Dear Fiona, Sorry to take so long to reply, but I think it's worth the wait. Firstly I was born in Hartlepool (or West Hartlepool as it used to be) and still live here. My branch of the Alder family have been here since the 1830's when GGgrandfather James came here from Berwick on Tweed. I have spoken to my father and he doesn't rmember Edwin, Sarah or John in his fathers family. However dad has been in touch with one of his cousins (Kates grand daughter)and she remembers Edwin and Sarah, but doesn't remember John. Tonight I have been to the local library to look at the 1881 and 1891 Census for Hartlepool. 1881 lists at 9 Aliance Sreet, Ralph Alder aged 43, born Hartlepool Elizabeth39,Haswell. Ralph15,Stockton on Tees Kate13," John J11," Edwin9," Sara A7," Tom S5," Arthur2,Hartlepool
1891 lists at 14 Lilly Street Elizabeth Alder (widow) 49 born Castle Eden John J22 - Tinsmith - Stockton Edwin20 - Boilersmith -" Tom15 - Drapers assist. " Arthur12 -" Mary10 -Hartlepool Walter6 -"
I think this is pretty conclusive evidence that we are related! Grandfather (who died in 1971) told me that all the Alders in the Teesside area were related, but I never knew, or don't remember what the link was with the Alders in middlesbrough area. From what you say John would appear to be that link. You think Johns middle name was James, but I am not so sure as there was a James, although he does not appear in either of the above census returns. He was a Tinsmith and lived in West Hartlepool. He later moved to and died at Great Ayton aged 96. I think thats all for now. Hope this has been of some use.