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Robin Gibb on Who Do You Think You Are?

Published on 23 Sep 2011 14:11 : gibb who do you think you are : 1 comment : 1935 views

There have so far been mixed reviews about last night's episode of Who Do You Think You Are. There were no amazing family revelations, no travelling abroad and the research venture back much further than 1850. However, I for one was particularly interested in last night's episode because it covered issues that are quite likely to come up in many people's own family history.

Firstly Robin Gibb concentrated on his paternal line and looked into the military past of his great-great grandfather, Matthew Gibb. Matthew was part of the 60th Rifles and served much of his time in the army in South Africa at a time when alcohol was plentiful and believed to help soldiers cope with the heat. Having an ancestor who served in the army can be great for those of us researching our family history. You can learn valuable information such as when they joined, where they lived, physical descriptions and their next of kin, as well as where and when they served. There are millions of military records available on line and on Genes Reunited in particular, we have just added millions of new records to our military database.

Matthew Gibb worked his way up through the ranks, but unfortunately was arrested for drunkenness and demoted. Over the next 8 years Matthew worked his way back up the ranks and Robin is particularly impressed with his ancestor's perseverance. He eventually retired from the army in 1905 and lived on an officer's pension.

Satisfied to have learnt more about his paternal great-great grandfather, Robin now begins to research his maternal line. Of particular interest is his great grandmother Cecilia Lynch. Cecilia was part of a new era of qualified midwives who began to disperse the former belief that midwives were old women with no medical knowledge.

Robin wants to know more about Cecilia's career and uses The National Archives to see if she was listed as a professional. Robin finds that at the age of 52, with 30 years of experience, Cecilia was prosecuted by the Central Midwives Board for malpractice. Unfortunately, because of privacy reasons stating that the information cannot be released for 75 years, Robin is unable to see the reason why Cecilia is prosecuted. However, Robin appeals under the freedom of information act to The National Archives, and is given access to the record with the names blanked out. This is a good tip for anyone researching their family history. Just because the record is not available online, as a descendant or relation, you may have the right to appeal for the information.

It turned out that Cecilia was prosecuted for not calling a doctor to see a baby she had delivered who developed a serious eye infection that resulted in the baby going blind. However, because of her experience and upstanding reputation, Cecilia was issued a warning and allowed to continue in her profession.

Robin Gibb's discoveries highlight many brick walls that anyone of us may come across in our own family history search. It also demonstrates how we might tackle these and find information previously unknown to us.


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by dianne lois on 24 Sep 2011 23:49 :
its not what you know but who you know....