Kathleen goes on an ancestry quest

Kathleen's photographic discovery
Kathleen's photographic discovery

A SUPERBLY detailed family photograph could hold the key to the next step in a genealogist’s research.

Kathleen Moore, of Hill View in Greatham, has researched her family tree for “four or five years”.

But it was only recently that she came across this shot of nine smiling faces – and their pet dog – while looking through her grandmother’s belongings.

She’s hoping it is an image which sheds light on some more of her own history.

Her family roots have been a topic of interest since 2007.

“It started out of curiosity really,” said Kathleen.

“My grandparents never spoke about their background.”

But once she started investigating, she found out that the great grandparents and great-great grandparents on her father’s side were all buried in the Spion Kop cemetery.

By complete coincidence, Kathleen had her own link to the area.

“That cemetery is opposite the house where I lived as a child,” said Kathleen, now 65, and a retired registered childminder.

“My family lived in the railway cottages at the Spion Kop. The Burdon family moved in there in around 1880 and it was my granddad’s side.”

After close scrutiny, she is wondering whether the photograph may have been taken at that same house.

“I am wondering if the photo was taken there in around 1900,” said Kathleen, a widow.

“It is very good quality and I am wondering if it is any of my relatives.”

Kathleen’s research has so far taken her back to 1841 on her father’s side. Kathleen’s father was James Burdon who died aged 57 in 1980, and was a town man.

“I thought the Burdons were Hartlepool born and bred, but they are from Lincolnshire,” she said.

“I can’t get further back than the 1841 Census. It shows that my great-great-great grandfather Oswald Burdon was living in as an agricultural labourer on land in Lincolnshire.”

But her research, which has mostly been done online, goes further back on her maternal side where the family name was Black.

She added: “My mother was from London and her side did talk about their family, and a lot of people have researched it.”

Ironically, just like her father’s side, it also shows links to Lincolnshire but the family’s past shows their roots in the Dorset area.

But there are questions to be answered on her father’s side.

Why did a relative called Mary Anne Burdon, her grandfather’s younger sister, go from being a 22-year-old financially secure dressmaker on the 1901 Census, to a deceased woman who perished in the Hartlepool workhouse in 1907?

Who are the people on the photograph and where was the picture taken?

If any other genealogists can help with the answers, contact Kathleen on (01429) 870381.