05 November 2006

One man's televised search for his roots

Well worth a read is a genealogy story that begins with a search for Jewish roots by David Baddiel and branches out to the popularity of genealogy sleuthing in the UK, and provides numerous experiences of people searching for their roots.

Baddiel researched his Jewish family history for the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? and his experiences are reprised as part of the Times DVD today. The original show aired two years ago this week, but Baddiel is still being contacted by fans.

He says: “Loads and loads of people want to tell me about their family histories now. Complete strangers send me letters containing pages and pages of their family history. It’s sometimes fascinating (he laughs); though sometimes not.”

His family’s own history is markedly short on laughs. His grandparents were among the last Jews to flee Nazi Germany, his grandfather was interned on the Isle of Man and the family lived in poverty in England until the 1960s, when reparation money started trickling through.

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