Call to help with South Shields family link

From the other side of the world, comes a request for help in completing a history project involving a South Tyneside family.

Thursday, 26th May 2016, 9:00 am
Updated Thursday, 26th May 2016, 10:03 am
Emma Bray.

The call comes from Barrie Smith, who is hoping readers of Time Of Our Lives can help him fill in the gaps as far as the Bray and Capper families are concerned.

“Hearty greetings from Sydney,” says Barrie.

“I am fortunate to have descended from a family of Geordies, at least, on my mother’s side.

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“Hers is a most interesting family, having derived from Jarrow, and migrated to Port Talbot, in South Wales, in the early 20th century – the Bray family, that is.”

Barrie explains that his maternal grandparents were Robert and Emma Bray.

Their children were Dora (his mother), Ethel, Violet, Lily, Florence, plus Robert, William, Wilfred, Frank, Joseph.

“My mother (along with her husband Charles Smith‚ my father) migrated to Australia in the 1920s.

“In 1951, as a teenager, I spent a year in school at Port Talbot, so I met almost all of my uncles, aunts and cousins.

“There was another stream of Brays, and I believe the men in this family had a second name of Capper.

“These Brays migrated to New Zealand and then on to Australia. My family became close to the ‘Capper’ Brays.

“Now, I am trying to find out more about these Geordies.

“My cousin’s son (in Wales) tells me that he has always been led to believe that they lived at South Street, and that a relative, William Bray, was one of the 200 men who took part in the Jarrow Hunger March to London, from Newcastle.

“I don’t know how true this is but I notice on a Google search that a WE Bray is listed as living at 4 South Street.

“Does anyone out there know any more?”

If anyone can help Barrie with the his research then they should get in touch withv me and I will pass the details on to him.

So many people from around the world have roots here in South Tyneside. Do you have any interesting stories to tell about ancestors who emigrated to far-flung places? I’d love to hear about their stories.

Watch out for an upcoming feature from Andrew Grant, who talks about his family’s links with an Indian Prime Minister and an Italian dictator.

l Meanwhile, further to last week’s article about the centenary of The Battle of Jutland, Faye Jackson of the Imperial War Museum, has been back in touch to appeal to readers for stories relating to the crucial sea battle.

“We are asking Time Of Our Lives readers to share the stories of the men who bravely lived, fought and died, on the permanent digital memorial, Lives of the First World War,” she says.

“On the afternoon of May 31, 1916, off the coast of Jutland, in Denmark, the largest naval battle of the First World War took place, lasting just over 36 hours, and costing the lives of more than 8,000 men.

“Do you have a relative who fought in the battle? Can you help us complete the stories of the men involved by uploading photos, linking to evidence and adding stories? You can share your First World War connections on”

Paul Cornish, historian at Imperial War Museums, said: ‘The Battle of Jutland was the greatest naval engagement of the First World War and the only battle ever to be fought between rival fleets of Dreadnought battleships.”

If you do have any stories, please get in touch with me, so that I can highlight the bravery and sacrifices made by so many gallant men.