Australian woman hopes to find more about long-lost family after emotional Hartlepool visit

Judie Stephens.
Judie Stephens.

An Australian woman with family history steeped in Hartlepool made an emotional visit to the town to learn more about her roots.

Judie Stephens, 72, from Sydney, decided to travel to the birthplace of her father, Derek Alderson, for a voyage of discovery.

Part of me belongs to Hartlepool and I’d love to hear from people who are part of the big family and still there

Judie Stephens

Derek left Hartlepool for Australia aged just five in 1927 with father Harry and mother Emilie (nee Johnson).

Judie now has a desire to get in contact with and find more about the family that was left behind in Hartlepool, as Harry was one of eight children.

She said: “I just felt the absolute passion to find out more about my roots, because my father didn’t tell me a lot.

“I stayed for three days, and in the end I thought ‘I need to take this further and find out more’.

“Part of me belongs to Hartlepool and I’d love to hear from people who are part of the big family and still there.

“Harry was one of eight children and only one of them came to Australia, so some of the descendants of some of his brothers and sisters are surely in Hartlepool.”

The Aldersons had lived in Seaview Terrace, while the Johnsons were in Moor Parade. After Harry and Emilie married, they lived in the former Alliance Street.

During her time in the town, Judie visited their former homes, and also received help from Hartlepool’s Central Library in tracing her family history.

Her grandfather, Harry, had served in Canada during the First World War, and eventually left in a boat with his children Alan, Derek and Monica for Australia in 1927.

Judie travelled on her own to Hartlepool, and says she was struck by the nature of the people in the town.

She added: “I found great kindness within the town.

“I left my purse on the bus, and when I went to the bus station, it was there waiting for me.

“It is the kindness about the people there that struck me the most.

“The trip was all about finding where I belong and a strong desire to discover my family.

“I discovered so much during my three days there and I really hope to find out more.”

If you think you may be related to Judie, get in touch with her by contacting her via email at