Posted by on 1 September 2011 in General

Who Do You Think You Are?

Part of the joy of family history is discovering family secrets – and then learning the truth behind them. For Eastenders actor Larry Lamb, the secret was closer to home than most, as he found out his mother was adopted. His search for his biological family made for fascinating viewing.

Lamb was actually lucky, as recent law changes meant he had plenty of information about his grandparents to get him started. I’ve spoken to several people in the past who were adopted themselves or had relatives who were, and have found it very difficult to discover anything at all about the birth parents.

The history of the fairground was an entertaining backdrop to the first half of the episode. Professions such as lion tamer and names like Jimmy Wildbeast Day will liven up anybody’s family tree! It’s a shame he couldn’t discover what happened to his grandfather Albert, but he did fill out a large part of his tree, and of course meet some living relatives.

I was also delighted with how true-to-life so much of the research was. We regularly saw Lamb searching online, and he followed up his findings with visits to relevant archives and historical sites. In particular, marriage certificates were crucial in kicking off his discoveries – don’t forget you can search the official marriage indexes and order certificates on our site. Search now

The final stage in the journey took us to California, USA. It’s incredible how easy it is to uncover branches of your tree on the other side of the world using online records. All our millions of worldwide immigration records are currently free to search – until 5th September – so you can find out where your family ended up. Search now

Lamb was clearly performing his search on behalf of his mother, so it was a fitting end when he put her on the phone to her American half-brother. This must have been a truly emotional moment – I hope they can find a way to bring the two together in person.

22 Comments

John Howes 

Larry Lamb has tweeted (@larrylamb47) that the half-brother visited his mum a week after the filming.

1 September 2011 at 1:19 pm
Natalie West 

I cried when I watched Larry Lamb. The feelings mirrored my own, when at age 65 I found I still had an Aunt and several first cousins. My father died when I was two, and my mother lost contact with his family. She remarried later, and didn’t wish me to look up my paternal family. Sadly I waited until she passed away in 2007, before joining Ancestry, and starting my research. I found my father’s youngest sister is still alive at 83, and as he came from a large family I have many cousins. I have found close relatives of my mother’s whom she never knew, both here and in Australia.Also found a family member who disappeared many years ago. I wish I hadn’t waited, as the joy is slightly bitter-sweet, but I’m so grateful to Ancesty who’ve made it all possible.
Natalie West

2 September 2011 at 12:41 am
Joan Hannah 

fab story, so glad to here that Larry’s Uncle visited Larry’s mum. Family is so important!
Every blessing

2 September 2011 at 1:33 am
Kerin Ingman 

one of the best so far, although I wonder what did happen to his grandfather Mr Day

2 September 2011 at 12:06 pm
Lorraine Johnson 

I have watched nearly all the Who do you think you are series and I have to say Larry Lambs was the best so far , My heart went out to Mrs Lamb not really knowing where she came from , but it must have been so nice to at last know who her parents were and came from and what they looked , one truly lovely story and so glad she got to meet her brother .

2 September 2011 at 12:11 pm
Lynne 

Great Show as always….Being a budding ‘reasearcher’ I have looked at the records used in the programme is any one able to answer the following? 1- How did they find/ confirm the birth cert of Albert?…. the marr cert stated he was 24 in Sept 1925 and father was Albert (a showman). So accepting ages werent always 100% they would look for any Alberts born abt that time with a dad Albert. Re the 1901 census they refer to, Albert (from Accrington) is not classed as the son of Albert…. but the grandson of Daniel (who is the brother of the older Albert). I cannot fathom how they confirmed Larrys Albert was the Albert born in Accrington.

2 September 2011 at 12:53 pm
eddie hallett 

Its great watching W D T Y A some of the storys are so true to my own last yr at the age of 61 I found out that the person I thought was my father was indeed not that statred me off in a search for my real father and found a half sister and her family she had no idea that I excisted

2 September 2011 at 5:26 pm
Elizabeth Middleton 

I thought Larry’s story has been the most interesting of all. I would like to know if any more was found of his grandfather, would make an interesting follow up story if he was found.

2 September 2011 at 8:24 pm
Valerie Downs 

I also thought that the programme about Larry’s story (on behalf of his mother was very moving.) What a great background he had, when he could see so many of his own & his sister’s traits!

I have been searching my own family’s story: my own mother was born in 1897, oldest of a family of 8, only 2 boys – one dying before he was 1 year. My last Aunt died only 4 years ago, the youngest of this great family and 23 years younger than my mother! Searching family history is really exciting, and you get hooked.

