Hartlepool family has big reunion

A Hartlepool family which has 147 descendants came together for a big reunion in the town to celebrate their roots.

Saturday, 3rd September 2016, 7:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th September 2016, 10:31 am
A Hartlepool family which has 147 descendents from the late Arthur and Elizabeth Gilfoyle had a family reunion.

The reunion, held at the Hartlepool Catholic Club Marlowe Road, Hartlepool, on Saturday night, saw descendants of the late Arthur and Elizabeth Gilfoyle travel from all over the country for the get-together.

The event was organised by Phillip Marsh, 63, who is originally from Hartlepool and is the grandson of Arthur and Elizabeth Gilfoyle, along with his aunt Rita Charlton, 73, the daughter of the couple.

Mr Marsh, a catholic priest, said the meeting took over a year for the pair to organise via Facebook, but was delighted with the turnout.

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He said: “My grandparents Arthur and Elizabeth Gilfoyle were from Hartlepool and had 11 children together and then 43 grandchildren.
“I have been researching in to the family tree for the last six months and managed to create a family tree and a tree showing the 147 descendants.

“Arthur was born in 1897 and died aged 63 and Elizabeth was born in 1903 and died aged 54.

“We have had reunions in the past, but after our last one last year we decided to have another one on a bigger scale so we organised this one.

“It was a family effort and we hope it will build up a sense of family and community as well as encouraging the young ones to take up the family tree.”

On the night over 100 relatives came to the gathering from places as far as London and Scotland to meet with other relatives and enjoy each others company.

Mr Marsh also ensured that very guest received a scroll with their family tree on to take away with them.

He added: “My grandparents had 11 children in Hartlepool, six of which are still alive, and from my research I have discovered that we have 43 cousins, 63 second cousins and 30 third cousins and counting.

“We have a lot of talent in the family.”

Mrs Charlton, from Wooley Drive in Durham, was thrilled so many family members could make it and created a family album of photographs dating from the 1900s to show guests on the night.

She said: “It has taken us a year to organise on Facebook, but we have managed to get over 100 people here tonight.
“We have great-great nieces and nephews as well as grand children, great grandchildren, and cousins who have travelled up to be here.

“Our youngest family member is Leo Knight-Gilfoyle who is just three months old and our eldest is Pat Lea, who is 85 years old.”