Who Do You Think You Are? 2017

Wall to Wall's Who Do You Think You Are? programmes on the BBCJust as we were all snoozing in the summer sun the BBC suddenly announced that the ever popular genealogy TV series is back. The surprise is that according to the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine the fourteenth series kicks off in less than two weeks time!

 

This is what the BBC say at their Media Centre pages on their website.

The BAFTA award-winning genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? is back for a fourteenth series with a brand new star studded line-up from the worlds of TV, sport, music, comedy and dance.

The show, produced by Wall to Wall (a Warner Bros Television Production UK Ltd company), will return to BBC One this summer.

Actor Charles Dance, sports broadcaster Clare Balding, presenter Emma Willis, Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood, actor Noel Clarke, popstar Lulu, EastEnders actress Lisa Hammond, Citizen Khan comedian Adil Ray, presenter Fearne Cotton, and actress and comedian Ruby Wax all delve into their past in this year’s series.

The series will follow actor Charles Dance’s extraordinary journey as he uncovers the true story of the father he never knew, Craig Revel Horwood traces his Australian roots and discovers he’s not the first dancer in the family, while Clare Balding explores her great grandfather’s deep and possibly romantic relationship with a male artist. From the Australian gold rush to baking powder, from prisoners of war to African royalty, from long lost relatives to vanishing fortunes, our celebrities uncover the remarkable and compelling stories of their ancestors.

In this highly anticipated new series viewers can expect tears, laughter, shocking discoveries, emotional revelations and some intriguing surprises as our celebrities explore their family trees and delve back centuries into their ancestry.

Executive Producer for Wall to Wall Colette Flight says: “Who Do You Think You Are? returns with another fantastic line-up. Our ten celebrities set off on the trail of their ancestors, their journeys taking them to all corners of the globe and places the series has never been before, from a remote Caribbean island to a kingdom in Uganda. The stories they unearth in their family trees are affecting, revelatory, and always fascinating.”

Tom McDonald, BBC Head of Commissioning, Natural History and Specialist Factual, says: “Following its recent BAFTA success, this new series of Who Do You Think You Are? promises fascinating revelations from some of the UK’s best-loved actors, performers and presenters. The series continues to be our most watched history series across the BBC – and I know viewers are in for a real treat.”

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TheGenealogist releases York Colour Tithe Maps and Yorkshire Directories.

Disclosure: Please note this post contains affiliate links.

 

TheGenealogist has announced the release of the City of York and Ainsty Colour Tithe Maps, plus another significant batch of Yorkshire directories released in time for the Yorkshire Family History Show at York Racecourse.

 

To coincide with the return of one of the largest family history events in England, at the Knavesmire Exhibition Centre at the York Racecourse on the 24th of June and which is sponsored by TheGenealogist, today sees the release of a set of new records for York.

 

TheGenealogist has just added the colour tithe maps that cover the City of York and Ainsty to its National Tithe Records collection to compliment the gray scale maps and apportionment books that are already live. In addition it has released another 23 residential and commercial directory books to its ever expanding collection of Trade, Residential and Telephone Directories to help those with Yorkshire ancestors find their addresses.

 

The fully searchable records released online will allow researchers to:

  • Find plots of land owned or occupied by ancestors in early Victorian York and Ainsty on colour maps
  • See where your forebears lived, farmed or perhaps occupied a small cottage or a massive estate.
  • Discover addresses of ancestors before, between and after the years covered by the census in the Trade, Residential and Telephone Directories. (1735-1937)
  • Uncover details of the neighbourhood and understand communication links to other towns where your stray ancestor may have moved to.

For anyone with Yorkshire ancestors this new release from TheGenealogist  adds colour to the story of where their family lived. To search these and the vast number of other records covering the country see more at https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk

 

Read their article here:

https://www.thegenealogist.co.uk/featuredarticles/2017/find-out-more-about-your-yorkshire-ancestors-521/

 

Disclosure: Compensated affiliate links used in the above.

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How to knock down family history ‘brick walls’ using DNA

DNA in family history
DNA image by Nogas1974 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Are you confused by what DNA testing can offer the family history researcher? I know that I have been!

Do you wonder how DNA test results can help you to break down your brick walls in your ancestor research? Or perhaps you are not sure what or who to believe?

 

I read an excellent article this week that I really think is worth drawing attention to. If you don’t already belong to Peter Calver’s LostCousins then you may not have seen this week’s LostCousins Newsletter

 

LostCousins

The article explains why we can’t afford to ignore DNA evidence in doing our research; what test you should consider taking; who should do the test and an independent opinion on which company to test with.

You will also learn what the DNA test can’t tell you; what you will find using DNA and how it could help you break down your brick walls.

I can’t recommend this piece more highly as it well written and easy to understand. This is not the first article that Peter Calver has written on this subject, so if you want some answers to the questions that many of us have about DNA and how it can be used in family history research then why not join his LostCousins membership? Standard membership (which includes the newsletter), is FREE.

If you join the LostCousins website and share your ancestors it can help you to find living relatives and so help you to discover more about your family tree. LostCousins say on their website that it ‘is all about bringing people together, not just people who share an interest in family history, but people with a shared interest in the same families, people who share the same DNA.’

If you want to find more cousins and get Peter Calver’s interesting newsletters read more at: https://www.lostcousins.com/

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How do I find my ancestors’ story from family history records?

The Nosey Genealogist at Birmingham Archives

Many researchers ask “how do I find my ancestors in the records?” and then they may want to know “how can I use these records to build a picture of my ancestor’s story?”

A point to remember is that ancestors didn’t exist in isolation and a good strategy is to build up their life story by looking at the events and people that had an effect on their lives.

Families can be complicated entities with step fathers/step mothers and sometimes unmarried parties in the equation. You may find people that married then separate and even sometimes get back together. In my own family I have an ancestor who remarried his first wife, after a period of divorce, but I hadn’t appreciated all of the story until recently. The strands came together by reviewing various records that I had gathered at different times.

Over a period we may collect various diverse search results for an ancestor, but we may not see how they fit together to build a bigger picture. It is important, for this reason, that every now and again we go back and review what we have. Sometimes this can suggest places for us to continue our research to find the story of our forebears’ life.

 

While doing some research this week I noticed a fact appeared in three completely different records. It was a town name that I had not paid much attention to having previously assumed that it was of little relevance to my ancestor’s life.

Beaumaris, in Anglesey, was where a First World War Royal Engineer officer in my family tree had been posted as he awaited being demobbed. Kingsbridge camp was on the Welsh island and I had first seen it on his service record. From the pages of this document I had gathered that my R.E. officer was suffering from shell-shock and attending medical boards in Bangor. I overlooked the importance of the town as it seemed to me that it was simply a posting where he had been sent by the Army at the end of the war.

Officer's war record
Page from a First World War officer’s service record

At a completely different research session, I had been looking at the time my ancestor spent living in Singapore and I had come across a Singapore newspaper website to aid me. Using the portal I had been able to find a snippet that gave the details of his marriage at the Presbyterian church in Singapore. In July 1921 he was reported to have wed Monica Mary.

The first thing that had struck me was I had not known that he had married this lady. In the WWI service record he had been married to a Mary Ellen, in Surrey, and family lore told me that he had been divorced from his first wife, then re-married her a few years later and they had then lived together in Singapore.  No mention of this intervening marriage had been drawn to my attention.

The family stories also said that his first wife, Mary had been lost at sea while escaping from the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in the Second World War. None of this explained me finding a marriage in Singapore to a completely different woman!

Japanese March in Singapore © IWM (HU 2787)
Japanese troops marching through Fullerton Square, Singapore. © IWM (HU 2787)

Skip forward to another period of research and I was using the Outbound Passenger Lists in order to write an article for publication. While I had the online search page open, on a whim, I typed in the first wife’s name and found Mary’s passage out to Singapore with their young daughter in February 1926.

Then turning to the second wife, whom I wrongly assumed my subject had met in Singapore, I did a search for Monica to see if I could find her going out to Singapore in the first place. I discovered her leaving London in May 1921 bound for the Straits Settlements.

Another entry had Monica and her husband visiting the U.K. in 1925, the year before his first wife and child emigrated to the colony. While I was pondering all of this I noted the entry given on the passenger list for their last address in the United Kingdom. It was a street in Beaumaris, Anglesey!

Then the penny dropped. Monica was probably from Beaumaris in Wales. The R.E. camp where my ancestor had recuperated was also in Beaumaris.

By Dr. Blofeld (OpenStreetMap) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Anglesey By Dr. Blofeld (OpenStreetMap) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
I next turned to some research that I had done at The National Archives. While looking into something completely different I had taken the opportunity to order up the 1919 divorce papers for the first marriage to Mary. These revealed that he had still been a serving Royal Engineer at the time of the petition by his wife and that his address was given as… Kingsbridge Camp, Beaumaris.

So now, by drawing together various records obtained at different times, I had him posted to Beaumaris in the Service Records; Beaumaris in his divorce papers; Beaumaris as the address in the BT27 Passenger Lists where he and his second wife were visiting from Singapore in 1925.

A simple search of the 1911 census records for Monica (with her surname) in Beaumaris and I quickly found her family and could then research them back. With the review of my previous research and by now paying attention to the town that had popped up in several records, I am in a position to speculate some details to add to my ancestor’s family story.

 

I assume that while suffering from shell-shock and recovering from his war experiences in Anglesey he met Monica and fell in love. He first wife Mary filed for divorce, though not for adultery, but for the reason that he refused to return home to her in Surrey.

Demobbed my ancestor decided to try his luck in another part of the world and went out to Singapore. Within a year Monica followed and they married within months. In 1925 Monica and her husband visited her family in Beaumaris, but by the next year my ancestor’s first wife and child were on their way out to Singapore.

What happened to Monica? That is the next direction for this research to go. An article published in Singapore seems to point to her dying in 1925 but this, naturally, needs corroboration. Was she sick when they made their last visit to Wales? Perhaps a Singapore death records will reveal what she died of.

Family history research has a habit of opening up more questions just as you resolve some of the others. In answer to the question “how do I find my ancestors in the records?” and “how can I use these records to build a picture of my ancestor’s story?” my response is review what you already know. Check facts that you may have overlooked or discounted because you thought them irrelevant and see where they take you. Keep your eyes open as well as your mind.


 

Searching for clues to your ancestors’ lives?

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