Here is a short film made in 2016, compiled from clips of some of the programs I have presented and interviews I have given since 1995.
Genealogy is one of Britain’s most popular pastimes and the subject of family history is extremely popular with the media. The requirements for a TV genealogist are complex- ability to research stories, honing in on the most interesting ancestors and bringing both them and the subject alive, usually in very short time scales.
These are some of the qualities which I have tried to bring to TV and radio since my début- as an expert on surnames- on The Denis and Muffin Show on South African radio in 1995. Following several years building up experience as a guest on radio chat shows and a royal expert for BBC News 24, I was chosen to be the resident genealogist for the pilot of Channel 4’s Extraordinary Ancestors in 1999.
Having researched their family trees over an intensive two-month period, Anthony and presenter Melanie Sykes took four members of the public to learn more about the lives of their most extraordinary ancestors- a coal miner who suffered an horrific death, an 18th century sea captain, a drunken soldier and William Power Trench, a bigoted slave-owner whose descendants are now happily mixed-race, which they filmed on location in a Yorkshire coal mine, a replica 18th century sailing ship, Chester Castle and locations in Jamaica, including Trenchtown and the Island Record Office, Spanish Town.
Channel 4 commissioned a three part series of Extraordinary Ancestors, broadcast in October 2000, in which I worked with presenter Shilpa Mehta. Based around three roadshows, held in Bristol, Edinburgh and Cardiff, I revealed a series of amazing stories, ranging from royal ancestry to an Italian valet who knew Greta Garbo, and involving props as diverse as a picture of a real-life giant baby to a live and very disgruntled Gloucester Old Spot piglet. The show was supported by a series of promotional radio interviews, including my first Radio 4 appearance as a guest on Libby Purves’ Midweek.
Amongst my other TV appearances have been interviews on heraldry for C4’s Revealing Secrets; the contorted Albert Square family tree for EastEnders Revealed (BBC Choice), in which I and presenter Jayne Middlemiss hosted a mock gameshow; on the complexities of modern family history for the Magazine Channel (with Simon Biagi) and BBC2’s Working Lunch. Most notable of all, however, was his appearance on BBC1’s Ruby (2002), in which I revealed the family tree of actress Michelle Collins, experiencing and coming out smiling from a grilling by la Wax herself.
2002 also included an interview on professional genealogy on Radio 4’s Shop Talk and researching and filming the story of John Ystymllyn, an 18th century black migrant to North Wales, for C4, and was rounded off just before Christmas with the pilot of Antiques Ghostshow for Living TV.
The series of Antiques Ghostshow was filmed at Gilston Park, Essex and on location around the country in the spring of 2003 and began its eight week run on Tuesday 8 July (with repeats on Sundays) at 9 pm on Living TV and in Canada on the Bravo! channel from 7 September. Accompanied by TV antiques expert Chris Gower (as seen on Tall Tales and Antique Sales, To the Manor Born etc) and psychic medium Derek Acorah (star of Psychic Lifetime and Most Haunted), I investigated the family histories of people from all over Britain, delving into their past and filming the stories of their ancestors, from the regimental museum of the South Wales Borderers, where I found out about one of the heroic survivors of Rourke’s Drift (and held his Victoria Cross, worth almost £250,000!) and the Titanic exhibition in London, to lovely Chatsworth House and the tomb of Lord Byron at Hucknall.
2003 also saw the launch of Radio 4’s Meet the Descendants, a series investigating the extraordinary multiracial ancestry of modern Britain. With presenter Professor Jim Walvin, I investigated four white British families, each with some true surprises in their ancestral past. Caesar Fitzgerald was a black sailor from Sierra Leone, who came to Kent in the mid-19th century, married a local girl and had a family who still carry his genes. At the National Archives, I investigated Caesar’s origins and uncovered his links with Edward Fitzgerald, the white judge sent to Sierra Leone to enforce the end of the slave trade. In the early 19th century, Sake Dean Mohamed, opened the first Indian restaurant in Britain, and went on to open a Turkish bath in Brighton. Through Mohamed’s own words, I uncovered his origins in India and investigated how the British reacted to this ground-breaking Indian entrepreneur. A section of my contribution to this show was featured on Pick of the Week. Half a century before Mohamed, a former black slave called Frank Barber took up the position of servant to one of Britain’s great eccentrics, Samuel Johnson. This episode investigated the curious dynamic which existed between the two men and also explored the substantial black community in London to which Frank belonged. Back in the Middle Ages, a crusading knight is said to have brought a handful of Muslim stonemasons to lonely Biddulph Moor in Staffordshire. The modern inhabitants retain their dark skin colour, and have lively traditions concerning their origins- the programme looked at the various theories as to where their distinctive genes really came from.
The second series of Meet the Descendants was broadcast in summer 2004. For the first episode, I tracked down Christopher Kempton, a white, English descendant of Munoo, an Indian boy-servant brought to England in the early 19th century and baptized as William Munnew. The second focused on the Grüber family, Huguenot refugees to England who became leading gunpowder manufacturers in Faversham, Kent. Next, I explored the true paternity of Christina Douglas. Born in 1803 in Cape Colony to a black woman, Christina was brought to England by the famous diarist Lady Anne Barnard and later married into a family of Wiltshire squires. Stories abounded concerning her true paternity, with candidates including Baron Glenbervie and George Rex, the man who claimed to be a legitimate son of George III. But ultimately I revealed that it was Lady Anne’s own husband Andrew Barnard, son of the Bishop of Limerick, who fathered Christina, ‘the accident’, as lady Anne herself wrote in her memoirs, ‘of an unguarded moment’. Finally, the series looked at Lyn Innes, a professor at Kent University, and her great grandfather the Nawab Nazim of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, who came to England in a doomed attempt to seek redress against injustice from the British Government, and married a chambermaid.
2004 also saw the commissioning of the pilot of Discovery Channel’s Ancestor Hunters, in which I, together with historian Maria Misra and archaeologist Tony Pollard, tracked down the truth behind the Silvester family’s mysteries, including a possible link to highwayman Dick Turpin – the program was broadcast in September.
In 2005, while Antiques Ghostshow continued to be repeated seemingly endlessly – but with continued new interest – around the world, I appeared four times on ITV’s This Morning presenting films on the family trees – which I had traced – of presenters Phillip Schofield and Fern Britton and discussing the Old Laws of England and the family curses of Ozzy Osbourne, the Kennedys, the royal family of Monacco and Tutankhamen. 2006 opened with an appearance on Radio 4’s Shop Talk to discuss GenesReunited’s leading position in the Web 2.0 revolution, and an appearance on ITV’s 5 0’Clock Show, hosted by Richard Hammond, with Sir Benjamin Slade, 7th baronet. This amiable if somewhat eccentric aristocrat (he once endowed one of his labradors with a trust-fund of £50,000. Due to judicious investments, the fund’s value rose to £130,000. When I mentioned this to him he commented ‘yes, that dog did rather well’), lacking male heirs, launched a nationwide appeal for male-line relatives to whom he could leave his ancestral Somerset estate. Besides legitimate Slade cousins, he also threw the field open to anyone who might be descended in the male line from any one of the many liaisons his ancestors are known to have had with village girls and serving maids – proof of the connection here would come through DNA. In a follow-up the following week, I returned having sifted through hundreds of responses from Slades the world over. Four Slades who he had selected as being particularly likely to have DNA matches with Sir Benjamin were invited into the studio to have live DNA tests. One participant, Derek Slade, called it ‘a fantastic experience. I enjoyed it immensely’.
Notable amongst occasional radio interviews was one on BBC Radio Shropshire, Stoke and Hereford and Worcester on 15 January. Listeners were invited to call in with questions and comments about family history. What was remarkable was that calls and e-mails came not just from the Shropshire area, but from people listening via the Internet in the United States, Canada, Germany, South Africa and Australia. The show’s producer described the event as ‘the biggest response’ to a radio phone-in that she could remember.
The week of 27 February 2006 saw ITV’s GMTV launch its own family history week, consisting of two interviews and a live webcast with Anthony, and a series of five short films about the family trees of five of their presenters – John Stapleton; Andrew Castle; Andrea McLean; Dr Hilary Jones and Penny Smith– which I had traced over the preceeding two months. The undoubted highlight was the discovery that presenter and ex-Wimbledon tennis star Andrew Castle was a direct descendant of Annie Besant, the great 19th century social reformer, theosophist and friend of Mahatma Gandhi. Besides being mother of Andrew’s great grandfather Arthur Digby Besant, Annie adopted Jiddu Krishnamurti, who was widely hailed by believers as the ‘Messianic Buddha’. I was thus able to add this extraordinary character to Andrew’s already fascinating family tree. The films coincided with the unexpected fame to which presenter Penny Smith shot through her humorous caterwauling with jazz singer Curtis Stigers on the BBC’s singing contest Just The Two Of Us in the same week. The series was so successful that a second one was commissioned, which ran from 4 to 8 September 2006, and featured five more GMTV presenters – Ben Shephard, Clair Nasir, Jenni Falconer, Fiona Phillips and the inimitable Lorraine Kelly.
May 2006 saw the launch of a new genealogy series, My Famous Family. Presented by Bill Oddie, the series looked at five ordinary people and revealed how they are related to five extremely well-known ones – Queen Victoria, the Duke of Wellington, George Stephenson, Florence Nightingale and Lawrence of Arabia. I researched the five stories over a period of three months and found it quite a task. Many people are related to famous people and know it (I found 1,400 people, for example who were related to Mahatma Gandhi – but they all knew it!). Finding five people with amazing family connections but who suspected absolutely nothing was a tall order, but eventually he achieved his aim. Perhaps the most extraordinary connection was that of Rachel Corfield who shares my Havers ancestry, thus (and previously unbeknown to her) linking her back to the Blessed Margaret Pole, Warwick the Kingmaker and Edward III. This made Rachel a cousin of Queen Victoria and a splendid participant in the show. For the Lawrence of Arabia story, I was able to utilise recent research that showed that the hero’s natural grandmother was a member of the Lawrence family of Sunderland, with many relatives there who knew nothing of their surprising family link. The series was commissioned (from Fulcrum TV) by UKTV History, to accompany BBC2’s Who Do You Think You Are?, which the channel were re-running. Much to the channel’s surprise and pleasure, My Famous Family got 30% more viewers than its bedfellow – the first time, apparently, a specially commissioned show has done much better than a comparable import from terrestrial TV. As Bill says, “genealogy is… a conduit to make history come alive. Although we don’t realize it, many of us have a distant connection to someone famous. It’s a very good premise for a TV programme, and it really makes people think”. The series includes Bill Oddie’s interviews with me, filmed in the Society of Genealogists in London.
My next major project was Gene Detectives. The series, presented by myself (as the ‘Gene Detective’) and Melanie Sykes, ran from Monday 19 February 2007 on BBC1 each morning at 9.15 for two weeks. The show was about people seeking long-lost close relatives – brothers and sisters, parents and children and in one case a lady who has lost most of her family and who was seeking a first cousin who was the only survivor of her immediate family in the Blitz.
Melanie Sykes’s role was to accompany the seekers on their journey, visiting them at home before hand and sharing their emotional experiences on their day in the Gene Detectives studio. My role was to trace the long-lost relatives in the first place using conventional genealogical means – General Registration, electoral registers, telephone directories and so on. When I got down to the last three, however, the three possible relatives were invited to the studio for a series of tests, the results of which would be compared with those of tests conducted on the seekers themselves. These tests covered physical characteristics (height, cholesterol levels, eyesight, blood pressure and and lung capacity, all of which – or the propensities to them – are genetically inherited), facial mapping – to see how people’s features did or did not match up – and a ‘deep ancestry’ DNA test. We also asked everyone if they had any particular physical quirks, such as being able to roll their tongues, wiggle their ears or place one arm over one shoulder and the other under the other shoulder and touch their hands behind their backs.
The aim here was not only to come closer to working out who the real relative really was, but also to see to what extent close relatives really do (or don’t) match each other in terms of some of those elements of ourselves that we inherit from our parents. I found the results fascinating: in many cases, facial similarities, physical matches, DNA results and body quirks really did point towards who it was – but not always. Bizarrely (or not, as they are just as much indicators of genetic inheritance as anything else), the most consistent indicators of true family connections seemed to come through the body quirks! It also gave the seekers themselves the opportunity of seeing whether they could work out who their long-lost relative really was before they met them. Many people who have never met close relatives think, or hope, that they will be able to recognise them instinctively and that close family connections produce an immediate gut reaction. In some cases, this proved not to be the case, but in some instances the gut reaction was astonishingly strong.
