If you are unfamiliar with the town, records can be a bit confusing. Hartlepool was an ancient and very proud town of under 1000 people until the early 1800s. However as railways were built, coal exported from nearby coalfields and shipbuilding began, the little town quickly expanded. An area of Hartlepool which grew at this time was Throston.
Nearby, along came an ambitious man called Ralph Ward Jackson who in the early 1840s decided to compete with the old town and developed docks and railways across the bay. He called his rapidly growing town West Hartlepool and it was built around the old village of Stranton. The new town of West Hartlepool very quickly outstripped the ancient borough of Hartlepool, also took in the village of Seaton Carew, and there was considerable rivalry between the two towns for many, many years.
Eventually on April 1st 1967, the two towns final amalgamated and became just Hartlepool. Therefore be aware that your ancestors could be registered on census returns and parish records at any of the places in bold ! The villages of Greatham, Hart and Elwick are all parishes within today’s town boundary.
A good place to start if you want to learn more about the town, find pictures of the streets where your ancestors lived, places they may have worked, schools they may have attended,then etc. check this link- http://hhtandn.org
There are a number of local history books in print which may help research and give you an insight into the area. One is Portrait of a Seaside Parish by Julie Cordiner which is not only a fascinating history of the parish and church since its beginnings in 1831, but has detail about many Seaton families. The book is available from Amazon and from Seaton Holy Trinity Church and proceeds go to the Church fund.
Maureen Anderson is another local historian who has written a number of books about the history of North East England. Of particular interest are Bygone Seaton Carew and Lost Ships of the Hartlepools.
Both contain wonderful photographs and much information. They are both available from Amazon and from Maureen who can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
There are also local history books available to buy at Hartlepool Central Library including Robert Wood’s West Hartlepool which charts in great and very readable detail the history of the ‘new’ town from the mid 1840s to 1967, and a reprint of Sir Cuthbert Sharp’s History of Hartlepool originally published in its updated form in 1851. Also available is a set of booklets which accompany the hhtandn website.The local studies’ shelves at the Central Library have many other local history books covering a wide range of topics.
RESOURCES IN THE LOCAL STUDIES SECTION OF THE CENTRAL LIBRARY
The following local newspapers are available on microfilm:
Northern Daily Mail Hartlepool from February 1878 to date
South Durham Herald 1866-1891
Stockton and Hartlepool Mercury 1855-65
South Durham and Cleveland Mercury 1865-71, 1873-96 and 1898-1906
Church Registers : Large range of baptisms, marriages, burials and monumental inscriptions for Church of England, some Catholic and Non Conformist churches in microfilm and transcribed and indexed form covering Hartlepool and some surrounding areas.
Local Trade and Street Directories Ward’s , Kelly’s etc from 1830s to 1930s
Local maps, plans, building plans
Local maritime and shipping information
Collection of local photographs
On line resources for public use : British Newspapers Online, Ancestry, Find my Past, Tees Valley indexes
The Central Library is in York Road Hartlepool and the telephone number is 01429 272905 and ask for the Reference Department.
The library also run a Family History Drop In on Wednesdays from 10am-12 noon.