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Kim Cattrall

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Kim Cattrall

Postby JohnS » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:12 pm

I'd never heard of this lady before. It was different from all the previous programmes in that it only tried to discover the facts about one person. She told a sad tale. A researcher finding his second marriage certificate was the key fact of course. The last part of the programme where the actress recounted her findings to her mother aunts was quite moving. She didn't make a very good interviewer, as she often put words into the mouths of the ladies she was talking too. "Anyway, do you want a cup of tree." That was a good line from the older lady in County Durham. Not a lot of research methods were discussed, it just kind of happened.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby pre1837 » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:46 pm

Found it rather disapointing. Only of course, one side of the story told. Why did he leave like he did in the first place. Certainly he was not afraid of marriage or having children. I felt it was an interesting hour, but not really a WDYTYA? story.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby margaretabram » Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:55 pm

I was totally gripped by this episode. It was amazing that this was a true story as it could have been fiction! It must have been a shock to some of the participants to find out their connection to Kim and the surprise of the scandal of bigamy. The programme was very low key in that it was based mostly on interviewing elderly relatives, so lacked the usual, more punchy, research format. I thought that the family, when faced with the truth, were brave to allow it to be shown. It was very much a one-off and I normally prefer the usual style, using family trees, but this was a must-see!
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:27 am

I enjoyed this episode. I rather like it when they concentrate on one person as it gives the programme more depth than when they flit from person to person.

However to get away with using one person as the focus of the show, that person must be extremely interesting and from that first glimpse of George Baugh peeping from behind the curtain, I was hooked! :shock:

It must have been galling for Kim's Mum and aunts to see how well cared for the second family were while they had to put up with Dickensian living conditions.

A selfish man it seems and I would guess he left his first wife because she wasn't as compliant to his demands as perhaps the second wife was :evil: (just a hunch).

Cheers, FHA
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby tree_hugger » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:07 am

This is my first post.

I found this episode wrenching and really difficult to watch. My own father did something very similar to Kim's grandfather and I recognise the anger.

There was even a stab of recognition when it emerged that Kim's grandfather had been a regular childhood runaway. I’ve seen it suggested that this could be a response to abuse, but in my own father’s case it certainly wasn’t. It seems to be a common feature of the personality type: partly unable to recognise the love and affection of family and partly unable to value it. It would be too easy and wrong to offer an armchair diagnosis. If we see in Kim's grandfather a damaged personality, deficient in empathy, we also see a man able to plan and manipulate and cover his tracks. We cannot absolve him of responsibility for his children.

And then Kim's grandfather moved his new family abroad without much warning or consideration for their needs or wishes. By the time my own father abandoned us, we had already been whisked abroad. We were sent back to England ahead of him and he never came after.

After ditching his wife and children, George Baugh promptly married a much younger woman. So did my father: one of his students. Perhaps he thought that he could shape and control her more easily.

If we knew poverty in the 70s, going without winter coats or shoes that fitted and calling on relatives at weekends to get a proper meal, the degradation of the 30s was something else, beyond my experience. I don't know that Kim's grandmother was extraordinary in any way, but I think I would be so very proud of her.

Kim's brave meetings with Baughs and Olivers were revealing. You could see the anger and the shame, and these unavoidable feelings can be a terribly difficult barrier between abandoned children and their paternal relatives. Perhaps the best you can do, as we saw in the film, is have a cup of tea and know that it's no-one else's fault but the missing link.

I must admit that I'm not that familiar with Kim Cattrall's work but I truly love this woman for her determination to have the truth and emotional honesty when she had it.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby philip Wood » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:29 am

I enjoyed the Kim Cattrall programme last night as I have enjoyed every one of these programmes.
Kim was slightly actressy and condemning.

I have personal experience of the issues that Kim was exploring. Both my Grandfathers were abandoned by their fathers and in the case of one of them by both parents. My paternal Grandfather's mother was abandoned by her husband with three children in a strange town, they had moved nearly 200 miles from their home town to a mining town in the Midlands. My grandfather was about 7/8 at the time, the oldest of the children. My Great Grandmother apparently tried to track him down with little success, although she did find his employers at some stage. My grandfather never found him.

