Appeal launched to help trace family tree


- Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

A Dorset man is appealing for help from Sidmouth residents to research his family history.

Brett Howard contacted the Herald to find out about his paternal grandmother, Eileen Doris Howard, nee Mallett, whom he believes has connection to the town.

Brett said: “My family has a fiery history and I want to know about them. I have had success elsewhere. I have found someone in Washington and another in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“There has to be a connection, if there was someone who could help me understand a bit about my past.”

In a Who Do You Think You Are? style journey, the 28-year-old from Bournemouth researched his family tree via sites such as after his dad flew over to Canada and discovered family members he had never known, in 2001.

The pair are not on talking terms, meaning Brett has no more information about his deceased grandmother, whom he never met. He discovered Eileen committed suicide in Northampton in 1979.

Brett has found a connection to relatives with the surname Ball that lived in Manstone Old House, Sidmouth, until at least the 1980s. A Miss Ball was married to William Henry Mallett and had two children, Eileen, born in 1933, and Howard, who was born in 1940.

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Brett is mystified by the fact that Eileen was born in Coventry but is buried in Lyme Regis. He has visited her grave but does not know of any living relative in Devon.

He said: “This is all I know and any help finding something or someone would be great.”

If you are able to help, contact the Herald on 01392 888511.