Can you help Rob trace the history of his great-great-grandfather?
The sea has brought a great many people to the shores of South Shields, and sent many others away again.
Today Rob Venus is hoping readers can help provide him with information regarding three brothers, Israel, Aaron and Daniel Venus, who came here in the late 19th century.
The Gazette made mention of Israel back in 2008, and now Rob is keen to learn more about his great-great-grandfather, Aaron.
“The newspaper report told how Israel, my great-great-uncle, came up to South Shields, from Kent, in about 1875, with Aaron and Daniel.
“I am trying to find out more about their life in Shields, Sunderland and Gateshead,” explains Rob.
“Israel was born at St Mary Cray, in Kent, in 1824.
“The article mentions indentures signed by him in 1839, when he was about 15.
“He was signed up to Mrs Elizabeth Gare, of 21 King Street in Shields, but I can’t find any record of her.
“What I don’t understand is how he got up here from Kent at that age.
“Did he work on somebody else’s collier, perhaps a London owner?
“Presumably, Mrs Gare had collier(s) and did the Sunderland/London coal route.
“If I knew the name(s) of her ship(s), I could find out more about their journeys, from Lloyds.”
Although the Gazette article focused on Israel, he is particularly keen to learn more about Aaron.
“My real interest is in my great-great-grandfather, who was about 13 years younger than Israel,” adds Rob.
“He also came up on the ships (as did their brother Daniel) and married a lass from Sunderland (Mary Ann Nevans).
“So, what I’m trying to find out is, was Aaron also working for Mrs Gare when he first came up, because after he got married he and Mary Ann went back to Kent, but came back up to live in Gateshead around about 1875?
“There is quite a bit of information available about Israel in South Shields.”
Rob says he owned a tripe shop, and died in 1861.
“He had a family which he seemed to be estranged from - only half his children seemed to live with him, the others lived with their mother.
“It’s the early years that I am trying to find out about.”
As part of his research, Rob is aware of another member of his family, William Venus, his great-grandfather, who had a “misunderstanding with the law”.
“William’s claim to fame was that he was arrested on Felling Shore for being in possession of a salmon gaffe (an implement used in poaching).
“He maintained that he found it on the shore and it wasn’t his.
“Although this claim was supported by two independent witnesses, the magistrate found him guilty and fined him 10 shillings.
“The family would like this ‘grave miscarriage of justice’ rectified and his name cleared. We also want our 10 bob back!”
If anyone can help Rob with his research, they can get in touch with me and I will pass on the information.
Meanwhile, a glimpse of South Tyneside’s past from more recent times was the subject matter of a photo featured on the Gazette’s Facebook page.
The picture, taken in September 1962, showed the dining room of the newly-opened Boldon House old people’s hostel.
It shows two members of staff laying out the tables for a meal. Do you recognise them or do you know anyone else who worked there?
What can you tell us about the history of the hostel and the people who lived there?