1850 and 1927 four members of the Partleton family left their homes in England, independently of each other, in search of a better life. Their destination: America...

To understand what motivated these emigrants, we need to understand the conditions of their daily lives. To our knowledge, without exception, all Partletons in England in the 1800's, both north and south, are in the lowest tier of economic well being.

In the north, Cumberland, the Partletons are nearly always coal miners, iron ore workers, with all that entails for working conditions in Victorian heavy industry. They die in explosions; they are at the mercy of unscrupulous mine owners; they live in unsanitary dwellings, no sanitation, surrounded by poor health and poverty.

In the south, in London, conditions are if anything, worse. Our Victorian Partleton ancestors live only in the poorest districts of London, the East End and Lambeth. They die as babies, they die when they are 10, 20, 30, 40 years old. They are surrounded by death; cholera, tuberculosis; they are occupied only in the humblest of jobs, and when things go wrong - as they often do - we find them in the workhouse.

So it's no surprise when we discover that some of them made the decision: let's get out of here...


The emigrations were mostly unconnected, widely separated in time and place.

The first to go was Catherine Partleton (1810-1896) who married James Cunningham. She left London with her five children in March 1850, and moved to Indiana.

The other three emigrants - many years later - were all from Cumberland; Tom Thompson Partleton (1886), Alfred R Partleton (1910) and William Kendall Partleton (1927). Click on their boxes in the map above to read their stories...


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