I hope the WDYTYA series goes on…. and on. thanks.

2 September 2011 at 8:42 pm
June Haycock 

Larry Lamb’s story was the best yet I was absolutely riveted to it

2 September 2011 at 10:06 pm
Catherine Addison 

I have to say that larry Lamb’s family tree and story was very encouraging and had a most fitting end(that being he uncovered the mystery). It gives hope to others that have been adopted and want to find their true blood line.Thank you all for allowing me to share the joy with the family (and that is always the best feeling of all). I am addicted to geneology and of course “Who do you think you are “

2 September 2011 at 10:19 pm
Wendy Frowen 

I really enjoyed this episode. I felt such empathy with Larry finding family he never had. After doing my Family Tree on Ancestry I found a sister,who is younger than my children! But unlike Larry’s who lived in another country…mine lived no more than 40 miles away! It has been wonderful to now have family on my’Paternal’ side and we have become so close. I have been doing my Family Tree for more than 3 years and am as addicted to it today as I was the first day I started!

2 September 2011 at 10:57 pm
Tony Clevett 

Best one of the series so far.Larry seemed really interested to discover his lost family.Some celebs just seem to go along for the ride.I loved the suprise & even shock on Larry,s face when he made his discoveries.

3 September 2011 at 9:40 am
Roger Bacon 

Certainly one of the best and most moving so far.

My only disappointment was that it would have been nice to put this story into context in Larry Lamb’s overall ‘family tree’.

A brief introduction, containing a summary of his paternal ‘branches’, might have added more poignancy to the subsequent, and justifiable, concentration on the search for his mother’s ‘roots’.

3 September 2011 at 10:15 am
Jeanette 

I have done my ancestry, found cousins I didn’t know about,I ended up going off to Canada to meet them we keep in touch. Watching Larry Lamb really brought all back to me and my husband.
Actually we found that my cousin had married his second cousin.
Please keep it up really nice to see fmilies getting together.

3 September 2011 at 12:00 pm
Julie Day 

My dear husband Michael suddenly & unexpectedly passed away January 2008,after watching Larry Lamb & his story this week I felt so sad that Michael was no longer with us to see it, he like myself would have wondered if maybe we too were related to Larry…
My husband was a very clever man who had a great interest in engineering, steam engines amongst other things,over the years he had many hobbies, although he sold some of his model steam engines we do still have many of his hand made cars,
If he was in any way connected to ancestors of Larry it would also prove why my dear hubby didn’t like holidays/travelling due to what could have been his families former life, he did however love anything to do with history/geography..
I do know that he did like myself thoroughly enjoy ” Who Do You Think You Are “…this is from someone who detested History/Geography in her school days…
Thank you once again for a sometimes sad but very interesting & enjoyable series….

3 September 2011 at 12:04 pm
Pat Rose 

Watching Larry’s story has been the best so far in this current and previous series. I am so pleased he was able to arrange for his Mother to meet up with her half brother, that must have been very emotional. It has encouraged me to continue in my research on my Husband’s family as they have changed their name from Rosenblatt and travelled to America.

3 September 2011 at 3:50 pm
Nicole Copithorne 

Thankyou to Larry and the producers of Who do you think you are? I was most encouraged as I am adopted and have found my natural cousins and natural aunties and natural uncles.My parents died before I could meet them my mother died two weeks after I found out her address social services couldn’t let me see her as
she was very ill understandably in December 2010 and my father divorced and died in 2005. Thanks so much Larry for your story it was so exciting and interesting and sad too that your mum never knew her natural extened family till now? Good Luck with your family tree and I will keep going now and continue to search abroad as well as in this country for relatives. I have just found some passenger lists for boats take care God Bless You Always and you Mum too and new relatives love Flo Prior Nicole Jeannine Copithorne

4 September 2011 at 4:52 am
Marion Glen 

A brilliant programme and I thought Larry Lamb’s
story was the best yet. I have only recently
started to find my family tree but I was lucky
enough to correspond with another member of Genes
United who was related to me from the distant past
and gave me loads of information. Are there
genealogists who will search for you at a
reasonable rate?

4 September 2011 at 2:24 pm
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5 September 2011 at 4:03 pm
Dorothy Dawson 

I found this very touching. I would like to see more details of how the researchers find information – where they looked, how they knew it was correct.

At present, the programmes are interesting, but not very helpful.

11 September 2011 at 11:04 pm
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16 September 2011 at 3:38 pm