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Mary Ann left us a clue

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

Much of family history research is about looking for the clues, and Mary Ann left us a clue about her paternity, and maybe of all Jane's children.


Mary Ann was Jane’s fourth illegitimate child, she was born 20th October 1859 at Green Chapel Road, Mendlesham in the home of her widowed grandfather Richard Burch who was an agricultural labourer, as well as Jane and her four very young children, was Jane’s brother Walter and an orphaned nephew, Harry Burch 18. It must have been an exhausting, chaotic household. When Mary Ann was around 6, her mother Jane moved with the now five children to Stowupland.

At the age of 11, Mary Ann was living and working in the Crown Inn, Stowupland, which was run by her great uncle, Robert Burch.


I lost sight of Mary Ann until she turned up on the 1891 census at the age of 32 working in service as a cook in Charlton, London.


It was while she was working here that she met her soon to be husband, William Kitney, a bargeman from Lower Halstow in Kent, and married him at Christmas 1893 in Stowupland. This is where it gets interesting, because Mary Ann is the only one of Jane’s nine children to name a father on her marriage certificate, every other sibling wrote under father “John Burch, labourer, deceased”, almost as though they had all discussed it amongst themselves and decided that’s what they would do. Mary Ann wrote “John Pyman – dealer”.


Mary Ann and William settled in Lower Halstow, Kent, William often being off on the barges travelling round the coast delivering bricks. Three children soon followed:


Annie in 1895

Ethel in 1898

Henry in 1900


Annie and Ethel never married, they were that generation where all the men had not come back from WW1, so not enough men to go round. Annie became a nurse. I have photos of them in Suffolk with Uncle Hip (Henniker Hipperson) and Aunt Lena (Selena).


Many years ago I made contact with Mary Ann’s grandson Deryk Kitney and he shared the Burch family photos with me. It seems from what I learned from Deryk that Mary Ann and William had a happy life together.


As for the name "John Pyman", I will return to that in another post.



Mary Ann Burch

Ethel and Annie Kitney out walking with Uncle Hip


William Kitney

























Marriage certificate showing John Pyman

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