In search of our roots

by | 29 October 2020 | Education and Learning, Hobbies, Rotherham, U3A

The year 2004 heralded the beginning of the ever-popular TV programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’. Between then and now, 17 series have been filmed and more than 150 celebrities have traced their roots, courtesy of professional genealogists, discovering relatives in far flung places from Australia to India, Africa to Belarus.
En-route they’ve uncovered stories of tragedy and happiness, poverty and riches, hitherto unknown relatives and colourful lives, including actors, bigamists, criminals, clergy and kings. More than six million people avidly watch each episode, all fascinated by accounts of other people’s lives, and many already engaged in, or inspired to embark on, a quest to find their own family story.
Enthusiastic members of Rotherham U3A’s Family History Group agree that nothing quite matches the satisfaction and exhilaration of following the trail to find that elusive ancestor and uncover details of their daily life, where and how they lived and what they did. Pooling personal skills, knowledge and helpful tips, and under the guidance of a group coordinator, individual family trees have grown from saplings towards maturity.
Each addition to a member’s ‘tree’ is an event worthy of celebration, so imagine the excitement when one member discovered a direct line to King Edward I (1239-1307), thus linking his family to that of William The Conqueror (1035-1087) and beating the ‘record’ set by Courteney Cox in series nine of the TV programme.
For anyone with internet access, whether at home or elsewhere, who likes history, enjoys solving puzzles and possess patience, it’s an absorbing and rewarding pastime. And what better time to start than in these Covid-restricted times? For more information, visit