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Chat about the 12th series of the landmark TV programme, which features the likes of Paul Hollywood, Jerry Hall and Gareth Malone
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Paul Hollywood's episode

Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:27 pm

The big day has arrived!

After what has seemed like an eternity, the new series of Who Do You Think You Are? finally kicks off at 9pm on BBC One with an episode starring Great British Bake Off star Paul Hollywood, who traces his maternal ancestors in the Wirral and beyond.

Once you've had a chance to digest the episode (preferably with a lovely slice of cake), share your thoughts below.

Best wishes,
Jon

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:23 pm

Lovely to see the beautiful Scottish Highlands - land of my ancestors. Like Donald the post runner, my grandfather regularly walked over 60 miles when taking his sheep to market in Dingwall.

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:44 am

I'm sure some will complain that the start of this episode didn't go back far enough but for me it was wonderful.

My father was in North Africa and then Italy in the War and to see where he went and to hear what it was like on a day to day basis reduced me to tears. Unlike Paul I have very few letters that he wrote home to his parents but I do have a huge sheaf of notes he wrote. Up until now I've never had the strength to read them and I certainly won't at the moment unless I set aside 'cry time' but I will one day.

My father died 32 years ago on Monday and I miss him as much now as I did when he died, like Paul I feel so proud of what my ancestor did and also so very sad (and guilty as I didn't make his life very easy) that I didn't take the time to talk to him or understand what he'd been through.

The contrast with the Highlands was refreshing and showed just how diverse our ancestors' lives can be.

A great start to a new series.

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 10:23 am

phsvm wrote:My father died 32 years ago on Monday and I miss him as much now as I did when he died.


Mine too. What a strange coincidence. That's one of the reasons I have spent a lot of time researching his ancestry.

As for the episode last night, I thought it covered a good range of subjects and went back a few generations. I prefer it when they cover one or two family members in details, rather than going back as far as possible without discovering anything about the individuals involved.

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 11:29 am

Not the most interesting episode ever broadcast .... his grandfather's army service was more like a historical documentary. And the Scottish trail ignored the opportunity to show how much information can be found in a Govan Poor Law application. Just hope this series improves. Am watching the latest series of WDYTYA-USA ....so much more interesting and so much better at showing where the information is to be found.

Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 12:30 pm

The first episode of WDYTYA was, for me, not one of the greats but still enjoyable as we did get to follow the family line back to cover three individuals. It really would be great to find out how documents are obtained for the episodes as this is one of the reasons, I for one, watch. How do we go about obtaining our grandfather's WWII service records? Details about searching for family in Scotland, especially Police & Post office records, would have been useful too. I realise that the BBC are not in the business of advertising but I feel certain that pointing us amateur genealogists (and family members moved to find out about their relatives) in the right direction would add to the series. I think scrolling such information as a banner on screen would be a great addition.

Re: Paul Hollywood's Grandad's WW2, => Spike Milligan Memoir

Fri Aug 14, 2015 3:15 pm

I enjoyed last night's episode as I have an interest in WW2. By complete coincidence and for the umpteenth time I am re-reading the hilarious yet serious WW2 memoirs of Spike Milligan, I think essential reading for anyone connected to the Africa and Italy campaigns. Even more incredible regarding Paul's episode, I've just started Volume Four and Spike's arrival at Anzio on the ship HMS Boxer, from Tunis including Medjez el Bab. These similarities to Paul's Grandad's service, plus Spike was also in the Royal Artillery, AND he was eventually invalided-out of frontline service in Italy with "shell shock", all seemed signifcant to me. I do hope Paul Hollywood, and phsvm, reads Spike's memoirs, to help get a realistic view of the everyday life of soldiers and Gunners in these theatres.
I also enjoyed the Scotland side of his family, altho am unsure as to what the link was with Paul, perhaps an old style WDYTYA Family Tree should have been shown on-screen ?. Indeed, it seemed to me that the filmmakers have gone for "nice" viewing over factual content; seemed to be an awful lot of attractive scenic shots of Italy and Scotland, nice in their own way but not really informative, perhaps they were struggling to fill the episode ?.
Finally, as an amateur geneologist myself, I would not want to see the programme viewing being cluttered with onscreen banners. Why not instead just list relevant reference sites in the closing credits, much like the appendix of a book ? That said, altho I think such info would have been valid for the very first WDYTYA series years ago, in this modern age most people have online access to modern search-engines which can quickly point out answers to even tricky FH queries, plus the public libraries and bookshops are full of reference books and magazines, not to mention this and other forums; maybe it's not the part of the BBC to try and include all this info on screen. Indeed, I've not looked, but I suspect there is a BBC website or pages for this programme which may well help.
Hoping this helps, thanks for a good programme, J.

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:00 pm

Jefff does make a good point about research sources, in fact the BBC does have a link to "How we did it" for some of the celebrities in past series. I was thinking about people new to genealogy, not everyone is familiar with the internet yet (my older relatives tend to ask their grandchildren). Hints & Tips are always useful, even as reminders.

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:06 pm

Here's the link to request military service records from WW2 personnel. If the individual is deceased the applicant has to prove they are next of kin.

Scottish Donald was Paul's great, great, great grandfather. He first looked at his grandfather Norman, Norman's mother's father who Paul referred to as liking his drink was from Glasgow (where he eventually died in the Poor House). He had been the policeman who had been recuited from the Highands. Donald was his father. Up until the programme, Paul had not known anything further back than his great grandmother although he did know her father had been an alcoholic but not his name.

Re: Paul Hollywood's episode

Fri Aug 14, 2015 6:07 pm

Whoops! Forgot to include the link!

https://www.gov.uk/requests-for-persona ... ds#history
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