Tracing Your Roots is the series that helps put branches on your family tree.
Sally Magnusson and genealogist Nick Barratt uncover aspects of the UK’s social history through personal stories as they follow the genealogy trail back in time, and give you the tools to explore your own family history.
8 September 2007
The Appliance of Science
Genetic testing has already revolutionised forensics and medicine, but it’s beginning to become a tool in family history research too.
This week's programme explores what DNA analysis can, and can't, tell us about our ancestors and their origins. Using traditional paper records, we explore the occurrence of illegitimacy and bigamy in the family tree.
Stories in this week’s programme…
Geneticist Dr Jim Wilson explains how analysis of genes can reveal our deep ancestral past, and also determine biological links between individuals. We meet Ray Isles and Richard Kruse - ostensibly distant cousins – and find out if their DNA tests confirm a genetic match.
Family history research often uncovers the unexpected and for many people illegitimacy in the family tree will come as a surprise. Nick Barratt explains how you find out more from the records – and discovers what life would have been like for illegitimate ancestors.
When historian June Balshaw discovered her own grandmother had been involved with first one, and then a second bigamist, she decided to investigate whether bigamy was particularly common in the early 20th century. As she discovered, it was!