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Samantha Womack's episode

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Samantha Womack's episode

Postby Matt Elton » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:08 pm

Hi everyone,

Yes, it's nearly here: the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? gets underway in the UK tonight at 9pm on BBC One, with the first episode featuring former EastEnders actor Samantha Womack. Check back to the site after the show for exclusive bonus footage, a full recap and a guide to how the story could help you with your research - and also, most importantly, to let us know what you thought.

As always, we'd love to hear your opinions on the episode: did you enjoy it? Was there anything that you'd like to find out more about? Have your say here, and we'll print a selection of your comments in the October issue of the magazine.

Looking forward to hearing from you...

Matt Elton
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby Jeeps » Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:27 pm

What a great start to the series. Samantha Womack was so natural and so obviously enjoyed the hunt.

I would like to think that Jessie went to America to try and make a life for herself AND her children, rather than assume she abandoned them to an orphanage. Maybe she even left them with her parents and it was them who placed them in the orphanage, getting Beatrice out in time for Jessie's return from America. Who knows. Samantha could have undiscovered cousins in the States too.

I would like to have seen the generation before Jessie to see if there were performers there. I would like to know more about the French side too as I thought some of the documents were describing the male as a musician.

So sorry about the manner of the little boy's death. My died this way too, not of burns but "failure of heart accelerated by fright occasioned by the nightdress of the deceased catching fire."
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby JoTolhurst » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:40 pm

It's quite intriguing considering the 'respectability' and one would have thought financial stability of the fathers' occupations on Pierre and Jessie's marriage certificate that she had a stage career and that the children were put into orphanages. Pierre's father, Antonin, was a judge and Pierre himself an accountant, as was Jessie's father Alfred.
Although checking the censuses Alfred was described as a commercial clerk in 1881 when they were living in Plymouth and as a silversmith's clerk in 1891 when he and some of his children were living at 48 Grafton Street (address where Jessie and Pierre were living at marriage). Interestingly two of Jessie's sisters in 1891, Ethel age 14 and Patti age 12 were described as music hall artists.
Jessie seemed to slightly exaggerate her father's occupation.
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby JoTolhurst » Wed Aug 15, 2012 10:55 pm

Extra intrigue - Alfred was a watchmaker in 1871 and the household had 2 servants and a monthly nurse. (Indexed as Alfred Ryan on ancestry). Odd change in occupation.
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby JoTolhurst » Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:27 pm

Did they find out Pierre's date of death? I can't see anything obvious.
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby ksouthall » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:47 am

I also had a look for Pierre's death, trying various spellings, but couldn't see anything obvious either. I guess he could have died in France.
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby swedwards1 » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:28 pm

Great episode but lots of loose ends unexplored. Did anyone else notice name in the US was Jessie Almer Finkle, and I wondered if she married prior to Harry Finkle. Also, another passenger was described as a possible cousin - or was she another daughter? It would have been good to see all the travelling to and fro in date order.
Looking forward to the rest of the series.
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby wombleuk » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:09 pm

too much was left unanswered in this episode I think. I know they cannot cover everything but this episode was particularly bad in this respect.

I thought I was bad at reading old writing, but my goodness Samantha Womack takes the biscuit most annoying.

I am very much looking forward to the rest of the episodes
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby RoyMiskelly » Thu Aug 16, 2012 7:57 pm

Hi, What a great start to the series but as many have said there was a lot left out and I am sure people are frantically searching the records for more info. I checked to see when Alexander Cunningham married Beatrice, if I followed it properly, and the only Beatrice I could find marrying a Ryan was in 1908 so it could not have been the Beatrice that went to America ? or am I completely up the wrong tree - pardon the pun. Did he marry twice ?
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Re: Samantha Womack's episode

Postby junkers » Thu Aug 16, 2012 8:33 pm

I thought it was a good episode and yes there were a number of loose ends but at least Samantha tried herself and not have certificates handed to her. It did show that transcriptions errors can send you down the wrong or non-existent path. It can be difficult for people not used to old handwriting whereas most long-term researchers can recognise the letters.
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