Belgian man in final quest to complete his Hartlepool family tree

A Belgian man has praised the people of Hartlepool for their family tree help so far. And they could provide the final piece in the jigsaw.

Wednesday, 7th September 2016, 10:00 am
The wedding of Paul and Nellie.

Regular readers may remember Marc de Vulder whose story about his grandmother Nellie (Nelly) Boyes had a wonderful ending earlier this year.

Thanks to your help, Marc paid a first ever visit to Hartlepool.

Marc de Vulder.

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It happened in the latest stage of his genealogical research where he got to meet relatives for the first time.

Now he is hoping for information on the remaining part of his extended English family.

“Then as far as i am concerned, the circle is round,” he told us.

Chris Cordner reports.

Marc de Vulder.

It has been a story of romance, of tragedy and of war.

Marc de Vulder, who comes from Merelbeke in the East Flanders area of Belgium, unearthed a veritable treasure of information when he began looking into the history of Nelly.

It all started during the days of the First World War.

Her sweetheart was Paul Rasquin, who was 28 in 1918, and a victim of the Great War.

He suffered an injury on the battlefield and was sent to England to recuperate.

He met Nelly, 22, on a trip to Witton-le-Wear in County Durham. They fell in love and married in Geraardsbergen in Belgium on June 17, 1922.

And that’s where a whole line of links to Hartlepool developed for Marc.

“We met our family in Hartlepool last June, me as a ‘representative’ of Nellie and the family Harker/Taylor as representatives of her sister Bertha Hilda,” said Marc.

“The two sisters had a brother called William Ernest Boyes, married to Louisa Ethel Hodgson, who both are depicted on the wedding-picture of Paul and Nellie as well.

“William Ernest married Louisa Hodgson and the marriage was solemnized in the Parish Church of Stranton All Saints, William being a mariner and Louisa an engineer on April 28, 1913.

“As we heard and learned, William and Louisa had four children.

“The youngest daughter of this couple, Mary Boyes, married Kenneth Reay on November 5, 1955.

Kenneth Reay died in March, 2010.

But the couple did have four children and that’s where Marc’s interest lies.

And they, as well as other close relatives of theirs, may still be alive and living in the Hartlepool area.

We shall continue Marc’s latest quest to complete his Hartlepool ancestry later this week.

In the meantime, if anyone can help with more information, email [email protected] and we will pass on the relevant details to Marc.