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Overseas Voyage (1836-1844)                                                       

Barnaby Bartlett Lane, 2 x great grandfather of Henry Austin Lane - Generation 5.                                                                                                  


Barnaby and Ann started their married life in the impoverished East End of London, and eventually ended their days in the more opulent West End of London. As their family was expanding, Barnaby and Ann experienced a continual decline in their fortunes, and endured the untimely deaths of two of their children. After 11 years of marriage, Barnaby was no longer working as a cordwainer, but as a beer seller (barman) instead. 


Probably in a desperate attempt to improve his family's circumstances, Barnaby took a passage to New York, United States of America (U.S.A.), and arrived there on 20 June 1836, 4 days after the birth of his youngest child.


He sailed on board the packet ship 'Samson'. A packet ship was a sailing vessel originally used to carry Post Office mail packets to and from British embassies, colonies and outposts via a regular, scheduled service. From the early 1800s, packet ships also carried freight and passengers.​ By the time Barnaby crossed the Atlantic, the average cost of the fare had reduced from £12 (£593 today) to £3 (£148 today) as a result of the high level of competition between sailing ship companies. This price reduction obviously made it possible for Barnaby to scrape together enough money for the fare.​​

Barnaby's voyage would have been perilous and uncomfortable, in the dark, damp and overcrowded steerage quarters below deck, made worse by stormy seas and limited sanitation, which together created a dirty and foul-smelling environment for the 6 to 10 weeks it took to complete the voyage. While in the U.S.A., Barnaby lived and worked as a cordwainer (boot and shoe maker) in New York Ward 17, Manhattan, Lower East Side, on the banks of the East River, a melting pot of immigrants and lower-class workers.


During Barnaby's absence, Ann coped alone with the death of her youngest daughter (who Barnaby had never seen). Although her life swung between being very poor and being destitute, she kept herself and her children out of the parish workhouse with what she earned as a dressmaker.


Barnaby returned home to his family after an absence of 8 years, just in time to witness his surviving daughter's marriage to a man, 11 years her senior. Unlike many men who went to the U.S.A., Barnaby did not re-settle there and desert his family in Britain.


Note: If you would like to know more, or have information that improves this history, we would love to hear from you. 

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