How did I get here, anyway?

The Reporter's Notebook


Last updated 5/11/2022 at 10:49am

I have been tracing my Lucas family back as far as the mid 17th century in LaRochelle, France. I can’t seem to get past Jean Lucas, so for now he is the patriarch of the family.

The family followed the teachings of John Calvin and finally left France for Germany and the long emigration to escape to the New World. 

Part of the family went to Ireland, but my branch went to England to pursue Queen Anne’s pledge to pay their passage to New York.

The family took refuge in a fleet of 10 ships who were waiting out the winter for spring sailing.

The 10 ships were Lyon of Leith, Lowestoffe, Fame, Tower, Mary Hartwell, Baltimore, Lames and Elizabeth, Sara, Midford, Berkeley Castle, and Herbert.  Herbert was wrecked on arrival in New York and carried supplies for the other ships.

The sailing ships lay in anchor until the spring of 1710, before starting a six-month sail to New York.

During the cold winter on the Thames my ancestor Frantz lost his wife and one of six children to illnesses that took nearly 500 lives. There originally were some 3,000 people on the ships.

Another 100 or so perished at sea. The voyage took six months.

My ancestor, Francoise, was a linen weaver. His wife, Marie, died in London, and the five children who made it to the new land were Maria Elizabeth, Isaac, Frans Jacob, Anna Maria and Anna Catherine.

For some reason, I know more about the family before they got here.

The family members in that group settled in what became known as New Rochelle, a short distance from New York City.

Another branch of the family came to the United States from Ireland.

The ships landed at what is Governor’s Island and waited out a long quarantine.

For some reason, I have noted that the family was aboard the Lyon Leith.


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