3 key family history records from Jodie Whittaker’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are? researcher Sara Khan reveals the documents she used to trace Doctor Who star Jodie Whittaker’s family history

Jodie Whittaker's great uncle in the 1901 census on Who Do You Think You Are?

The first woman to play the lead character in the BBC TV series Doctor Who is a Yorkshire lass through and through. On Who Do You Think You Are?, Jodie Whittaker discovered the life of her great uncle John Walter Clements, who fought in the First World War, using these key online family history records:


1901 census

Jodie Whittaker's great uncle in the 1901 census on Who Do You Think You Are?

John Walter was born out of wedlock in 1894, the son of Elizabeth Clements. Elizabeth married in 1897, but we found John Walter living with his maternal grandmother Sophia Smith in Spilsby, Lincolnshire, in 1901, rather than with Elizabeth. UK census returns are available on Ancestry, Findmypast, TheGenealogist, MyHeritage and FamilySearch. Ancestry members can view John Walter’s census entry here.

Medal Index Card

Jodie Whittaker's great uncle's First World War medal index card on Who Do You Think You Are?

John Walter’s First World War service record was among those destroyed by a fire in London in 1940, but his medal index card lists the medals he was entitled to for his service during the conflict. The Medal Index Cards collection is available on Ancestry, Findmypast and Forces War Records. You can see John Walter’s card on Ancestry here.

Commonwealth War Graves Burial Record

John Walter Clements' burial record on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

John died during the war at the young age of 24. Jodie was able to locate his burial record on the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which commemorates those who fell in the two world wars.