Nov 14, 2017 – Gazette, UK
Winterbourne’s American descendant pays a visit
AN AMERICAN whose family left Winterbourne 334 years ago visited the village of his ancestors last weekend.
Trevor Pontz, 38, who now lives in Florida, headed to for his family’s historic home, where he took in all the sights, including the medieval barn and St Michael’s Church.
Today’s villagers first became aware of their transatlantic connection when Trevor made a generous donation to a crowdfunding campaign for the medieval barn.
“I wanted to contribute the preservation project because my Quaker ancestors were baptised and married at St Michael’s, and they certainly used that barn,” he said.
“Instead of saving excess money, I choose to donate mine with the hopes that it inspires others to do the same.”
A keen genealogist, Trevor found out about his South Gloucestershire roots just two years ago.
“We were told we were all German and I always thought there was more to it, turned out there was,” said Trevor, a chief operating officer of two medical facilities,” he said.
“When I got into it there was the expected German line, but when I followed my famous pretzel baking ancestor, Julius Sturgis, it turned out they were all English, which was a surprise.
“My ancestor, Anthony Sturge was a Quaker and a feltmaker and hatter.
“He was baptized and married at St Michael’s Church in Winterbourne.
“He and his wife Ann left for the New World on the Bristol Factor ship and landed in Philadelphia on October 4, 1683 with their four surviving children.”
Trevor has uploaded all the information he has about his relatives online, on a family tree website.
“My first impression of Winterbourne is that it is the quintessential English village,” he said.
“One lane roads, tiny cars, stone walls and hedgerows, confused weather, an equal amount of pubs and churches, and the kindest people one could ever meet,” he said.
“The best way I could describe coming here would be like going to your grandparents’ funeral.
“You keep it together while you’re overwhelmed with just how powerful that moment is.
“The rain falling over the soft moss at St Michael’s, the sun shining over the hills in the Down, these are things I’ll never forget.”
Trevor is spending the whole of November in the UK, and says he is not going home until he has seen Manchester United defeat Newcastle at Old Trafford.
“I’ll certainly be coming back,” he added.
“This is a dream come true to be here and I’m looking forward to visiting again.”