Tag Archives: david mitchell

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine – Autumn 2009 cover CD

13 Sep

I have many magazine CDs hidden away in draws and boxes, most of the time these free CDs mounted on the front of magazines are of little interest to me, but knowing they might be someday I usually keep them safe just in case. However, the CD on the latest edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine (the Autumn 2009 edition) is packed with some really interesting stuff.

For starters, there are three pieces of unseen footage from the David Mitchell episode from the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? The first two are quite long, and concern the Highland Clearances, the first addressing how the Mitchell family were affected and the second concerning the fate of those who were evicted from the land. The third and shortest segment features David Mitchell explaining why he wasn’t emotionally affected by the stories of his ancestors.

Continuing the Scottish theme, there is a link on the CD which provides free access to the 1901 Scottish Census transcriptions on Ancestry.co.uk. The link is only valid for a limited time (until the 10th October 2009) so you will need to be quick.

Most useful for my research is the inclusion on the CD of Kelly’s 1915 Directory of Hampshire & Isle of Wight. To my knowledge this is not available on Ancestry.co.uk or Historical Directories, so this is a real bonus for me. I haven’t had a thorough search yet, but I am sure I will find some of my own MITCHELL family (and WRIGHT family) within it’s pages.

Also on the CD is a wonderful selection of images from the collections of the Hampshire Record Office, the Isle of Wight Record Office and The Royal Green Jackets Museum. I particularly liked the fantastic detail on the photo of High Street, Southampton. As well as photos the images include examples of documents held buy the three repositories as well.

There is also a selection of links to some of the best websites for Hampshire family history, including the wonderful Ann’s Page, the work of Ann Barrett, which is a treasure trove of Isle of Wight information. Well worth a look if you have ancestors from the island.

English genealogy news catch up

7 Sep

Whilst I have been busy sorting, scanning and filing there have been a few announcements in the English genealogy world that I need to catch up on.

Findmypast.com have added 1.25 million high resolution images from the 1881 census to their site, to go with the previously available transcriptions (the transcriptions are free to search).

Familyrelatives.com have added details of 120,000 pupils and masters from UK Public Schools, some dating back to 1500. I doubt whether I am going to find any of my ancestors in any of these institutions.

Ancestry.co.uk have published records of over 100,000 British and Commonwealth Prisoners of War held by the Germans during the Second World War, as well as the UK Army Roll of Honour 1939-1945 which features details of British Army personnel killed in action.

192.com have updated 380,000 Electoral Roll records. Now don’t get too excited, these are from the 2009 Electoral Roll and the main focus of this is current information, although they do have some historical data. There is a lot of information on this site, some of which is free, but it is probably the best place to start looking if you are trying to trace a living relation in the UK.

The Autumn 2009 edition of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine has on it’s cover disc two items connected with the David Mitchell episode of the series. Firstly there is some unseen footage from the episode (I haven’t watched it yet, but will let you know what it’s like) and secondly there is a deal with Ancestry.co.uk providing free access to the 1901 Scottish census (for a limited time only).

Who Do You Think You Are? Series seven round up

22 Aug

The seventh series provided quite a diverse mix of research subject and geographic areas. Interestingly this series doesn’t seem to have gone back as far some previous series, concentrating on more recent ancestors. Perhaps this goes some way to show people that you don’t have to go back a long way to find interesting people and stories.

Here is a quick run down of the people and subjects covered. If you are quick they can still be watched over on the BBC iPlayer (if you missed them I am sure they will be shown again in the future, and will almost certainly be available on DVD eventually).


Episode 1: Davina McCall (first broadcast 15th July 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 6.4 million

Like Davina the episode was half-English and half-French. The English half explored the life of James Thomas Bedborough and the impact of his death on his surviving family. The French half concerned Celestin Hennion an important figure in the history of the French police service.


Episode 2: Chris Moyles (first broadcast 22nd July 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 4.7 million

This episode was mainly centred around Ireland with Chris Moyles uncovering tales of poverty and hardship, but it finished in Ypres retracing the steps of his great-grandfather who died there.


