This Website is being created for the benefit of the extended members of the Pearson family, to present and preserve some of the extraordinary stories and records, and hopefully to promote a sense of community and place amongst the ever growing family population. It is centred on the lives of Eric Pearson and Louie Geater, who met and married in South Africa nearly a century ago. It tells the stories (and myths?) of who they were, where they came from, and what they did. It also aims to tell the stories of us, the descendants, and to promote communication between the various tribes scattered around the globe. For more on this and other things please read the About page, but if you want to just dip and dabble, you are most welcome.
Doubtless there will be inaccuracies here, for which I apologise in advance. However, my purpose is to create as accurate and as full a record as possible so please, whether you are a family member or not, if you have any knowledge or information to correct anything herein or to fill in any gaps, I would be delighted to hear from you. This is intended to be a growing and interactive site.
Updated 22nd March 2008
Well it seems great granddaddy Bruno was indeed Baron Bruno von Hohnfeldt - and a dastardly cad and a felon to boot! I have considerably rewritten parts of the "Eric's Origins - Captain Eric Pearson" page based on some rather startling facts newly unearthed in the National Archives by the tireless Paul Woodhead. My thanks to Paul for keeping us abreast of his researches and letting me dish it up here.
Also, welcome to Chris Bell, yet another rellie in Western Australia who has found us through this site - he too is a direct descendant of Zachariah Charles Pearson via ZCP's first son Charles, Emma Jane's big brother (oh do try to keep up...!). Thanks must go to John Pearson of Melbourne (also descended from Charles E Pearson) for sending copies of old photos he recently got digitised - with his permission I hope to be posting a couple of them here before too long....
Updated 28th October 2007
What's in a name? Well, quite a lot actually when doing internet searches.... most search engines don't seem to realise when you get the spelling wrong.. It seems the family surname of Eric Pearson's German father was not "von Holmfeldt", but "von Hohnfeldt" (which look remarkably similar when hand written, as all records were 100 years ago and more - try it!) This has led to a number of new revelations which sister Marian and Paul Woodhead in particular are getting quite excited about. I've updated the "Eric's Origins" page to encompass recent intelligence including the news, which may startle some fellow decendants, that Eric Pearson started life as "Bruno Adolph Eric von Hohnfeldt".
On the subject of Germans, I would like to say a big "hello" to Frank Brunngraeber who found this site and contacted me - I confess I handballed him straight on to Marian and Derek who know far more about these things than me, and it seems that he is indeed a family member being decended from a previously unrecorded son of Zachariah Charles Pearson - if anyone can work out what relation that makes him to me then please send answers on a postcard to Marian! Hi Frank and thanks for taking the time to get in touch, stick around.
Also many many big thanks to Pamela Griffiths-Buchanan who also found this site on some kind of random search - her grandfather also served on SS Battenhall and she very kindly provided us with a photo of said ship, to which I have posted a link on the first page of "Eric and Louie" - not perhaps an inspiring looking ship to us today, but pretty state-of-the-art for a collier back then I think.
QUESTION for immediate family members: How would you feel if there was a "Family News" section to this website wherein one could announce births deaths, divorces, excommunications etc., forthcoming or past events, and maybe even photos? Is this useful and interesting or is it unwelcome exposure to put that kind of stuff on the net? Does anyone have any sort of contribution on any family matter they would like to see posted here? Any feedback would be gratefully received.
Updated 2nd August 2007
Finally I'm back here though I can barely remember how to do this! EXCITING NEWS (Well, for those interested in this family...): As a result of finding this website a couple of long-lost relations have made contact, bringing with them news of further nests of Pearsons and Pearson descendants, as well as a fund of extra knowledge and corrections. These rellies are half-brothers Ralph Macleod and Paul Woodhead, grandsons of Arnold Pearson (brother of Capt Eric Pearson) - this makes them my second cousins and I can just remember them visiting when I was a wee lad in Broadstairs. I've made a couple of corrections to the 1908 -1918 page and also added a link to a wonderful book extract concerning the visit of the "Forget-me-Not" to Tristan da Cunha, which Paul unearthed on the internet. (You can go there straight from here if you like). More bits and pieces should be added in the near future as time permits (mopping up consequences of this English summer seem to be occupying most of my time at present..)
Updated 28th March 2006
Kay Gibson's book "Brutality on Trial", containing an account of "Hellfire" Pedersen's last voyage on Puako and his subsequent trial, will be launched shortly. If you look under Kay's name in the "Acknowledgement" page of this site you can find more information, including details of how you can obtain a signed copy. Thanks to Kay I've also udated "Eric and Louie 1918 -1920" with a few details of the cargo Puako loaded in Sydney for San Francisco during Eric and Louie's voyage.
Updated 29th January 2006
I've inserted the text of a postcard dated 22.1.1919 sent by Louie from Sydney to Eric's mother Emma Jane in Cape Town; it can be found in the Sydney section of the Puako Diary. I have also made some slight corrections and additions to the Family Tree - please let me know of any further info. you may have to fill in any blanks on the latter.
Updated 6th January 2006
Well Kay Gibson has come up trumps again with a copy of a letter she found in the US National Archives written by the American Consul-General to the Secretary of State from which one can surmise practically the exact circumstances under which Eric Pearson took command of the "Puako". You can find a link to it in the slightly updated Eric and Louie story (1918-1920) or you can link directly from HERE - it makes a fascinating read, don't miss it! Kay also provided one or two other interesting snippets which I'll be adding in the next few days. Happy New Year everyone.
Updated 30th November 2005
Quite a few correction and additions to the Eric and Louie story (hope I've got most of it right now Phyll!), Louie's Diaries, and Forget Me Not, with a number of "new" pictures as well. Also now there is an Acknowledgements & References page. The only blank spots remaining on the site menu as it stands are the Gallery and Descendants.... the former I will get to as time permits, the latter continues to figure in my mind as a rather large patch of dangerous shoal waters! - If anyone in the family has any suggestions or contributions as to how it should be handled I would be very pleased to hear from them, bearing in mind that one of the aims of this site is to bring existing and future family members into awareness and contact with each other. As ever, any comments or feedback about any aspect of the site, including broken links etc., would be greatly appreciated...
Updated 21st November 2005
Some interesting developments: Jack's digging uncovered a couple of new sources of information which we've followed up and gained some fascinating new facts and material on "Forget-me-Not", "Puako", and "Hellfire Jack" Pedersen. I've posted a lot of it already if you care to follow the links from the text or the menu and there will be a few more snippets and hopefully pictures to follow. Also, huge thanks to Derek Shaw for who, against all odds, has actually constructed a Family Tree and allowed me to post it - an "Acknowledgement and Bibliography" page is well overdue and I'll try and get to that as soon as I've finished updating and editing what's already here - so far I've updated the first two chapters of the Eric and Louie story, but I still have to get to the other two chapters with the rest of Phyll's corrections and additions - it's next!
Updated 14th November 2005
Well finally I've got the time and space to do a little more with this site - I'm now back in Oz and Puako Diary is up and running. I hope to get down to Phyll's corrections and additions to the Eric and Louie Story very soon (seems I was under a few misapprehensions!), and maybe even a beta version of the family tree too. If you visit this site and have any comments or inclusions I would be very pleased to hear from you - just click on "Contact" at the bottom of the page....
Updated 27th July 2005
This site is not yet officially up and running but since a few people seem to be visiting anyway I thought I'd better point out a few things......
If you are one of the previous visitors you will have noted that not a lot has changed on this site in the last few months and I apologise for that, but these long summer's days in Wales mean it's hard to buckle down to the computer when there is so much else to get on with. Phyll has given me quite a few corrections and additions to the Eric and Louie Story and I will post here when those have been done. Also please note that some of the main menu headings on the left are clickable as well as the sub-menus that appear. Puako Diary will be the next main thing up and running I hope (at the moment on the menu that yields the viable version of Dodge diary for some reason - best to navigate from the text)
'Descendants', 'Family Tree', 'Gallery', 'Archive', still yield either incorrect results or the rather ubiquitous "Under Construction", but then again, as Monica says: "So is our shed", so while the good weather holds that has to take priority if I know what's good for me! ... Watch this space to find out changes and additions if you've already explored what's available... Cheers.