I’ve made some huge progress thanks to the kindness of Ancestry people that leave their trees publicly accessible.
I now know who Peter’s Mum was: Ivy. I found a picture of Jessie who I now know was a sister of Ivy and the date when Elizabeth Ziehen, their mother, died.
The Ziehen’s ultimately come from Germany (or Austria?) which isn’t a massive surprise with that name, but places like East Riding in Yorkshire and Hull, feature quite heavily.
Also, I’ve emailed two people through the site: one is a descendant of Jessie’s daughter Thelma with the surname Kline. I’m not sure why, but Thelma seems to have travelled to America, gotten married (perhaps twice) and then come home.
The other person seems interested in the Ziehen’s but doesn’t go lower than Frank, who, by the way, I think was the Chief Engineer at HMP Lewes and Peter’s Dad, so that explains the letters to the prison.
In fact, there are so many little things I now know:
- Basil, Jessie’s husband, died at 32. Why? That’s quite young.
- The family (Peter, Margaret, their Mum etc.) were very religious and seem to have helped out at a Methodist church in Lewes.
- Looking at the letters, Peter moved around a lot but also worked for the Navy as a writer, just after the war.
And here are some things I really want to know:
- Who did Peter marry? When?
- Why can’t I find more out about the Hearsons? Obviously Ziehen is an unusual name (and helpfully appears at the end of all lists) but I was expecting a better balance.