Family Roots: The quest goes on for Mail’s Chris

HARTLEPOOL MAIL Head of Features CHRIS CORDNER is on a quest to find out more about his ancestors.

He has so far traced his roots back to his great-great grandparents.

This is the latest instalment in his attempt to look back even further through the ages.

FROM delight to sheer frustration.

These are the emotions facing many a genealogist.

Thanks to the help of staff at the Hartlepool Central Library, in York Road, and the Durham County Record Office at County Hall, in Durham City, I tracked my great-great grandfather John Defty through the line of my father Thomas Cordner’s mother Ethel Cook.

John sadly died aged 32 in a mining disaster at Kimblesworth Colliery, in County Durham, on August 16, 1885.

But I was determined to find out more about my father’s direct lineage on his father Thomas Cordner’s line.

I turned once again to Sandra McKay at the Central Library and found that, in 1911, my grandfather Thomas was living in Wood Street, Kimblesworth, with his mother and father, my great grandmother and great grandfather Frances, 32. and William Cordner, 34.

My last report in the Hartlepool Mail had reached this point in my research, but now I had more.

I found further detail on William in the 1901 Census.

At this stage, he was a 24-year-old coalminer and a single man, boarding with a family at Pegswood, two miles east of Morpeth in Northumberland.

It become obvious that he was in a house making ends meet through the income from lodgers. A fellow boarder was a 61-year-old colliery joiner.

My next task was to find William’s parents. That’s where the frustration set in.

Why? Because online Census research revealed William’s father was John Cordner – with little other detail to go on.

And to make matters worse, there was more than one John Cordner recorded in the North-East.

Suddenly, after months of remarkable progress, I was hitting brick walls.

And then I remembered the words of fellow researchers.

“You will have days when nothing goes to plan, but then there’s the ones where you get that piece in the jigsaw and it’s all worth it.”

So despite my frustration, I was determined to find out more.

And that’s a story for another day.

For more information on the Central Library’s Trace Your Ancestors service - which runs each Wednesday from 10am to 12pm - contact (01429) 242909.