ROBERT JACK EARDLEY, M.D.
3366 Commodore Drive
Lexington, Kentucky 40502-3602
Fax #: (606) 266-7317
E MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Eardley Family Member, April 1999
Welcome, once again to the Eardley letter! Most of you are aware that this truly amazing process began three years ago when I wrote to all known Eardleys in the world in order to discover my family roots. Numbers have increased to 2242.
As an American of English stock - with the years beginning to rush by me - I was curious. Curious to know all about my family in the past - who they were, where they lived and why they came to America. Not only was I able in large measure to discover most of my families' history, but also it seemed to encourage hundreds of Eardleys all over the world to do the same.
Since then I have been inundated with phone calls, letters, faxes and e-mails. It is all so amazing and overwhelming that ideally I could use an army of genealogists and secretaries to put this whole puzzle back together. It is a hugely challenging task and one that would keep an entire Department busy. I am a 'one man shop', but together with my cousin in Stoke-on-Trent England - Robert Francis Eardley - and with the help of many hundreds of Eardleys world wide - we are gradually putting the picture together.
So, what started out as a personal quest for my own roots, has expanded in a wholly unexpected way into an Eardley Family Network which literally spans the globe. Scarcely a day passes by when I do not hear from an Eardley seeking information from somewhere in the world. I am always pleased to hear from an Eardley. I am interested in the story of any Eardley - no matter how 'ordinary' you think it is. Please call or write either myself, Robert Francis Eardley or Karen Eardley Patterson - tell us what you know - even if you know only your parents' names and where they were born. Every small piece of information is meaningful. In the past we have made giant strides with small pieces of information.
Could I ask that you contact me by phone or letter. E-mails and Faxes complicate my filing system. I can't explain why this is so in a line or two - please take my word for it. I will leave Robert's and my contact numbers at the end of the letter. Contact Karen for e-mail.
Again, if you are aware of an Eardley friend, relative, or even an Eardley living across the street - who may not be on our mailing list - tell them.
It occurred to Robert, Karen and me that we may be missing out on many Eardley ladies who lose their name when they marry. So - Eardley men - please include your sisters, cousins and aunts in all of this. The more Eardleys we contact, the more information we get and the easier the task becomes.
Now, let me turn to the event which takes place next year - Millennium Year. Please forgive my reminding you again of the Eardley Family Get-Together on Saturday, July 15th at noon in Audley, St. James Church, near Stoke-on-Trent, England. New readers may be hearing this information for the first time - so I ask all the 'regulars' to be patient with me.
The Vicar will address the Eardleys in the Church which has stood for a thousand years and in which all of your most distant ancestors were christened, married, and had their funeral rites. This Church is the one place in which we can all come together as one related group to commemorate both the millennium and the world wide Eardley family. Remember we all started out here long ago and what an amazing event it will be to see Eardleys from Britain, South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Canada and U.S.A. - in that same Church in which all of our forebears used to see as the focal point of their lives.
The response has been overwhelming, astounding, brilliant! Everyone who phones me, or writes me is pledging his/her total commitment to being there. The Eardleys in Church will be overflowing into the village if even half of those who say they are coming actually manage to turn up on the day.
I'm sure you won't need me to remind you to bring your camcorder, camera, tape recorder, family tree and determination to chat with everyone you meet. Make friends, take names, addresses, phone numbers - e-mails - whatever - but be sure to make it a day to remember. Above all - turn up. A day like this cannot be repeated - ever! Radio Stoke has promised to come - along with the ever popular Sam Plank. The Sentinel in the guise of John Abberley will be there and popular ex-twice Lord Mayor Doug Brown has promised to come along with his charming wife, Joyce.
The day will not be structured in the formal sense. The event will evolve and it will take on its own momentum and achieve its own unique identity from the many interactions of those participating.
I can tell you that Mr. Alistar Griffiths, an Audley parishioner and businessman, has been able to arrange for us Eardleys to use Wolstanton Golf Club for that weekend. Any Eardleys who play golf will be able to arrange a game on the day. Bring your own equipment. I understand the Club House will be available as a social venue. However, all of these details will be confirmed and amplified in subsequent letter well before July 2000.
