I have traced my ancestors back to the year 1515 and finally hit the proverbial brick wall.
Ours is a very large family with many branches and, yes, the Eastman of Eastman-Kodak is one of them! Another notable in the Eastman family is Daniel Webster, his mother being Abigail Eastman Webster, a direct descendant of Roger, the immigrant.
As you can see, we have 2 possible family crests. They are similar in many ways, but the stories on each vary greatly. The crest on the right has a much more colorful tale! Unfortunately, the validity of these crests have yet to be verified, so are presented here for information and conjecture only. Click on the crests for a full size view and the history of each.
A presentation of our family’s history wouldn’t be complete without a look at our ancestor’s town, Downton, England. I have compiled several interesting pictures and documents regarding Downton, including a history of the town and some commercial trade directories from later years. It is interesting to note the different trades our cousins from “across the pond” were engaged in.
The first of our ancestors to reach American soil was Roger Eastman of Downton, England. He is believed to be the sole ancestor of all the Eastmans in the United States. He sailed here in April, 1638 on the ship "Confidence" , arriving at the Massachusettes Bay Colony. The Eastman family settled in the Salisbury/Haverhill region of Massachusetts and remained there until approximately 1744-48, when William Eastman, the great-grandson of Roger, lost his first wife, remarried, and relocated his family to New Hampshire.
I have discovered several schools of thought on the passenger list for the ship Confidence. Some say the ship sailed April 11th, the Captain being John Gibson and lists Roger Eastman as 25 years of age. Others say the ship sailed April 24th. Still others say the Captain was John Jobson, the ship sailing on April 24. Another version shows Roger Eastman's age as 15 (which I feel is a misinterpretation of handwriting). And it seems unclear if Roger was listed as a servant of John Sanders or John Cole, as one version shows John Cole to be part of the John Sanders party, and another version shows John Cole as a separate passenger. A notation found in one of the versions says that the John Sanders party possibly had people posing as servants, hoping to find religious freedom in the New World. (I find this to be a logical theory, since Roger Eastman was a carpenter by trade*, it seems unlikely he would travel as a servant unless it suited his needs at the time!) *Source: Founders of Early American Families, by Colket
Another notation says Roger came to America with 2 un-named brothers, one who went to Georgia, the other to Philadelphia. Since there is no documentation given for that statement, and I have not found "Roger + 2 brothers" appearing anywhere else in anyone's research (and it has been researched in depth), I would question the validity of that information. Happily, one thing they all have in common is that the ship sailed in the year 1638. To show no bias towards any interpretation, I submit all versions for inspection.
Recently added to this web site are 2 articles and 1 lecture transcript, published in 1882, 1910 and 1914, by Charles R. Eastman and C.E. Staniels. One article is a transcribed historical document from English court records in Downton, England (1475-1600) with many references to the Eastmans. The life and times of the early Eastmans here in America and Downton are chronicled thru the author's personal research in the other articles. There are many tidbits of information to be found in these documents and well worth the read.
One of our ancestors, Jonathan Eastman (1759-1829), fought in the Revolutionary War. He served in Captain Joseph Hutchins and Captain Samuel Young's companies, and is credited with two months and one day in Captain Thomas Simpson's Company of Rangers. As of October 4, 2003, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) approved membership into their organization based on his documented participation in the Revolutionary War. (See DAR document) or (DAR eligibility form)
Another branch of the Eastman family migrated to South America. Thomas Eastman (1770 - 1844) of London, England, was a ship and insurance broker who owned a small fleet of ships which connected British commerce with South America and India. Thomas Eastman and his descendants settled in Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Ecuador. I have added an excerpt from a book written by Dr. Eduardo C. Gerding called "British and American Presence in The United Provinces of The Rio de la Plata". To read about our South American "cousins" just click here. It is written in English. Another website that has information regarding this branch of Eastmans is Eastman Pérez Lasso Quiñones Cox Pallares Chiriboga Pérez (Part English, part Spanish)
I have transcribed a wonderful story you might want to read, about Hannah and Jonathan Eastman (b. 1/8/1680) from the book "The Eastman Family of America" by Guy Rix, pub. 1901. It's the remarkable tale of Hannah's capture by Indians that starts out in tragedy and ends up confirming the strength, character, and courageous spirit of our pioneer ancestors.
Did you know there were Indian Eastmans?? You can read about Stands-Like-A-Spirit here, and see all the other ancestral documents here!
I have added an index card file with more information and pictures, if available, regarding each ancestor. This is an on-going project and I will always be in the process of updating, so, please stop by often! There are many pictures and interesting documents attached to the individual index cards, such as, wills, personal histories, military service, etc. Just click here to go to the index and get a more detailed look at each individual. I have also made an alphabetized Document Directory if you are looking for something specific.
For those of you interested in the Ballinger line, I have a slide show of my trip to North Dakota showing grave stones in Oakwood Cemetery in Lisbon and the old family farm in Englevale.
There is also a slide show and other pictures and documents of the ceremony for the rededication of the grave of Sgt. William Ballenger at the Williamsburg Cemetery in Williamsburg, Indiana. He was in the 10th Regiment of the Virginia Continental Line and fought in the Battle of Stoney Point in the Revolutionary War.
If you are interested in learning more about the entire Eastman family lineage, click on the following link:
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