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Kim Cattrall

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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby greencity » Sat Aug 15, 2009 10:39 pm

I agree with others that this was a one-sided story, and that Kim C. over-orchestrated it, noticeably when she went to meet Baugh's neighbours in the North East. She also was quite controlling in her meeting with her mother and aunts. While It must have been a relief for her own family to know the truth after their very difficult childhood (and while undoubtedly this was what she wanted to give her mother and aunts), the programme would have been more interesting if she had tried to give a more tolerant view of her grandfather, particularly as he went on to have another family and was a good father and husband. One of her researchers did gently point out how divorce was practically impossible at this time, and how strict social rules were.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby tree_hugger » Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:56 pm

@ksouthall

I think you were suggesting that for people, such as myself, who have undergone similar experiences to Kim’s family "at least there is the chance to get to know about your ancestor from the descendents [descendants] of their second marriages or relationships". I was suggesting, from experience, that this is neither the first thing on your mind in these circumstances nor necessarily very helpful. Of course, my sister and I compare everything from eye colour to taste in meerkats, but our desire to know each other is not about comparing notes on our father. That is, we don't avoid the subject, but we don't feel the need to mine each other's experience for knowledge of our father. As Kim said, "I don't think the children will tell me anything I don’t already know", meaning anything she felt a need or desire to know about her grandfather.

I'm afraid I did not find the comment that "what's done is done" insightful.

You suggest that "part of family history, or any history in fact, is to speculate on why things happened." Speaking as an academic historian, and without waffling off into a discussion of the philosophy of history, I would suggest that speculation is easily misused. Yes, history can ask why things happened and when we look to the evidence of witnesses we are concerned with bias and incompleteness, but when we consider what we do not know, we may speculate but if we then make inferences based on that speculation it can lead us into errors of false logic. To use an analogy, it is reasonable for us all to take out fire insurance on our homes but it is not reasonable to argue that a homeless person may be better off homeless because if they had a house it could burn down. The potential for houses to burn down in no way mitigates the state of homelessness. In the same way, one can make the point that Kim's mother and aunts would probably not have had an ideal upbringing with a father who felt trapped in his marriage without speculating about alcoholism and abuse and offering that in mitigation of desertion. Are you suggesting that he made the best of bad circumstances?

Another requirement of the historian is to quote accurately. I did not say "we cannot speculate", which you put in quotes. I said "I don't think we have the evidence to speculate about drunkenness and abuse".

It might be more to the point to ask: do we have any basis in evidence to mitigate George Baugh's desertion of his first three children? Did he have other options which remained within the law and fulfilled his responsibilities to his children?

You make the obvious point that George Baugh lived in another time, but the word "however" suggests that you think this mitigates his desertion of his children. One example of difference that you offer is that divorce was not as cheap and easy (even through the regionalised "Poor Persons" route it was difficult and uncommon). Does this make actual desertion of one's children less unconscionable? Assuming the earlier reconciliation between George and his wife was unrepeatable and that he found living with his wife unbearable despite his responsibility to his children, what were his options? Did separation from his wife require that he disappear from his children's lives? We know that by disappearing, he avoided voluntary or statutory maintenance. We know that by subsequently marrying bigamously he placed another woman and her children at risk of ruin. The other example you offer is that they were on the brink of a world war (a somewhat retrospective point of view). Again, does this mitigate his actions? If anything, his actions would have been viewed as less acceptable by the standards of his own times than by those of our own. The emotional impact on his children would have been similar and the financial impact rather worse.

A significant factor preventing George Baugh from keeping in touch with his children was that he had committed the imprisonable offence of bigamy. George's wife only knew him to be missing, but had he written to his children, the logical course of action for his wife would not have been to destroy such letters but to pass them to the police. Given George's other efforts to avoid detection and the known lack of contact with even his mother, I think we would be safe to regard an attempt at contact with his children as highly improbable.

You suggest that "George Baugh may have had regrets but they may never know, unless his younger children can pass on any information". Given that his younger children were unaware of their father's bigamy, it seems unlikely that they were aware of his attitude to abandoning his older children. It seems that there is no secondary source to stand in place of George Baugh's own testimony and his family are left to weigh his actions against his options.

Yes, George Baugh tried to persuade his eldest daughter, still a little girl, to leave her mother in secret. This doesn't show a great deal of insight into her needs or wishes. What of his other daughters? Whatever his mix of motivations at this time, his ultimate choice was to desert his children. You "doubt if it was a decision he took lightly". Would due consideration make his decision any less appalling? Would it diminish his responsibility?

You mention a number of other ways in which parents can misuse their children. I'm not sure how this contributes to the discussion.

You suggest that "nowadays, most [men] would act first and suffer the consequences later". Perhaps I have a less cynical view of today's men. Is that really your experience?

It's a good idea not just to accept what you're told and to see things from all points of view, but given that we don't actually have George Baugh's point of view to examine it's not reasonable to replace that with speculation which you then weigh against the known evidence. This is unfortunately what some abandoned children do anyway. In fact, some not only invent comforting fantasies but incorporate alternative realities and conceptions of self rather than relinquish a parental object of attachment.

Who said George Baugh was all bad? I think we have sufficient evidence of his actions to justify the anger of his children. I don't just mean his first three children. His Australian family have been pretty selfless in the way they've responded to the shocking news. They have just discovered that the story they thought they could have told about their father was wrong.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby Carol Ann » Mon Aug 17, 2009 3:58 pm

Thoroughly enjoyed the whole episode.
What a lovely, lovely lady.
I had seen her in films and had no idea that she had English connections.
Wanted to know more about what happened next and about the rest of the family;these
programs need be longer to keep us satisfied, or, perhaps, should have a 'follow up' for
those who want to pursue their families further, as we are all probably willing to accept further
advice and tips on our research, no matter how long we have been engrossed in our research.

I can't believe that the series is nearly at its end, again.
When is the next DVD out, please. does anyone know.
C.A.Williams
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby PMBrooks » Thu Aug 20, 2009 7:11 am

While there is no doubt that George Baugh left his family in Liverpool, did anyone catch what evidence there was for him being the person on the certificate that she suddenly received for a second marriage?

There is a George Baugh born Dec qtr 1908 Toxteth Park, and another George Baugh born Sep qtr 1909 Prestwich (which is Manchester).

With something as important as this I would like to know how the researchers were certain that they had the right man, all too often things just arrive without any sort of explanation or justification.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby tree_hugger » Thu Aug 20, 2009 10:41 am

It looks like the Prestwich George Thomas Baugh died in the following quarter.

In the programme, we saw most of the certificate, giving age 30 on 5th August 1939, Bachelor (!), Baker, father George Baugh, and there would have been father's profession. These, if accurate, can be used to eliminate red herrings (though sometimes you can still end up sending for the wrong certificate).

I agree, it sometimes grates a bit when the programme makers have to maintain the pretence that evidence arrives at the times and in the order we see on screen, but I guess they have to tell the story for television. (I think it was John Noakes who said "Television's all spoof".) At least the celebs get a goody bag with all the info we don't see.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby mig » Fri Aug 21, 2009 10:58 am

i thought this was the best episode out of all the series,totally gripping from seeing him peeping through the curtains to the end where kim had to tell the family.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby ksouthall » Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:18 pm

Hello tree_hugger,
What I was trying to suggest is that everyone's experience is different. You say you and your sister get on really well without the need to "compare notes" on your ancestor, as you put it. That's great, but it does not mean that other people do not want to find out about their ancestors when meeting up with newly found relatives. Everyone is different. From my experience, people like to look at similarities and differences across the generations, which involves looking at photos and comparing stories. Perhaps my experience is different to yours.
Whether you agree with me or not, I think perhaps George Baugh did try and make the best out of bad circumstances. Perhaps what he did was wrong, but we do not know why he did it. He may have felt his famiy would be better off without him. He would not be the first or last person to think that, speaking from the experience of having listened to a friend once telling me that he thought his wife and children would have been better off if he was dead. I am not inferring here that George Baugh did think that, as we do not know. I was just trying to see things from both sides of the argument, hence suggested reasons why he might have left. As another poster on the forum said, George Baugh appears to have been a good husband and father to his second family, so I don't believe he was all bad and think it is unfair to paint him as such.
Everyone has different view points depending on their own experiences. That's what makes the world so interesting. It may not be insightful but not everything has to be insightful and enlightening does it? Can't we just consider things and reflect on them rather than looking for right and wrong answers all the time?
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby GerryL » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:31 pm

What Kim Cattrall fails to realise is that if her grandfather had stayed with his family then the lives of the three daughters (Kim's mother and aunts) would have been totally different. Kim's mother may not have met Kim's father and Kim would not have existed. In my opinion Kim owes her very existence to the fact that George abandoned his first family.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby ksouthall » Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:05 am

Gerryl,
Well put.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby TedSeay » Tue Aug 25, 2009 7:53 pm

ksouthall wrote:As another poster on the forum said, George Baugh appears to have been a good husband and father to his second family, so I don't believe he was all bad and think it is unfair to paint him as such.


This "good husband and father" opted to turn his family into "Ten pound Poms" on short notice in the early 1960s, and logic -- the type tree_hugger employed so skilfully -- suggests a simple answer to the mystery.

A guilty conscience -- and that's being charitable, as the alternative is to call him a gutless coward -- is much more easily suppressed halfway around the world, and the truth much more easily avoided thereby.

Every flea bite, cold and hungry night, and bit of humiliation three young girls suffered can be laid squarely at the feet of your "good husband and father." My sympathy lies with those girls and their mother, not with their feckless, selfish father.
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