Brenda Dougall Merriman was the genealogical researcher in Canada for the Petworth Project.

The collaborative historical-genealogical study known as the Petworth Emigration Project began almost thirty years ago; it is still ver...

Happy New Year to all our Petworth Emigrant Descendants! Although they are 20th century photographs, you may find this link to the images taken by prolific Petworth photographer, George Garland, of interest.

George Garland Collection Gallery - 1501 Items - Photographic Prints, Framed Artwork and Photo Gifts

I thought you might like to see these snowy photographs taken in the Petworth area in the last century. The sequence was put together by the West Sussex County Council from photographs in the archives.

Have a wallow in West Sussex nostalgia We've compiled lots of lovely seasonal pictures from the past into a short video. If you love the memories that old pi...

The list of Surrey parishes sending emigrants to Upper Canada under the auspices of the Petworth Emigration Committee and the Dorking Emigration Society in the 1830's has now been added to our website.…

For those researchers who are interested in the history of a specific parish, Leigh Lawson has begun compiling lists of assisted emigrants sorted specifically by parish.

We were fortunate in having photocopies of some original 19th century letters sent to us from Lorraine Bear and Joanna Boudreaux in Indiana. The letters written in West Sussex, were sent by his family to John (George) Voice who had emigrated with the PEC to Canada and was living in Michigan City, Indiana. Annotated transcripts of these delightful letters can be read here -…

This latest section of the website provides an opportunity for us to share letters and documents that have been generously sent to us since the publication of our two books Assisting Emigration and Immigrant Voices.

The list of East Sussex parishes sending emigrants to Upper Canada is now up on our website, joining the list from West Sussex sending parishes. Lists for Surrey and Hampshire will be compiled soon.…

For those researchers who are interested in the history of a specific parish, Leigh Lawson has begun compiling lists of assisted emigrants sorted specifically by parish.

A sad little item from the 1837 Sutton Union Workhouse records has just been unearthed by a search-room assistant at West Sussex Record Office. It refers to one of 'our' emigrants, William Edwards who was mentioned in a letter from the Tilleys in 1833 - 'William Edwards from Sutton, came up the country with us, and has got a place a little way from us, for 10 dollars a month'. English Immigrant Voices p142
Edwards evidently returned to Sussex because of ill health, and was gi...ven no help in his home country when he needed it. The reason that the Guardians give - that he did not go about applying for relief in the right way - is quite Dickensian.
2nd October [1837] Meeting Sutton United Parishes
Barlavington Parish Wm Edwards with a wife no child been ill 1 Year & 1/2 been a stoker to a steam Engine at Brighton – has applied to Guardian for Relief – Guardians referred him to Meeting – has been to Canada and returned from ill health – sent out at great expence – Wife could get her living, but can get nothing to do – Father works for W Foard – Rent 4s/ - allowed the last fortnight – lived Rent Free in Engine House & 17s week – Firing Soap and Candles – has been in B[righton] Hospital. Board of Guardians are of opinion that the pauper ought to have thrown himself up to Preston Parish and been brought home by Orders and they therefore consider that no ‘Relief’ be given to him.
West Sussex Record Office Sutton Union Workhouse miscellaneous correspondence January 1837 - February 1849 WG3/4

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These records at the National Archives are too late in date for the Petworth Emigrants but somebody may find them helpful for other ancestors who emigrated at a later date.…/looking-…/emigrants.htm

This is a brief guide to help you find records of someone who emigrated from Britain. The best place to look is in the archives of the destination country, as there are relatively few records of people leaving Britain. There are many references in documents in The National Archives to people emigrat…