At the end of each episode of Gene Detectives, after the tests have been completed and the necessary off-screen professional counselling has been undertaken, the long lost relatives are reunited with each other. It’s interesting in this context that just a few weeks before the show was launched, the press reported that the novelist Ian McEwan discovered he had a long-lost half-brother, and met him. The Telegraph reported “They had been warned by the Salvation Army not to expect an emotional first meeting. ‘That only happens in films’, they were told. They exchanged an ‘awkward hug’ and sat down for a drink”. It’s true that many such meetings can be anti-climaxes: besides actually finding the long-lost relatives for the ten seekers featured in the programs, Gene Detectives gave them genuinely emotional reunions, with the support of a professional councilor, and in a very supportive environment.
GMTV commissioned a third series of family trees in spring 2007, focussing this time on soap stars. Fascinatingly, Coronation Street stars Helen Worth (Gail Platt) and Wendi Peters (Cilla Battersby-Brown) both had authentic northern working class roots. Helen’s father’s roots lie in the Leeds area, none of them ever living far from Wigglesworth, from which Helen’s family takes it’s name – she told me she had to shorten it to Worth when performing as a girl in the stage version of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, because the more senior actors didn’t like her name being longer than theirs! Her mother’s side, however, were the Cullodens, Irish Famine immigrants, and no doubt the side though which she inherited her cheerful eloquence. Wendi’s were from Blackburn: her father’s family were Dawsons, but not as far back as she thought, because I discovered that her great grandfather, William Johnson Dawson, was illegitimate – his mother (the daughter of a Clarkson by an innkeeper called Pemberton) had married a Mr Dawson, but had her son long after they had split up – probably by a John Johnson, who lived around the corner. The family of the father of Emmerdale‘s Matthew Bose (Paul Lambert) was Indian, but Matthew’s mother is descended from the Helps family of canal boatmen, whose lives and drunken deaths we explored together on the Grand Trunk Canal in Staffordshire. Finally, Scott Maslen discovered that his mother’s Suckling ancestors were blacksmiths from Hendon, and that the church where they married affords a good view of Hendon Police Academy – where his on-screen character Phil Hunter in The Bill trained for his (fictional) career in the Met!
I was interviewed on the family tree of Ozzy Osbourne, which I had traced for Genes Reunited, on Total Rock Radio. This took me to their offices in London’s iconic Tin Pan Alley and was surely, as I suggested during the half-hour interview, the first time genealogy had ever been discussed there, emphasising the ever-increasing popularity of this subject.
GMTV’s fourth season, broadcast in the week of 19 May 2008, covered the family trees of three more GMTV presenters, Carla Romana, whose roots we traced back successfully through the records of Naples and its environs; Richard Arnold, who learned about his grandfather’s First World War heroism, and Kate Garraway, whose family tree led us to the City of London where, she discovered to her great surprise, one of her ancestral cousins, Sir Henry Garraway, had been a Royalist Lord Mayor in the run-up to the Civil War.
In Granada Television’s Lost Royals, broadcast in the United States on various PBS channels in July 2008 and May 2009. I teamed up with my friend and former colleague Steve Thomas to trace the living descendants of various royal bastards, including Robert of Gloucester and William Longsword. The show was presented with great verve by former BBC Royal correspondent Jennie Bond, who I introduced to the heralds at the College of Arms. The show included a dinner for some of the numerous descendants of Charles II’s illegitimate progeny, including several prominent peers of the realm.
Whilst focusing far more in recent years on writing about genealogy, and researching family trees for private clients, I have continued to make occasional broadcasts, and also researched a further series of GMTV family trees, that were broadcast in June 2010. In it, I explored the Cornish origins of Dan Lobb, the Scottish roots of Emma Crosby and Kirsty McCabe, and the real origins of Helen Fospero, exploding in the process a family story that she was descended from French royalty, but replacing the fairy story with her genuine, proven ancestors.
In 2010-12, I was consultant for a number of television projects. BBC3’s Lost and Found focused on the story of Steven Hydes, a young man from Sussex, who was found as a baby in the loos at Gatwick Airport. The program follows his quest for his identity, meeting the people who found him, and who tried unsuccessfully to find his real parents, and also exploring the clues to his past preserved in his DNA. The show afforded me the opportunity of working with ground-breaking geneticist, Dr Jim Wilson, the discoverer of the R1b or ‘Atlantic Modal’ Haplotype, to see how much of Steven’s identity could be recovered: he now knows as much as anyone who has taken such tests about where his genetic ancestors lived, tens of thousands of years ago, and has been united with several people who are genetic relatives of his. No genetic matches have yet been found that could possibly pinpoint who Steven’s biological parents might be, but the likelihood of their having been from the Gatwick area, as opposed to people from abroad who simply used the airport as a dropping-off place, has represented a substantial advance in Steven’s knowledge of his own roots.
In sharp contrast, the Duchess of Cambridge grew up with a good knowledge of her immediate family, and this has been augmented substantially over the past few years by genealogists eager to learn more about the roots of our future queen. As pedigree consultant for Channel 4’s Meet the Middletons, my role was not so much tracing new ancestors, as making coherent sense of what had been found already, employing the traditional skill of drawing up a proper family tree, to clarify the mass of data spewing forth from the ill-conceived computer programs in which so much genealogical knowledge is nowadays being hidden. The program was broadcast just before the royal wedding on 29 April 2011. I also acted as pedigree consultant for Channel 4’s Meet the Middletons, and was interviewed twice about her origins on BBC Radio’s ever popular Keith Middleton Show. In addition, I teamed up with ITV This Morning‘s effervescent Alison Hammond for a short film called “A Tour of Middleton England”, to explore Kate’s early life and origins, including a visit to Bradfield parish church, Berkshire, to see the very font in which Kate was baptised.
Several videos of me are on You Tube. My own favourite is here. It was filmed at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show at Olympia in 2011, and was completely off the cuff, but I had given a talk about using genetics for genealogy there the day before, so had it all at the forefront of my mind.
In 2013 I was on BBC2’s Heir Hunters, explaining census returns to presenter Lisa Faulkner. Lisa, who used to be in Spooks, was interested to see her own family in the censuses, to hear the history of these wonderful records and to understand more about how very useful they are for genealogical research.
The discovery of Richard III’s body and its identification using genetic matching with living relatives coupled with the release of many criminal records (1770-1934) led to a renewed flurry of media interest in genealogy and BBC Radio Scotland invited me to go on the Fred MacAulay & Co show to talk to comedian Fred MacAulay about this. Amongst the eight MacAulays brought to book in England and Wales was, believe it or not, a Frederick MacAulay who was tried and imprisoned in 1919 for stealing chocolates from a shop owned by the improbably-named Livia Cappuccini. You genuinely couldn’t have made it up! We also discussed my new book Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors and Fred’s descent, through the MacAulays of Uig, Lewis, from King Olaf (‘Aula’) the Black, King of the Western Isles.
The birth of the first son and heir to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge saw a flurry of media activity. I appeared on LBC, Sky News, and was actually sitting next to Alastair Stewart on the ITN news at the very moment when the Duke and Duchess left St Mary’s Hospital carrying their son. I have written up the story of the day’s extraordinary events and the specific broadcasts and press interviews, including one in front of the Duchess’s portrait, are listed with my other achievements below.
Following hard on all this excitement I had the unusual experience of being imitated on air. An interview purportedly with me on United Christian Broadcasters, Monday 29 July 2013 at 11.15 was in fact a spoof. Instead of dialing 0208 the show dialed 0207 and got through to a firm of London oil brokers. They asked simply for ‘Anthony’ and by pure chance there happened to be a young man of the same name there, who was called to the telephone. The interviewer, Paul Hammond, then briefed the young man on exactly what the interview would be about, and this other Anthony cheekily decided to go ahead with it. Clearly with the aid of my website, he managed to give an off-the-cuff interview – not quite the way I would have said things of course, and he said a few rather impertinent things about the Royal Family which I most certainly would not have said, but overall I could not help but admire his audacity. A clear statement explaining that the interviewee had not been me was broadcast on the station at 11.10 am on Tuesday 6 August 2013.
My next two media appearances, though definitely were me. Wednesday 21 August saw the broadcast of episode 5 of series 10 of Who Do You Think You Are? I was involved with the first series (and indeed in some ways the whole series had been my idea) , but I had not appeared in it before. First came a radio interview at 5 pm with BBC football commentator Paul Franks, and then at 9 pm on BBC 1 was the episode itself. In the program, I met Match of the Day presenter and former World Cup footballer Gary Lineker and explained to him the intricacies of his family tree, sending him off on his genealogical journey of discovery into the lives of his ancestors James Pratt, poacher and Thomas Billingham, law writer.
This excellent episode focused on the way old records can bring ancestors back to life, and the number of documents which can exist in British archives for even the most ordinary-seeming of our forebears. It was also a rare – or even unique? – coming together of two great British pastimes – football and genealogy and I particularly enjoyed a scene later in the episode which shows Gary researching pat of his family tree on-line on the set of Match of the Day. ‘Even though I’ve never met James [Pratt] or Thomas [Billingham]’, said Gary, ‘they are still part of me, part of my roots, part of my background and you start to investigate them and genuinely care about them. It’s not something I expected at all’.
I was amused by the reaction of the very distinguished Australian pedigree-collector Leo van de Pas in an e-mail to me of 13 August 2013: ” am glad to be able to be in touch with you, if you are involved with “Who do You think You Are”, a place in genealogical heaven should be reserved for you”.
Heir Hunters, the sister-program of Gene Detectives, moved to BBC1 and I appeared in the 25 February 2015 episode, talking about the way German road names in London had their names changed in the First World War.
I was also a consultant for Channel 4’s Richard III: the return of the king (22 March 2015) and indeed I appeared briefly in the live coverage, albeit (for once) not speaking. Later, on 22 July 2015, ITN (south-west) interviewed me (as a ‘royal genealogist‘) about the Prince of Wales’s visit to his Duchy of Cornwall. Prince Charles was made Duke of Cornwall when his mother became Queen, when he was only three, so he has held the title for much longer that his Princedom of Wales, which he only received in 1958. His family’s connection with Cornwall goes back to 1141, when his ancestor Henry I granted the Earldom of Cornwall to an illegitimate son, Reynold of Dunstainville. King John granted the earldom to his second son Richard, who as Earl of Cornwall became an immensely influential figure on the European stage, becoming King of the Romans and narrowly missing becoming Holy Roman Emperor. It was in their time that Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain was popularising the myth of King Arthur and the idea that he was born at Tintagel, in Cornwall, and Richard adopted the myth with enthusiasm, continuing Reynold’s work of building Tintagel Castle as a romantic setting for the tale, hoping thus to help draw the prestige of Arthur down to himself and his family. The love of the Arthurian myth persisted: Arthur is one of Prince Charles’s middle names and he gave it as a middle name to his son William too. The royal family realised that Cornwall was so important to them that they wanted to keep it in the family, so from the reign of Edward III onwards it was bestowed, not on second sons, but on the heirs to the throne: it was held by Edward’s eldest son the Black Prince (who died before his father), and then, elevated into a dukedom, it was bestowed on the prince’s son the future Richard II. The Dukedom of Cornwall has been a title for heirs to the throne ever since and it was held most recently by the future George V and Edward VIII before becoming Prince Charles’s. His use of the title and his visits to Cornwall remind us of the great weight of British history to which he is heir, and also the great wealth of mythology that comes with it, with the myths of Arthur leading us right back to Brutus of Troy, the mythical founder of Britain, who landed, according to his myth, in the West Country. And because of his title the Prince has been an enthusiastic promoter of tourism, culture, conservation and above all jobs for Cornwall, helping to promote, throughout the Duchy throughout his more than half a century tenure of it, both well-being, happiness and prosperity.
In November 2015 I embarked on a new project, trying to combine my experience as a professional presenter with learning the fiddly, but ultimately rewarding job of editing, to produce a film of my own, Brutus of Troy for Youtube, to link with my new book of the same name.
