John Andrews Spracklin is my 3rd great-grandfather and the husband of Lydia Goss. I promised a cousin that I would post about his immigration from England to the United States. I dedicate this post to my half cousin Janice.
The surname of Spracklin can be spelled in a variety of creative ways. I know that other’s spell it “Spracklen,” with an “e” instead of an “i.” These spellings make it hard to research the Spracklins and have to try different approaches to dig for records.
I have seen: Spraklin, Sprancklin, Spranklin, Sprackling, Sprocklin, Spracklan
My quest to find the actual passenger list for John Andrews Spracklin’s migration to the U.S., started at the Family History Library when I visited there for the first time in 2004. This was before Ancestry.com had these indexes online so you had to do things the hard way, like look in a book. I targeted the published indexes for passenger arrivals in the United States. I started in the reference section of the Family History which is located on each floor by the desk area. I hope with all the changes at the Family History Library it is still there.
I started with this book:
Passenger Arrivals at the Port of Philadelphia, 1800-1819, The Philadelphia “Baggage List,” pg. 683, General Editor Michael H. Tepper & Transcribed by Elizabeth P. Bentley, Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. 1986, page 683 column left side lists: Sprocklin, John – Abigail 3 Oct. 1817. The call number for this book at the FHL is #974.811 W3.
The next step was to turn to pg. xvii in the front of this book. This gives the film roll numbers for the National Archives Microfilm.
The NARA films are M425 series, #25, Sept. 1- Dec. 26, 1817 Lists #161-288. The FHL number is #419599 (#25), under Passenger Lists of Vessels, Philadelphia, #00205 for the Brig Abigail dated 3 Oct. 1817.
The next step is to find the films for NARA at the Family History Library using their film numbers. So you run a search for these films
The definition of a Brig is a “two-masted, square-rigged ship with an additional gaff sail on the mainmast.” I hope this picture is close, for I know nothing of sailing vessels:
I pulled this film from the FHL microfilm stacks on the 2nd floor and scrolled to the actual ships manifest. Unfortunately it was very faded and difficult to read.
Brig Abigail, William Grants is Master, Cargo was taken at Bristol., England, burthen 455, bound for Philadelphia.
When I studied the ships manifest, I first thought that John Andrews Spracklin, my 3rd great-grandfather had come all by himself to the U.S. I was reviewing the manifest one day and realized that he came with his Aunt Anne Andrews Rood and her family. Anne is the sister to Elizabeth Andrews Spracklin wife of Peter Spracklin. These are John’s parents who would come in 1823 to the U.S.
Here is the listing on the Brig Abigail’s manifest:
- Return of
- Wine Rood
- Ann Rood
- Pamela Rood
- Wine Rood
- Varoline Rood
- Ablin Rood…another name next column top
- John Spracklin…
Are any of the other listed passengers other than the Roods on the manifest related? I do not know at this time.
NOTE: To see a bigger version just click the photo. For those who would like a copy of the whole manifest they are now online at Family Search at
This process took maybe 1 hour at the FHL on that day. Today at Ancestry.com and FamilySearch you can find this ships manifest in under 5 minutes and the copy, although still faded, is much easier to read.
The first time I saw this ships manifest it was pretty amazing to see John’s name listed there. Well, it still is amazing!