It wasn't until 2007 nearly 100 years later that I was contacted by his grandaughters husband through Genes reunited. My Great Grandfather had moved a further 50 miles up north to the Doncaster area 250 miles from Brighton where he was born and his children were, where he started a relationship
with a woman with four children and they had a further six together. So he obviously liked children and being a father, why would you abandon three children and take up with a woman who already had four of her own. My Great Grandmother had , so I was told, by my grandfather and my father,a bad temper, but he made no attempt to keep contact with his own children or give them any financial support. You have to divorce in the widest sense your wife from your children. He did not commit bigamy, neither did my great grandmother, she lived with the father of her second family for nearly 40 years until I am told on police advice she married him as a jolly old lady of over 70( I have the photograph of the Wedding). Similary my Great Grandfather lived with his second family and married the mother of those children I am told to ensure that she got a pension after his death. I don't have a photo of his wedding, but I do have a picture of him with 2nd family all 10 Children, he looked a happy/proud and good looking man with a very attractive family . So he appeared to have done the right thing the second time around. I didn't get the same feeling of bitterness from my grandfather, I obviously didn't know my great grandmother, she died the year before I was born, but I am led to believe that her second relationship was very happy, her second husband was, I am told, very easygoing so perhaps that helped. I don't think she suffered abject poverty, but they were poor, my grandfather wasn't allowed to do an apprenticeship as she wanted him to earn as much as possible as soon as possible. I also know as a young man my grandfather was estranged from his mother, so I think she may have been a very strongwilled woman.

My other grandfather's life was more tragic I believe, he was abandoned into the care of the work house at the age of 18 months /2 and a half , even that is a bit of a mystery. He always believed that he was born in April 1907, he applied for a passport when he about 60, he couldn't find a birth certificate with that date and 30 years later neither could I. I did find one in May 1908, which tied up with the estimated date of birth by the workhouse and a birth certificate he had seen when he was a boy of 14.
His parents had been married nearly 12 years when he was born, i discovered he had a older sister who died at the age of 3. I managed to trace his family back in London throughout the 19c, they appeared to be moderately comfortable builders. His Great Great uncle had left £57,000 in 1885 without children, a fair chunk of which went to my grandfathers grandfather. I looked for the death of my great grandparents at the time of my grandfathers birth without success.

Again I was contacted by Grandfathers niece after the death of my grandfather in 2000, to discover that my grandfather had yet another sister about 2 years older than him, who also lived to a good age about 90ish, my grandfather was 92 when he died. Obviously his sister wasn't aware of him she would have been about 3 when he was admitted to the workhouse, her daughter knew very little about the reason for my grandfathers admission to the workhouse. It appeared my great grand parents had separated i assume at the time of the admission. She apparently found another realtionship fairly quickly, according to the niece my Greatgrandfather may have drunk to excess, but it appears that my greataunt was fond of her father, so how true that was I don't know. The major irony in the situation here was that my greatgrandmother was a Midwife, I have photographs of her with babies she delivered, again it appeared she loved children. A further irony appears that she lived within 3 or 4 miles of where my poor grandfather lived in the Workhouse School. Again I don't think he suffered materially, in fact I'm of the opinion that there were children living with their parents who had less materially,but he suffered emotionally.

Having read the Minutes of the Workhouse Committee it appears that many of the children were in care for good reasons ie neglect, abuse, alcoholic parents, it was very common for these parents to make several applications to recover their children from the workhouse some times successfully. Nobody ever came for Grandad and he was adopted by the local authority. I don't know which parent was at fault here, the casepapers are no longer available, but his parents denied him his family and a sister and I think he suffered from that all his life and made him the man he was quite bitter and frustrated. i am inclined to blame his mother more, her second partner took on my grandfathers sister, I would have thought their finances would have allowed keeping him. It is pretty apparent that some fairly challenged parents didn't look at the financial aspects of this when attempting to recover their children. There maybe some deeper reason behind all this.

Sorry if i Have rambled, Kims mother's story prompted this. It would have been nice to know a bit more about the Baugh's, they were bakers for several generations in Toxteth since at least 1881. Prior to that they lived in a village now part of Ellesmere Port then Cheshire since at least the end of the 18c

Anyway my thoughts and my familys experiences
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby ksouthall » Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:15 pm

I enjoyed the programme last night. Kim Cattrall seemed open to finding out the truth of what had happened and her mother seemed to accept the news for what it was. At least she seemed able to move on. I wonder if her sisters took the news worse because perhaps they had an idealised image of their father, maybe even thinking he had been overtaken by external circumstances, rather than having any control over what had happened to him? It must be hard to accept that he had abandoned them without seeming to have any regrets.
George Baugh may have had regrets but they may never know, unless his younger children can pass on any information. I hope her family benefit from getting to know their Australian relatives.
In the case of the people posting on the forum who's families have undergone similar experiences, it sounds easy to say from the outside but at least there is the chance to get to know about your ancestor from the descendents of their second marriages or relationships. Cold comfort, I know, but what's done is done.
Also, poverty is relative. Kim's mother and aunts grew up in poverty without their father, but they may have lived in poverty even if he had stayed. If his own father had been drunk and possibly abusive, he may have become like that himself with his first wife, if the relationship was not a happy one.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby paulberyl » Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:54 pm

Brilliant programme. For me family history research is not only about tracing my ancestors but also to find out as much as possible about each ancestor. This was a classic programme as not only did it show the steps in obtaining information of someone who was still in living memory, information that was upsetting, but then sharing the information with members of your family.