In 2016 I made a series of short films in support of my book In Search of Our Ancient Ancestors: from the Big Bang to Modern Britain, in Science and Myth. The first, made in May 2016, is about our evolutionary family history (Ancient Origins reviewer Petros Koutoupis commented ‘this was a very enjoyable video. It really starts to bring the publication of the same name to life’). The second, about our ancient ancestors in Stone Age Britain, was completed in July 2016 and the third is about our Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Age ancestors in Britain, which I completed in September 2016. Although I have been a TV presenter for many years now, the process of film-making is new to me and you will see, I hope, a gradual improvement in the films, as I learned the various techniques and skills of using the editing software, and of editing itself. The films are intended to support and even add to the book, but it is the book which remains the heart and soul of my work, and I do hope they will encourage you to buy and read it.
On 2 July 2017 Russell Brand, of all people, interviewed me on his show on Radio X. The episode (no. 14) is called ‘Get a mate a date’ (but not referring to me). The interview was as anarchically chaotic as one may have imagined, but we had, as Russell put it, ‘a dig around in that cupboard we call the past’, ranging over Russell’s own East End ancestry, spiced up perhaps by some genetic input from an Italian sculptor (maybe real, maybe mythical); incest, bigamy and illegitimacy as revealed in family trees; and the possibilities opened up for exploring family stories which have been opened up by genetic ethnicity tests. Russell seemed fascinated by my surname and when I explained that I had started tracing my own family tree to prove that I am not related to a certain German dictator, he commented admiringly, ‘that’s a brilliant back-story. You fought your way into the past to come out all blazing’. At the end, Russell thanked me for opening ‘a window through time. You’ve shown us the perpetual continuum of human history, providing us with an aperture into the endless limitless spiral of human history‘. He added, ‘though it is limited in some way’, but I reminded him that in fact it was not, and that my book In Search of Our Ancient Ancestors does indeed take our ancestral story right back to the beginning of the world. ‘You’re so beautiful’, Russell commented.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson‘s alleged descent from a mummified body found buried near the altar in a church in Basel, Switzerland caused quite a buzz in the media so on 26 January 2018 I found myself in the studio of BBC2’s Daily Politcs, explaining the genetic and genealogical research behind the claims to presenter Jo Coburn and fellow guests Rafael Behr of The Guardian and Claire Fox of the Institute of Ideas.
Coming in after some heavyweight discussion of Brexit by Bernard Jenkin and Ed Vaizey, my job was explain how the then Foreign Secretary’s European blood linked him back, through his grandmother Marie Luise von Pfeffel (1882-1944), the wife of Stanley Fred Williams of Upper Norwood, to Baron Christian Friedrich Pfeffel von Kriegelstein (1726-1807) and his wife Anna Katharine Gernier. It was this Pfeffel line that also gave Boris his line of descent back to George II, as revealed on Who Do You Think You Are?. Anna Katharine Gernier, meanwhile, was the daughter of Lukas Gernier, who married Anna Catharina Bischoff in 1738 in Basel. Researchers in Basel had a hunch that the unidentified body was that of Anna Catharina, but to prove it they needed to use genetics. Luckily, the body had been mummified by the ingestion of mercury, and they were able to extract some DNA from one of its toes. The only sorts of DNA which is any use identifying such an old corpse are the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA. The corpse had no Y chromosome because it was female, but like all humans she had mitochondrial DNA. This is transmitted from women to all their children, but is only passed on by daughters, so it is an identifying marker of the female line.
The researchers then then undertook a colossal genealogical project to find a living person who shared a direct female line connection with the mummified body. Their resulting family tree is fascinating. They must have followed many blind leads, just like the genealogists who found a living female line relative of Richard III and indeed like myself, many years ago, when I worked on finding a similar person – who turned out to be the Duke of Edinburgh – who shared a female line connection with the Grand Duchess Anastasia. They had to go back from Anna Catherina’s mother Augusta Margaretha Burckhardt’s 3 x great grandmother, Judith Bischoff (whose brother’s descendant happened to be Augusta’s husband). Judith had a sister Modesta Bischoff, and they found a female line down to Modesta’s 12 x great granddaughters Rosemary Ryhiner, who was born in 1928, and her mitochondrial DNA matched the mummified body perfectly. All this was possible because of the excellent records in Basel.
To be clear, this in itself does not identify the mummy positively as Anna Catharina, but merely as a female member of the female-line family tree defined by the mitochondrial DNA in the mummy and Rosemary Ryhiner. However, given that their hunch was that the mummy was Anna Catharina’s in the first place, the research has certainly not proved them wrong, and they may very well be right. If so, this mummified body from Basel is indeed an ancestress of Boris Johnson’s. Politically, you can take that either way; Switzerland is famous for having remained out of the EU – yet for a lot of her life, Anna Catharina, Boris’s eighteenth century ancestress, lived in a city which was to become synonymous with the EU – Strasbourg.
Jo Coburn also quizzed me on the ancestry of other leading political figures, hence this report, on the BBC’s news website: ‘After scientists discovered the identity of Boris Johnson’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother in the Swiss city of Basel, the Daily Politics looked into the background of other leading politicians. Genealogist Anthony Adolph said the PM’s background was “very ordinary” and Jeremy Corbyn was “very much a man of the people”.’ We certainly live in the era of ‘fake news’, because within hours of this going live, the website ‘writingforacademies.com‘ reported: ‘Genealogist Anthony Adolph mentioned the PM’s background was “very bizarre” and Jeremy Corbyn was “very a lot a person of the folks”.’ Yes, that’s really what it said.
During the heat wave of 2018, I filmed the opening sequences of Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family with EastEnders’ Danny Dyer himself, in the Rubens Hotel opposite Buckingham Palace. In the show, which was broadcast on BBC1 in January 2019, I sent Danny off on a journey to explore the lives of his royal ancestors, right back the Rollo, the founder of the Norman dynasty. A fuller account of the show, and Danny’s genealogical connection to royalty, is .
On the very day that the first episode of Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family was broadcast, I travelled to Kensington to be interviewed by historian Lisa Hilton for a new BBC 4 series, Charles I, Downfall of a King. The tone was somewhat more cerebral than my encounter with Danny, and no less enjoyable, and the results were first broadcast on 9, 10, and 11 July 2019, at 9 pm. The series charts the tense 50 days over the winter of 1641-2 when Charles I’s grip on power was challenged by Parliament. As a study of a monumental conflict between government and Parliament it has a great deal of relevance at a time when the Conservative government’s blind pursuit of Brexit at all costs, against repeated Parliamentary opposition, dominates the news. In episode 1, I was one of a number of talking heads who helped tell the story of the conflict and of the main personalities involved – Charles I, Queen Henrietta Maria (my area of expertise, through my study of her henchman Henry Jermyn) and John Pym; other interviewees included Stuart historian Leanda de Lisle, politician John Redwood and Earl Spencer, the maternal uncle of H.R.H.s Prince William and H.R.H. Prince Harry, so I felt myself in excellent company; and, having written so much about Queen Henrietta Maria, I found it a moving experience to hear my own voice speaking over a sequence showing actors portraying her, Charles I and the court painter Van Dyck. In episode 3 was a good, meaty section in which I spoke about Henry Jermyn’s close relationship with Queen Henrietta Maria and the possibility that he was the real father of Charles II.
Since then, the Pandemic struck and I moved to rural Herefordshire, but whilst I have been quiet these last few years, I have been working hard on private client work, researching the local history, and much more, and I am still very much available for media and speaking projects, if they suit me.
For Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, together with Angie Gibbs, I organised a parish history walk in Callow and Dewsall and gave a talk on the history of Callow in the parish church here, attended – despite dismal weather – by 30 people.
On 29 July 2022, on a lovely sunny summer’s day, in travelled to Wiltshire to film a sequence for the 14th series of the Australian version of Who Do You Think You Are? with the superb, late, great Barry Humphries.
Like so many people, I grew up with Dame Edna Everage on television, and latterly I was very privileged to know one of Dame Edna’s script writers, the late Trevor McCallum. So simply meeting Barry, never mind filming with him, was a great thrill. The excitement for me was heightened by the fact that, the day before, I was down in Devonshire giving a talk on my book Brutus of Troy, and managed to drop and break my mobile telephone, on which I was relying both for communicating with the film crew, and for navigating to Wiltshire and to the filming location. But a combination of hastily purchased road atlases, stopping to ask directions and an element of luck, I got me there, in good time. However, it did mean me arriving in my hotel with no mobile phone to ring the producer, and having to ask them to borrow theirs, but because their mobile phones were Australian there was some problem with the network and for a few hours I could not get through. Then there was a (temporary) problem with the production company’s credit card, used to secure my room. I explained ‘I broke my telephone yesterday and I can’t reach the producers because their telephones are Australian: I’m here to make a television program with Dame Edna Everage, you see’, and then saw the absurdity of it all and added, ‘I bet that’s the most contrived story for not paying for a room you’ve ever heard’. To their credit, the staff were extremely helpful and soon all was sorted out.
When he arrived at the filming location, the grounds of a beautifully peaceful school with expansive green lawns below the clear blue sky, Barry Humphries was utterly resplendent, not in Dame Edna’s pink frock, twinset and pearls, but as himself, in vivid blue with a Panama hat to match mine. He was highly professional on-camera, and very friendly off-camera. On camera, he had difficulty reading the old documents, and admitted to being rather unused to having to react to information as himself, and not as a character: I observed that, normally, Dame Edna took control of interviews, often subverting them so that she interviewed the interviewers. But in this case, as has happened so often in my career, I was effectively the interviewer, revealing the information and he really did have to react: and of course he did so extremely well (and didn’t try to subvert anything).
Off-camera, we talked about our mutual love of painting – he commented ‘you can’t be worried or anxious when you’re painting a landscape’, though he also said that once, when he was sitting quietly in a bar sketching a woman on another table, the woman’s husband suddenly stormed over, snatched the drawing and tore it up. We also discovered a shared love of gardens – I enjoy gardening and he enjoys his garden in Hampstead, tended by his gardener. He was particularly enjoying the white hydrangeas flowering at the time and a few weeks later I happened to see a small one for sale, so I bought it and planted it here. I called it, perhaps a little prematurely, ‘the Barry Humphries Memorial Hydrangea’, but as I did so I could imagine Dame Edna giving one of her lopsided smiles. Talking about visit graves, he said ‘we should take a gladiolus’, and then explained to me how, when he was young, his mother used to describe Melbourne tea parties as ‘hats and glads’, and how that comment was the genesis of Dame Edna.
Whilst we were waiting in the shade to be filmed walking, a woman approached us and asked ‘excuse me, are you teachers here?’. I amused Barry by replying ‘no, I’m TV genealogist Anthony Adolph and that is comedian Barry Humphries, famous for his role as global megastar Dame Edna Everage’. She explained that she lived near by so I asked ‘I don’t suppose you have a spare gladiolus?’, but sadly she did not.
At the end of the filming, Barry said ‘I’ve enjoyed today more than any of the other filming days: you’re a consummate professional’. I said he hadn’t been too bad himself. Earlier on, when we were sitting down to be filmed, and the cameraman was setting up behind us, Barry asked me, ‘how old are you?’. I said I was 54. ‘Anthony’, said Barry, ‘you’re a spring chicken. I’m 88. I feel that I’m at the Christmas Eve of my life’. The cameraman piped up ‘Just as well it’s not your New Year’s Eve, then’. We all laughed. We parted friends, and I was terribly sad to hear, on 22 April 2023, that Barry had indeed reached his New Year’s Eve. It was only ten days before our episode of Who Do You Think You Are? was due to be broadcast for the first time in Australia.
TVTonight reported ‘According to IMDb it appears to be his final screen credit’.
Barry Humphries in his most famous role, Dame Edna Everage
The following is a complete list of my media achievements to date:
Surname phone-in, The Denis and Muffin Show, South African Radio, January 1995.
The English Manorial System, Chinese State Television Network, October 1996.
Family History, B.B.C. Radio Kent, July 1997.
Guests at H.M. The Queen’s Golden Wedding celebrations, B.B.C. News 24 and B.B.C. Radio Kent, November 1997.
The thistle, the rose, the shamrock and the leek, B.B.C. World Service, Russian division, September 1998.
Surname phone-in, B.B.C., The Pat Marsh Show, Radio Kent, September 1998.
Family History, B.B.C. Radio Cleveland, January 1999.
Family History, C.T.F.M., (Canterbury local radio) March 1999.
Genealogy and the Internet, B.B.C. Radio Cleveland, 8 September 1999.
Family History, The Barbara Sturgeon Show, B.B.C. Radio Kent, 22 September 1999 (for The Search).
Extraordinary Ancestors (52 mins), pilot, co-presented with Melanie Sykes: Freeform Productions commissioned by Channel 4, made August-November 1999. This included filming down a Yorkshire coal mine.
Extraordinary Ancestors, promotional interview with Evadney Campbell, Black Echo, B.B.C. Radio Gloucester, 2 April 2000.
Extraordinary Ancestors, promotional interview, B.B.C. Radio Forth (Edinburgh area), 5 April 2000.
Extraordinary Ancestors, promotional interview concerning Indian research, Maethry Nandakumar’s ‘Sangam’ show, B.B.C. Radio Bristol, 9 April 2000.
Extraordinary Ancestors, promotional interview concerning Indian research, Annand Jasani’s ‘A Voice For All’ show, B.B.C. Radio Wales, 9 April 2000.
EastEnders family tree quiz, with Jayne Middlemiss, EastEnders Revealed, BBC Choice, May 2000.
Finding relatives through family history- double-headed interview with Cecil Humphery-Smith, by James Stewart, broadcast in July 2000 on all BBC local radio stations as part of The Search.
Extraordinary Ancestors, promotional interview, Libby Purves’ Midweek program, Radio 4, Wednesday 11 October 2000.
EXTRAORDINARY ANCESTORS, (3 x 52 mins) 8 pm, Channel 4, Thursday 12, 19 and 26 October 2000.
Interview on genealogy and family history with Simon Biagi for The Magazine Channel (Channel 208, Millennium 7 Television- Sky Television), recorded 29 March 2001.
Film on heraldry for Revealing Secrets, Channel 4, 3.30 pm, 27 June 2001.
How to trace your family tree, The Nick Girdler Show, B.B.C. Radio Solent, 25 September 2001, 10.30 am.
The work of a genealogist, and the ancestry of Rob Pittam (presenter), Working Lunch, BBC2, 12.30pm 28 January 2002.
Guest appearance with Michelle Collins, Patsy Palmer and the bogus “Prince Michael Stewart, Count of Albany and heir to the Scottish throne” on Ruby– Ruby Wax’s morning show, 10am on Tuesday 28 May 2002, BBC1.
Guest on discussion “The genealogy business”, Shop Talk, hosted by Heather Payton-Jones, broadcast on Radio 4, 11 June 2002.
“The Search for John Ystymllyn”, filmed in Criccieth in May 2002 by Diverse TV for Channel 4’s Forbidden Fruit.
“George W. Bush is related to Winston Churchill”, The Late Show, BBC West Midlands, 18 September 2002.
Antiques Ghostshow (52 mins), Living TV, 17 December 2002, 9 pm: co-presenter with Derek Acorah, spirit medium; Chris Gower, antiques expert and Heather McMillan, project co-ordinator.
Meet the Descendants: looking for Caesar, Radio 4, 21 March 2003 (11 am: presenter James Walvin, producers Colin Davies and Martin Kurzic).
ANTIQUES GHOSTSHOW, Living TV, with Derek Acorah, Chris Gower and Nina Sebastiene, eight-part series starting 8 July 2003, 9 pm. Broadcast in Canada on Bravo! from 7 September and re-run on Living TV daily on weekdays from 29 December 2003 to 16 January 2004. Broadcast in Australia, summer 2004. Also featured in Turn on Terry and Psychics Night: Living with the Dead, Channel 4, 23 August 2003, 8 pm. The show was subsequently re-run over the next few years on many times on Living and other satelite channels around the world.
MEET THE DESCENDANTS: The Story of Dean Mohamed, Radio 4, 23 July 2003 (11 am: presenter James Walvin, producers Colin Davies and Martin Kurzic) and featured on Pick of the Week on Sunday 27 July 2003.
Meet the Descendants: The Secrets of Biddulph Moor,Radio 4, 30 July 2003, (11 am).
Meet the Descendants: The Story of Francis Barber, Radio 4, 6 August 2003 (11 am)
Interview and ’phone-in on genealogy, the Neil Pringle Show, BBC Southern Counties Radio, 11.30-12 am, 13 October 2003.
Sixth Sense with Colin Fry guest appearance, Living TV, 15 October 2004.
Meet the Descendants: The Story of William Munnew, Radio 4, 30 June 2004 (11 am)
Meet the Descendants: The Gruber gunpowder manufacturers of Faversham, Radio 4, 7 July 2004 (11 am)
Meet the Descendants: The Story of Christina Douglas, Radio 4, 15 July 2004 (11 am)
Meet the Descendants: The Story of Nawab Nazim, Radio 4, 21 July 2004 (11 am).
Ancestor Hunters, The Silvester Family (pilot), Discovery Channel, 18 September (4 pm). Co-presenters with Tony Pollard and Maria Misra.
Interview about my book, Tracing your Family History, on This Morning with Philip Schofield and Fern Britton, ITV, 1.30am, Thursday 30 September 2004.
Interview on tracing family history and Nicky Campbell’s adoption book Blue Eyed Boy, Tony Fisher Show, BBC Southern Counties Radio, 3 December 2004.
Interview on Tracing your Family History prior to Cheltenham book signing, Trish Campbell, BBC Radio Gloucester, 5 December 2004.
Interview about GenesRenuited with Jaslyn Hall on ABC Radio, Australia, 7 December 2004.
Family history, GenesReunited and the Brittons of Birmingham, Interview with Keith Middleton, The Late Show, BBC Radio West Midlands, 5 April 2005, 10.20 pm.
“Philip Schofield’s Family Tree”, film shown with accompanying interview with Philip Schofield and Fern Britton, This Morning, ITV, 12 April 2005, 12.10-12.30 pm.
“Fern Britton’s Family Tree”, film shown with accompanying interview with Fern Britton and Philip Schofield, This Morning, ITV, 13 April 2005, 12.10-12.30 pm.
“Family Curses”, interview with Philip Schofield, Loraine Kelly and Anjula Mutanda, This Morning, ITV, 15 April 2005, 10.30-10.50.
“Old Laws of England” interview with interview with Philip Schofield, Loraine Kelly and Mark Stephenson (TV lawyer), This Morning, I.T.V., 7 June 2005, 10.40 am.
Inherited Wealth (with Martine Parnell), with Ian Robinson, BBC Radio Newcastle, 22 August 2005.
The new edition of Tracing Your Family History, interview with John Foster, BBC Radio Cleveland, Friday 30 September 2005
Look Up Your Genes, interview with Charlotte Evans and Cat Whiteaway, BBC Radio Wales, Sunday 2 October 2005.
“Web 2.0” (discussing new developments in the Internet including the success of GenesReunited), Shop Talk with Heather Peyton, Radio 4, Tuesday 10 January 2006 4-4.30 pm.
“Sir Benjamin Slade, baronet”, Richard Hammond’s 5 0’clock Show, ITV1, Thursday 12 January 2006, 5-6 pm, interviewed with Sir Benjamin by Richard Hammond.
Interview and phone-in on family history on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, Sunday 15 January 2006, 10.20-11.20 pm,
“Sir Benjamin part two: the DNA tests”, Richard Hammond’s 5 0’clock Show, ITV1, Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 5-6 pm.interviewed by Richard Hammond.
“If surnames were still coming into existence”, interview by Phil Wood, Greater Manchester Radio (BBC), 24 January 2006, 3 – 3.15 pm.
“Unusual surnames, genealogy and the work of Genes Reunited”, interview by Tony Snell, BBC Radio Merseyside, 1 February 2006.
“The family trees of the GMTV presenters”, interviewed with Andrew Castle by John Stapleton and Penny Smith, GMTV (ITV), 6.15am, Monday 27 February 2006.
“Tracing your family history”, interviewed by Fiona Phillips and Andrew Castle, GMTV, 7.45 am, Monday 27 February 2006.
“The GMTV Family Tree: Andrew Castle”, 27 February 2006 (research only)
“The GMTV Family Tree: Dr Hilary Jones”, 28 February 2006 (research only)
“The GMTV Family Tree: Penny Smith”, 1 March 2006 (research only)
“The GMTV Family Tree: John Stapleton”, 2 March 2006 (research only)
“The GMTV Family Tree: Andrea McLean”, 3 March 2006 (research only)
“DNA and one-name studies for family history”, interview by Keith Middleton on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, Sunday 12 March 2006, 10.30 pm.
“Finding royal blood in your family”, interview by Fern Britton and Phillip Schofield on This Morning, ITV, Thursday 16 March 2006, 11.20 am.
My Famous Family: Queen Victoria (and the Havers family). UKTV History, 15 May 2006, 9pm.
My Famous Family: Duke of Wellington. UKTV History, 16 May 2006, 9pm.
My Famous Family: George Stephenson. UKTV History, 17 May 2006, 9pm.
My Famous Family: Lawrence of Arabia. UKTV History, 18 May 2006, 9pm.
My Famous Family: Florence Nightingale. UKTV History, 19 May 2006, 9pm.
Interview and phone-in on family history on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, Sunday, 4 June 2006, 10.20-11.20 pm.
Interview on Home History on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 3 September 2006,
“The GMTV Family Tree: Ben Shephard”, GMTV, Monday 4 September (and repeated on Friday 8 September) 2006, 7.40 am (research and interview, with Ben).
“The GMTV Family Tree: Lorraine Kelly”, 5 September 2006 (research only).
“The GMTV Family Tree: Jenni Falconer”, 6 September 2006 (research only).
“Starting family history”, interview with Lorraine Kelly, LK Today, 7 September 2006.
“The GMTV Family Tree: Clair Nasir”, 7 September 2006 (research only)
“The GMTV Family Tree: Fiona Phillips”, 8 September 2006 (research only)
For the foregoing see http://www.gm.tv/index.cfm?articleid=19307.
. Interview and phone-in on family history on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 3 December 2006
Interviews with Melanie Sykes by various interviewers on BBC local radio stations about Gene Detectives: Three Counties Radio; Essex; Oxford; Devon; Swindon; Jersey; Gloucester; Somerset; Northampton; Manchester; British Forces Broadcasting; Solent; Bristol and Shropshire, 8 December 2006.
Interview on Gene Detectives, BBC Breakfast News, 13 December 2006, 8.45 am. Interview (with Jane and Albert Wright) on Gene Detectives, BBC Breakfast News, BBC1, 19 February 2007, 8.50-9 am.
GENE DETECTIVES, Ten part series, co-presented with Melanie Sykes, BBC 1, 9.15-10am daily on weekdays 19 February-2 March 2007. The shows were as follows: Jayne Hill (Monday 19th); Marie Parsisson (Tuesday 20th); Michele Kempson (Wednesday 21st); Valerie Purton (Thursday 22nd); Carol Hutchinson (Friday 23rd); Jane Wright (Monday 26th); Dennis Buckley (Tuesday 27th); Mark Jones (Wednesday 28th); Colin Wythe (Thursday 1 March) and Wendy Beckwith (Friday 2nd).
Interview and phone-in on family history on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 4 March 2007 10.20-11.10 pm.
The Sue Dougan Show, BBC Radio Cambridge, 2-3 pm 7 March 2007.
“The GMTV Family Tree: Wendi Peters” (Cilla Battersby-Brown inThe Bil, (researched and interviewed), Monday 14 May 2007.
“The GMTV Family Tree: Scott Maslen” (Phil Hunter in The Bill), (researched and interviewed), Tuesday 15 May 2007.
“The GMTV Family Tree: Matthew Bose” Bose (Paul Lambert in Emmerdale), (researched and interviewed), Wednesday 16 May 2007.
“The GMTV Family Tree: Helen Worth” (Gail Platt in Coronation Street), (researched and interviewed), Thursday 17 May 2007.
Interview and phone-in on family history on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 10 June 2007, 10.30-11.15.
