Posted by on 11 August 2011 in General

Who Do You Think You Are? 

Who Do You Think You Are? series eight started in style last night with June Brown’s fascinating episode. A mix of rarely discussed history and true family research made for a highly entertaining hour.

June’s quite a character and her sense of humour and charisma shone through. This strength of personality has clearly been passed down – right from the start of the episode, we learned how her 3x great-grandfather survived a trying upbringing to become ‘the life of the party’.

In previous series, Who Do You Think You Are? has often concentrated on more recent history, so I was pleasantly surprised that this one began in the 18th century and worked back from there. The Jewish synagogue records, in both England and Holland, were very similar to the parish registers most of us rely on to trace births, marriages and deaths before the 1800s. Learn more about parish records

It was also interesting to learn about another side of Jewish history. Most of us know about the persecution Jews endured in the 19th and 20th centuries, but their suffering began long before that – for instance, I’ve never really considered the effect of the Spanish Inquisition on individual families.

If you have Jewish roots, we have records from all over the world to help you discover your family’s story. See all our Jewish collections

New to If June’s Who Do You Think You Are? episode has whetted your appetite, find out how to uncover your family’s TV-worthy tales.

And please, let us know what you thought of this episode in the comments below.


donna jackson 

Im a big fan of the programme,but I do think it should have more hints and tips for all of us amateur geneologists,and that it would be great if was on tv all year round ,after all there seems to be a lot of interest in geneology nowadays ,just a thought !

11 August 2011 at 11:07 am
margaret frank 

I am really surprised at the camera angles,incessant close ups etc of June smoking throughout the programme which added nothing at all to a great story in its own right. OK I am a non smoker and I have read before that June Brown is a committed smoker but I am sure others will agree it was too much ,too often too many close ups.

11 August 2011 at 2:12 pm

Although it was fascinating to see the tracing of June’s 17th and 18th century ancestors, I thought it rather a shame that the programme skipped over her more recent ancestors. I would guess that customers would relate more easily to those, and the way in which they might have been traced. Otherwise, a most interesting and enjoyable programme.

11 August 2011 at 2:18 pm

Margaret, I was also irritated at the constant closeups of cigarettes on the programme. Was someone getting kick-backs from the tobacco industry?
Edward, have been watching the ‘Heir Hunters’ series on BBC1 in the mornings? This is the programme to watch if you want to pick up research tips.

11 August 2011 at 4:33 pm

In the previous posting, my second comment was for Donna, not Edward!

11 August 2011 at 4:35 pm

I love these programmes and everyone is different, they have to be, but I do think missing out the recent past was a pity, the adventure of discovery was not there.

12 August 2011 at 6:09 am
sandie pender 

As June Brown is my husbands 2nd cousin I was hoping for more on the Raphael side of the family, I already had all info on Isaac… fact I had been contaced by programme and had given them access to my tree with all the info on it up to Abraham & Rachael in Holland……….admittedly I didnt have the Oran info.
They didnt give any info on how the family was traced back to Isaac, alright I know all that but originally the programme did go through places you could use….it certainly isnt as interesting as it was in the beggining.


12 August 2011 at 8:52 pm
Ros Bott - Tracing Ancestors in the UK 

I really enjoyed this episode, and found the information about the Jewish ancestry quite fascinating. I do relate to others who were frustrated by the lack of earlier history – but we have to remember they have to squeeze the information into one hour and can’t include everything. Being an editor on one of these programmes must be a nightmare!

I loved June Brown. I don’t watch Eastenders, but as a person I thought she was a real character (despite the smoking!).

Great episode as far as I’m concerned – and held my interest all the way through.

16 August 2011 at 4:52 pm