The Rich Family Line: This is an overview of some of the main family members.
Much of the Birth, Marriage and Death information recorded here regarding the early generations of the Rich Family, was found in transcripts of Parish Registers that I obtained from Bedfordshire Archives. Additional information was provided by Michael Rich, a distant cousin from another branch of the Rich Family for which I am very grateful.
The earliest ancestors were living in Cranfield, Bedfordshire and unfortunately, the Parish Register transcripts for that Parish are missing several pages for the period of the late 1600's to the early 1700's. The fiirst confirmed ancestor is a John Rich born in Cranfield in 1732, whom I have referred to as John 2nd. The Registers record an earlier John Rich (John 1st), born in Cranfield in 1670. For the period from the late 1600's to the 1700's, there was only one Rich family group living in Cranfield so it is most likely that John 1st is related to John 2nd. The time span between the births of the 2 Johns is 62 years, which means that John 1st was probably the Grand Father of John 2nd. I am assuming this to be the case and therefore suggest that John 1st was my 6 x Great Grand Father.
John 1st as I said above, was born in Cranfield, Bedfordshire in 1670 and married Elizabeth Curtis in Cranfield on 30th September 1695. Elizabeth was also born in Cranfield in 1674. No record of the deaths of either of them has been found as the records would have been in the missing pages of the Parish Register transcripts.
John 2nd was born in Cranfield in 1732, he married Ann (maiden surname unknown), circa 1750, most probably in Cranfield, as Ann had also been born there circa 1736. They had 10 children, Elizabeth 1st in 1754, (she died in the same year), Hannah in 1755, Elizabeth 2nd in 1756, James in 1758 (my 3 x Great Grand Father), Martha in 1760, Thomas in 1762, George in 1766, John in 1767, Ann in 1771 and Hester (or Esther) in 1773. All the children were born in Cranfield except Elizabeth 1st, who was born in Hulcote, Bedfordshire. John died in Hulcote on 12th January 1804 so he did not appear in any Census, consequently I have no idea what his occupation was, however, it is fair to assume that he was probably an Agricultural Labourer. No record has been found for the death of his wife Ann.
James, (my 3 x Great Grand Father), was born in Cranfield on 25th November 1758 and married Mary Hannell in Salford, Bedfordshire on 1st April 1788. Mary Hannell (see the Hannell Family section), was born on 17th August 1766 in Walton, Buckinghamshire. They settled in Salford and it was there that their 12 children were born, Elizabeth in 1789, John in 1791, Mary Ann in 1792, Martha in 1793, Thomas in 1797, twins William and Edward in 1799, Mary in 1801, Ann in 1803, James in 1806 and my 2 x Great Grand Father, George (1st) in 1811. James died on 28th June 1836 in Salford and just like his Father, before the first Census was taken in 1841, so again I do not know for certain what his occupation was. His Wife, Mary, died on 17th January 1826 also in Salford, Bedfordshire..
George 1st, (my 2 x Great Grand Father was born in Salford on 4th August 1811, he married Sarah Gadsby (see the Gadsby Family section), on 23rd December 1834 in Souldrop, Bedfordshire which is where they settled and raised their family. Sarah Gadsby had been born in Souldrop in 1814. They only had 3 sons which would have been a rather small family for the times, Richard in 1835, Edward in 1838 and my Great Grand Father, George 2nd in 1851. George 1st was the first of the family line to appear on a Census and did so from 1841 to 1881 and in each case was recorded as an Agricultural Labourer. He was predeceased by his wife, Sarah on 13th September 1878, following which his fortunes changed and the 1881 Census records him living in the Bedford Union Workhouse. He died on 26th February 1891, whilst still a resident of the Workhouse.
Great Grand Father, George 2nd was born in Souldrop on 18th September 1851 and appears to have moved briefly to Oundle, Northamptonshire where he met and married Sarah Ann Willmott on 29th June 1875. Sarah Ann Willmott, (see Willmott Family section) had been born in Daventry, Northamptonshire in 1856. Following their marriage, they returned to George's birth place in Souldrop where they remained and raised a family of no less than 14 children. They were Margaret in 1876, Fanny in 1877, (my Paternal Grand Mother), William Robert in 1879, Alice Elizabeth in 1881, Leonard in 1883, Louisa in 1885, Albert George in 1886, Edward in 1888, Walter in 1890, (died the following year), Horace in 1892, Sarah Agnes in 1893, Edith in 1895, Herbert in 1897 and Amy in 1899, who also died as an infant. George 2nd appears on the Census Returns up to 1911 and is variously described as an Agricultural Labourer, a General Labourer and a Stockman on a Farm. The 1911 Census not only records George, Sarah Ann and some of their children, it also includes my Father at the age of 5 who was of course, their Grand-son. George 2nd died in Souldrop on 23rd April 1926. I have been unable to find a death registration for Sarah Ann.
That brings us to my Paternal Grand-Mother, Fanny Rich, born in Souldrop on 26th August 1877. On the 1881 Census, aged 3, she was described as a Scholar, rather young for school I would have thought. In 1891 she was still at home with her parents, but the Census does not record whether she was still at school or employed, following this, things become a little unclear. We know that at the age of 19 in 1896, she married my Grand Father, James McKay in Darenth, Dartford, Kent, we also know from the 1891 Census, that her Maternal Aunt Kate and her husband George Storey were employed at the Darenth Asylum and Schools Board, (later the Darenth Park Training Colony). It is possible therefore that Kate and George Storey had gained employment for her there also, but records do not exist to prove this.
We also know that following James's first tour of duty in South Africa he was most probably stationed in Chatham Barracks which is not too far from Dartford. It must therefore be assumed that they met in that general area of Kent. We also know from the birth date of their first daughter, Agnes Rebecca, that Fanny was 6 months pregnant at the time of their marriage. Their Marriage Certificate records 3 Witnesses, James's Father, Edward Hector, his Brother William and Florence Eva Ollett who we can only assume was a friend of Fanny's. See the 'MacKay Family Overview' and the section on 'James McKay' for details of their children including my Father, Walter George McKay.
Following the death of James McKay in 1913, Fanny gained employment at the South Metropolitan Gas Company in Greenwich where James had been employed as a Labourer following his discharge from the Army. I have the original 'Memorandum of an Agreement' that she signed on the 1st July 1917 which secured her employment there for a period 12 months, which can be seen on the 'Miscellaneous' Page. Fanny continued to live for much of her life at 37 Whitworth Street but passed away on the 4th May 1970 at a Nursing Home in Plumstead at the age of 93.