The journey continues

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Sandy Ditzig continues her journey, discovering more of her family history:

The story of  a journey made by my ancestors John and Caroline Western from the United States to the UK during the 1930s  in an attempt to trace John's family connection with England was told in Issue 11. The first part of the story in Issue 50 began an account of how I attempted to follow in her  footsteps, using as a guide the journal she kept on her journey all those years ago. Like her, I began my research with my Great Great Grandparents, Samuel Western and Elizabeth Stentiford.


Samuel Western and Eliza Stentiford

©Sandy Ditzig

Part 1 of this story in Issue 50 ended in the village of Ashreigney where Samuel Western was baptised in 1826, having visited the Winkleigh Parish church where he married Elizabeth Stentiford, my Great Great Grandmother in 1858 shortly before they set sail, as so many Devon people did at that time, for a new life in America.

During their visit, the Westerns made a considerable effort to trace the descendents of the brothers and sisters of Samuel and Elizabeth. The made a visit to Topsham to meet with some of the descendents of Elizabeth's sister Ellen - which is where this part of the story begins.


The main street in Topsham

Topsham was Exeter's seaport. It was an important port when the Newfoundland fishing trade was at its height with many ship building yards. The Dutch traded here too and have left their influence in the architecture of the place.

I walked the streets that Caroline and John had travelled.  The only change through time is probably the age of the automobiles.

The main street in Topsham

©Sandy Ditzig



We went to the address where the home of the Courtney Bradford’s had been located at the time of Caroline's visit. Her journal stated that she and John were guests of Mr. and Mrs. Courtney Bradford of Topsham England on August 22, 1936.

The home of Laura and Courtney Bradford in 1936

The home of Courtney  Bradford in 1936

©Sandy Ditzig


Louisa Bradford, the youngest daughter of Ann Stentiford, had married Samuel Bradford in the April of 1873. The Bradfords moved to Topsham where  Samuel found work with the South Western Railway Company.

Courtney Bradford, their son, was born in 1884 and by 1901 was working in Topsham as a market gardener.

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