old and her groom was 19 years old.
It just so happens that this is one of the patterns over the generations amongst my charm of Finches – grooms being about three years younger than their wives. There are several other recurring themes too but before I mention them, I want to say something about a common question I am asked.
How do I know that someone is really my relative? The answer is that while I am posting the stories in reverse chronological order, with the oldest records being written up first, like all genealogists, I followed their path from the other end. I knew my grandparents, so I found their birth certificates and marriage certificates. They recorded the name of their parents and in some cases where they were born and their occupations. Then I used census data from 1840 until they came to Australia to follow them backwards, or migration records, or sometimes wills.
Click here for The Son of a Poacher Man, Part Two.