Of course any Eardley who wishes to make suggestions or arrangements for the day is encouraged to do so. But it is down to you to arrange it. Robert and I will be there to 'meet and greet you' - the rest is for yourselves to decide.
If you are coming to England from overseas - I strongly advise you to book your accommodations early and obviously you can make the Audley visit part of a much wider cultural vacation - especially if this is to be your first or only visit to Europe.
This is another 'Eardley Letter' I have written to our worldwide family = 2242 in the U.K., 500 in the U.S.A. and several hundred more to Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and even Hong Kong and Continental Europe.
You will remember that last time I included all the names and code indices of all male Eardley marriages recorded between 1837 and 1900. This time I propose taking a further step forward. I have obtained 550 actual marriage certificates . The information (mostly from Wolstanton where most Eardley marriages took place at that time) includes the names of your maternal great great grandmother and makes putting yourselves and your family tree together a great deal more easy.
For America Eardleys, especially, I have been reviewing ’boat lists' from Philadelphia - Liverpool from 1840 - 1890. I believe most of the America Eardleys came to America by this route - and so your ancestors are very likely to be included in these lists. They are available at the National Archives.
We are currently writing to about 60 Australian Families and one in Tasmania. I had the pleasure of meeting James Eardley, aged 16 from Tasmania. His grandfather, Peter, from Perth, Western Australia, where incidentally there are several Eardleys, has helped to distribute the Australian letters.
Now for a brief update on my own family history in America. I have recently discovered that my great grandfather, Henry Eardley, came to America with his wife Elizabeth Kirkham Eardley and four daughters - Jane, Sarah, Emma, and Annie. The two boys Elijah and John Henry came independently. The girls came to East Liverpool and married families named Mills, (Cock)Cox, Johnson, and Powell (Brassington). I know Jane married John Brassington in Stoke. He disappeared from the census of 1881 and whether he died or went to America I have yet to discover - but Jane did go to America with two small children and subsequently married a Powell.
Readers will be aware that I often mention John Henry Eardley of Terre Haute, Indiana, boxing promoter, race horse owner and manager, and finally, keeper of the town store. Little did I know then that he was my grandfather, Eljah's brother. They both came to America more than once as the boat lists prove. However, John Henry's first wife died young and having a small child to rear, he soon remarried and moved to a coal mining town called Perth, Indiana, which had dozens of saloons and no churches. Last summer Robert Francis and I drove to Terre Haute to meet John Henry's grandson - John Henry III and his wife, Hope. It was a baking hot day with temperatures well over 100°F. John Henry's wife is a talented artist and subsequently she produced an impressive painting of the Eardley Family Crest - the original of which can be viewed in Audley Parish Church.
I recall that John Henry had a picture of the Spitfire WW II fighter plane - designed by Stoke born designer, Reginald Mitchell. Recently I was fortunate to meet Mitchell's nephew at a dinner - Stoke-on-Trent.
My great-grandfather Henry had a younger brother Edwin (Edward). He seems to disappear from Census records after 1851. Karen Eardley Patterson of New Jersey, discovered that he apparently changed his name to Edward. His son came to Trenton, New Jersey and started yet another Eardley family of whom Karen is one.
May I conclude by again thanking the Rev. Peter Davies, Vicar of Audley St. James for allowing us the opportunity to return to our ancestral spiritual home on July 15, at noon, in the year 2000. Also, I would welcome suggestions for a permanent repository for our project. One's which immediately spring to mind are University of Keele, Staffordshire University or The Mormon Church. Perhaps you have additional suggestions.
Robert Jack Eardley can be contacted at:
3366 Commodore Drive Tel: (606) 269-3686
Lexington, Kentucky 40502-3602
Fax (606) 266-7317 E-mail: Eardleyrj@cs.com
Robert Francis Eardley Tel/Fax: 01782-844253 U.K.
140 Princes Road 011 44 1782844253 U.S.
Stafforshire, England ST4-7JL
Karen Eardley Patterson
I will write to you again later with an update on our plans for the Millennium and for the general direction of our one name Eardley study..
Robert Jack Eardley
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