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.