A GENEALOGY fan is making inroads as he delves into his family tree – with a helping hand from the Mail.
Retired Hartlepool firefighter Neil Handisides appeared in Together Again last October appealing for help in tracing the family of his late uncle, Joseph Deighton.
Neil, 66, from the Castle Hills area of Hartlepool, near Clavering, had found information on Joseph's daughter, Norah, who died in Hartlepool in 1995.
Her obituary in the Hartlepool Mail read: "Deighton. On August 18 at Manor Park Clinic Norah aged 89 years, dearest sister of Nell (Dunstable), a dear aunt of Hilton, Linda, Richard, Barbara, Stephen and Evan."
Neil, who is married to Trish, a 61-year-old retired collection agency worker, said: "The same night the article appeared, a lady rang to say she was the Hilton (Mallinson) that appeared in the obituary.
"She was not a niece of Norah. Her family had known Norah for many years and being very close they came to call her Auntie Norah."
Neil said he found out that Norah's sister, Nell (Ellen) Deighton, born 1909, married Arthur Thompson and had a daughter Audrey in 1930.
He explained: "Hilton put me in touch with Audrey, who lives in Northamptonshire and whose married name is Rolls, and her husband.
"We are working together to complete this side of the family tree."
Neil, dad to Jayne, a 39-year-old paramedic and Gary, a 37-year-old draughtsman, added he had found out his uncle Joseph died in the Great War in Flanders, France on April 13, 1918, leaving wife Ellen with six children aged between three and 13-years-old.
These included James, born 1904 in West Hartlepool, died in Liverpool in 1987, Norah, born 1905 in West Hartlepool and died in Hartlepool 1995, and Ellen, born 1909 in West Hartlepool, died about 2001 in Bedfordshire.
Joseph and Ellen's other son, Ronald, was born in 1912 in Easington and died in Wakefield in 1999 and daughter Winifred was born in West Hartlepool in 1913, but died aged just five and son Joseph was born in 1915, but died just three years later, within days of Winifred.
In 1919 Joseph's wife Ellen re-married to Hartlepool man Matthew Cockfield.
She had two more children, Mary born 1920, and Matthew, born 1924, before moving to Luton where Matthew found work in the Vauxhall Motors factory.
Ellen died in Luton in 1971 aged 85.
Matthew junior married and had two children, David and Jeffrey.
Neil said: "I am in contact with Jeffrey Cockfield as he thinks he will be able to help with some information on James and Ronald Deighton."
The Mail previously told how Neil embarked on a 25,000-mile round trip to see long-lost relatives Down Under, having made contact with Beverley Green (nee Handisides), his cousin from Rotorua in New Zealand.
Neil's paternal ancestors originated as a 17th Century family of blacksmiths in Marton, near Middlesbrough, and the family dispersed after David Handisides emigrated to New Zealand in 1878.