Dispatches from the North: Visiting my Family Past

A few weeks ago I posted about how I didn’t quite know what was next for me. Since then I’ve gone ahead and started doing some further digging into my family’s past, particularly my maternal grandfather’s line.

Years ago my Uncle Tom- who passed away a few days before I moved to England in 2008- did a lot of research (and this was long before the internet made the process a piece of cake) and he was able to trace my Grandpa Dodd’s ancestry back to 1791 in a small village outside Hexham, which is less than an hour’s drive from Hartlepool up near Hadrian’s Wall. I’m in a very unique position that most Americans never find themselves in where my family history is just a stone’s throw away from me. I think its amazing that only three generations of Dodds were born in the US after my great grandfather moved over, and now I’ve just moved straight back again!

My Uncle Tom did most of the hard work for me, so now I want to build on what he started and visit these places, literally walk the lanes they walked over a century ago and experience just being in that place. Through some fancy Googling I did manage to uncover something amazing yesterday, not much is known about my great grandfather Robert Dodd because he died when my Grandpa was 16, and my Grandpa died when I was only 3 so not much information about our English roots has been passed down. My Uncle Tom uncovered that he was born in Gateshead, but yesterday I stumbled across this English Census record from 1901, listing his mother as well as him and his 5 brothers living at an address in Gateshead!

My Great Great Grandmother Elizabeth Dodd listed with her sons

Its a wonderful start to this journey. Unfortunately the street listed no longer exists under the same name so I’ve enlisted the help of a friend who has been doing genealogy as a hobby for about three decades and hopefully she can assist me in trying to track down where this address is located.

I’m very excited about going to visit theses places and to see the way my family lived for generations before going to America. Watch this space as I share what else I uncover and hopefully photos of these places where they lived!

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  1. avatarJo says

    Really facinating Lisa and so lovely that you ended up so near to where your family came from. Good luck with the rest of your search