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Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Discuss this year's series, featuring celebrities including June Brown, JK Rowling, Sebastian Coe and Alan Carr

Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby Matt Elton » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:14 am

Hi everyone,

It's the turn of Olympic gold-medal winner Sebastian Coe to trace his family tree this week (tonight at 9pm on BBC One) – and there are some surprises in store. You can watch a preview of story here – and, as always, we'd love to know what you think, so join us after the episode has aired to discuss your opinions.

Matt
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby colliehouse » Thu Aug 25, 2011 6:50 am

It is turning out to be a really brilliant series this time.
How fascinating it must have been for him to find that story behind his family and incredible to be able to go back so far with pictures.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby Loish711 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:29 am

I was very interested in this one as I lived very closed to Seb in Sheffield as I grew up and even delivered his family's papers. :lol: I used to remember him running up my road on a regular basis. It was great to see how far back he got with his family. I was a little annoyed though too that the Jamaican side of his family wasn't more explored.
Last edited by Loish711 on Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby eurogordi » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:54 am

I have to confess that I found this episode the most disappointing of the three shown in this series so far. I had been looking forward to watching Sebastian Coe explore his Jamaican ancestors, as I am also descended from an English man who originally went to Jamaica as an officer in the British Army. But I couldn't help feel that the show was badly edited. At one point it was the 1920s and then, with little warning, it was back to the 1830s and beyond. Also, I would have liked to learnt more about the various movements between England and Jamaica, as well as where some of the slave mistresses ended their lives and what became of their offspring. I know from experience that Jamaican ancestry is not the easiest to trace, but some more clarity would have been appreciated. Perhaps this episode confirms that WDYTYA is worthy of a two hour programme!
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby MCorjanus » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:57 am

I did not know the person of Sebastian Coe until I saw the episode last night. Although he dismissed the slave labour on his forfather's plantation, he did not any further into the subject. Instead, he kept interrupting the (coloured) historians who had gone lengths to find out more about his ancestry. When they found out his great-grandparent had fathered several illegitimate children with African mistresses, he was not interested at all in tracing back any Jamaican relatives he might have there. At a certain point, he remarked that Usain Bolt was born in the same village where his forfather came from, but that was that. Coe chose instead to follow the trace of another 'illustrious' forfather, an early governor of New York who brutally crushed a 'Negro Riot'.
It just shows how shallow political correctness can be. It was quite annoying to watch. It just shows Mr. Coe is a perfect fit for the IOC.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby Matt Elton » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:48 am

Those of you looking for more information about tracing your ancestors in Jamaica may be interested in our step-by-step guide, written by expert Matthew Parker. It's now available online over in our Take it Further section.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby Swany09 » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:54 pm

I am actually a relative of Sebs and found this episode extremely fascinating, for obvious reeasons. My late grandfather did a lot of research into our family tree and there is easily another hours programme that could be made, mainly following on from the wife of George Hyde Clarke (lieutenant governor of New York).
I agree that it would have been interesting to delve further into the Jamaican side of the story, but overall I can't fault the programme.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby phsvm » Thu Aug 25, 2011 4:54 pm

Am I the only person to find MCorjanus' comments offensive? The programme was tracing Seb Coe's relatives not the suitablity of the subject to lead the UK's Olympic Organising Committee. This is a forum for genealogy enthusiasts, not one to make cheap snide comments.

Yes, it would have been nice to have learnt more about Seb's Jamaican roots but what I found so interesting about this programme was how far back they managed to go and that the family were so well documented and illustrated. To have missed his earlier ancestors to include more about his Jamaican family would, in my opinion, have been a mistake.

Overall I thought it was an intesting episode - very different from Jo Rowlings but still enjoyable.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby RobertsonResearch » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:32 pm

I haven't been on this site before. But have watched virtually every episode so far of the whole8 - 9 years of WDYTYA, I missed 1 : Jerry Springer! The one with Seb Coe I found myself awaiting with bated breath and hoped I wouldn't miss it while on hols - in September, good it was on early. He has plantation ancestry as does my family. I find it interesting to know the source of the all the information and where to go to find it, who to contact etc. is very useful - as was Colin Jackson's story. However, I am ambivalent to the comments of MccorJanus as I really wanted Seb to say 'sorry' on behalf of his ancesters to the historian lady and the others. I have felt enormous 'guilt' on the actions of our past fathers, in order to gain wealth and build our huge cities form the spoils of sugar/coffee and cotton. I only hope we have now done so, since T Blair apologised in his p.m. stint, and also given chances of better education over the many decades, but we can't provide the sun! . Somehow though because Seb isn't a genealogist, I think he was swept away with the enormity of it all and basically forgot. I am giving him the benefit of the doubt. What items go in the show are up to the producers, not the subject. The comment about the IOC was unnecessary though.
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Re: Sebastian Coe (24 August)

Postby eurogordi » Thu Aug 25, 2011 5:54 pm

Further to my earlier comment, I personally wanted to find out what may have happened to the mistresses and their offspring because of my own ancestry. Most likely they were victim of early deaths, as happened to the illegitimate mixed race children of my own Jamaican ancestors. Indeed, the white population were not exempt from such a fate and were far less equiped for the tropics than their African counterparts.

However, while I regret what my direct ancestor was doing (he was a Physician who owned slaves rather than a Planter or Slave Trader), I cannot personally apologise for what was legally permitted in the 1700s. When we begin apologising for what we were not responsible for, our apologies soon become meaningless. For example, have the Italians apologised for the Roman invasion or the Danes for what the Vikings did to the English?

If you want to find out more about this period in history, I can fully recommend Matthew Parker's book "The Sugar Barons" which I have almost finished reading. It has certainly increased my understanding of this period of history, particularly in its social history content which contrasts with the usual political viewpoints that are often heard.
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