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Family History and Who Do You Think You Are

August 8, 2013

I know it sounds like I am a bit of a BBC fan at the moment, but please can you forgive me, after all, I am British! ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ is a long running programme looking at the ancestry of celebrities. I love watching it and it always inspires me to look into my own family history, but with time being short I have only ever done it half-heartedly, one day I will manage it fully.

Who Do You Think You Are is back on the BBC at the moment, the first episode has featured Una Stubbs, star of Sherlock, as she traces her family back through the generations and discovers how her grandparents on both sides almost met. Apparently, more celebrities take part in the programme than we see, but they pick the most interesting stories. There are always some good war stories, heroes, pioneers and poverty. Those still taking part in the current series include Nigel Havers, Gary Lineker, Nick Hewer, and Sarah Millican, among others.

This series is great for inspiring people to look into their family history, and also provides them advice on how to go about it as they begin their journey. There is information on the BBC’s website on starting to look into family history as well.

For me, my family history is important to me, which is why I’m disappointed that I haven’t been able to research it well yet. Knowing one’s family history means that you can see where you have come from, and often on this programme there are similarities between the person now and their ancestors.

To begin, finding out as much as possible is necessary, talk to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to get names and dates of everyone they know, pictures are always a nice touch, but hard to come by. Then, using an ancestry website the information can be used to find these people on paper, look at the census entries for them, their births, deaths and marriages. The online service does cost, but if you are committed I’m sure the outcome is worth it.

So, have a watch of Who Do You Think You Are and see if it inspires you, like it does me, to research your own family.

Here are some links to get you going.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/familyhistory/

http://www.ancestry.co.uk

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/records/default.htm

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One Comment
  1. The program has just start here (U.S.A.) on the Learning Chanel. It was on N.B.C. but was canceled. I enjoy the stories very much. However I am just a tad jealous of all the help they get. The breakthroughs I could have on my family if I had that kind of help and money.

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