10-year quest for a piece in Hartlepool family jigsaw

Michael Kennedy
Michael Kennedy

MICHELLE Kennedy is proof that once you start digging, you just can’t stop.

Like so many genealogists, her family tree research has unearthed some glorious detail but she’s hoping for more with our help.

Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

So far, her investigations have taken her back to her great-great grandfather called James O’Rourke. He came from Ireland originally and Michelle said: “With looking for him, all this other history has unfolded.”

Michelle, a care support worker from the Clavering area of Hartlepool, now knows that parts of her family comes from Ireland, Scotland, Wales and the border area around Bamburgh.

She also knows James O’Rourke was born in 1849 in the Cork area. Her family tree research has not quite completed his story yet.

James’ parents were believed to be called Michael, and Henrietta O’Flynn, from southern Cork. Michelle wants a copy of their marriage certificate but it has not gone online yet.

Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

“Finding that would be a Christmas present,” said Michelle.

Michelle does know that James came from Ireland to England in 1868 and married a woman called Ann Scott, who was Michelle’s great grandparent. Ann was born in the St Pancras area of London in 1844 and baptised in 1847, but was a visitor to her sister who lived in the North-East of England, in the Sunderland area.

The sister was called Jane and originally married a man called John Henry Rick Meriton. Jane and her husband went to Hamburg where they had three children. Their other child was born in Sunderland.

But the marriage was short-lived because of John’s type of work which left him with the fever. He died as the whole family crossed back over to England.

Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

Jane was soon back in England where she re-married to a Mr Dand in November 1869 - just a year after her ill-fated first partnership.

Another of the quirky mysteries in Michelle’s research surrounds a Mr John Harrison Scott, the father of Ann Scott, and who at one time had been a resident of Maryland in the United States of America. She knows that he died some time between November 1869 and March 1872 - but not exactly when and it’s another area Michelle would love to find an answer to.

What she does know is that John Harrison Scott was quite some traveller as he took his family to Russia - and it was a big family of John and his wife as well as their children Jane, John, Louisa, George, Ann and Walter.

A seventh child was born in Russia in 1854 but died just days later.

The immensely detailed story is just getting under way and we have more to come. In the meantime, our thanks go to Michelle for sharing it and if anyone can tell her more about her ancestors, get in touch.

Contact Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email chris.cordner@jpress.co.uk