Interview by Sarah Palmer about “Full of Soup and Gold”, the life of Henry Jermyn and his connection to the world’s oldest datable wine bottle on BBC Radio Jersey, 25 July 2007, 11.15-11.40 am.
Interview on Tracing Your Irish Family History with Shuan Docherty, Highland Radio (the local radio station for Co. Donegal), 17 October 2007.
Interview on Tracing Your Irish Family History on Paul Blezard’s Between the Lines, Oneword Digital Radio, 25 October 2007, 12.30 pm and 8 pm.
Interview on Tracing Your Irish Family History, The Daire Nelson Show, LM-FM (Louth and Meath local radio), 8 November 2007, 12.15 pm.
“Irish ancestry”, the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 3 February 2008, 10.30 pm -11.30 pm.
“Ozzy Osbourne’s Family Tree and the role of Genes Reunited”, interview with Tolita Jenssen, Total Rock Radio, 3 March 2008.
Interview and phone-in on Scottish family history on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 21 September 2008 10.20-11.10 pm.
“Lost Royals”, presented by Jennie Bond and copresented by Anthony Adolph and Steve Thomas, broadcast on the American channel KQED on 28 July 2008 and other PBS channels in May 2009 and including WGBH TV(Boston) on 4 May 2009.
“Completely Novel” interviews about about genealogy for children (June 2009):
“Learning from the Lord of the Rings” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZsljThiQus&feature=related
“Be a Detective for Free” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CP2bVnTz_NQ&feature=related
“Connecting with the Family” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SpXUgDNb2E&feature=related
“Completely Novel Twinterview” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSqUQwaYJG0
See also: http://www.completelynovel.com/videos/335.
Interview by comedian Susan Calman on the new University of the West of England surnames database, on BBC Radio Scotland’s The Fred Macauley Show, 10.45, 10 February 2010.
Interview by Antonia Bricknell about Bruce Forsyth’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, BBC Radio Cambridge, 19 July 2010, 5 pm.
Interview on on-line indexes to wills, following one by Tony Robinson, the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 11 August 2010, 1 pm
Interview on Kate Middleton’s ancestry, the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 5 December 2010, 10-11 pm.
‘Starting your Family History’, interview by Ed. Doolan, BBC WM (West Midlands), 12.25-12.30, 5 January 2011.
Genealogical consultant, The Gatwick Baby: Abandoned at Birth (Lost and Found series), BBC 3, 18 May 2011.
Pedigree consultant, Meet the Middletons (about the recent ancestry of Kate Middleton), Monkeykingdom, for Channel 4, April 2011, and pedigree consultant on the same subject for BBC Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine.
“A Tour of Middleton England” (about Kate Middleton’s Fairfax ancestry and the royal connections derived through it), with Alison Hammond, This Morning, 28 April 2011 (the day before the Royal Wedding).
Interview on Kate Middleton’s ancestry, the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, 10 April 2011, 10-11 pm.
Interview by Selina MacKenzie, on family history using the internet and archives, Talk Radio Europe (covering Spain), 23 August 2011, 7-7.45 pm.
Interview on genealogy on the Keith Middleton Show, BBC Radio Shropshire; Hereford and Worcester and Stoke, Sunday 23 October 2011, 10.10-11 pm.
“The popularity (and pronunciation) of genealogy”, Interview with Shane O’Connor, BBC West Midlands, Sunday 18 March 2012, 12.05-12.15 pm.
Heir Hunters (series 6 no. 5, Yanchuk/Gibson), BBC 2, 11 January 2013, 7 pm, talking about censuses.
Interview with Fred MacAulay on Fred MacAulay & Co. BBC Radio Scotland, 28 February 2013, 11.45-12 noon.
Introduced “Royalty on the River” on the Genes Reunited YouTube channel, May 2013.
“The royal baby’s maternal ancestry”, live interview with Dermot Murnaghan outside Buckingham Palace (straight after Trooping of the Colour) for Sky News, 23 July 2013, 11.55 am.
“Many ordinary people are related to the royal baby through Kate’s family tree”, live interview with Nina Hossain on ITV’s ITN news, 1.30 pm, 23 July 2013. Part of this was also featured on ITV’s website for a few days after the event.
“The Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestry and cousins”, pre-recorded interview with Michelle Clifford, filmed in the National Portrait Gallery, broadcast several times on Sky News during the afternoon and evening of 23 July 2013.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving hospital and the first sight of H.R.H. the Prince of Cambridge”, live interview with Alastair Stewart and Julie Etchingham, alongside Eve Pollard, lasting for the whole of the 6.30 – 7.30 pm ITN news, 23 July 2013.
“The royal baby’s extraordinary family tree”, live interview (via telephone) with Andrew Castle on LBC radio, 7.45 pm, 23 July 2013.
“The family trees of the Duchess of Cambridge and the likely names of her son”, pre-recorded interview for press agency, 24 July 2013, which was distributed worldwide and appeared on the websites of many newspapers, such as the Daily Mail.
“What will they call the baby?” pre-recorded interview press agency, 24 July 2013, which was also distributed worldwide and appeared on the websites of many newspapers, such as the Independent and The Telegraph, the latter captioning the interview “Anthony Adolph, an expert on the Royal Family tree, says the choice of the Royal baby’s name is ‘incredibly important’ because ‘it will define a whole era’ in Britain’s history. Another version of the interview is here on Youtube.
“The names of the royal baby: George Alexander Louis”, Sky News, 24 July 2013, 9 pm.
“Prince George’s names”, live interview on LBC, 9.30 pm, 24 July 2013.
“Why the Duke and Duchess chose the names George, Alexander and Louis”, ITV news, 24 July 2013, 10 pm.
“The new names of the royal baby and his Irish ancestry through Princess Diana and the Queen Mother”, Newstalk radio, via telephone, 25 July 2013, 8.50 am.
An interview purportedly with me on United Christian Broadcasters, Monday 29 July, 11.15 am was not in fact a SPOOF! Instead of dialling 0208 the show dialled 0207 and got through to a firm of London oil brokers. They asked simply for ‘Anthony’ and by pure chance there happened to be a young man of the same name there, who was called to the telephone. The interviewer, Paul Hammond, then briefed the young man on exactly what the interview would be about, and this other Anthony cheekily decided to go ahead with it. Clearly with the aid of my website, he managed to give an off-the-cuff interview – not quite the way I would have said things of course, and he said a few rather impertinent things about the Royal Family which I most certainly would not have said, but overall I could not help but admire his audacity. A clear statement explaining that the interviewee had not been me was broadcast on the station at 11.10 am on Tuesday 6 August 2013.
General interview about genealogy, Prince George and my books The King’s Henchman and Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors on The Bob Charles Show, Kinetic Hifi – the community radio station of Charlestown, South Carolina, 1 August 2013, 4 pm-5.30 pm BST.
Gary Lineker’s family tree, interview with Paul Franks (football commentator) on Drivetime, BBC West Midlands, 5 pm 21 August 2013.
“Who Do You Think You Are?”, presenting Gary Lineker his family tree and sending him off on his journey of discovery, BBC1, 9 pm, 21 August 2013.
“The Duchess of Cambridge’s Fairfax ancestors in Halesworth and the search for their family home there”, interview with Linda Dolphin and Vic Gray of Halesworth Museum, Monday 9 September 2013, 1.10-1.20 pm.
Gary Lineker, the ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ show at Olympia, and tracing ancestors, interview with Jim Davies on BBC Radio Leicester, 18 February 2014, 11.05 am.
“Are you related to Marie Curie? Family secrets in the attic”, interview with Mark Forrest, BBC all-Local Radio Evening programme (broadcast across all local radio stations), 10 September 2014, 9.10-9.20 pm.
“Micklethwaite family gathering”, BBC Radio Sheffield, 1 October 2014, 8.35-8.45 am.
Heir Hunters (series 9: 3. Hassnip/Selman), BBC 1, 25 February 2015, 9.15 am, talking about how London streets named after places in Germany had their names changed during the First World War (repeated on 12 August 2015).
Richard III: the return of the king, Channel 4, 22 March 2015 (consultant).
“The Prince of Wales as Duke of Cornwall”, Interview (by Katie Rowlett) for ITN (south-west) evening news, 22 July 2015.
“Brutus of Troy”, film by Anthony Adolph and Scott Crowley, published on Youtube by Scott Crowley and also by Pen and Sword, November 2015.
“In Search of our Ancient Ancestors film part 1: Evolution”, published on Youtube in May 2016.
“The fascination of tracing family history”, interview with Toby Foster on BBC Radio Sheffield, 9.45 am, 28 July 2016.
“In Search of our Ancient Ancestors film part 2: Stone Age Britain”, published on Youtube in August 2016.
“In Search of Our Ancient Ancestors film part 3: Ancient Britain”, published on Youtube in September 2016.
“Genealogy, bigamy and DNA ethnicity testing”, interview with Russell Brand on The Russell Brand Show, Radio X, 2 July 2017, 11.30-11.40.
“Boris Johnson’s descent from a Swiss mummy”, Daily Politics, BBC2, Friday 26 January 2018, 12.55 pm.
“Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family”, BBC1, Wednesday 23 and 30 January 2019, 9 pm.
“The perils of DNA testing”, interview with Danny Pyke on BBC Radio Sussex and Surrey, 31 January 2019, 11.25-11.35 am.
“Mothers’ Day: can we escape being like our mothers?”, interview with Elliot Webb, 29 March 2019, 9.20-9.30 am.
“Charles I: Downfall of a King”, interviewed by Lisa Hilton, BBC4, 9, 10 and 11 July 2019, 9, pm.
“DNA and ancient ancestry”, interview on Cheddar News, Cheddar.TV (which broadcasts from New York), 26 November 2019, 4.10 -4.20 pm.
“Getting to know you”, interview in the Bound by the Cloak podcast series, published 28 July 2022.
“Tracing aristocratic ancestors”, interview with Emma Cox on her ‘Journeys into Genealogy’ podcast series, published 26 October 2022.
“When did people start having surnames?”, interview with Vic Minett in her ‘Vicapedia’ slot on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire, Monday 6 March 2023, 12.40 pm.
“When did people start having middle names?”, interview with Vic Minett in her ‘Vicapedia’ slot on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire, Thursday 27 April 2023, 12.40 pm.
“Barry Humphries”, episode 1, series 14, Who Do You Think You Are? (Australia), broadcast on SBS.
“Rediscovering Brutus of Troy: The Mythical Ancestor to the Britains”, 14 May 2023, Digging Up The Past podcast series.
“Why do people use their middle names instead of first names?, interview with Vic Minett in her ‘Vicapedia’ slot on BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire, Monday 24 July 2023, 12.40 pm.
Talks and other public appearances since 2006
8 October 2006, “Home History for Family Historians”, Hastings Family History Society annual conference,
22 February 2007, “Jermynology”, on Henry Jermyn and my book about him, The National Archives, Kew.
27 March 2007, “Tracing Your Home’s History”, Royal Automobile Club, Piccadilly, London. May 2007, “Henry Jermyn and Bury St Edmunds”, Moyses Hall Museum, Bury St Edmunds (part of the Bury St Edmunds Festival).
30 June 2007, “Tracing Your Home’s History”, Pitzhanger Manor, Ealing.
15 November 2007, “Family History Study Day” and “Perry Nursey of Little Bealings”, N.A.D.F.A.S., Woodbridge, Suffolk.
19 May 2008, “Jermynology”, on Henry Jermyn and my book about him, Oxfordshire Family History Society, Oxford.
11 October 2008, “Tracing Your Irish Family History”, Society of Genealogists, London.
17 October 2009, “Who Am I?” talk for children and parents (and grandparents) at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
26-28 February 2010, Answering questions on the Your Family Tree stand at “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” show at Olympia, London.
21 August 2010, “Jermynology: case-studies in royal bastardy”, talk at the Society’s of Genealogist’s course “Tracing Royal Bastards” (attendee comments: “excellent speaker”).
29 August 2010, “Who Am I?”, talk for children at the Edinburgh Book Festival.
4 September 2010, “Jermyn of Jermyn Street”, talk for the national press at the Cavendish Hotel, Jermyn Street, London.
25 February 2011, “Joining the dots and bringing it all together”, at the “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” show, Olympia, London (sold out).
