The Belgian man who traced his roots to Hartlepool
Belgian man Marc de Vulder is hoping for a helping hand to track down more of his Hartlepool relatives.
Can you come to his aid? It would complete quite a story.
Last week, we began telling the tale of his grandmother Nellie (Nelly) Boyes, born in Hartlepool and who then lived in Belgium after marrying her sweetheart Paul Rasquin.
They lived through the years of the Second World War using guile and a lot of determination.
But after Nellie survived the whole of the conflict, she died aged 49 from flu on the same day that the Nazis surrendered unconditionally on May 8, 1945.
Marc, from Merelbeke in the East Flanders area of Belgium, has managed to find out a lot about his Hartlepool background.
He said: “Grandmother Nellie was buried on the graveyard of Geraardsbergen in a family grave, in later times together with her husband and an aunt. The grave is still there and I visited it some days ago.”
Tragically, Nellie’s mother Bertha C Boyes was still alive and living in Geraardsbergen. She was 78 years old at that time.
Marc said: “What I heard from my mother was that some time later, grandma returned to Hartlepool to cope with the loss of her daughter together with family members of Hartlepool.”
Marc’s research has uncovered more about Nellie and other family members.
Nellie was born on January 2, 1896 at Durham Street in Throston. She was christened 27 days later at Holy Trinity Church in Hartlepool.
Her father was a mariner called William Robert Boyes who died in Australia.
The place of his demise wasn’t known but there are thoughts that he died in a shipping disaster.
Nellie’s mother was Bertha Cawthorne Boyes, born Smith, who at one time lived in Sandringham Road in West Hartlepool from 1950 to 1953.
Marc added: “William Robert Boyes and his wife Bertha Cawthorne Smith had three children: Bertha Hilda born in 1889, William born 1891 and Nellie born 1896.
“Further details of William are unknown to me.”
Research has shown that Bertha Hilda was living in West Hartlepool in 1952. Bertha Hilda married in 1908 and had two sons called Victor and James (Jim) who lived in Sandringham Road in 1952.
Bertha Hilda died in 1955.
Marc added: “Victor was an English soldier and was barracked for some time in the port of Ostend in Belgium.
“His place of abode was in Whitfield, Derbyshire, in the early 1950’s, but further whereabouts are unknown.
“Victor married Violet (family name unknown) and both lived in Lansdowne Road, West Hartlepool.”
They had four children, Keith who worked in the shipyards and born in 1940, Kathleen born in 1944, Malcolm born in 1947 and Morris born in 1950.
Plenty of detail there but who can fill in any missing pieces?
Contact Chris Cordner by emailing [email protected]