Wednesday, March 8, 2017

My First Jump Across the Pond

In November of 2013 I found my first record of an ancestor in Europe. It was my first "jump across the pond." It was a huge day for me and I was thrilled! In fact, that's the day a volunteer told me she loved my 'enthusiasm' for genealogy and I came up with my blog name. So, how did this 'pond jump' happen?

1860 Census - Lock Haven, Clinton Co, PA from

At the time, I knew the following...

  • my great, great grandmother, Sarah, was born in 1848 in England (she was 12 in the above census)
  • according to her obituary, she was from Leeds, England
  • her parents were James & Sarah Ann
  • she had an older brother, Adam, who was also born in England
  • there was another male, Humphrey, who was probably James' brother as he is listed as only 16 years younger than the James in the 1860 census

1841 Census - Prestwich Cum Oldham, Lancashire, England from

The next clue was finding an 1841 England Census that listed parents named James & Sarah who were about the right age. It listed two children who were transcribed as follows: Thomppey (age 6) and Sylwanos (age 1). I was at the Dallas library and I took this record to one of the librarians to see if he could help. I thought that Thomppey looked like "Humphrey," but I wanted to make sure that wasn't just wishful thinking. He agreed that the name was Humphrey and helped me translate the second name as Sylvaneous (which he told me refers to trees). In this record, the ages of the parents were a little different and it now looked like Humphrey could actually be their son.

As you can see, between the 1841 England Census and 1860 U.S. census, Humphrey aged appropriately 19 years (from age 6 to 25). Sarah's age, though, went from 25 to 47 (so, an increase of 22 years) and James went from 30 to 41 (an increase of only 11 years). But, if this was my family, what happened to Sylvaneous?

If this was really my family, I know knew where to find them: Lancashire, England. I did another search on Ancestry and found a marriage record! The record was for James Eastwood & Sarah Hall (I already knew her maiden name, so this confirmed it) in 1839 in Prestwich in Lancashire—the same location as the 1841 census!

1839 Marriage Record - Parish of Prestwich, Lancaster County, England from
There were many interesting things on this record, but one of them was the fact that James was a widower! James and Sarah got married on September 2, 1839. So Humphrey, born about 1835, was James' son from a first marriage. But Sylvaneous, who was probably born in 1841, was a son of both James Eastwood and Sarah Hall.

This marriage record and census were the first European records I'd found for my family. And, they remain the only family I've traced to a country besides Germany.

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please leave a comment or email me at


  1. What a great find!! :) Congrats!! :)

  2. Well, my first jump across the pond was not so exciting. It was my mother coming to the US in 1957 to see her sisters who had previously married American GI's in England. So I made it exciting. I found a copy of the ship's manifest with my mother and grandmother listed. I then track down a picture of the ship, and some history about her. Turns out my mother's sailing was the ships last. She was scrapped afterwards. My mom was so excited to see those items, she had them place together in one large frame and they now hang in her living room in Illinois. I continue to collect from her too. I have her original British passport, her visa to travel from the American Embassy in London, and the original of her Naturalization certificate. I hope all these things together will very exciting for one of her great grandchildren in the future!

    1. Raul, What a great gift for your mother and for future generations! My ancestors all came over by the mid-1800s so I don't have any first hand knowledge. But I'm thankful for what was passed on to me and what I have been able to find.

  3. Nice work! I have so many ancestors from Germany/Prussia/etc. but I haven't spent much time looking for them yet - I still have too much to do in America. I'm glad you were able to find yours.

    1. Thanks, Debi. I'm sure I have plenty of work I could still do on the family in America, too, but it has been fun tracing family lines back to Europe!


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