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The University of Waterloo in Canada, and the West Sussex Record Office (e-mail) in England, will be pleased to receive and preserve original documents pertaining to first generation Petworth emigrants and their children. If you wish to keep the originals they are also interested in digital or photographic copies. Please contact Leigh Lawson

Family History Files of the Petworth Project

Father Edward Jackman and the Jackman Foundation have donated the Family History files collected before 2000 to the Doris Lewis Rare Book Room of the University of Waterloo library in Waterloo, Ontario.

The University of Waterloo serves a region where many Petworth immigrants settled. These materials on English settlers and settlement (GA 136) are added to substantial holdings for immigrants who came from Germany and Pennsylvania.

Thomas Adsett, 1833
"The people is so agreeable here. The people I am among is Dutch [Pennsylvania Dutch] and English, in general. The place is called Waterloo, where I live and my children."

The West Sussex Record Office is the major source for the work of Thomas Sockett and his Petworth Emigration Committee and for the English background of Petworth immigrants. Their family connections at home provided many of the clues which helped us to identify them among Sussex people of the same name and similar background.

“PetworthThe seal used as the signature of this website is one created for Sockett and his committee.

John and Caroline (Francis) Dearling, 1836
"Dear father Dearling, brothers and sisters ... We wish to know how sister Charlotte and her family is getting along; say if you heard of Mary. How is Hannah and her husband doing? Give our love to William and Dinah .... Daniel... Dear Sister Jane ...."

Additional Information on First Generation Petworth Emigrants

During the pre-publication period, the large number of immigrants made it necessary to focus on known "clusters" of Petworth settlement, and restrict the tracing of descendants to one subsequent generation. In England, the project did not extend beyond the birth origins of the emigrants. There are still some emigrants about whom we have little or no information other than the family names included in our indexes.

Early on, we used the genealogy community to seek potential descendants; a good number from around the world came forward with additional family information or letters and photographs. Since 2001, we have received a small but steady number of enquiries and new information. Our team genealogists have forwarded new information to the collection in Waterloo where it will become an accession to the main collection when it grows to a suitable size.

The Petworth project was originally intended to end with publication of the books. The interest since then has keep it alive. While we are very pleased that this is so, there is no one with the time and resources to follow up on the number of genealogical queries we receive. We are adding “Sharing Petworth Family History” to this website to help people interested in Petworth emigrants make additional information available in a more timely way and, if they wish, to provide contact information for others who share their interests.

Brief examples of material added to the genealogical files between 2001 and 2007 follow:

SAGEMAN (SEDGMAN), PANNEL, NAPPER: Members of these known Petworth families from the London and Strathroy areas were involved in a horrendous boating accident on Lake St Clair in 1869.

RAPSON: Emigrant Thomas Rapson has been identified as a brother of James and William Rapson. Rumours mentioned in English Immigrant Voices, p. 217, that William later emigrated to Australia are confirmed.

MANN: From a direct descendant of Noah Mann and his son Shadrac, we learned that the emigrant family had settled in Yarmouth Township in Elgin County, whence the reference to "north street." Noah Mann died there in 1881.

VOICE: Wonderful photographs accompany new information on the Cornelius Voice family, which settled in Illinois and points west.

Cornelius and Elizabeth Voice who emigrated from Billingshurst to Woodstock in 1834.
Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Stormer
Cornelius and Elizabeth Voice

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