Tag Archives: kate humble

Who Do You Think You Are? Live: Day Two

27 Feb

The second day of Who Do You Think You Are? Live was another successful and enjoyable experience.

WDYTYA3 The crowds didn’t seem too bad today (or was it just me getting used to lots of people), perhaps a little busier than yesterday, but not as busy as I had expected, especially in the later afternoon.

There were some great talks today, first I attended the celebrity interview with Kate Humble, then a talk on the resources of the Imperial War Museum and the UK National Inventory of War Memorials. Michael Gandy spoke on problems with London ancestry and Mark Pearsall on Apprenticeship Records at The National Archives. Again I shall probably go into more detail next week.

I spent a bit longer talking to some of the exhibitors, I got some useful answers, places to look and people to contact, as well as some clues to identifying one of my unidentified photos.

Tomorrow should be a bit more laid back, there are still a couple of stands I need to visit and hopefully I will have time to get Ancestry to scan some of my documents, that are too big to fit on my scanner.

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010 is less than three weeks away

8 Feb

My tickets for Who Do You Think You Are? Live (WDYTYAL) arrived this weekend and the February 2010 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? magazine includes a free copy of the show guide. So it is about time I sat down and planned what I want to do and see, to get the most out of my visit.

In terms of the practicalities, I am in the fortunate position of being close enough to London not to need a hotel, and there is not advantage in buying train tickets in advance (other than avoiding queuing at the ticket office in the morning). Although it does look like I can save nearly half price if I wait until the 9 o’clock train, but still get to Olympia before any of the workshops start.

It is great having the show guide ahead of time, having visited previous events at Olympia and having the floor plan I can already visualize the hall, and I am glad I have two days to explore all the exhibitors stands, it looks absolutely packed. I am pleased to see that there appears to be more seating areas provided than in previous years.

A glance at the workshop timetable shows that there are up to seven simultaneous workshops going on, covering a wide variety of subjects and geographical regions.  I shall start picking out the sessions I know I want to attend.

Two of the sessions I really want to see are the celebrity interviews. On Friday there is Rory Bremner and on Saturday, Kate Humble. Esther Rantzen will be there on Sunday, if I decided to go for a hat-trick and attend on all three days. All three of these celebrities have appeared in the Who Do You Think You Are? TV series. Also on Friday, Tony Robinson is giving a presentation at the Ancestry.co.uk Academy entitled The Journey of a record.

The Society of Genealogist’s Family History Show is the home to a multitude of smaller exhibitors such as regional societies, archives and vendors. I need to go through the list of exhibitors and see who is attending that I need to meet and question, or whose products I need to check and buy.

There is so much going on at the show that I might need that third day, I haven’t even thought about the military pavilion or the photography gallery, and how I am going to get the most out of them. Who knows, I might even find some time for blogging as well!

Kate Humble and the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers

27 Aug

David Bell left a comment on my post about Kate Humble and Who Do You Think You Are? David is a Trustee of the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers and he wrote about an exhibition currently at the Institute’s library.

You may remember that Kate Humble visited the library in the programme to learn more about her 3x great grandfather Joseph Humble and learnt about the tragic accident at the colliery where he was a manager. At the exhibition visitors can view the documents that Kate saw, and other images relating to the tragic accident.

If you are in Newcastle it has got to be worth a visit, the library itself looks to be a magnificent space, and the collections held there look equally impressive, according to their website they even have engineering plans for the Eiffel Tower! See the Institute’s contact us page for further details and opening times.

If you do get chance to go please feel free to tell us what the exhibition and library is like.

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? Kate Humble – unseen footage

6 Aug

Just in case you haven’t seen enough of the Kate Humble episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (WDYTYA) on BBC iPlayer already, there are now two short segments of unseen footage available on the cover CD of the latest edition of the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine (Issue 25 September 2009).

The first segment was filmed in the town of Zagan, Poland (mostly at the railway station) and Kate talks to Charles Clarke (a former inmate of Stalag Luft III) about life as a PoW.

The second segment was filmed at Stalag Luft III at the site of the escape tunnel, and is part of the conversation between Kate and historian Howard Tuck that didn’t make it to the final cut.

Both segments are quite short, a couple of minutes each if that, so probably not worth the cover price (£4.99) just for them alone, but for fans of the show there is also a seven page feature about the episode in the magazine. This includes an interview with Kate Humble, photos and information from the programme and background material.

The rest of the magazine is the usual mix of news, advice, features and adverts. This month the focus is on Devon research and the CD also contains a selection of Devon resources. For anyone just starting out on researching their family history this edition of the magazine has the first part of a “14-day family history challenge” which will help get beginners started.

Some background listening for chasing criminals

4 Aug

If the recent release of the Criminal Registers 1791-1892 on Ancestry.co.uk has inspired you to start chasing after a criminal in your own family tree then you might be interested in some of the podcasts produced by The National Archives on the subjects of criminals and prisons.

These podcasts are recordings of talks given at The National Archives in Kew, and cover a varied range of subjects and historical periods (right up to only a few decades ago). Usually, but not always, the talk has some connection to the holdings of The National Archives. The show notes for each podcast contain a varying degree of background material, all have a brief description of the talk, but some also include illustrations and a transcript of the talk.

Those relevant to the subject of criminals and prisons include:

Victorian Women Prisoners by Chris Heather (published 9th October 2008)

The real Little Dorrit: Charles Dickens and the debtors’ prison by David Thomas (published 28th November 2008)

Catching Victorian and Edwardian criminals on paper by Professor Barry Godfrey and Doctor David Cox (published 8th May 2009)

Prison: five hundred years behind bars by Edward Marston (published 22nd May 2009)

If you watched last week’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? with Kate Humble then you might also want to have a listen to the podcast about The Great Escape, which tells the real story behind the events that inspired the film.

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