Episode 3: Kate Humble (first broadcast 29th July 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 4.6 million

Perhaps the most outstanding episode this series, Kate Humble discovered the lives of three remarkable ancestors. One of whom was involved in the real life POW escape which was the inspiration for the film The Great Escape.


Episode 4: David Mitchell (first broadcast 5th August 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 4.1 million

David Mitchell explored the lives of his ancestors in some quite remote and stunning Scottish landscape. No major revelations, just hard work (sheep farmers) and devotion to duty and the people of his parish (Church of Scotland Minister).


Episode 5: Kim Cattrall (first broadcast 12th August 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 5.9 million

Probably the most emotional episode, Kim Cattrall attempted to find out what happened to her grandfather after he walked on his wife and children. Lots of anger and bitterness for a man who left is family with virtually nothing when he left.


Episode 6: Martin Freeman (first broadcast 19th August 2009)

Viewing figures (from Broadcast): 6.0 million

There were no earth shattering revelations in Martin Freeman’s episode, which mostly concerned his great-grandparents and the many children they had, and the common disability they shared.


One thing I found really interesting with this series was not that most of the celebrities didn’t really know a lot about their ancestors, but the fact that they felt they should have done and were even embarrassed or ashamed that they didn’t.

If I had to pick a favourite episode it would have to be the one with Kate Humble, the poor woman had revelation after revelation piled upon her, concerning ancestors that were truly remarkable people. It made compelling viewing and emotional viewing and should serve as a reminder that we shouldn’t rush back generation after generation, but ask questions and find out about those closer to us who we assumed were just normal ordinary people.

Who Do You Think You Are? losing out to Midsomer Murders

8 Aug

According figures given on the website Broadcastnow.co.uk the current series of Who Do You Think You Are? is struggling to find viewers in the face of competition from Midsomer Murders.

Despite getting off to a good start will Davina McCall (6.4 million viewers), once the new series of Midsomer Murders started in direct opposition on ITV the viewing figures have fallen. The Chris Moyles episode saw a significant drop to 4.7 million, Kate Humble wasn’t far behind at 4.6 million, and the most recent episode featuring David Mitchell only managed 4.1 million.

At first I thought is was just that people didn’t like Chris Moyles, but it appears now that the viewers would rather be watching Midsomer Murders regardless of who was the subject of the show. It will be interesting to see what happens in the final two weeks when Who Do You Think You Are? is up against football. I know which one I will be watching!

Let me know what you think? Do you watch it on BBC iPlayer or the repeat on BBC2 rather than watch it when it is first broadcast? Do you think celebrity family history is losing it’s popularity amongst the television audience?

Who Do You Think You Are? David Mitchell

5 Aug

Tonight was episode four of the seventh series of Who Do You Think You Are? and featured comedian David Mitchell although I have to confess that I don’t think I have ever seen any of his shows.

The show was a lot more laid back than last week’s episode with Kate Humble, and certainly not as emotional or sensational as last week. It focused almost entirely on David Mitchell’s Scottish ancestry, and the first thing that stood out for me was the amazing Scottish landscape, the weather during the filming seemed ideal, showing the scenery off to it’s full potential and if nothing else this show makes an excellent advert for Scottish tourism.

Essentially the show was in two parts, the first part featuring the Mitchell family farm (Ribigill), set in some truly breathtaking scenery. The farm itself had an interesting history from the Highland Clearances to it’s present state of decay, although the Mitchell family seemed to be free of any involvement in the Clearances, to David’s relief.

For the second part the focus switched to the Isle of Skye and the Forbes family, beginning with a exploration of some of the scholars and authors of the Forbes family and their passion for the Gaelic language. The episode ends in Sleat, Skye with a Minister, whose good works during his lifetime were somewhat offset by the contents of his will.

The stories that unfolded may not have been as sensational as last week, but they were still interesting and more typical of the sort of stories we are all likely to find in our own family trees. I must say I did enjoy watching David Mitchell exploring his ancestry, I think in part due to the fact that he seemed to be doing a lot of walking and a couple of times was to be seen travelling on a bus or waiting at a bus stop, very uncelebrity like.

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