Who Do You Think You Are

Who Do You Think You Are is a TV programme exploring the family history of well-known people; tonight there was the start of a new series and Julie Walters the actress was finding out about her Irish family roots. It was a fascinating programme, as it always is, and Julie found some most interesting facts about her ancestors. Like most people, her family were not rich or famous or from the nobility, and were not notorious in any way. However, as tenant farmers in nineteenth century Ireland they struggled with famine, despicable landlords, harsh conditions and harsh ‘justice’.

At the end of the programme when Julie was summing up her journey, she said how proud she was of her family, and how close and connected to them she feels even though she does not even know what they look like. I can understand that, although I actually do know what some of my ancestors looked like. I mentioned a little while ago my great-grandparents, who defied conventions, society and religion to live together and have five children, no doubt with much disapproval of both families.

In my novel Radwinter, Thomas Radwinter traces his family, and feels very close to another Thomas Radwinter, born Taras Radwinski, who died over a century ago; Taras experienced hardship and a struggle to survive, firs as a Ukrainian soldier in the Polish army, then as a virtual prisoner of war, shipped off to the Americas… except he escaped by jumping ship in Harwich. Once in England, he struggled through the years of agricultural famine, seeing his family in the Workhouse, before he was able to take over the license of a pub. Thomas, the main character, feels very close to Taras, even though he has no idea what he looked like, or really anything about him apart from what he can deduce from the records he finds on genealogical sites.

If you are interested in reading about Thomas’s research and Taras’s adventures, here is a link:




  1. jmbakingbread

    Hi Lois, unfortunately I missed this. I’m going to watch it on the BBC iplayer as I like Julie Walters and would like to find out about her family/ancestry. Who Do You Think You Are is a very interesting programme. Thanks for writing this article, Jacqueline.


    1. Lois

      It really is fascinating, isn’t it, Jacqueline… every series they seem to find such interesting people. I’m glad they concentrate on just a couple of stories rather than trying to go back as far as they can or find as many people as they can… it makes it a more interesting programme, I think.
      I see you’re a baker – did you watch Great British Bake Off last night?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jmbakingbread

        Yes, well it was on in the background as I’m doing a 14 day flash fiction challenge and had to write three stories yesterday in order to keep up. I think Mary Berry is brilliant. I’ve been baking my own bread for a few years, now.


  2. jmbakingbread

    Hi Lois, sorry I only just saw your reply.
    Yes, I also did the Campnano in July. I was in a cabin with some very inspiring people.
    Flash fiction just means short fiction. Sometimes it can be as short as 100 words.
    I’ve joined a Fantasy writing site called Mythic Scribes and I’m doing a 14 day writing challenge there, and posting my stories on my blog here as well.

    There’s a list of the prompts which are specific to each of the 14 days. I’m writing a story that I started several months ago about a Princess and a Knight. So far I’ve done all 5 posts. It seems to be a good cure for procrastination. My post was around 1200 words today.

    I hope I can do all 14. It’s a good discipline.
    Best wishes,

    Ps when I get a moment I promise to read through your blog!


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