Who Do You Think You Are? Sourcing GenealogyBank

Gather round the telly, grab some popcorn and let the kids stay up!

Special alert to our GenealogyBank members in the United Kingdom and beyond: please pay careful attention to the next television episode featuring Samantha Womack on Who Do You Think You Are? being broadcast on BBC-TV in the UK.

We received word that GenealogyBank’s newspaper archive was used to trace Womack’s family tree and is one of the sources credited in this WDYTYA episode. Yea!

Samantha Womack is the star of the UK hit television series “EastEnders.”

At the Playhouses, Evening Journal newspaper article 6 August 1904, plus photo of actress Samantha Womack

Photo of actress Samantha Womack plus newspaper article published by the Evening Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), 6 August 1904, page 3

Tune in to BBC and watch this new WDYTYA episode on Wednesday, August 15.

To read the newspaper article used to trace the Womacks in the upcoming show, see the article “At the Playhouses” published in the Evening Journal (Jersey City, New Jersey), 6 August 1904, page 3.

 

Was TV Series Who Do You Think You Are? Inspired by Minnesota Newspaper Series?

The popular British TV series – Who Do You Think You Are? is now in it’s seventh season. It has focused on tracing the family history of UK movie stars and celebrities.

In sifting through the old newspapers I found this regular column – Whom Did He Marry? by Mary Adrian. Was it the inspiration for the hit series Who Do You Think You Are? (Duluth News Tribune 13 Dec 1921).

Probably not. Just like Ralph Edward’s TV series – “This is Your Life” — the newspaper series “Whom Did He Marry?” and the TV show “Who Do You Think You Are?” all appeal to everyone’s basic interest in family history.

Mary Adrian wrote hundreds of “Whom Did He Marry?” articles, semi-genealogical vignettes about the wives of the famous and the obscure in her weekly column that appeared for years in the Duluth, MN – Duluth News-Tribune.

You can look up these articles by going to GenealogyBank’s Duluth-News Tribune search page and putting the worlds “Whom Did He Marry?” (in quotes) in the other search terms box. Your search will quickly pull up nearly 200 articles.
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Congratulations to my cousin Sarah Heath Palin!

Genealogists will love the fact that the new Republican choice for Vice President – Sarah Heath Palin is a descendant of multiple Mayflower passengers: John Tilley, John Howland, Stephen Hopkins, Elder William Brewster, Richard Warren and other well known New England families.

I am also descended from those Mayflower passengers …. so we’re cousins.

She is also a descendant of the Rev. John Lathrop – famous to genealogists as the “gateway” ancestor of many US Presidents, inventors, actors and celebrities.

No doubt in the days ahead we will see stories of how she is related to our other cousins: George Bush, Queen Elizabeth, Barack Obama, John Kerry, Dick Cheney, George Washington, King George III, King Henry VIII, Abraham Lincoln and the list will go on and on.

It’s a great day for genealogy!

Patsy Leaves Family History TV Show over Gangland Grandpa

Uncovering our family history can reveal saints and sinners as we dig through old newspapers. Genealogists using GenealogyBank become used to finding a scoundrel here and there on the branches of the family tree.

But British actress - Patsy Kensit was not prepared for what she discovered while filming a TV show for the BBC.

She was the featured star of an upcoming episode of “Who Do You Think You Are?” a UK TV show that uses the family history of celebrities in a format reminiscent of Ralph Edward’s long running TV show This is Your Life.

Patsy Kensit became so upset when she found out that her Dad (who died when she was a teenager) and her grandfather were criminals – that she walked off the set while filming the show.

The show got her to come back and finish the filming after telling her that the segment would also highlight her praiseworthy ancestors – one who was an Anglican Priest, recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury and another a respected local constable.

You can read the entire story in the UK newspaper the Daily Record (5 Aug 2008) - Patsy Kensit left in tears as BBC show reveals her family’s gangland links.
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