Category Archives: Who Do You Think You Are Live

Who Do You Think You Are Live – Glasgow

This is a week of three cities for me: Stirling yesterday, Dundee tomorrow, and today it was Glasgow, with a great trip through to the Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre to see Who Do You Think You Are Live – Scotland.

It took me about 90m to get from home to the venue, so I was so chuffed they’ve come to Glasgow. And so much cheaper than the trip to London I made in February to see Who Do You Think You Are 2014 for its last show in Olympia!

Last time I was in Glasgow it was for the Commonwealth Games, and we needed to make a 20m walking detour from the SECC railway to the SECC itself – I managed it in 5m today via the walkway, luxury!  No crowds this time, but also no sunshine.  But hey, the walkway was covered.

What I liked about the London show was that so many local family history societies were represented.  I could get such a variety of local knowledge and information in one place for so many areas, saving me a lot of travel, searches, emails and phone calls.  It was the same with this one – I came home with info from Argyll, Renfrewshire, various Glasgow parishes, the Borders and even Northumberland (they’d hopped up for a visit).  Hopefully there will be a return to Scotland next year, and if so it would be nice to have more of a presence from Highland organisations.

So I picked up about 3 reams of paper in the shape of Alan Godfrey historical maps, leaflets, flyers, more maps (no such thing as too many maps!) and discs with various collections of local monumental inscriptions, registers, oh and some Ancestry jellybeans!

I sat in on Bruce Bishop’s interesting talk on kirk session and burgh records, which managed in 40 minutes to cover a variety of sources and cheerfully feature both fines for fornication and the town layouts of burghs.  Lots of research ideas to follow up! And I caught various bits of various other talks as I walked in circles, well, squares, round the venue, with the big Ancestry banner being the only thing preventing total disorientation for most the morning.

As I use a lot of public transport and had a distance to travel I wrapped up well.  I was almost wilting by mid-afternoon!  The SECC staff were friendly, and of course everyone on the stands were really helpful.

I do feel almost dazed with the amount of information and sources I now know are out there somewhere.  One of those days that you really appreciate that the more you learn, the more you find there is still out there to discover.

#52Ancestors #9: Rewinding 300 years: Jonas Wilson

In my last post I featured my grand-mother Phyllis Broadbent. I do appreciate she’s an ancestor too, but as she’s in my heart she’s a person, known family rather than an ancestor. To me, ancestors imply unknown people, who lived so long back that I’m lucky if I ever find out the names of the women.

So it’s from my most recent to my most ancient ancestors that I head this week.  After doing very little genealogy work the last two weeks, with booking travel and accommodation and then attending Who Do You Think You Are Live, I got stuck in again yesterday, my first day off work after the show.

After the daunting army of Broadbents I faced in the 19th century, I found out yesterday that they suddenly thinned out.

My 6G-grandfather Jonas Wilson lived in various small villages south-west of Bradford: Illingworth, Ovenden and later Great Horton.  He was the son of John Wilson, baptised 28 December 1711 In Illingworth, and his daughter my 5G-Grandmother Eliz was baptised in October 1740 in Bradford St Peter Church (Bradford Cathedral). She later married into the Broadbent family by marrying James Broadbent, my 5G grandfather.

I’m still to find out about John Wilson.  The records are getting so irregular, so badly scrawled, that it’s getting so much harder to be confident, plus Latin words are starting to creep in, a look towards a language change to which I’d not given a single thought until Jackie Depelle flagged it up at WDYTYALive last week.

52 ancestors logoI found a marriage record on 6 July 1727 which I think could be ‘my’ Jonas Wilson’s given that his first child arrived in 1732.  However it took place in Wakefield, approx 20 miles from all other known events in his life. He was a groomsman, and if he worked with horses then perhaps he’d gone there for his work and met a local girl…  Hmmm.

So plenty more work to be done to find out about his life, and that of his father John. But I’ve now gone more than 300 years back in time and that’s fantastic!

And today I’ve discovered a great website, from GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, called A Vision of Britain Through Time. Fantastic, wish I’d discovered it a couple of months back when starting out with my Yorkshire family.  It’s meant for 1801-2001 but even for getting an idea of a place it was really good, helpful and calmly presented.

Kings & Tyrants in the Winter Sun

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

When I was young I loved all the colour & pageantry of the Tudors & Stuart courts. This love has never diminished, although on occasion I’ve found its legacy rather oppressive, for example when I had a tour of the Houses of Parliament a few years back I found the attitude very backward-looking compared with the modern light Scottish Parliament building.

When down visiting family and attending Who Do You Think You Are Live this year I was really happy to get the chance to visit Hampton Court Palace yesterday. And with my cousin C who loves history too, rather than a bored son!

It was a fine, clear, cold, winter day with the towering chimneys dark against the blue. I struck really lucky with the weather for all 3 days, C was amazed to see water in the moat for the first time.

Hampton Court Palace statue

Hampton Court Palace statue

It’s just as well for both our families that they weren’t with us to be mortified when we each wore a velvet Tudor coat!  They are a great idea as they really made a difference in the Tudor rooms. But later in the William rooms I felt distinctly old fashioned…

As a child I’d visited Hampton Court Palace and had been disappointed not to see the ghost of poor Katherine Howard. This time it was really strange and quite spooky.

I was standing opposite a huge portrait of Henry VIII and listening to the audio commentary about how she was screaming and struggling to reach him and I was feeling really cold with goosebumps. Suddenly I looked to my left and there’s Henry himself striding towards me. So strange. People were jumping out his way as he went past into the guardroom.

