Posted by on 24 August 2010 in General

Alexander Armstrong’s Who Do You Think You Are? episode didn’t relate much to family history as most of us know it –  certainly, he didn’t need censuses or birth, marriage and death indexes to trace his roots. In my view, though, that didn’t matter, as the fantastic stories in his family and his enthusiasm for the search made for an enjoyable programme.

I really took to Alexander. Coming from a privileged background, and discovering such incredibly prestigious roots, it would have been easy for him to across as a snob. As it was, he seemed both witty and generally delighted with the secrets he uncovered.

I’ve spoken to a fair few people who claim to be related to William the Conqueror. However, I’ve never met anyone who can trace their lineage so cleanly, and prove such a direct line from the famous King. This made for the perfect conclusion to an episode that used nobility as its spine, but also delved deeper into its characters – the revelation that Edward Somerset was a scientific trailblazer was particularly unexpected!

If you believe you have similarly aristocratic roots, we have several resources to help you trace them, including copies of many of Burke’s directories of the upper classes. We even have heralds’ records, charting families’ right to use coats of arms through detailed pedigrees.


Diane Peck 

I too realy enjoyed the episode on Alexander Armstrong. Since the improvements to the web site I have received many new links to my family tree which have amazed me as I too appear to be related to William The Conquerer! This also means of course that my relations are also connected to most of the ruling classes in Europe since the norman conquest. When I first saw these links I was very sceptical but having looked in to it a bit more I expect everyone could trace their ancestory back this far as once you get a link to the minor nobility of England all of their marriages, births and deaths are well documents to ensure marriages of state were correct. With a much smaller population in those days too I expect we will all turn out to be related to each other before long.

26 August 2010 at 9:50 am
Connor Telfer 

My great step grandmother’s father also has royal roots to Edward I and the Earls and Dukes of Arundel and his links also go back to William the Conqueror and Alfred the Great!! The episode on Alexander Armstrong was truly amazing! So with the connections on my great step grandmother’s side of the family, that means that she is related to Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria!!
(Nobility and Royalty in the family at last.)
I should expect that my great step grandmother would be very proud of her nobility roots and her ‘blue blood’.

26 August 2010 at 6:53 pm
Nigel Batty-Smith 

I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. I actually thought that it was probably the best yet, or close to it, in all of the series’ so far. I have never really been into the “Armstrong and Miller” style of comedy, but he came across as such a nice, educated man, who even “spoke proper”!
My mothers side of the family has a well documented lineage (landed gentry – Stucley of Affeton) which goes back to William the Conqueror also, through a number of lines. Sadly, our closest direct link goes through Arthur Plantagenet, Viscount L’Isle, illegitimate son of King Edward IV. The pedigree is lodged and authenticated through the College of Arms in London.

If only we had inherited all of the money or estates!
My fathers mother was Russian nobility and so has many links to the European royal families. There is one link to prove, and if we can then we would be very well connected – single figures cousinage with the present Royal Family.

At the end of the day though it means nothing really. We are “Who we Are”, although it is nice to know from whence one came.

28 August 2010 at 9:58 pm
Greta Gall 

I thought he came across like a complete tosser. He’s practically having an orgasm when he finds he’s related to a few Plantagenet inbreds. I mean aren’t most people related to Charlemagne or something. And he’s actually annoyed when one of his relatives leaves his estate to his own daughters rather than his rich brother. The nut certainly didn’t fall far from the tree in this case.

29 August 2010 at 9:01 am
Mrs Pink 

I found this episode the most boring so far. Sorry Alex. I like an episode with a boy done good theory. With most of the first part of his family read out of Burkes Peerage, I lost interest.

BBC – more ordinary people and a little bit of slap and tickle scandal.

31 August 2010 at 7:11 pm

If anyone hasn’t seen the spoof of who do you think you are they did on Armstrong & miller, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

1 September 2010 at 1:47 am
Ulster Ancestry : Ancestral Research Service and Family Ancestry Research 

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13 October 2010 at 1:47 am