MEMORY LANE: A year of success for Family Roots

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IT’S been quite a year for Family Roots.

Time and again, we have helped people find out more about their ancestry.

•We tracked down Peter Stannard after telling how he represented his country in the 1971 Strategic Air Command Combat Competition in the USA.

Thirty months after our first appeal, Peter was traced.

“We didn’t beat the Americans,” he said. But Peter did become Wing Commander before retiring after 30 years of service.

•Former Hartlepool woman Kath Brooks has often shared stories with Family Roots of her grandfather John Hayes.

John’s claim to fame is that he became a key witness in a trial in May 1899.

But unbeknown to her, the story rang a familiar note with New Zealand man Dave Grantham – because his great grandfather was the judge in the same trial.

Now, after being put in touch with each other by the Hartlepool Mail, they have started exchanging emails.

•Back in June, we told of the Grange Road resident John Knowlson who founded the Hartlepool Excelsior Male Voice Choir, and took his own concert party to the Howbeck hospital in Hartlepool every Christmas Eve to cheer up the patients.

But we wanted more and Tim Jones duly obliged with memories of his grandfather.

•Marvin Sharfin who swapped The Bronx for a life in Seaton Carew in 1962.

Fifty two years later, Marvin, told us: “My wife and I were not surprised upon entering Seaton, we were shocked. No central heating, no refrigerator, no clothes washer, no drier.”

Our thanks to everyone who responded to our appeals this year. If you would like our help in sharing your family tree, contact Chris Cordner on (01429) 239377 or email

•Next week, our biggest success story of the year.