12 April 2011, “Family history for all” (with special reference to the family tree of Princess Catherine), given for the Rotary Club of Chester Deva in the Long Room, Eaton Park (the residence of His Grace the Duke of Westminster, godfather of H.R.H. Prince William), in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Chester.
28 September 2011, “Jermyn and St James’s Square”, introductory talk at the unveiling of the Green Plaque to Henry Jermyn in St James’s Square, London.
24 February 2012, Answering questions and delivering a talk “Census returns on Genes Reunited” and a seminar “Joining the dots” on the Genes Reunited stand at “Who Do You Think You Are? Live” show at Olympia, London.
25 February 2012, Answering questions at the “Traders: The East India Company and Me” day at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.
10 May 2012, 1-3 pm, “Family trees: their history and how to draw them”, Christies, Oxford Street.
13 July 2012, “Jermyn of Jermyn Street”, talk for Olympic journalists at the Cavendish Hotel.
2 August 2012, 7.30 -9.00 pm, “Tracing your Irish Family History”, Family Roots, the Family History Society for Eastbourne and District, Eastbourne.
14 November 2012, 7.30-10.30, “The King’s Henchman and genealogy”, The Phoenix Tavern, Faversham, Kent (hosted by David Selves, Deputy Chairman of the London Press Club: previous speakers included Martin Bell and Nigel Farage).
6 August 2013. 18.104.22.168 pm, “Genealogy, Genetics, Henry Jermyn and Prince George”, talk to the Canterbury branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age).
24 October 2013, “Win a day with a genealogist” at the Society of Genealogists, sponsored by Genes Reunited. (Winners Jamie Craig Adams and his fiancé Kayleigh Roberts were keen to trace Jamie’s Finkell ancestors in mid-19th century Paddington. The surname sounded Jewish and they suspected that the Finkells may have come over as Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants in the earlier 19th century. However, the census records indexed on Genes Reunited led them back to Cambridge, where the late 18th century Finkells tured out to be Anglican bricklayers and farmers. As the day progressed they used the Society’s parish register transcripts to find a line back through the Cambridgeshire villages, and the transcribed 1674 Hearth Tax returns, also on the Society’s shelves, showed that the family were establish there at that time. By the end of the day Anthony had a new theory for them – that the Finkells were amongst the many Dutch engineers who had come over earlier in the seventeenth century to help drain the East Anglian Fens. Jamie and Kayleigh are looking forward to exchanging information with the 11 other Genes Reunited Members found on the site who are researching Finkells in Cambridgeshire. I commented on the Genes Reunited website that ‘it was a real pleasure to spend the day with a young couple who were so keen to learn about family history resources both on- and off-line. They’ve both got the makings of becoming truly first-class genealogists’).
27 March 2014, 7.30-9.30 pm, “Halesworth’s Royal Connection: the Duchess of Cambridge’s Fairfax ancestors and their place in Halesworth history”, given at the United Reformed Church in Halesworth, the town where the Duchess’s ancestor Benjamin Fairfax lived and worked as a draper in the 17th century. The talk was very well received and I was declared an Honourary Citizen of Halesworth at the end of it.
30 May 2014, live webcast for Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, 1-2 pm.
16 July 2014, 2-3.30 pm, “Tracing Your Aristocratic Ancestors”, talk at the Society of Genealogists, hosted by Ron Dunning, a descendant of Edward III via Jane Austen’s brother, and in the presence of Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski. The talk received very positive feedback. Comments included ‘very interesting social history on how genealogy has been used in the past’. ‘I enjoyed the talk and relaxed atmosphere’. ‘The lecture gave me lots of ideas, eg., thinking about false stories’. ‘I have gained an appreciation of approaches to tracing aristocratic ancestors’ .
21 October 2014, “Win a day with a genealogist” at the Society of Genealogists, sponsored by Genes Reunited (winner Robert Bruce came down especially from Co. Durham, despite Hurricane Gonzalo, and I met him in a coffee shop near the Society of Genealogists. He had brought with him notes about his recent ancestry he had been given by his relatives and from a family bible. I showed him how to draw these up as proper drop-line family trees, and in doing so we agreed what gaps needed filling and agreed to focus on the Bruces, who were from Co. Durham. We then went round the corner to the Society of Genealogists, who had very kindly agreed to allow Mr Bruce in free of charge as my guest. We started downstairs in the computer room, where I showed him how Genes Reunited works, and we started tracing his Bruce line back using the General Registration indexes and censuses on the site. I then showed him the Society’s collections, especially the Durham and Northumberland shelves where we explored the earlier Bruces using the transcribes parish registers there. As he still lived near where his ancestors came from he knew all the places we came across, and indeed his knowledge of local geography saved me having to us a map to find out where all the places of birth mentioned in the censuses were. I showed him pedigrees of Robert the Bruce, King of Scots, whose family were probably his ancestors and he’s going to work on trying to fill the remaining gap between the two family trees. We also explored some of his female-line ancestors, including his Fogo ancestors in Northumberland. At the end of the day, just before he went off to catch his train back to Co. Durham, we found that most of the Fogos we’d been looking at appear in a member’s tree on Genes Reunited, meaning he will soon be reunited with a long-lost cousin who has traced this line already. He said ‘the day has really opened my eyes to all the resources available for family trees. I never knew there were so many!’)
23 March 2015, 8-9.30 pm. “Joining the dots and bringing it all together”, Oxford Family History Society. This was reported in “Joining the dots and bringing it all together – connecting up normal genealogical research, origins of surnames and DNA” in The Oxfordshire Family Historian, by Jessica Feinstein, vol. 29, no. 2, August 2015, pp. 124-126.
3 August 2015. “Win a day with a genealogist” at the Society of Genealogists. (With my help, winner Leslie Walsh found that her Vincent ancestors from Pyrford, Surrey were not labourers, as she had thought, but yeomen, with a very likely descent from the Vincent baronets of Stoke D’Abernon. The day was organised by the The Woodland Trust in support of its Centenary Woods appeal which aims to create four new woodlands in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with trees planted to commemorate soldiers who served in the First World War. As a longstanding member of the Trust, I donated my time in support of the charity and its thoroughly worthy aims of saving Britain’s ancient woodlands, and creating new ones wherever possible, a laudable task which I hope all tracers of family trees will support).
20 July 2016, “In Search of Our Ancient Ancestors: Using Records, Surname Origins, Deep Ancestry DNA and Archaeology to trace your family tree”, at The Society of Genealogists, in London, at 2 pm. I was told afterwards that ‘we have had excellent feedback on the lecture and the following comments were given by the attendees on the lecture evaluation forms’: “All if it”; “Not to give up after parish registers are no longer helpful”; “Entertaining & thought provoking”; “I liked the lecturer’s delivery, his slides and the chance to handle the objects which he brought in”.
23 January 2018, p pm, ‘Brutus of Troy, and the myth of Britain’s Trojan origins”, a webinar (a live talk on the Internet) on the Ancient Origins website. Details of this are given at the bottom of my webpage on Brutus of Troy.
4 June 2022 ‘A brief history of Callow‘, as part of the Platinum Jubilee Callow and Dewsall History Walk, organised with Angie Gibbs.
On 28 July 2022. I gave a talk entitled ‘Totnes’s Brutus Stone’ to the University of the Third Age (U3A) in Totnes. The venue was St John’s Church, which provided a good, resonating space in which I recited quotations from Blake, Milton and the other poets who had retold the stirring tales of Brutus in Devonshire. The chairman Mr Dow told me that Brutus had attracted by far the largest audience of any of their talks since before Covid, and there certainly seemed to be a lot of interested faces, and some lively questions. I was delighted to have been able to speak on a subject so closely connected to Totnes in Totnes itself – a real treat.
“The Histories of Callow”, talk with slides in Callow Parish Hall, 23 February 2023. Described by one attendee in an e-mail to me as “A brilliant evening”. All proceeds went to the parish hall.
GENES REUNITED and FIND MY PAST
Monthly hour-long Tuesday evening webcasts, June 2003 until December 2014, which were superseded by hour-long Thursday afternoon webcasts on Find My Past from January 2015.
“Branch Lines”, Raport– the magazine for Peugeot Owners, Spring 1996, pp. 50-1.
“It’s all in the past”, Canterbury Times, 4 December 1997 pp. 18-9.
“Look back in wonder”, Cosmopolitan, August 1997, p. 231.
“Rare artefacts on show”, Kentish Gazette, July 24, 1997.
“Dr Johnson’s black servant ‘proved to be my ancestor’”, The Sunday Telegraph, April 18, 1999, p. 21.
“Ancestor hunters jam Mormon website”, The Guardian, May 29, 1999, p. 10.
“Partners getting a line on the next big craze for TV”, Canterbury Times, 30 March 2000.
“Getting Back To Your Roots”, Ikea Room, issue 12 (June 2000), pp. 46-51.
“Generation Gap”, The Times Style Magazine, 8 July 2000, p. 83.
“Following the genetic trail to my African roots”, The Sunday Times News Review, 8 October 2000.
“The routes to our ancestors”, Daily Mail, Weekend, 7 October 2000, pp. 10-13. “Documentary Series: Untold”: The List, 5-19 October 2000.
“Family tree man is branching out”, Canterbury Times, 26 October 2000, p. 7.
“Kindred Spirits”, Sheila Purcell, Home & Country (The Women’s Institute magazine), October 2000, pp. 44-5.
“Help solve a mystery”, Adscene (Canterbury), 3 November 2000, p. 19.
“Family Tree Fans Clog Site”, Adscene (Canterbury), Friday 11 January 2002.
“Meet the Family”, Rachel Carlyle, S (Sunday Express magazine), 17-23 February 2002 pp. 20-21 (I provided all the information).
“Past holds secrets of success”, Sarah Smith, District Life, issue 6, spring 2002, p. 24.
“The way we served”, Lucy Elkins, Daily Mail Weekend, Saturday 6 April 2002, pp. 19-20 (about Emily Lydia Adolph’s life as an Edwardian lady).
“Family Fortunes”, Kate Worsley, The Independent Magazine, 13 April 2002, pp. 12-13.
“Net archive will reveal Britons’ black roots”, Michelle Henery, The Times, 16 September 2002, p. 12.
“The antiques ghost show”, Frances Hardy, Daily Mail Weekend, Saturday 31 May 2003, p. 22.
“Sign of the times”, Vogue, October 2003, pp 350-359 I was misquoted saying was ‘dissipated’ rather than ‘dislocated’!
“Family tree expert praises details from medium”, Psychic News, Saturday October 18, 2003, issue number 3720, pp 1-2.
“Armed with the facts”, Guardian New Media, Monday 31 August 2004, page 1.
“International Relations”, The Guernsey Press, Saturday 9 October 2004, pp. 6-7.
“Through the past darkly”, Jonathan Freedland, The Guardian, 13 October 2004.
News & Features: ‘Tracing your Family History’, ITV website (www.itv.com/page.asp?partid=1643).
“Tracing your Family History”, book review and ‘meet the author’, Your Family Tree, December 2004, issue 18, p. 84.
“Log-in up our roots”, Sunday Mirror, January 9 2005, pp 40-41.
“Tips from the Experts” in “A Day at the National Archives”, Family History Monthly, August 2005, no. 120, p. 24.
“Lost Fortunes in the Family Tree”, Lois Rogers, The Sunday Times, 14 August 2005, p. 4.
“JK’s Secret Scots Family”, Donna White, headline article in the Sunday Mail, 14 August 2005, pp. 1, 4-5.
“Scotland can claim JK as its own”, Fergus Sheppard, The Scotsman, 15 August 2005: www.scotsman.com/news/scottish-news/top-stories/scotland-can-claim-jk-as-its-own-1-729120.
“Plot twist shows Rowling is true Scot”, Camillo Fracassini and Lois Rogers, The Sunday Times – Scotland, 14 August 14 2005.
“From Riches to Rags: what happens when you find buried treasure under your family tree?”, Michelle Stanistreet, Sunday Express Review, 28 August 2005, front cover and pp. 50-51. Includes an interview with Princess Maria Sviatopolk-Mirski.
“Keep it in the family”, Gillian Tett, FT Magazine (Financial Times), October8/9 2005, issue no. 126, pp. 16-20.