Like others who have posted on this subject I can directly relate to this experience. My father left my mother when I was 2 and my sister a matter of months; he married again bigamously (for which he was imprisoned) and had another son; his third marriage ended when his wife died of cancer and his next two marriages ended in divorce. He appears to have found happiness with the last woman he lived with, although her family did not think highly of him. Before my contact with them the families did not know of the existence of each other. His whole life consisted of lies and deceit but his legacy – I found a half-brother I didn’t know I had and I am now in regular contact with the other five families his life touched.

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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby tree_hugger » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:49 am

I think ksouthal's point about Kim's mother accepting the news for what it was is a key one. I think it was important and brave to show her reaction. Anger can appear an unattractive emotion but sometimes it is the most appropriate and honest response.

There is an natural tendency to want to avoid or deny painful truths, for instance by trying to find excuses for a deserting parent, but you can end up conniving in the lie. It helps to know and acknowledge the truth and to break an unjust secret.

I'm not sure about this idea of being "able to move on". I think, in most useful senses, the moving on had happened long ago. On the other hand, there will always be the elephant in the room, though it's a non-participatory elephant: you know it's there but you don't have to pay attention to it. If you try to deny the elephant's existence you tend to bump into it painfully, but having identified it as an elephant and made sure it's not blocking any doorways there is nothing much more you can or should do about it.

In my opinion, Kim reacted in the best way possible, by saying that her need to find out about her grandfather was more about the family she had. That is, she wasn't trying to make a connection with her grandfather, but find the truth for her mother and aunts. I suspect that is also how she approaches contact with her new family: it's more about the new family than finding out more about the grandfather. I think, with respect, ksouthall's second paragraph gets it quite wrong. I have a lovely half sister by my father's second failed marriage, but it's just nice to have a sister, we don't get together to compare notes.

I don't think we can guess what would have happened if Kim's grandfather had tried to stay in a marriage he didn't want. I don't think we have the evidence to speculate about drunkenness and abuse, nor do think, as his mother did, that he had made his bed and should have lain in it. I do think we can safely say that he should not have deserted his children. Even if he could not live with their mother and even if the children chose to remain with her, they were his children. It is a strange parent who does not put their children first and a callous one who puts them nowhere.
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Re: Kim Cattrall

Postby ksouthall » Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:22 pm

I agree with some of tree-hugger's points however, for a lot of people, part of meeting up with new family involves making comparisons between people to try and identify shared features and traits; e.g who's eyes/smile etc. do they have? This does not necessarily mean people "compare notes" (tree_hugger's phrase, not mine) but they are bound to make comparisons, either consciously or subconsciously, however well they get on with their new relations. It can't be easy on either side in cases like Kim Cattrall's family.
It is easy for us to say that George Baugh should not have deserted his children however he lived in a different time to the one we are living in now. Divorce was not a cheap and easy option plus they were on the brink of a world war.
He may not have been able to keep in touch with his children. We do not know whether he made any efforts to or not. In other similar cases, the deserted parents have been known to destroy letters sent by absent parents to keep them away from their children. Please note that I am not saying that George did make any effort to keep in touch, as we were not given the impression that he did - we just don't know.
It sounds like his parents lost contact with his first wife and children, for whatever reason. Maybe they could not afford to help out while Kim's mother and aunts were growing up or maybe Kim's grandmother did not want anything to do with them. Again, we don't know. Although he probably didn't try to keep in touch I thought he did try to take his oldest daughter, Kim's mother, with him, rather than abandon her.
Although parents should put their children first, many parents do not. There are plenty of homeless children, abused kids, etc., that bear witness to that. Contentious, I know, but lots of bad things happen to kids which could be avoided if parents always put children first.
I appreciate tree_hugger's suggestion that "we cannot speculate" about what happened, or about what would have happened if George had stayed, however I doubt if it was a decision he took lightly. How many men would go to their mothers and say they were thinking of leaving? Nowadays, most would act first and suffer the consequences later. By suggesting that George may have been abusive etc. if he had stayed in the first marriage, I was trying to put across the point that Kim's mother and aunts may not have had the happy upbringing that their younger half-siblings appeared to have had. I was trying to suggest that they may have been better off without him than they would have been if he had stayed. Again, no one will ever know.
Part of family history, or any history in fact, is to speculate on why things happened. There are several sides to every story. Although there are provable facts there often is no single truth, just various different viewpoints. I was brought up to believe that we should not just accept what we are told, we should question it and try to consider the reasons behind it. I was also taught to try and see things from other people's points of view, so rather than think that George Baugh was all bad, I have tried to think of things from his side of the story too. The children and grandchildren that did grow up with him would be able to tell a completely different story of his life to Kim Cattrall's side of the family. Neither is right or wrong, they are just different.
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