BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

BBC Homepage
BBC Radio
BBC Radio 4 - 92 to 94 FM and 198 Long WaveListen to Digital Radio, Digital TV and OnlineListen on Digital Radio, Digital TV and Online

Radio 4 Tickets
Radio 4 Help

Contact Us

Tracing Your Roots
Go to the Listen Again page
The Tracing Your Roots banner
Wednesday 1.30pm - 2.00pm
24 October - 28 November 2007
Get in touch
About the series
Sally MagnussonTracing Your Roots is the series that helps put branches on your family tree.

Each week Sally Magnusson follows the ancestral trail back in time to uncover colourful stories and hidden slices of social history. Resident genealogist Nick Barratt is on hand with tips and inspiration to help you explore your own family's lineage.
Programme details
28 November 2007
Listen to this programme in full
People racing on penny farthing bikes
Does genealogy have to take years out your own life?!

In this week’s programme we're investigating how much you could discover about your family tree in just a couple of days. To find this out, we set up a challenge called the Trace Race.

Two novice family historians, Henrietta Harrison and Geoff Bird, were pitted against each other to see what they could learn from scratch. We also wanted to see how helpful it was to have access to the internet versus "real life" records in a public library.
Trace Race Day 1: Background Research

After quizzing a relative on her family’s history, Henrietta set off for the village of Frolesworth in Leicestershire, to visit the family graveyard. She found a wealth of information there, giving her plenty of leads to follow up on Day Two.

Geoff too chatted to relations, dozens of them, he says. He struck gold when he found someone who had already done a considerable amount of research into one side of the family. But Geoff was more intrigued by another, more mysterious line…

The Trace Race Day 2: Verifying information and going further...

Geoff arrived late at the archive office in Shrewsbury. But he was quickly surrounded by a crowd of family historians keen to help him. And off he went, back through the centuries …

Meanwhile, Henrietta was left at home with the whole of the internet at her fingertips. In theory, endless opportunities to find out more about her ancestors. But with so much information to process, where should she begin?

An online genealogical community

There are four broad types of family history websites, but one specific site Tracing Your Roots listeners have raved about is RootsChat. This is a forum where people come together to discuss, and help each other, with all manner of genealogical query.

We’re joined by Sarah Davies, one of the founders of RootsChat, and also by one of the site’s users, Jan Spink, who tells us about some of the assistance she’s received, and given others.

Other websites mentioned on this week's programme 

Latter-day Saints (International Genealogical Index)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Want to start researching your family tree?

Or need help? Take a look at the BBC family history website
Listen Live
Audio Help
[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Tracing Your Roots

Listen again

Programme details

See Also

Elsewhere on

BBC History

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites

Don't Miss

In Our Time

Melvyn Bragg

Thursday, 9.00 - 9.45am, rpt 9.30pm
Melvyn Bragg explores the history of ideas.
Listen again online or download the latest programme as an mp3 file.

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy