I’m doing it for the grandchildren

A MAN has revealed how his grandson became the spur for his quest to trace his family tree.

Derek Armstrong, 57, from Keswick Street in Hartlepool, has spent three months researching his ancestors.

And he hopes to pass everything he finds on to his grandson James Armstrong, who is now 18-months-old.

But Derek’s journey has suffered hitches along the way and he is hoping Hartlepool Mail readers can help.

His research has been marred after three medals from the First World War went missing from his home.

They belonged to his great-granddad Robert Frederick Armstrong, who was killed in the Great War.

As well as the three medals, five Christmas cards that have been in the family since 1906, six bottles of whisky and a gold ring, which was kept in a Lamb Jewellers box, are also missing.

They were Derek’s only memories of his ancestors, prompting him to begin his search for replacements at the Central Library, in York Road.

Mr Armstrong does not know how old his great-granddad was when he died.

The only information he has is that his relative died in Ypres, in France, and he has a letter from a French farmer who buried him on his land.

Mr Armstrong said he only realised the medals and other sentimental items were missing when he went looking for them as he was doing research into his family history.

Derek said: “I have got nothing else left to say Robert existed, which is why I am researching.

“But I have found out lots of other things while I have been doing that.

“I found out that my granddad Harry Dixon Robinson, who died the year before I was born in 1954, had 55 acres of land in Sessay, near Thirsk, and another 55 acres at Greatham.

“It seemed as if he had maids and servants as well as land.

“The research has been really interesting and I have loved doing it.

“The library staff have been really helpful.

“I have wanted to do all of this to have something to pass on to my grandson.”

Anyone who could help Derek find out more about his ancestors should contact him on 07522309149.

l Are you an avid genealogist?

Would you like to share your fascinating findings with the Hartlepool Mail?

Give us a call and let us more about your own personal look into history.

Contact Chris Cordner by writing to him at New Clarence House, Wesley Square, Hartlepool, TS24 8BX, via email to chris.cordner@northeast-press.co.uk or by calling (01429) 239377.