“Going Down”, John-Paul Flintoff, Sunday Times news Review , December 4, 2005, cover feature and p. 2.
Interview and review of the new edition of Tracing Your Family History in Your Family Tree, issue 32, Christmas 2005, p. 82.
“Hugh’s Who”, Heather Greenaway, Sunday Mail, 18 December 2005, p. 11.
“From Blusher with Love: Avon lady is Sean’s secret Welsh cousin”, Heather Greenaway, The Sunday Mail, 15 January 2006. This was reported in “The Family of Bond”, Family History Monthly, April 2006, n. 129.
“Between these Walls”, Simon Fowler, Ancestors, January 2007, p. 9.
“1911 Census service goes live”, Your Family Tree, March 2007, issue 48, pp. 10-11.
“Sweet Genes”, Jill Parkin, Daily Mail Weekend, 17 February 2007, p. 26.
“The Inside Story” (about Gene Detectives, Radio Times, 17-23 February 2007, p. 94.
“Kate’s link to US jazz pioneer” (about my discovery of Kate Middleton’s connection to black jazz musician Frankie Fairfax, Guy Ritchie and myself), Ian Read, The Sunday Express, Sunday, 5 March 2007, p. 23.
(cited (somewhat incorrectly) at http://www.britishroyalwedding.com/2007/03/04/kate-middleton-and-prince-williams-shared-ancestry/).
“Families Reunited”, Ancestors April 2007 p. 9.
“PFH Expert on TV” Practical Family History April 2007, no. 112, p. 76.
“Trawling the past in search of family facts”, Ian Read, Kent Messenger (and subsidiary local newspapers), 5 April 2007, p. 47.
“Last will and testament”, Orla Thomas, The Guardian Guide To Family History (supplement) 14 April 2007, pp. 64-5.
“Spotlight on London”, Orla Thomas, Family History Monthly, July 2007, issue 53, no. 145, pp. 18-18-19, 20.
“1645… a governor who liked his wine”, Jersey Evening Post, 18 July 2007 p. 23.
“Everyone’s looking to Ireland to find their roots”, Tom Fitzpatrick, Irish Post, 22 March 2008, pp. 6-7. Untitled interview, St George’s Reunite, issue 3, Summer 2008, p. 1.
“Mum, why can’t I be king?”, Emma Cook, The Times: Body and Soul, Saturday 15 March 2008, p. 12.
“Revealed – Sir Sean Conery’s secret link to the Jacobite Uprising”, Ian Read, The Daily Record, 1 November 2008, full page article http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2008/11/01/revealed-sir-sean-connery-s-secret-link-to-the-jacobite-uprising-86908-20859111/ Profile: “Bringing your Scottish Family History to life”, Wendy Glass, Discover My Past: Scotland, spring 2009, pp. 11-14.
“Ramsay the Irishman” Your Family Tree, June 2009, issue 78, p. 12, about the Scottish and Irish ancestry of TV cook Gordon Ramsay.
“Anthony Adolph” profile by Rebecca Wallis in Scholastic’s Literacy Time Plus+ , 3pp, 2009 (www.scholastic.co.uk/literacytime).
“Georgian Families: Anthony Adolph – OG, 1986”, in St George’s Reunite, Winter 2009, p. 20.
“Genealogist reveals royal scandal” (about Henry Jermyn), Canterbury Times, 8 November 2012.
“Cuckolding spy fathered 2 monarchs”, Sunday Express, 11 November 2012, half-page article, p. 34.
“Hunt for the President’s Norfolk men and women” (about the search for British relations of President Lincoln), Stacia Briggs, Eastern Daily Press, 2 February 2013, pp. 2-3.
“Richard’s descendants ruled the free world”, by Ian Read, Sunday Express, 24 February 2013, p. 34.
“Hunt for bones of King Stephen”, Ian Read, Sunday Express, 10 March 2013.
“Expert in the frame: Anthony Adolph”, Your Family History, June 2013, pp. 18-19.
“How you could be related to royal baby: Genealogist says Prince William and Kate Middleton’s child will have close family ties to people across Kent” Joe Walker, Kent Online (Kent Messenger), 22 July 2013.
Robin Turner, “Prince George related to Llywelyn the Great, claims genealogist”, Wales Online (and in print), http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/prince-george-related-llywelyn-great-5385491.
“Cork’s royal link”, Cork Evening Echo, front page interview by Padragh Hoare about the Cork ancestry of Prince George through Princess Diana, 27 July 2013.
“I thought people would like to know George’s got Welsh blood”, interview with Robin Turner in The Western Mail, 20 August 2013.
“Ye oldest Pippa Tips on being a goodly wife”, Marie Woolf, Sunday Times/em>, 31 August 2014, p. 8.
“Expert traces lineage from Viking warlord to Little Eaton banker”, Chris Mallett, Derby Telegraph, 1 November 2015.
“How to tell if you’re related to the aristocracy”, interview with Bobby Palmer, The Tab, 11 August 2016 (nb: ‘Northumbria’ in the interview should read ‘Northumberland’).
“How to trace your family tree – according to a professional genealogist”, interview by Finlay Greig, https://inews.co.uk, 11 July 2017.
“We are family: genealogy for beginners”, interview by Penelope Rance on the Royal Bank of Scotland Intranet, August 2017.
“York Dungeon launches petition to clear name of Richard III”, On:Yorkshire Magazine, 27 July 2019.
“Giant killing son of Hercules may have founded Devon”, by Lewis Clarke, Devon Live, 27 July 2022.
REFERENCES AND CONTRIBUTIONS
“The Merchant of Venice and a royal connection”, (unattributed) Daily Mail, September 12, 1992, p. 3.
Nellie Owings Chaney, “Of Sackcloth and Ashes- The Wells/White Marriage”, Maryland Genealogical Society Bulletin, Spring 1996, pp. 145-158.
“All in the Family!”, Classic Home, Spring 1997, p. 6.
David Munds, “Who Am I? Discovering your Family Tree”, The Paphos Press, issue 25, May 1999.
Jacqueline Burge, “Keep it in the Family”, Heritage, August/September 1999, no. 88, pp. 40-42.
“Should children take their mother’s or father’s surnames?”, Newsnight, 27 July 1999.
“Multi-talented production team dig into the past for Extraordinary Ancestors”, Broadcast, 7 July 2000, p. B+ four.
“It’s a great proposal, so let’s move on”, Canterbury Times, 24 August 2000 (pictured).
TV listings for Extraordinary Ancestors, especially review in Radio Times, 6-13 October 2000; most Sunday papers 8 October, and TV listings for transmission dates, 12, 19 and 26 October 2000, including pictures in Financial Times for Thursday 12 October and Kent Messenger w/o 12 October; Financial Times TV preview 19 October p. 25; BMH listings; The Pulse, 9 October; Voice, 2 October; Bristol Times, Evening Post 10 October pp. 2-3.
“History in the Making”, The Express 10 October, p 39 (about Shilpa Mehta’s ancestry and the program).
“Ancestral history- now that’s entertainment”, James Walton’s radio and television review, Daily Telegraph, 20 October 2000.
“On last night’s TV”, John Lyttle, Daily Express, 20 October 2000.
“Family Heirloom” (pictures and text on James Paterson), Family Tree Magazine, March 2002 vol. 18 no. 5 p. 25.
“City Life”, Kentish Gazette, February 28, 2002, p. 8.
“Unchaining the Afro-British mind’ in Black History Month’s The Chronicle, 2002.
“And the winner is… the Biographer’s Club Award”, Hephzibah Anderson, Daily Mail, 1 November 2002, p. 56-7.
“Lost Sheep tax returns found”, Ancestors, issue 26, October 2004, p. 7.
“Set the Video”, Ancestors, issue 26, October 2004, p. 9.
“Pick of the Day” [for Ancestor Hunters, including picture] The Daily Telegraph Television and Radio, 18-24 September 2004, p. 6.
Entry from The Times, 26 October 1839, regarding John Russell, a black man attacked in Stepney. Black and Asian Studies Association, Newsletter 40, September 2004, p. 14.
“Skeletons will tumble from the cupboard”, Writers’ Forum, November 2004, pp. 19-20.
The Psychic Adventures of Derek Acorah, Derek Acorah, Element, 2004, pp. 214-219.
“Death on the Rock” (in Q&A Feedback section), Family History Monthly, 109, October 2004, p. 58.
“Genealogy bug bites ‘This Morning’”, Your Family Tree, January 2005, issue 20, pp. 12-13.
“Family Tree Newsletter” 12 January 2005, ‘Family Values’http://www.genealogyforum.com/messages/genbbs.cgi/Events/71
“Genes Reunited gees up the public”, Family History Monthly, March 2005, no. 115, p. 7.
“Top Tips from the Experts”, Family History Monthly, June 2005, no. 118, p. p. 16.
“The latest in TV genealogy” (on the Britton and Schofield family trees), Family History Monthly, July 2005, np. 119, p. 16.
“Arran adventure opens a new chapter for Rowling”, Nicholas Christian, The Scotsman, 14 August 2005.
“Lost Riches”, Family History Monthly, no.123, November 2005, p. 8
“JK makes front page”, Family History Monthly, no.123, November 2005, p. 6.
“Thrifty Family History” (‘Anthony’s Tips’), Sarah Warwick, Family History Monthly, December 2005, no. 124, p. 23.
“Keep Digging”, Practical Family History, January 2006, no. 97, p. 39.
Ghost Hunting with Derek Acorah, Derek Acorah, Harper Element, 2005, pp. 85-89.
N16 Magazine, News in Brief “N16 was a hub of literary activity”, issue 28, Winter 2005, p. 6
“Cameron makes a name for himself”, Sunday Express, 15 January 2006, Crossbencher column, p. 27.
“Another thrifty tip” Family History Monthly, February 2006, no, 127, p. 18.
“Grant’s genealogy”, Family History Monthly, March 2006, no. 128, p. 11
Letter: “Butterfield Connections”, Practical Family History Monthly, May 2006, no. 101, p. 63.
“GMTV Family Trees”, Family History Monthly, May 2006, no. 130, p. 10.
“The paranormal is part of history”, Dan Longman, Your Family Tree, May 2006, issue 37.
Guy de la Bedoyere, “The making of My Famous Family”, Practical Family History, June 2006, no. 102, pp. 12-15.
“One woman’s very regal tree” (Aude Grasset and Madonna), Family History Monthly, July 2006, no. 132, p. 10,
“New Show for Family Historians” Norfolk Roots, May/June 2006, p. 5.
Editorial on My Famous Family, Norfolk Roots, issue 12, July/August 2006.
Review of Tracing your Family History published June 2006 on the Univadis website.
“Roots Mon!: Lorraine reveals sexy secret of auntie who lived for kicks”, David Taylor, The Sunday Mail, Http://www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/feed/tm_objectid=17761920%26method=full%26siteid=64736-name_page.html
“Rise and Shine” (review of the new batch of GMTV family trees), Your Family Tree, October 2006, p. 8.
Acknowledgement in Mark Adolph, Growing up with Subbuteo, Sports Books, 2006.
“Magical history tour at civil hall exhibition”, Hoddesdon Mercury, 3 November 2006, p. 34.
Recommendation of Stella Colwell’s National Archives: a Practical Guide for Family Historians in ‘The Expert’s Choice’, Family History Monthly, Christmas 2006 no. 138 p. 21.
“Families Reunited” (interview with Melanie Sykes), Rebecca Fletcher, pp. 23-4. Daily Express Saturday magazine, 17 February 2007.
“Almost a Royal: are you related?” (about Kate Middleton), Norman Fairfax, The Journal of the Fairfax Society, April 2007, p. 11.
“Soap Stars’ Secrets”, Your Family Tree, Spring 2007, p.14.
“The Future of Genealogy?”, Craig Leyland on DNA, Family History Monthly, December 2007, no. 105, pp. 18-19.
“Royal Relationships” letter by William Buchanan concerning Princess Diana’s descent from Lord Carey, Family History Monthly, December 2007, no. 105, p. 23.
“Richard & Judy literacy petition: all-star signatures revealed” [signatories to the “Lost for Words” campaign for children’s literacy], The Times, 14 December 2007.
