Natalie Pithers (Genealogy Stories) interviews well known genealogist Dr Nick Barratt (best known for his work on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?). Together we explore Nick’s unique family history. From illegitimate great-grandmothers to spies and WWI stories.


Minute Notes:

[00:41] What got you started, tracing your own family tree? Nick explains how he got the genealogy bug after discovering his Great Uncle in the KV2 files, which related to MI was a spy.

[02:37] Nick explains the story of his illegitimate Grandmother, her life and Nick’s struggle to uncover her father’s identity.

[5:12] DNA testing and the unexpected results it can confront us with.

[6:25] We discuss our connection to certain ancestors and why we might be drawn to them.

[6:56] If you could meet one of your ancestors who would it be? Nick tells us about an ancestor that he discovered worked at the British Museum and his desire to find his Great-Grandfather. Nick explains the questions he has about his Great-Grandfather and his immigration from Germany to the UK.

[08:32] My own Welsh illegitimate ancestors, my questions about their lives and missing identities. The questions we ask about our ancestors.

[10:08] Do you have a favourite historical period and if so when is it and why? Nick shares his passion for the 13th Century.

[13:30] Have you traced your own family tree back to medieval period? We discuss why we are less interested in going “as far back as possible” and more interested in understanding the lives of our ancestors.

[15:18] How important is understanding the places your ancestors lived is to genealogy? Nick explains the inter-connections between local history and other types of history, such as social history.

[16:33] What influence do you think the pandemic is going to have on genealogy? Nick shares his fears about the way we access our history and the lack of funding for archives. Nick explains the importance of collection notes and the archival sector. We also discuss big data projects and exciting innovations in the way data can be connected using modern technology. Nick shares his opinions on the future of sharing our own histories.

[20:46] Do you think now is a good time to start tracing your family tree? Nick shares his feelings about the importance of recording our own feelings and preserving our own memories. He shares his thoughts on how this links to starting to trace your own family history – and why now is a great time to start both preserving our heritage and exploring the past.

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