Sometime in the 1970's my father gave me two family heirlooms: two Bible pages, one showing the families of Sarah Lane with here first and second husbands, dating from 1839 to 1859, the other showing the birth of her mother, Hannah Caldwell and her family. When I joined Ancestry.com in 2009 I scanned these and put them online on my tree. I then heard from Ava who was tracing her adoptive mother's tree. She was a descendant of Sarah Lane's oldest daughter from her second marriage. I also heard from Joanne who was descended from John Lane, Sarah's brother. The three of us e-mailed back and forth working on the family tree. Joanne had obtained the will of Sarah Lane's grandfather, William Lane, which she shared. Ava had a cousin with many family documents and heirlooms who she put me in contact with.
Ava's cousin, Jim Brown, was living in a family house full of heirloom furniture, artifacts and documents. I used to call him and ask him questions and he would run off and come back with a family letter or Bible or something. He sent me many of these either photocopies or in a few cases the originals. Unfortunately he died about two years ago, his niece lives in the house now and I really should go back and visit!
The one thing that none of us have been able to find so far is the origin of William Frederick Lane. The earliest we have found of William is his marriage to Sarah Blunt in Manchester Cathedral on 29 Sep 1792. It lists his occupation as Whitesmith, this is someone who works in tin. Later he is listed in several Manchester city directories as an Ironmonger. He had a shop and a house and also owned two houses in Salford (now part of Manchester, then a nearby town) which he rented out. He and Sarah had three children, William born 1795, Sarah born 1797 and Joseph born 1800. Sarah died at age three in 1800, Joseph lived to get married but died before having any children in 1825. William, however, married and had four children, three of whom married and had several children who now have descendants in the USA, Canada and Australia.
At least two heirlooms from William exist currently. One is an oil portrait of William and Sarah, painted in the 1820's. This hangs in another cousin's home in Clovis, California. The other is a tipstave owned by the same cousin. The tipstave was a symbol of William's position as Tipstaff in Manchester sometime between 1820 and 1830. The only other thing known about him is that he died on 6 Aug 1830 in Manchester and was buried 12 Aug 1830 at St. Mary's. The records say that he was 65. This would mean that he was born between 6 Aug 1764 and 5 Aug 1765. But we don't know where and so far although there are several records of William Lane's born between those dates none can be definitely said to be him. This requires further research, meanwhile we can enjoy the heirlooms he left us!