Saturday, 23 February 2013

I have been to ... the 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Show ... yet again

My wife's interest in genealogy means that attending the WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? show is an absolute must. It is the premier genealogical event of the year in the UK, and this year we had some very specific things to see and do.

The show was held at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, Kensington, and we drove there rather than use public transport. The journey is just over 15 miles door-to-door and took just over an hour.


The show is held over two floors in one of the main halls at the Olympia Exhibition Centre, the Main Floor ...




... and the surrounding Gallery.


We arrived early, and the show had not long opened ... hence the lack of a crowd inside. By the time we had left, the place was heaving!



Our first stop was at the stand run by the Veterans UK organisation. Last year my wife applied by post for her father's World War II medals, which he had never collected. We had heard nothing, and so she asked at the stand for some assistance. They were very helpful, and not only has she now requested that her father's medals be sent to her, they have also helped her to apply for a copy of his service records.

We then went to the Military Pavilion, which was located on the Gallery. For some time my wife has been trying to identify a badge worn by one of her female relatives as a tie pin. The badge is a triangle with what looks like an aeroplane or glider in the middle of it.


One of the general experts thought that it might have been given to my wife's relative as a keep-sake or memento, but he recommended that we show the photograph to the expert of badges ... who identified immediately as being the badge of a member of the 'Women's Air League'. Although this sounded like something a bit like the 'Women's Auxiliary Balloon Corps' (as featured in 'Blackadder Goes Forth' – Episode 4: Private Plane), it turned out to be part of an organisation set up in the 1900s to encourage air-mindedness amongst the peoples of the then British Empire. It was instrumental in the setting up of the Air Defence Cadet Corps, which in turn became the basis upon which the Air Training Corps was created.

Our two main tasks achieved, we spent the rest of our time at the show wandering around and looking at things that caught our eye. After a snack lunch (gourmet sausages in a bun!) we returned home through some typical London traffic ... and then we got the 'phone call about my father's fall.

6 comments:

  1. My history professor, who taught American History for many years, gave us a very humorous cautionary tale about genealogies. His wife was mad about finding Important Genealogical History about American Civil War soldiers, i.e. prominent Confederate soldiers in her husband’s southern lineage, since this was a deep southern college and her family had no connection to the American Civil War whatsoever. In any case, he obliged her and found a whopper. His research found an illustrious Southern Personage of a military bent with a highly colorful history. But it was not all she had hoped for. The gentleman in question was indeed a true Confederate soldier, albeit one of the ranks and not the flower of southern chivalry. This esteemed fellow fought for Mississippi at the siege of Vicksburg when he decided to take French Leave (as they will) and take a bit of a rest. He was picked up by a Union patrol, whereas he turned coat (the proper term is galvanized Yankee) and was then in the Union army. Finding that the Yankees were even more regimented and unforgiving than southern armies, to took leave a second time for the life of a vagabond. Also a chicken thief. In any case he is listed in the book of honor has having been shot while crossing a stream with pilfered chickens in hand. Thus ended the illustrious illusions of a transplanted neo-southern woman in the deep south. To further amuse himself the good professor told the wonderful story at every turn as well to every freshman history attendee of his lectures just so the story would have full currency. His wife never forgave him. Here endeth the story of a fine southern gentleman and his curious exploits during the Great Rebellion and a cautionary tale to all of you ancestor-finders who are looking for cloth of gold amongst wool.

    ReplyDelete
  2. CoastConFan,

    Your story sounds very typical of the sort of thing one does find out when one begins genealogical researches. People who expect that they are related to someone famous or important are usually very upset when they find the truth.

    My wife's researches have thrown up someone who was tried for murder (they were convicted of manslaughter at their trial), family members who were rich, others who ended in the workhouse, soldiers, seafarers, someone who died on RMS 'Titanic' (he was the Hebrew cook), and someone who was recommended for the award of the Victoria Cross. A typical cross-section of British society ... but no members of the aristocracy!

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a friend who runs the quarterly mini-conventions 'round here. He found out his great-grandfather (?) had changed the family name. Because he was on the run, having been a horse-thief in Canada, and decided to start a new life in the States. Apparently it worked.

    ReplyDelete
  4. SAROE,

    It is amazing what one finds when one starts to dig into ones family's history.

    My brother has begun doing our family's history, and so far he has not found anything of particular note. We look like being a very boringly normal family.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looking at your pics the Convention Centre where this event was being held, I was rather struck by the colour of the floor. Was it really so ... forthright ... a shade? I'm surprised riots and brawls didn't break out. The English (my ancestors) are a truly phlegmatic people... :-)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),

    The funny thing is that I didn't notice the colour of the carpeting until I looked at my photographs at home. At the venue it just did not seem to stand out ... probably because everyone was looking at the stands and not the floor!

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete