Very roguish relatives: The new series of Who Do You Think You Are? uncovers some family gems
One of the things that always delights celebs who sign up for the ever-illuminating genealogy show Who Do You Think You Are? is when they find something of themselves reflected in their just-discovered ancestors. Actors whoop and holler when they find out that, say, their many-times great-uncle actually knew William Shakespeare. Musicians do a little jig when they find a sepia print of Great Auntie Maud at the harpsichord. But what if all that painstaking research turns up a parallel you’d rather not draw attention to? Pity poor Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (as was) then, one of the stars of the new series. Cheryl goes trooping down memory lane and at one point finds herself examining the disciplinary record of an ancestor, a ship’s carpenter called James Laing who was put in irons for his behaviour during a voyage to the Far East. What had he done? He’d gone AWOL, presumably on a bender, and when caught he struck the ship’s mate and called him a ‘bloody snot’.
A Czech DNA expert is carrying out tests on clothes belonging to the first president of Czechoslovakia, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk.
The tests should provide a definitive answer to an explosive claim that has fascinated readers and troubled historians for almost a century. Was Masaryk – champion of Slav rights and father of the Czechoslovak state – the illegitimate son of the Austro-Hungarian emperor?
A secret scribble on a birth certificate that convinced baseball legend he was a Kennedy lovechild: Adopted Hall of Fame pitcher finally finds out the answer to the riddle of his birth - aged 72 - with a DNA test
Hall of Famer Jim Palmer who had long suspected he was a secret Kennedy lovechild has finally discovered the truth at the age of 72.
The retired Baltimore Orioles pitcher had always known he was adopted, the Washington Post reports.
Palmer had a privileged upbringing; raised by Polly, a boutique owner, and Jim Wiesen, a wealthy Manhattan dress designer, with his adoptive sister Bonnie, at their luxury Park Avenue home in Manhattan with a family butler named George.
He later became Jim Palmer, after Jim Wiesen died of a heart attack in 1955, and his adoptive mother married Max Palmer, a Hollywood character actor, and the family moved to Beverly Hills, California.
Is Carrie Symonds the great-granddaughter of Herbert Asquith? How illicit affairs in the family tree of Boris Johnson's lover go right to the top of British society
The year was 1915; Britain was at war. At a genteel gathering one evening, the Liberal Prime Minister, Herbert Henry (known as H. H.) Asquith, sat down to a game of bridge with a pretty young woman called Hilda Harrisson, wife of Major Roland Harrisson. He was instantly beguiled.
The following year, on August 22, 1916, Hilda gave birth to a daughter, Anne.
In society circles, there was much talk. Was Anne the illegitimate daughter of the PM?
Following the death of Hilda’s husband in action in 1917, the Prime Minister’s frequent visits to Hilda’s home to see little Anne fuelled the gossip.