Help from Hudson County

Dear Editor:

A charity in England is hoping to trace any descendants of a New Jersey man whose memory lives on by helping families in their time of need.

The EC Roberts Centre in Portsmouth, Hampshire, is named after Ernest Cullen Roberts Jr. He was born in Hoboken on November 14 1896, the son of Ernest Cullen and Henrietta Jane Roberts.

Mrs Roberts (nee Hawkins) was born in Portsmouth in 1866. When she died in Hackensack on May 8 1934, Ernest Cullen Jr. set up a fund in her memory ‘to help feed, care for and clothe the poor children and orphans and especially the crippled and the blind children of the Town of Portsmouth’.

The legacy of this money lives on today in the work of the EC Roberts Centre, which helps families struggling to cope during times of most need, whether from homelessness or breakdown in relationships. The charity is celebrating its 30th anniversary next year and, as part of their commemorations, is hoping to pull more information together on the life of Ernest Cullen Jr. and would love to hear from any descendants.

The only other information the charity has is that he worked in New York for the Mutual Benefit Insurance Company and was last known to be alive in 1976.

The search for information has been taken up by the local paper in Portsmouth, The News. Editor Mark Waldron said: ‘The Roberts Centre gives as much vital help and support to families today as when it was set up nearly 30 years ago. But none of this would have been possible without the generosity of Ernest Cullen Roberts Jr., whose thoughts turned to the disadvantaged children of Portsmouth when his mother passed away. We would love to learn more about Ernest’s life.’

Anyone with information is asked to email mark.waldron@thenews.co.uk

Mark Waldron