Tag Archives: wdytya

Who Do You Think You Are? – Rupert Everett

27 Jul

To be honest I was a little disappointed with last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? I must also confess that I still have no idea who Rupert Everett actually is (I obviously don’t waste enough time watching TV and films), although I did miss the first couple of minutes which would probably have told me more about his career.

The story was more interesting to me than last week’s episode, there at least appeared to be some proper research research going on, but my first complaint was that there were too many loose ends left dangling.

It appeared on screen that virtually no effort was put into finding out what happened to the wives of Frederick William Cunningham Everett when he sailed off into the sunset. I am sure some more research must have been done, but if the only searches were the two census searches that we saw on screen then I am not surprised that his first wife wasn’t found.

It was almost as if they were leaving that avenue of research open for some audience participation, but they weren’t quite bold enough to say it. I am sure there will be plenty of people online today looking for her, trying to prove they can do a better job than the show’s researchers.

What really frustrated me the most were Everett’s ‘flights of fantasy’. He seemed to have a very vivid imagination and lack of hard evidence seemed to allow him ample opportunity to fill in the gaps. The informant on Frederick’s death certificate “must be some old sailor hag”, even though all he knew was a name (not even a first name just initials and a surname) and address.

I can’t let the use of the word “navvy” go unmentioned. Someone please correct me if I am wrong but merchant seamen, or any other type of sailors, have never been called navvies. I always thought navvy was short for navigator, and that navvies were the labourers responsible for building canals and railways.

Two episodes into this latest series and it is starting to seem to me that it has reached the end of it’s life. It will be interesting to see what the ratings say, but this avid genealogist is beginning to wonder if it is worth watching the rest of the series.

Who Do You Think You Are? Bruce Forsyth

20 Jul

Last night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? featuring the entertainment legend Bruce Forsyth, was the first of the nine episodes in the new UK series.

Whilst the story of Bruce’s great-grandfather Joseph Forsyth Johnson was quite an interesting one, a successful landscape gardener with a wife and family on both sides of the Atlantic who died poor, the way the story was told seemed very long-winded to me.

The way the research was carried out seemed incredibly laboured, or at least that was the way it seemed on screen. I was left with the feeling that given access to the right online database (and a trip to the Family History Centre) I could have done most of the search in a couple of hours. They didn’t seem to stray very far from census returns, passenger lists and directories, most of which are easily accessible these days.

I am sure there was more research going on behind the scenes. One of the first things I would have done is contact the American ‘cousin’ to see what she knew. I expect the researchers probably did, but just didn’t show it on film. The overall impression was that they were dragging the story out to fill the full hour.

I feel the story surrounding his two wives was not really explained, but to be fair probably it never would be satisfactorily (through lack of records), but the fact that Joseph was coming back over to England to visit his children suggests that the split with his first wife may have been amicable (from the diary some of his children certainly didn’t seem to bear him any bad feeling), rather than him running away to America and abandoning them, which was the impression that I got from watching the show.

I even found the ending of the show rather predictable, the saccharine closing comments of the narrator about the cemetery, were not unsurprising and I would have been disappointed if Bruce hadn’t made some effort to have the grave of Joseph marked in some way, after all I am sure he has the money to be able to afford it.

Overall it was an interesting story, but it probably could have been told in half the time. Alright perhaps for the casual viewer, but for a demanding (impatient?) genealogist it fell short of previous episodes.

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!

Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010 website goes live

31 Oct

I received an email today announcing that the website for Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010 is now live. WDYTYA Live is the biggest family history event in the UK and will be held at Olympia, London from the 26th to 28th February 2010.

The email mentions a new Photography Gallery feature for the event, which will provide information on dating, identification, preserving, digitising and restoring old photographs. This sounds very interesting, after all who hasn’t got loads of old family photos that need sorting out.

Details on the website are still pretty basic, expect more as the event draws closer. Only one celebrity is mentioned so far, Tony Robinson, best known (to me at least) for his portrayal of Baldrick in the BBC comedy Blackadder and for presenting the Channel 4 archaeology programme Time Team.

This is one of the key events of the UK family history calendar, and this year I will probably try and go on all three days because there is sure to be plenty to see and do on all three days. I could quite easily spend three days listening to lectures. Tickets are due to go on sale soon.

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