Moderator Control Panel ]

Dervla Kirwan

Discuss last year's series of Who Do You Think You Are?, which featured Bruce Forsyth, Dervla Kirwan, Monty Don and six more famous faces as they traced their family trees

Dervla Kirwan

Postby Matt Elton » Mon Aug 02, 2010 1:58 pm

The Irish actress – and voice behind those long-running Marks & Spencers adverts – discovers some surprising family connections in tonight's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?. But what do you think? Have your say on Dervla's journey here after the show has aired...
Matt Elton
Posts: 183
Joined: Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:52 am
Location: Bristol, United Kingdom

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby mikeburke » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:02 am

Greta episode, and an awsome the illustration of predjudice. We humans are a deplorable bunch. The only disappointment was that the programme singularly failed to explore the "Kirwan" side of the family. This was a great frustration for me as my great great great great grandfather married a Mary Kirwan back in the 1770's. S
This branch of the Kirwan family were connected to the wine shippers from Bordeaux and there is a well known "Chateau Kirwan" available to this day. I was hoping that bther might have been a connection.
In a previuos episode with Amanda Redman I was interested to note her Irish connection with the St Leger family, which is another which appears in my own history, the database for which currently contains in excess of 25,000 names !!
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 8:55 am

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby Jeeps » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:27 am

What a great episode! I feel emotionally wrung out!

I thought it very brave to focus on the IRA side as most people watching would mainly remember the troubles from the 60s and 70s. It was so interesting to hear of the history and see actual footage.

I felt so, so sorry for Henry Kahn and would like to know what happened to his wife and children. I think we all possibly have people like this in our own trees and it is such a shock to realise what harsh lives they lived. Even more so in Dervla's case when it was her grandfather.

I really could not warm to Rupert Everett or his story last week so it's nice to feel the programme is back on track imho.
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:20 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby hdakers » Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:51 pm

I was very frustrated that in last night's programme no attempt seemed to have been made to trace the Grandfather to Russian Poland! Was this part of the story simply discarded? I was explaining to my husband and son that Kohn is a form of Cohen and that very likely Kohn had become Kahn.

So just for fun I had a quick look today and came up with just 1 Henry using SOUNDEX therefore spelling variations in Wroclaw PSA BMD 1889-1890
Amazingly it mentions Dublin! I was interested in the mention of Berlin as some years later my own grandparents spent time in Berlin on their way from Lodz to London.

Wroclaw PSA BMD 1889-1890
For information on 1891 to 1900 Wroclaw records, please contact
Prussia / Wroclaw Province
(records in Fond 1425,1426 in Wroclaw Archive)
Located at 51°05’ 17°00’
Last updated July 2008

Surname Givenname Year Type Akt Fond Age Father Mother Mothersurn Spouse Spousesurn Town2 Surname2 District Comments
COHEN Henry 1891 M 376 1426 38 Morris Esther LEVY Dublin, Berlin Wroclaw II
FRANFURTHER Raphaele Ella 1891 M 376 1426 21 Moritz Lina COHN Wroclaw II

Of course this begs the intriguing question - if I've found the same chap - of whether he was free to marry when he did so in Dublin. I had thought that he would have been born a bit later say 1860 whereas this indicates just a few years earlier. Still - plausible. I also tried a search under Tzvi Kahn. Tzvi is often translated as Henry. Despite skimming 200 entries I didn't see a single Tzvi!
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 5:48 pm

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby Jeeps » Tue Aug 03, 2010 6:44 pm

The 1901 Irish Census has Henry giving his age last birthday as 45 so he would have been born about 1855/6 if that information is correct.
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:20 am
Location: Scotland

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby JeannieH » Tue Aug 03, 2010 9:43 pm

Excellent episode - so interesting to hear about some of the earlier Irish 'troubles', for want of a better word.

I would also like to know what happened to the rest of the Kahn family. Henry came to a very sad end, so I hope his wife and children fared better.
Posts: 13
Joined: Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:35 am

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby FamilyHistoryAddict » Tue Aug 03, 2010 11:22 pm

I liked Dervla as a person but thought the first part of the programme was just a history lesson. Second part was better but the story never really got going until near the end.

The bit about the couple living together was probably incorrect as I suspect that was just an accomodation address. Haven't you guys and gals come across the bride and groom living in the same address or near to each other shortly before the marriage?

Can't work out why the asylum picture was a dud. I've got asylum photos that date from the 1880s and 1890s - storage conditions couldn't have been too good at that place!

No problem with Dervla herself - she was genuinely interested; but there were not enough mysteries in her story for my taste but I liked Dervla's closing remarks.

Best bit was the asylum sequence imho. I know what she meant when she didn't really want to read the records - I've felt like that and sometimes the memory of what you've read plays on your mind for days afterwards.

Cheers, FHA
User avatar
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Jul 09, 2009 3:56 pm

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby ksouthall » Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:49 am

FamilyHistoryAddict wrote:The bit about the couple living together was probably incorrect as I suspect that was just an accomodation address. Haven't you guys and gals come across the bride and groom living in the same address or near to each other shortly before the marriage?


Yes I have come acros this several times in my family. It seemed to coincide with my ancestors marrying out of parish, often due to cousins marrying cousins or the bride already being pregnant, although I am sure there were other reasons. Neither of these reasons match the case with Henry Kahn and his wife though.
Posts: 1938
Joined: Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:26 pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby jolewisbrown » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:51 pm

I attended a really interesting lecture from a social historian last night on 'Birth and Baptism in the 1800s', which included some snippets about marriage.

One reason that bride and groom give the same address might be that with marriage by banns, which cost 2s 6d a time in England in 1820 (therefore, 7s 6d for a set of three banns; should bride and groom live in different parishes, this would cost 2 x 7s 6d = 15s, which considering the average ag lab wage was 10s, was a huge amount of money). Apparently, the vicars would sometimes enter into reciprocal arrangements whereby they saved the couple some money by agreeing that one address for both bride and groom could appear on the banns, but there needed to be some evidence of residence, so one party would 'hang their hat' on the hallstand or maybe leave a suitcase at the address. It was, therefore, highly unlikely that the couple had lived together before marriage, but had merely entered into a beneficial financial arrangement to pay for only one set of banns.

As to being pregnant before marriage, according to the social historian, this was the norm. The shame was not having to get married but being pregnant and not getting married.
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2010 9:50 am

Re: Dervla Kirwan

Postby wozcav » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:36 pm

Enthralled as ever and always concious of parallels to situations in everyone's searches! Discovering my own LINE in 2007 leading back to DUBLIN & beyond and coming from a Military-Family(1914-1985), that IRA element touched raw nerves as it affected mine own of the time and since, so many issues had to be resolved along the way! However, despite the obvious emergent polarities some real conclusions in answers and, personal peace, were found in visiting that past subsequently. Of the greatest value was a reading recently the actual reason for the 'Irish' joining the Colours in 1914(WWI) and their betrayal by Politicians of the day(not to say their own!). !t does not excuse and memory of my Irish Family's treatment by those Rogue elements long before the main issue, still brings sadness as I learn the true nature of Ireland's People! I have a greater understanding from this and even deeper empathy than previously with those who have suffered! If anything, we are right not to tolerate any warpings of truth and face it square on! I hope Dervla really did ponder that background and takes as much as I in retrospect?
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 3:15 pm


Return to 2010 series

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests