As detailed on the Caldwell home page, John Voce was the father of my gg-grandmother, Emma Caldwell. Her mother Alice Caldwell, widow of John Caldwell, unusually, but helpfully, named him as the father on Emma's birth certificate. He was lodging with the family at the time of the 1841 census when Emma and her twin, Jane, were ten months old. For a while, all I knew about John came from that single record — that he had been born outside of Cheshire around 1816, although he may have rounded his age up or down, and that he was a tailor. It was a chance reference in the baptisms at Hyde St George that led me to learn more about the Voce family.

The baptisms concerned all took place on the same day, Sunday 4 July 1852, for Charlotte, Mary and Margaret Voce, daughters of John and Mary Voce. I hoped this would lead me to more about John and it did, just not a lot! Checking the 1851 census, I found Charlotte and Margaret living with their grandparents, John and Charlotte Haughton, in the Werneth area of Hyde, while Mary was for some reason a six year old lodger with the Holland family at Cheap Side, also in Hyde. But of their parents there was no sign.

A check of the marriages showed that John had married Mary Haughton at Manchester Cathedral in 1842 and as I failed to find any further references to the couple, I came to the conclusion that both must have died before 1851. Mary Voce died of gastric fever in Hyde in April 1848 and her death certificate refers to her as 'wife of John Voce, tailor' indicating that he was still alive, but there is no further sign of him beyond that date. Possibly he left the three girls to be raised by their grandparents or he too may have died and I have yet to find the record.

There is a John Voce in Warrington in the 1871 census and what appears to be the same man in Warrington in 1881. In both cases, he is a tailor and has a wife called Mary born in Ireland, but there are discrepancies in his given ages and place of birth. Having said that, there is a John Voce, son of John and Charlotte Voce, who was baptised in Warrington in August 1816, which would fit the 1881 census, but really this is guesswork. For now, that is all I know about John, but his name lived on, at least for a time.

His middle daughter Mary died in 1856 aged eleven, but the other two went on to produce families of their own and in quite a spectacular way in Charlotte's case. She gave birth to her eldest daughter, Alice, at the age of 17, giving John Haughton a great-granddaughter to record at the 1861 census. By 1871, Charlotte was still unmarried, but had five children by then. As yet I have no idea who the father or fathers were, but lodging with them was one Thomas Baddesley who would marry Charlotte later that year at St Paul's Church, Portwood, Stockport. The couple went on to have a further seven children, although there may have been more that did not survive as there is a gap between 1872 and 1876 when no births are recorded while Charlotte was otherwise giving birth on almost an annual basis. Thomas died in 1891, but Charlotte lived for a further 25 years, dying in 1916.

Margaret went the more conventional route as far as conception was concerned. She married Samuel Bennett at Hyde St George in 1872 and their first recorded child was Caroline born in 1877 in Gee Cross, Hyde, as was their son, George, in 1880. There was then a gap until the birth of Alice in 1888, although as with Charlotte, there may be children that did not survive infancy to explain it. By that time, the family was living in Denton working in the hatting industry. Samuel died there in 1922, as did Margaret in 1924 aged 77.

I have not pursued these families further at this time, but will do in due course.

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