Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fun with Genealogy

The BBC's show Who Do You Think You Are? is one of my favourites. Each season it takes eight or nine celebrities and follows them with cameras as they help them trace their ancestry around the world. It's great. Last season I saw Julia Sawalha (Saffron from AbFab) learn about her Jordanian bedouin ancestors, Nigella Lawson pursue her Jewish teahouse-owning relatives into Victorian London, and David Dickenson learn he was an adopted Armenian, the illegitimate child of a wealthy heiress to a rug and textile importing fortune.

Tonight, actor John Hurt has learned that he's not only not related to Irish nobility, but rather is descended from a man with a talent for "spin and self promotion," whose father was on the take while working at the Customs Office and who ended up in debtor's prison. Oh. And he also found out his great grandparents were first cousins.

Bummer.

2 comments:

Beth said...

Sounds like a cool show. Wonder if it plays on BBC America?

Bella Rossa said...

I'm also a big genealogy nut. I read once that, mathematically speaking, almost all of us are descended from royalty in some way, especially because of all the inbreeding involved in trying to maintain influence through the brokering of power marriages. Thank goodness we all have lots of strong peasant DNA to balance all of that out.

Check out this wikipedia picture of the family tree of King Charles II of Spain - creepily inbred!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carlos_segundo80.png

I'm a pal of Coaster Punchman, by the way, so...hi!