September 28 & 29, 2019 – Burnley & Halifax, England
Written by Diana
September 28, 2019
We drove through the beautiful Lake District National Park in northwestern England while traveling to Burnley to explore my Halstead roots. We stopped to see the Ribblehead Viaduct. It was built in 1875 and has 24 massive stone arches.
We looked around and took photos from many angles, then decided to walk up a hill a ways to see if there was another view. As we were approaching the top, we noticed a group of people and were curious as to what they were looking at. Then we heard the sound of a steam whistle. It was the Tornado, which is similar to the Hogwarts Express. Passengers may book this train for a scenic ride on a steam locomotive.
It turns out that the train was late that day and people had been waiting two hours to see it cross over the viaduct. We were very lucky to happen along at just the right time! It was really a fun experience!
September 29, 2019
Growing up I always heard the term, “Halstead name bearer”. My brother was the last in line for our branch of the family tree, as was our father and grandfather before him. I was always proud to be a Halstead, but at the time I knew very little of the history of my maiden name.
Over the past year of research, I learned that the Halstead surname traces back to Burnley, England. According to Long Island Surnames, ancestry.com, and Find a Grave; I am able to go all the way back to my 22nd great grandfather who was born in about 1280. I have been in contact with the Halstead Trust in England (an organization dedicated to researching Halstead genealogy) several times, and they are not able to confirm all of these links. So the verdict is still out, as it is very hard to be sure of information from so long ago. I am confident back to my 10th great grandfather, Jonas Halstead, who was born about 20 miles east of Burnley in 1611. More about him in just a bit.
We visited the Halstead Centre Swimming Pool, in Burnley, England, as my research showed they sold something that might be the perfect souvenir.
It turns out their beach towel was a hit with my brother Dan, when we stopped to see him on our way to Florida.
Next we visited Halifax Minster, which used to be named St. John the Baptist, in Halifax, County of Yorkshire, England. Remember my 10th great grandfather, Jonas? This is where he was baptized in February of 1611. I was able to see a copy of the church records on ancestry.com. It is a beautiful cathedral, with an intricate and historic baptismal font.
They were having a fundraiser to help maintain the church, so we enjoyed strawberries & tea. It was fun to soak up the atmosphere, as I sat in view of the font where more than one of my ancestors were likely baptized so many generations ago.
Jonah Halstead married Sarah Susan Butterfield in England in 1632. They immigrated to Long Island, New York in 1644. He died in 1683 in what was then considered Colonial America. Future generations moved east to upstate New York, and eventually on to Michigan. They owned hundreds of acres near Newburgh, New York, where we love to stay when we visit New York City. Of course we never knew this until recently.
We then returned to Burnley as we wanted to see this plaque on Halstead history that is found inside of St. Peter’s.
This photo is from the Halstead Trust website, as we found the church closed. There was a service held there that morning, so it is still in use.
We were able to find some Halstead’s…
…in the very overgrown graveyard.
But these dates were after my ancestors had already been in the States for 200 years. We decided to leave, as a man who appeared to be homeless seemed uncomfortable with our presence. Such a different experience than we had in Halifax. This cemetery was so creepy! Happy Halloween to all!
In our next post, we explore one last branch of my family in a charming little southern English village. You’ll want to be sure to check that one out. Until then, safe and happy travels to all!