Genes Reunited Blog
Welcome to the new Genes Reunited blog!
- We regularly add blogs covering a variety of topics. You can add your own comments at the bottom.
- The Genes Reunited Team will be writing blogs and keeping you up to date with changes happening on the site.
- In the future we hope to have guest bloggers that will be able to give you tips and advice as to how to trace your family history.
- The blogs will have various privacy settings, so that you can choose who you share your blog with.
The British Newspaper Archive
Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?
What a great episode of Who Do You Think You Are? last night! It was the turn of Strictly Come Dancing star Len Goodman to trace his family history.
The first part of his search took him to Bethnal Green where he was born and bred. He wanted to learn more about his East End roots and discover what life was like in the area where his ancestors lived. He was surprised to discover his ancestors have 150 years of history living in the area. Poverty has always been high in the East End, but his great great grandfather (James Eldridge) suffered more than expected. Because they lived in one of the poorest areas of London, the Eldridge's were forced to take up jobs in the dreaded workhouse. The thought of working a day there led Len's great great grandfather to suicide. Len also discovered John Cecil, James Eldridge's father-in-law died of asthma in 1866 whilst working in Bethnal's workhouse. It was an emotional moment and the thought of what the Eldridge's must have gone through is unimaginable. It makes you wonder how bad workhouses were to lead people to take their own lives.
After the shocking and emotional tale of poverty and suicide, Len's search leads him to discover a more uplifting story of Polish ancestry that he never knew he had. He sees a memorial to Josef (his great great grandfather) as one of the group of 212 Polish soldiers and sets out to uncover more about his life. Josef was a member of a crack cavalry and fought the Russians in 1830. The November Uprising led his great great grandfather Josef Sosnowski to an honouree silver medal as a brave man fighting for his country. For Len this was a truly proud moment. Josef was a hero and Len discovers the vital part Joseph played in the struggle for Polish independence was great. It was lovely to see Len's expression when he learnt more about his Eastern European roots, then to also find out how much of a valued man he was.
You could see the satisfaction on Len's face from finally learning more about who he was and where he came from. I think most will agree it was a great watch. It was history at its best, teaching us what life was like for many of our ancestors. From poverty and suicide, to pride and bravery this episode really was one of the best in the series. "Be proud of your forefathers" as quoted by Len Goodman.
To catch up on the episode you can view it here.
Don't forget to tune in next week as the final episode of Who Do You Think You Are? is aired featuring Tracey Emin.