WDYTYA – The British Newspaper Archive Blog

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Revealing Roots in Lisa Hammond’s Family Tree

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? showed how family history research can reveal previously unknown histories from both the recent and distant past.  Using original documents and newspaper accounts Lisa Hammond was able to reconstruct the military service of her grandfather during World War 2, a part of his life that was unknown even to his children.  At the other end of the spectrum Lisa delved deep into her family’s past and discovered that their roots

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Caribbean connections in Noel Clarke’s family tree

In this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, Noel Clarke knew his family tree would bring him directly to the Caribbean island of Trinidad.  Both his mother and father had emigrated to England from the island.  But in telling their story, he discovered a rich, and sometimes difficult, heritage which connected him deeply to several of the islands of the Caribbean.  His family story reflects the experience of many Trinidadians, and the events which affected their lives

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Courage of Convictions in Fearne Cotton’s Family Tree

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Fearne Cotton delved into the difficult subject of conscientious objectors during World War I. The episode also exposed the precarious nature of success in nineteenth century Britain.  The episode made extensive use of newspapers, and as always we have taken the story further with our own investigations into the topics covered using the newspapers in the Archive. Fearne began her journey by looking to her Welsh roots.  As a

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Community and Family Divides in Lulu’s Family Tree

In this week’s episode, singer Lulu traveled to her home-town of Glasgow, Scotland, to discover more about her mother’s family. Having been sent to live elsewhere as a baby, Lulu’s mother did not have a relationship with her parents, and so Lulu knew very little about the family. With the help of archivists, historians, and historical sources, Lulu was able to reconstruct the story of a family struggling to make love work across religious divides in 1920s Glasgow. We used

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The hair, violence, and craftsmanship of Emma Willis’ ancestors

Trinity College, Dublin

Emma Willis explored the back streets of Birmingham, uncovered a violent ancestor, and revealed magnificent Irish craftsmanship in her family tree.  In this week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, we followed the lives of three of Willis’ ancestors: James Gretton, Richard Fowler, and Michael Kirwan.  We will take a closer look at the newspapers and explore what more we can discover about the stories and lives revealed. James Gretton Emma Willis found out that her three-time great

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High Society in Clare Balding’s Family Tree

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featured sports broadcaster Clare Balding.  The episode examined the business success and intimate lives of her ancestors.  Clare explored both her maternal and paternal lines in an episode which brought her into the circles of high society in both England and America. Famous names appeared from almost every document consulted as Clare examined her maternal line.  This line sees Clare connected to the Earls of Derby, a lineage which stretches

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Crime and clogging in Craig Revel Horwood’s family

The Clog Dance

This week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? took us down under and all over Australia. Craig Revel Horwood was able to learn how his ancestors on both sides of his family came to be in Australia and what activities occupied their days, from mining for gold to clog dancing. Convicts in the family Craig’s family history journey began with his sister’s retelling of their great-great grandfather Moses Horwood being convicted of theft and transported to Australia. While it is

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Artistry and Mystery in Charles Dance’s Family Tree

We thought we would have to wait until the autumn for the return of our favourite television series, but Who Do You Think You Are? is already back on our screens!  The first episode of the new season featured Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance.  The episode featured some startling revelations regarding Charles’ father, and a history of artistry in the family.  The episode was a great illustration of how careful research can gently peel away the layers mystery that

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Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2017 Recap

Thousands arrived at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2017 between Thursday 6 April and Saturday 8 April.  Today, we are reviewing a few of the family history stories revealed during the show and we will share 5 of the top search tips discussed during the event. The event welcomed family historians and genealogists from across the country to come together to discuss their research and to find out more about the

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Newspapers – More than obituaries

This week thousands have assembled at Who Do You Think You Are? Live in Birmingham to demolish those brick walls, learn new tricks of genealogy, and hear about the latest news of family history.  Most of us have searched the newspapers for obituaries, but much more can be revealed about our ancestor’s lives than the memorials at their death.  Today, we will take a look at the divorce courts, bankruptcy notices, illegitimacy cases, and committee minutes. The mid- to late

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