Ivan wants to swap family information

Ivan Wright with the Mail article and his grandparents' marriage certificate
Ivan Wright with the Mail article and his grandparents' marriage certificate
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A GENEALOGY fan is hoping to contact a long-lost relative to exchange a piece of family history.

Around 35 years ago, The Hartlepool Mail reported how an historic family bible was found in a second-hand shop in the town.

Harry Herring wanted to return it to the family of James John Snowdon and his wife Eliza, whose names were on the bible’s register.

James was born in Hartlepool in 1835 and Eliza was born in Scarborough in 1835 and they married at St Paul’s Church on June 5, 1900.

Decades on, Ivan Wright, the couple’s great-grandson, has unearthed their original marriage certificate while having a clear-out.

Ivan says a member of the Snowdon family came forward and claimed the ornate bible, which recorded the births, deaths and marriages of the family, after Mr Herring’s appeal.

The 48-year-old is keen to contact that unknown relative and glean some information from the bible – in exchange for information from the marriage certificate and other family history facts he has gathered.

Former Fens resident Ivan, who left the town nine years ago and now lives in Hutton Rudby, North Yorkshire, said: “That bible has been given to a member of our family.

“I don’t know who that is, but if they got in contact, I would like to take some photocopies of the bible.

“What I can do in return is they can photograph my marriage certificate to go in the bible, so each member of the family gets a better record of what has gone on.”

Ivan, who works for Jobcentre Plus in Middlesbrough and is married to Lorraine, 49, added: “I would be over the moon if someone came forward.

“I would feel really pleased that the family history was being brought together, giving us an insight into life in the 19th century.

“If any members of the family are still in the town, if they have got the bible, could they get in contact with me?

“I would even be willing to buy it from them.”

Ivan’s mother Irene, who married the late John Wright, was born in 1920, but passed away in 2003.

She had a brother called John Snowdon and sisters called May, Daisy, Minnie, Marion and Lillian.

Their parents were Joseph Henry Snowdon, born in 1875, and Ada (nee Leybourn), born 1878.

Joseph was James John and Eliza’s son.

Ivan, who is dad to Nicole, 19, and 18-year-old Ashley, said records show James John Snowdon was a master mariner.

The 1881 Census says he was master of a ship called the Sweedon, which had a crew of 16 from across the country, including 17-year-old Harry Wise, who was also from West Hartlepool.

The Census also has Eliza’s address as Tower Street in Hartlepool.

Ivan, whose sister Jeanette Todd still lives in the town, and who has a sister, Alwyn Hodgson, living in Australia and sister Joan Field living in St Alban’s, in Hertfordshire, believes his great-grandfather stopped a ship from sinking.

Ivan would like any relations who know of the bible’s whereabouts to contact him on 07818 664061.

Any relatives of ship crew member Harry Wise are also welcome to get in touch.