Joseph Ainscough was the son of James Ainscough (b. 1843) and Mary Ann Waring. In 1881 he was aged 5, at school and was living in Little Scotland, Blackrod. In 1891 he was aged 15, was working as a coal miner and was living at 384 Manchester Road, Blackrod. In 1901, he was aged 25, was single and was a coal miner. He was living with his parents at 278 Atherton Road in Hindley. In 1911 he was working as a miner and living with his sister Mary and brother-in-law, Ernest Westhead, at 18 Arundel Street, Hindley.