Trying to understand an unusual entry in the Petworth Parish baptism register for Isabella Hopkins on 8 July 1833. Isabella was one of three illegitimate children of Sarah Hopkins who emigrated with her children in 1837. On Family Search Isabella is listed as the child of James and Sarah Hopkins. However I have now looked at the Bishops Transcripts and the original register. The BTs only give the name of Sarah Hopkins as the parent, and with no occupation. In the original reg...ister it is clear to see that the names James & Sarah (one name above the other with the ampersand in the middle) have been written faintly in pencil. The name 'Sarah' has been written over the ampersand in ink. Beneath 'Hopkins' which is written in ink, you can just make out a faintly pencilled surname but it is so obscured by the overwriting that you cannot read all of the letters. The occupation 'laborer' is written in faint pencil and nothing has been overwritten, so it does not seem to apply to Sarah, but to the original entry of James. No other single women in the register at that time have been given occupations (although that is not to say that they did not work). James and Sarah were the parents of Sarah the single mother, but that may be coincidence as the pencilled name in the surname column appears to be different. I consulted with one of the assistants at the West Sussex Record Office and she thought that rather than a surname, the pencilled word could be 'Adoption', but is this likely she wondered? Could Sarah's parents have considered adopting the last of her three children? And would this have been written in the baptism register?

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Gingerbread: We have had an interesting request from Lesley Ward who, in partnership with Horsham Museum (West Sussex) has been researching and making old fashioned gingerbread. They have gathered a collection of old carved moulds, used by the gingerbread makers of Horsham. Lesley would like to know if any of the emigrants started to make gingerbread when they settled in Canada. Ruth Waldon in her letter home in 1836, suggests that her friends should bring their gingerbread blocks with them 'for I have never seen any seed, gingerbread, or gingerbread nuts, since I have been in Canada. It will be a good trade here'. We would love to hear from anyone who knows if the gingerbread became popular in Canada at that time.

Can anyone help Margo Coleman Miller to identify the parents of William Coleman, born in the Lewes area of East Sussex on 3 September 1826? He emigrated in 1834 on the British Tar, with George Coleman - a relative. William married Mary Elliott, grand-daughter of Cornelius and Elizabeth Voice. This photograph shows William and Mary's son Ernest with his family. The young boy on the left is Bernard, grandfather of Margo who provided the image.

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Petworth Emigration Project added 6 new photos to the album: Voice Family from Billingshurst, West Sussex.
March 22, 2014

Cornelius Voice, his wife Elizabeth Smallwood and children William, Elizabeth, Cornelius, Martha, George and Joseph, together with a nephew John Voice, emigrated in 1834 on the British Tar. They settled in Blandford. A letter written by Cornelius in 1835 to his brother and sister in England is reproduced in 'English Immigrant Voices'.

Following a long and very interesting email correspondence with Mrs Lorraine Bear in Indiana, we are now able to identify the nephew mentioned in the letter written home to England and named only as 'John'. He was John Voice, and later changed his name to George. Lorraine has passed on copies of three letters written from John's sister and mother in 1840, 1846 and 1847 to John/George who had settled in Indiana.

Attempting to photograph Barkfold House, Kirdford, West Sussex c1992. Home of Richard Hasler, one of the sponsors of the Emigration Scheme.

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Searching for descendants of Joseph Leggett. Joseph was mentioned in several letters written home to the small village of Sutton, West Sussex near Arundel. He was "getting on very well" but the letter writers lost contact with him some months after arriving in Canada. We found Joseph's baptism in Sutton, on 7 March 1813 the son of James and Mary Leggett. Tragically Mary died in childbirth and was buried on the same day that her baby was baptised.
Stephen Leggett has been touch with us, because he is descended from another Joseph Leggett, the son of William and Catherine, born in Ireland in 1805. We would be pleased to hear from anyone with more information on either Joseph Leggett.

Mr Pratt of Barnett’s Mill
Walking the Bounds of Lodsworth Parish in 1834. WSRO Cowdray Archives 1884.
Walking the bounds was a way of establishing and maintaining the parish boundary. There is a detailed account of doing so in Lodsworth on 28th and 29th August 1834.
“Pratt of Barnett’s Mill joined us here and led to the end of Mesne Lane and the Woolavington boundary” - there is mention of alders at the water’s edge and “the great mill wheel”. There was a dispute over the maintenance of the bridge above Barnett’s Mill and Hasler who kept the record of the walk says: “Mr Pratt has lived here all his life and is a man of great accuracy and most unimpeachable veracity”.
This Mr Pratt is the father of John Pratt who emigrated with the PEC in1836, and Newman Pratt who went to Canada 20 years later.