Sam Champion Explores His Irish Ancestry


Nov. 1, 2006 — -- Sam Champion's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandfathersailed from Bristol, England, to Virginia in 1634 or 1635.

Sincethen, 11 generations of Champions have been born in what is now theUnited States.

Sam's ancestry has deep roots in Ireland, and his family tree is part ofAmerica's rich Irish immigration story.

Two and a half million Irishmen left Ireland in the 1800s throughQueenstown -- today called Cobb -- a sort of Ellis Island of the Emerald Isle.

Queenstown's storied history includes two famous ships.

The Titanic setsail from Queenstown on its infamous journey, and the Lusitania wastorpedoed and sunk nearby -- an event that contributed to America'sinvolvement in World War I.

Another story that set sail from this port is Sam's great-grandfather,James Hampston.

He left for America between 1877 and 1880 with hisparents, three sisters and two brothers.

The Hampston family settled in the Irish community of Manchester, N.H. found James listed as an 11-year-oldresident of that town in the 1880 U.S. Census.

It was James' daughter, Josephine Hampston, who would make the move toKentucky and marry Burna Champion, Sam's grandfather, and part of a longline of Champion men born in Kentucky.

Burna worked as a riverboat pilotduring the Great Depression and as a machinist during WWI.

Their son, James Harry Champion, became Sam's father.

Sam's middle name is the same as his father's first: James.

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