C & I crept back and hovered around for a bit before getting a photo with the actor, all thoughts of the original’s tyranny put aside.

I loved seeing the composite painting of Henry’s family after seeing the original in so many books, and also that of Edward. I’d felt the same awe in Windsor Palace a couple of years back, discovering a portrait of the young (Princess) Elizabeth I. It was also nice to have Alison Weir talking on the audio-commentary, bringing influences together for me.  Actually my favourite picture was one of an unknown Tudor child, it was really sweet & happy.

After the Henry rooms we went on to King William’s suite. It was such a marked contrast that it felt like a different day out. He seemed such a grumpy reserved man. Interesting to hear of his genuine grief for his wife but with no mention of his long-term mistress. Didn’t have time to check if she was one of the Hampton Court Beauties, will have to check online later. And speaking of beauties it was a lovely surprise to see a lovely luscious Titian hanging in William’s suite.

We think the Queen Mary rooms were being renovated so it’s a good reason to visit again 🙂

A lovely day, can’t wait to go back.

WDYTYA Live 2014: Day 2

Great day at Who Do You Think Your Are Live (Day 2) Friday.  I went with my cousin who hasn’t done any genealogy work but was really interested in finding out more about a family member and just generally discovering something new.

After an accidental detour via Waterloo we still made it pretty much at doors opening, and managed to get various tickets to talks.  So I went to Cassie Mercer’s talk Writing Family History for magazines and newspapers; really interesting and helpful.

C had been to Larry Lamb’s talk & we were both amazed to hear how much work (& how many stars) are needed per series.
Jackie Depelle’s Yorkshire talk was really helpful for me & I was so chuffed with some of the sources she suggested. I was at her talk promptly with a good aisle seat, but two 7′ men sat immediately in front of me so I was swaying left & right in Sochi style.
Thank goodness for the restorative powers of Pizza Express! Refuelled, with ideas swapped we headed round the show, with C trying out the various sites. I found a family merchant mariner anc listed on Find My Past so was really pleased about that. After our final talk about records & strumpets we headed home to family & fajitas with our heads full of info & my bag full of leaflets & (even more) maps. Great day.

WDYTYA Live and the Westminster Walk


Busy day today! After a complicated Tube journey I got to Olympia and a long queue. My first time so I’m trying to look too lost, but I was 2 people too late for a ticket for one of the talks I wanted. No matter, the other two were really useful & interesting. The first was an Ancestry one about the Industrial Rev and using it to check occupation records. The second was Jackie Depelle’s session about deciphering old handwriting. I think having learnt shorthand helps a bit for this, muttering phonetically is standard when your mind goes blank!

After doing my best to drive the Yorkshire ladies daft with random map requests I end up with a colourful set, and the promise to come back the next day for the more obscure ones.

Off to the Devon stand and – after a detour to the ATM – I have another set a specialist local docs. Lovely to have the opportunity to discuss the products face-to-face.

It’s now several hours after I arrived & I decide to head off for the afternoon. Back at Westminster station I emerge to a great view of Parliament. But it’s the Abbey I’m heading to. I slaalem round the cameras and get to theentrance. 18 pounds?!?!?! I think not. I’ve given all my money to Devon FHSoc so I potter back to Waterloo and head off to meet my cousin  🙂

In anticipation pf WDYTYA Live

I’m on the way down to Who Do You Think You Are Live 2014 in London. It’s a clear day and I’m disconcerting the guy opposite by bobbing up & down in my train seat like a meerkat, but I’ve seen Alnmouth with Lindesfarne & Bamburgh Castles silhouetted so I’m happy. The next huge journey markers for me will be the industrial chimney 6-packs & the huge flatland skies of the midlands.

Not sure what I’ll do after I’ve checked in to my room later. My mum has warned me not to get too close to the Thames after all the rains but a friendly London-based secretary I know has confirmed I won’t be needing flippers. So maybe I’ll wander out a little, to see the evening lights.

Meanwhile the WDYTYA exhibitors are setting up their stands. Having done this myself all I would say is take someone tall to sort out your banners!
Looking forward to seeing Devon FHS and folk from Yorkshire too.
Will also be nice to hopefully meet some Scottish genetweeters in larger-than-avatar size.

I’m sure I’ll go home with a heavy bag but light wallet, but I’m looking forward to getting specialist info & maps so hey ho.

And I’ll also be meeting my cousin I seldom see so altogether should be a great break!

WDYTYA Live here I come!

I was disconcerted this morning to get a tweet saying was following me on Twitter. My first thought was that it was nice and flattering, but I hope they didn’t expect me to be knowledgeable about anything!

But then the phone chirped to me again and I had a message saying I’d won a free ticket to Who Do You Think You Are Live 2014 at Olympia in London next week.  I was so chuffed!  Emailed them straight away with my address so they could mail me the tickets.

A few weeks back I’d looked into booking to get down to London but as I live in Central Scotland – and not even on the main line south – I thought I wouldn’t be able to afford the travel and accommodation I’d need.  Next year, I thought…

So now I’m going this year after all.  I’ve been in touch with my family down there that I hardly ever see and will stay with my cousin – which is brilliant in itself – spending my birthday money on train tickets. Sorted.

So now what? Apart from booking the travel and workshops I’ll spend a few days uploading my latest trees online and then it will be prioritising what I want to find out. And if I go early should I have a day in Kew too, or perhaps the National Archives before WDYTYA starts?  Not that I can actually remember what either holds. Er, guess I’m doing things in the wrong order then 😉  Like I said, not an expert! But a very happy amateur.