A 72-YEAR-OLD in Australia is asking for help in tracking down his long-lost family from the North-East in a bid to fulfil his late mother’s dream of reconnecting.
Retired alcohol, drug and health promotion coordinator Christopher Hall who lives in Carnarvon, a remote part of West Australia, is on the hunt for family from Darlington and is asking for help in tracking them down.
The man planned to visit the town but his trip was cancelled due to Covid-19.
Before his mum, Blanche Joan Hall, nee Swift, passed away in 1980, the pair travelled to uncover details of their family, particular of Mrs Hall’s favourite cousin Ewart George Swift.
Mr Hall said: “In 1976 I visited my family from Australia and undertook with my mum to pursue the history of the Swifts of Leek, Staffordshire.
“We never met anyone who was family in our short expeditions but plenty of friendly parish clerks, farmers, and sherry tipplers, who gave helpful hints and locations. We found records of all kinds, visited old farmhouses, located pubs they had been licensees of and so on.
“By 1978 my mum was terminally ill and her capacity to chase up her cousin Ewart diminished. I want to complete that task.
“We did get to share some stories before she died of lung cancer in June 1980, but never we managed to link with Ewart.”
The man, who is looking for the family of the deceased Ewart and Joyce Swift, is also keen to find his “mysterious” family after encouraging his five children, who are of Australian Chinese and Aboriginal heritage via his wife, to do the same.
He says much of the history of both Aboriginal and Chinese people in Australia is hidden.
“The modern routes of genealogy have not got me far, apart from the notifications of death,” Mr Hall added.
“They are slightly mysterious in that Ewart Swift’s father, Harry Norman, seems to vanish from about 1916. My grandfather never mentioned him, but my mum exchanged Christmas cards with Ewart. She spoke of him with fondness and a certain brag.
“There was talk of an Uncle Harry who went to India.
“I believe Ewart was a scientist with a major paint company in Darlington and had some patents to his name. He and Joyce had children whom I never met, but my mother may have. Though ambitious, it would be great to make contact.
“I think the family was pretty talented, Harry Swift the father of Cyril, Harry Norman and Kathleen Muriel was a draper and publican of robust nature and bellicose to boot.
“Harry Norman became an electrical engineer, Cyril a draughtsman for many of the Tyne, Wear and Tees bridges, Kathleeen earned a living on the stage and her grandson John Lyall is the famous architect.”
Anyone with information should email firstname.lastname@example.org
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