In 1737 a baby named John Fletcher was christened in Burnley,Lancashire .He married a local girl and they went on to have several children.
John must have owned the genetic make-up for "double jointedness". The correct term for "double-jointed" is hypermobility of the joints and it is inherited in a direct line from parent to child.
Of course the joints are not actually double but the range of joint movement can be nearly double that of a normal joint. The extra work done by "double" joints can wear out the joint surfaces and thus cause early osteo-arthritis. There are some undoubted advantages in being hypermobile too, especially for dancers and acrobats!
Although it was once believed that the hypermobility could have come from either parent it now seems more likely that the recipe was present in John's family long before his marriage to Mary.
Large families were normal and most of John's children had a large families themselves. In one branch the descendants continued to live in or around Burnley but John's son Robert had a son who,when work in the Burnley textile mills became difficult to find moved his family to Manchester.
Among them was the young John Fletcher (born 1829)who later moved to London -firstly to the Stepney area and later to West Ham. He had married Sarah McKay in Manchester and worked as a blacksmith making bolts in the railway workshops. He too must have been hypermobile although this may not have been apparent other than by increased mobility of his fingers and thumbs. Like his Lancashire ancestors he had a large family and passed on the hypermobility to at several of them.
They,in turn passed it on to their children so that eight hypermobile Fletcher descendants in a direct line to John are identified today. Additionally there are at least two more who share the common ancestry in the early eighteenth century.There must be more but they have not been identified.
London John died in East Ham in 1885 and his children moved from East Ham to various areas including Manor Park, Leytonstone, Clacton, Fulham and in the case of his son John junior to Papua, New Guinea.
Details are sought of families of Fletchers and of families with Fletchers in their family tree. Readers who think they may be able to help are invited to post in the guestbook or on the message board.
There is also a Discussion Mailing List and Resource for descendants and possible descendants of this Fletcher family at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LancashireFletchers/