Cited for my professional genealogy work in William P.L. Maynard III’s Panthers Under the Rainbow: A Search for One of France’s Highest Military Decorations (Xlibris US, 2008, pp. 87-8).
“Expert Advice”, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, issue 4, January 2008, p. 23.
“Turning Pro”, Family History Monthly , September 2008, no. 106, p. 50.
Book of the Year recommendation (for Jayne Shrimpton’s Family Photographs, Family History Monthly , Christmas 2008, no. 164, p. 45.
“Primary Mistake” Letter to the editor about teaching history in primary schools, and the antedote – my book Who Am I?, Family History Monthly, May 2009, issue 169, p. 7.
“Ramsay’s Famine Nightmares: Genealogist uncovers chef’s family link to Irish potato blight”: Family History Monthly, July 2009, issue 171, p. 8.
“Digitisation or cutbacks?” Your Family Tree, issue 80, August 2009, p. 10.
“Family History Secrets” Anne Bruce, Family History Monthly,, pp. 43-4. December 2009, issue 176; Part 2, Suicide, by Anne Bruce, Christmas 2009 issue 177 pp. 50-51 and Part 4: Undesirable professions”, Family History Monthly, February 2010, no. 179, p. 49.
“Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2010”, (report of the show), Your Family Tree, Spring 2010, pp. 10-11.
“WDYTYA? Live, 2011 Update”, Family History Monthly, issue, 192, February 2011, p 15.
“A proud moment for us”, Garrick Webster’s reflections on Your Family Tree reaching its 100th issue: “I love it that many of the people we reached out to then are still writing for us today – Doreen Hopwood, Anthony Adolph, Else Churchill, Audrey Linkman and many others. Both my understanding of genealogy and my own family tree have grown thanks to the incredible knowledge these friends have shared with us over the years – perhaps you feel that way too?”, Your Family Tree, issue 100, March 2011, p. 11.
Pictured at the Who Do You Think You Are? Live show, 2010, Your Family Tree, issue 100, March 2011, p. 18.
“Are You Royal?” (about the marriage of Kate Miuddleton and Prince William), Jeremy Palmer, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, May 2011, pp. 26-29.
Quoted talking about DNA in “Inside Who Do You Think You Are? Live”, Adam Rees, …”, Your Family Tree, April 2011, issue 102.
Review of The Local and Family History Handbook vol. 13 commented that “the list of authors reads like a who’s who of genealogy: familiar luminaries such as Anthony Adolph, Chris Paton, Doreen Hopwood and Joe O’Neill…”, Your Family Tree, May 2011, issue 103.
“Expert’s Choice: Deceased Online”, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine,, July 2011, p. 54.
Ancestry.co.uk questions and answers “Adopted at Birth”, http://www.ancestry.co.uk/Nov2010_Ess#4
“J.K. Rowling’s ancestors on ScotlandsPeople”, ScotlandsPeople press release, 18 August 2011.
“FHM Favourites” a pick of editor Penny Law’s favourite articles from 200 editions of Family History Monthly ( issue 200, September 2011, pp. 34-37) included my article “Re-writing History” from issue 180. Penny commented “Anthony’s advice that if research looks too good to be true, it’s safest to assume that it probably is still holds good”.
My services as a genealogist were the week’s prize in the Dundee Courier’s ‘money can’t buy..’ series, as advertised in the paper and on the paper’s website, October 2011.
Acknowledged as ‘one of Britain’s leading genealogists’ in Chris Waters’ Fred Trueman, The Authorised Biography, Aurum Press, 2011, p. 299.
www.families.com/blog/kate-middletons-royal-roots, reported “Of course, since Edward III was from way, way back in the day (we’re talking the 1300’s here people) he has many descendants. Over a million people can trace their family history back to Edward III. Edward III is Kate Middleton’s 21 x great grandfathers. Ms. Middleton is also descended from the House of Fairfax, a noble British lineage that counts among its other descendants the renowned genealogy researcher Anthony Adolph. Anthony Adolph is Kate Middleton’s 11th cousin, once removed”.
Chris Paton’s blog entry about the Genealogy Rock Stars nominations. I was one of 74 genealogists, world-wide, who give “must attend” presentations at genealogy conferences and/or write “must read” family history articles or publications. http://britishgenes.blogspot.com/2012/01/genealogy-rock-stars.html.
My services as a genealogist were the week’s prize in the Dundee Courier’s ‘money can’t buy..’ series, as advertised in the paper and on the paper’s website, October 2012.
Contributor to Your Family Tree‘s booklet Trace Your Living Relatives (in association with Genes Reunited), November 2012.
“Expert’s Choice: Hearth Tax On-Line”, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, February 2013, p. 52.
“Everyone’s related!” by Andrew Chapman in Discover Your Ancestors, issue 2, February 2013, pp. 16-17, which included my search for relations of Abraham Lincoln and my own connection to H.R.H. the Duchess of Cambridge.
“Princess in red: Kate’s a de Burgh” [which she isn’t], Paul D’Alton, Irish Sunday Times, 3 March 2013.
“Briton amazed by Lincoln roots”, The Telegraph, 7 May 2013. See here.
“Lincoln grin”, South London Press, 10 May 2013.
“Lost cousin is one of the presidents’ men”, The Scotsman on 3 May 2013.
‘Sydenham man “flabbergasted” to discover he is Abraham Lincoln’s relative’, [Bromley] News Shopper, 8 May 2013. See here.
“Londoner learns of Lincoln heritage”, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, July 2913, p. 13.
“Visit impresses British relative of Lincoln”, The [Illinois] State Journal-Register, June 2013 (here).
My work on the ancestry of H.R.H. the Duchess of Cambridge cited as a reference for her page on Wikipedia
“Seasoned sans-culotte Ed Vulliamy delivers clear message to Gibson Square amid royal baby excitement” (Ephraim Hardcastle, Mail Online, 24 July 2013 (“Publishers Gibson Square sent a message to The Guardian recommending author and genealogical expert Anthony Adolph, a client of theirs, during the royal baby excitement. Back came this reply from the republican paper’s seasoned sans-culotte, Ed Vulliamy: ‘It’s all so pathetically retarded. Vive La Guillotine! Vive Marat!’ (French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat) Isn’t life grand?”).
“Win a day with a genealogist [me]” – advertisement in Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, September 2013, p. 67
“Town Royal Link Delight”, Louisa Lay, Beccles & Bungay Journal (front page and page 2) 6 September 2013 (about the Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestor Benjamin Fairfax having lived in Halesworth).
25 August 2013, Andrew Tong in The Independent, “Sport on TV: Meet Gary Lineker’s black sheep who fleeced local gentry”, wrote “The genealogist Anthony Adolph (who were his forebears?) told Lineker: “Black sheep make more interesting ancestors.” The former England striker looked a bit sheepish himself. He made mention of his younger brother Wayne, who owns a load of bars in the Mediterranean, but did not go into detail about his prison sentence for fraud”.
My involvement with the Gary Lineker episode of Who Do You Think You Are? described on http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/episode/gary-lineker
My search for Miles Coverdale’s family mentioned in Coverdale Y-DNA Progress semi-annual report, 31 August 2013.
My book Tracing Your Irish Family History, offered as a prize in Genes Reunited’s ‘Start Your Family Tree Week!’, on Monday 30 December 2013.
Nigel Britton, HP Sauce: my ancestors’ legacy (2013, p. 30). Cites me as ‘one of the country’s leading genealogists’ researching Fern Britton’s family history.
Acknowledgement to myself in introduction of Claudia Oliver’s A Most Faithful Attendent (sic), Bretwalda Books, 2014.
Acknowledged in Chloe Bennett’s A Twilight Landscape: The hidden art of George James Rowe of Woodbridge (1804-1883) , Chloe Bennett (2014)
Rachel Parrish, “Lineker’s links boosted the BBC: Genealogist [Anthony Adolph] says footballer’s Who Do You Think You Are? episode generated the greatest interest of any he has worked on”, The Hinckley Times, 19 February 2014.
“Distinguished Genealogist visits Halesworth”, Doreen Hale, Halesworth, Southwold and Surrounding Villages Community News, May 2014.
My research was cited in the acknowledgements for research for Antony Barlow’s He is our cousin, Cousin: a Quaker family’s history from 1660 to the present day (Quack Books, 2015).
“This guy found out he is a real-life Viking”, James Thornhill, The National Student, 11 November 2015.
“Day with a genealogist: Discovering my great uncle, the war hero”, report of a “day with a genealogist” which I had donated to support the work of the Woodland Trust, reported in their November e-newsletter and on their website.
“Descended from Neanderthals?”, a contribution to the “Christmas wishes” in Your Family Tree, December 2015.
My Oxford Dictionary of National Biography article on Sir Gilbert Dethick referenced in “Tudor Documents in the upper library of the Society of Genealogists”, Else Churchill, Claire Audelan and Ashley Lish, Genealogists’ Magazine, vol. 32, no.2, June 2016, pp. 76-7.
Contributed a note (as one of ’17 genealogical movers and shakers’) on the subject “Don’t trust a transcript!” to Jonathan Scott’s “17 ways to search like an expert”, Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, 130, September 2017, p. 19.
James Walton , Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family might well be the oddest TV show of recent times,The Spectator, 26 January 2019. “The first stop in Wednesday’s opening episode was ‘a geezer called Anthony’ — or, as he may prefer to be known, the royal genealogist Anthony Adolph, who, immaculate in matching cravat and handkerchief, greeted Dyer with a slightly uncertain ‘lovely to meet you’. Anthony then set up the programme by tracing the Dyer family tree back to Rollo the Viking and recommending a few forebears to investigate further — largely, as it transpired, through the medium of fancy dress. But, wondered Dyer anxiously, ‘Am I an heir to the throne?’ ‘Yes you are,’ replied Anthony with a commendably straight face. ‘It doesn’t stop at ten or 20. It goes on to the hundreds and thousands, and you are there. At some point.’ Suitably reassured, and ‘with scrolls coming out of me earholes’, Dyer set off along the lines suggested, which meant that his first task was ‘to get Vikinged up out of my brain’… There’s no denying that this was all good, if distinctly peculiar fun — and you could certainly argue that a discussion of, say, Louis IX is unlikely to make BBC1 primetime in any other circumstances. Yet, what made the whole thing so especially odd is that it was never clear whether Dyer, the academics he met and even the programme itself were in on the joke” [we were].
Mike Ward, “All hail Danny the king”, Daily Express, 23 January 2019, “Danny’s opening encounter is with ‘a geezer called Anthony’, more formally known as royal genealogist Anthony Adolph. Anthony presents him with an updated family tree, featuring extra royals (oh God, please, no) and with links now dating back as far as 846 AD, to a Viking called Rollo … the experts seem to love it. They rarely stop smiling. If they’re having fun with this,. in the end why shouldn’t we?”.
Jim Shelley, “The BBC treated the nation’s second favourite Englishman like a court jester”, 23 January 2019. I was no 3. in his “12 most Danny Dyer moments from Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family”: “Anthony’s “Anthony’s livened me right up… I’ve got scrolls coming out of me ear’oles!” – Danny’s reaction to meeting royal genealogist Anthony Adolph and the family tree he gave him which was much more detailed than the “good bit of kit” he’d got on Who Do You Think You Are?”
“Expert’s Choice: militia rolls”, Who Do You Think You Are? magazine, 175, March 2021, p. 48
Acknowledged in Lynn Innes’ The Last Prince of Bengal: A Family’s Journey from an Indian Palace to the Australian Outback, The Westbourne Press, 2021.
Acknowledged in “Missing surnames in the census” on the Lost Cousins newsletter, 8 October 2021.
“Heraldic achievement”, letter in The Countryman, October 2022, p.79.
The family tree of singer Katy Perry. In May 2023, an article appeared briefly on the Internet alleging that I had traced and written about Katy Perry’s family history and linked her back to royalty. To be absolutely clear: I have never traced Katy Perry’s ancestry. I think that the story was a monumental garbling of the fact that I did once trace the ancestry of the Princess of Wales, then Kate Middleton, and Perry Nursey, back to the same royal roots. The article has since 9and rightly) been removed.
The foregoing lists do not include the many reviews of my books, including In Search of Our Ancient Ancestors and Brutus of Troy, received in 2015, 2016 and beyond, and which are included under those books’ pages on this website.