The Irish connection

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CHRIS CORDNER is on a quest to find out more about his ancestors.

Our head of features has had great success in tracing his ancestry back to his great-great-great-grandfather William Cordner who was born circa 1806.

Much of that is down to the help of the excellent staff in the Trace Your Ancestors service at the Central Library in Hartlepool.

They started Chris out in the world of genealogy.

Then, Chris’s new-found friend in genealogy Alan Cordner, 69, of Worksop, who is also a distant relative, helped him to go back further.

Now Chris is back into the 1700s and here is his latest report.

IT’S all been a very English affair so far.

My direct paternal ancestry has remained almost extensively in the North-East with virtually every relative having a link to the grimy, dusty world of the North-East pits.

But records show my family are anything but English in origin and my roots lie further afield.

In fact, it seems the English connection was only established in the late 1700s when my great-great-great-great-grandfather James Cordner crossed from Ireland.

And the reason for the shift from his homeland was the love of a good woman.

I am indebted to Alan Cordner whose research shows James was born circa 1774 in Ireland. Within 22 years, he was very much a County Durham man.

He married Jane Renny on January 14, 1796 at St Michael Church in Bishopwearmouth, Sunderland.

But how did James and Jane ever come to meet?

Records indicate that James was a serving soldier. At the time of his marriage, he was a private in the Durham Fencible Infantry.

Sadly, details become a little more vague as research goes further back into history and names often change on recorded documents.

So the death of James is subject to some mystery.

It is very likely that a man listed as James Cowdon, who died a pauper, aged 65, is one in the same.

What happened to his wonderful life in between?

Did his marriage to his County Durham love last?

And why were his final days seen out in a union workhouse in South Hylton, Sunderland?

They are all questions for another day.

l Up to 30 people at a time use Hartlepool’s Trace Your Ancestors service at the Central Library which runs each Wednesday, from 10am to noon.

Anyone wanting more information can contact the library’s reference section on (01429) 242909.

l Alan would love to hear from anyone who can help him with more details on a relative called William Armstrong from the 1800s who was married to Eleanor Gibson from Lemington, Newcastle upon Tyne, and who had children called John Armstrong, James Armstrong, Sarah Elizabeth Armstrong, Mary J Armstrong and Margaret Armstrong.

Any who can help can contact him via email at: