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Janet in Yorkshire

The baby boy left behind

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In October 1868 20 year old Mark Finch married his first cousin Thirza Mickleburgh in the parish church at Horningtoft Norfolk. (Thirza was 13 years older than Mark.) The couple were recorded in their home in Horningtoft when census was taken on 2 April 1871 and just a week later, on 9 April, Thirza gave birth to their first child, a son, whom they named Alfred. Sadly Thirza died and ten days later she was laid to rest in the village churchyard. Baby Alfred was not baptised until October 1871, an event which took place in Matishall, Norfolk the home of one of Mark's older married sisters.
Mark Finch married again in the Spring of the following year - his new bride was Sarah Ann Farrow, a younger sister of the wife of Thirza's brother, William Finch Mickleburgh. On 11 October 1872 Mark and Sarah boarded the "Crusader" at London and set sail for New Zealand. They travelled alone as a married couple, classed as Government Immigrants, landing at Lyttleton 5 January 1873.
By 1880, they'd had five children, of whom only two daughters survived.

When census was taken in 1881, 9 year old Alfred was recorded at Mattishall, at the home of his aunt Sarah and her husband William Cole.
After that, the trail goes cold - I can't find him in any later English census, but nor can I find a specific record for him sailing to NZ to join his father, although family legend claims he did!
Mark Finch was a saddler and bootmaker when he died from peritonitis on 19 December 1893 in Lincoln NZ. According to his will, he had two daughters and a 22 year old son.

Can anyone shed any further light on the life of Alfred Finch?

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  1. Christine in Herts's Avatar
    There's an Alfred FINCH of the right age travelling via Southampton - but it's not until 1924, and he's a manager, heading from London to the USA - of which he's already a citizen.

    You may get more responses to this if you post it in the Research threads.
    But perhaps you're after a different audience?

    Updated 01-08-12 at 21:46 by Christine in Herts
  2. ccollis's Avatar
    Hi Janet. I have just come across this post, and I can solve your mystery for you. My wife is the Gt Gt Granddaughter of Mark and Sarah Finch. Alfred Finch, Mark's son from Thirza Mickleburgh, did indeed come to New Zealand although at this stage we are not sure when. We have information about him living in NZ, marrying and having children.

    Mark and Sarah had 7 children in NZ, and 5 of them died by the age of 2. All five of those children, along with Mark and Sarah, are buried in Springston Cemetery near Christchurch. The two daughters who survived, Louisa and Sarah, appear to have left the area along with Alfred to live in the North Island of NZ, in a town called Pahiatua. There the two sisters married brothers of the Vile family, and Alfred married Ann Elizabeth Mills in 1896. They had four children: Alfred John, Bessie Winifred, Kenneth, and Noreine. Alfred died on 6 August 1944 in Palmerston North, the town where we live, and we have been to his gravesite. I have a bit more information about the family and a couple of photos if you are interested, so let me know your email address if you would like me to send this through.


  3. Janet in Yorkshire's Avatar
    Hello Craig,

    Lovely to hear from you and thank you so much for finding this blog and for responding to it.
    I'm thrilled by this additional information, which has solved the mystery of Alfred and added a happy ending to his story.
    PM sent to you.

    Many thanks to you and greetings to your wife, my new-found NZ distant relative!