Who Do You think You Are The Genealogy Handbook

By Dan Waddell Hard Cover, Paper Back and eBook.
ISBN 978 1 84990 824 5
Pages 191 Cost £9.99
Publisher  BBC Books,  Random House Group, 2014

This book is the essential pocket guide to tracing your family history.  2014 is the 10th anniversary of the celebrity UK TV program about family history which now celebrates its 100th episode. The idea for this very successful show has its roots in 1988 when TV producer Alex Graham read an interview of fellow Scot Billy Connolly’s  working-class family history in a Sunday Magazine.   However, it was not until 12 October 2004 that the first episode was aired with Bill Oddie as the subject.

The book contains eleven case histories with some family secrets and surprises being uncovered along the way.  Billy Connolly discovered he had Anglo–Indian ancestry by using civil records, parish registers, census returns and military records. Jason Donovan, the actor, had one ancestor who was transported to Tasmania for receiving stolen goods, and another ancestor who travelled to Australia as a soldier who was in charge of the convicts.    Patsy Kinset had to search criminal records and at the same time discovered a Good Samaritan who founded a charity to look after the poor.  Samantha Womack actress and singer started out her search with a blank canvas.  By checking army records, newspaper reports, passenger lists to the USA and census records she found her long lost family who had been performers like she was and this gave her a sense of family pride.

Alexander Armstrong comedian discovered that his ten-times great-grandfather was a close friend of King Charles I of England. Also at the College of Arms Alexander learned that William the Conqueror was his twenty-seven-times great-grandfather. While not many people will be able to trace their ancestry back that far yet it’s worth while to do your unique family history research and rejoice in the findings whatever they reveal.

Margaret N Loftus B A, Certificate in Genealogy UCD.