Reading the world news has become so depressing that I find myself turning more and more to Youtube to watch documentaries, interviews and TV programs … far more interesting and enlightening. Do you know this one? It’s a genealogy documentary show that was aired on the BBC. In each episode, a celebrity traces his or her family tree. The show attracted an audience of over 6 million viewers.
If I were to trace my own family tree, I would first go to the Baltics – to Riga, Latvia – birthplace of my maternal grandfather. Of course, it wasn’t Latvia back then but Russia. And before that, Riga was under the rule of Sweden, remaining its largest city until 1710.
As for my father’s kin, my paternal grandfather (and my father) came from north-east England (Northumberland County). Dad always claimed that he was a descendent of the Danish Vikings.
My parents ended up in Toronto and I moved to Paris. So you see, most of us come from somewhere else. And the stories along the way are interesting, to say the least.
There’s a big list of Who Do You Think You Are participants, ranging from J.K. Rowlings to Sir Ian McKellen to Twiggy to Martin Sheen and Sarah Jessica Parker (the program was such a success, there’s an American version.) You’ll find them all on Youtube.
Enjoy! Here’s one for starters that I found particularly interesting and entertaining. Boris Johnson is ex-mayor of London and now U.K. Foreign Secretary: