Tuesday 22 October 2019

Family Footsteps returns to BBC Northern Ireland

A second series of BBC Northern Ireland's series Family Footsteps kicked off last night. Here is the blurb for the first episode:

Gavin Andrews leads the Smyths, an Ulster-Scots family from Bangor, on a genealogical detective trail as they piece together their family tree and discover fascinating insights into the lives of their family members in the 18th and 19th centuries. It's an adventure packed with surprises that ultimately leads to a connection with a notorious historical figure.

Episode 1 starts with a boat trip for the Smyth family as they cross Belfast Lough from Bangor to Carrickfergus, where Peter's family lived for generations. Their first big discovery is that the former family home is now a tanning parlour! The trail leads them to Belfast's industrial past where they discover some relatives who became big shots in a very big business - linen. Going further back, they find out about other business interests which took this adventurous family overseas. Their next family footstep takes them all the way to the majestic St Petersburg in Russia, where it's revealed one of their ancestors, Robert, ran a prestigious bookshop. Amongst his customers were Russia's literary elite, including author Vladimir Nabokov. This leads to revelations of royal connections for the Smyth family – Robert’s sister, Lizzie, who became a trusted retainer for Nabokov's aunt, a famous Princess. The Smyths feel it's all a long way from Bangor!

I'll definitely need to tune into this one - not only am I originally from Carrickfergus, but my grandmother from Carrick was originally a Smyth!

The seriesis being shown on Monday evenings at 7.30pm on BBC NI. To watch last night's episode, visit the iPlayer at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m0009qj9/family-footsteps-series-2-episode-1 (possibly UK residents only - not sure about the Republic, if someone can advise!)

(With thanks to Allie Nickell @alliethinks via Twitter)


Order Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet (2nd ed) at https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/Tracing-Your-Irish-Family-History-on-the-Internet-Paperback/p/16483. My next Scotland 1750-1850: Beyond the OPRs course starts 4 November 2019 - see https://www.pharostutors.com/details.php?coursenumber=302. Further news published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page, and on Twitter @genesblog.

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