A few evenings spent digging through census records have revealed quite a lot. Getting hold of my grandparents’ birth certificates will make some of my findings certain, but I’m 99% sure that I’ve identified one branch of the clan going back to my great great great grandfather Henry Clinch (and we’ll call him Henry Clinch Senior as my great grandfather was also Henry Clinch).

Henry Clinch Senior was born in 1820 and his profession was listed as cheese monger and also ‘butter man’ (so clearly in the diary produce game), but then later (in the 1871 census) he was a poulterer. So far this is scuppering my hopes of turning up a long-lost wealthy relative from which I can inherit some unclaimed fortune. And funnily enough Florida Steve was hoping the same.

It’s possible I can go further back to my great great great great grandfather on the current evidence, but the past starts to get murky. Henry Clinch Senior has no wife listed on any census until 1871. Up until then it’s just him, the offspring and a servant. The offspring included my great great grandfather James Clinch. Then in 1871 Henry Senior’s wife is listed as Ellen (aged 38 to his 51). However, in the 1881 census, Ellen appears in James’ household, but has the surname Manning. So, the question is, was she James’ mother or did she meet and marry Henry Senior sometime between 1861 and 1871? To be sure I’d need James’ birth certificate.

I do hope Ellen was the mother of James, because she was fairly easy to trace on the 1841 census, and this reveals the possible identity of my great great great great (there has to be easier way of writing that) grandfather – David Manning, a labourer (sadly, not a duke) born in 1791. This is getting exciting, getting back to the 18th century, but unfortunately I will then exhaust the census information as a source as 1841 was the first (as far as I know).

This is just one branch of the family. At the moment I know little about my great grandmother Alice West (Henry Junior’s wife), or Mary Ann (James’ wife)… I don’t even know her surname.

More soon, I know you’re all riveted…