Day One: Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2016

Day One of Who Do You Think You Are? Live 2016 is over…. So what is this year’s show like?

The first of the three days of the 2016 Who Do You Think You Are? Live (or WDYTYALive to cut it short) show in Birmingham has passed, and day 2 is galloping towards us…

Ask the Experts - kind of like speed dating for genealogy answers.
Ask the Experts – kind of like speed dating for genealogy answers.

Now into its second year at the NEC, the show has certainly made its home here, and the days of the two floor Olympia are now heading further into my foggy reminiscence.

This is also the 10th Anniversary show, not that you can tell yet, but whilst it took me a few years to start attending, the years have seemingly flown by.

As I wandered around today, I got the feeling that maybe the stands were a little more spread out, or maybe simply less imposing. It felt like there was plenty of space to move around, and it was pretty easy to get up close to talk to people or browse products.

MyHeritage stand at WDYTYALive 2016
MyHeritage stand at WDYTYALive 2016

Gone is the exciting 1939 themed café that marked Find My Past’s launch of the 1939 Register, and the number of WWI themed stands seemed to have reduced a little. However, the formation of the Education Zone (including a lecture theatre, and close-up WWI artefacts) feels like a great addition to the show.

WW1 in the education zone
WW1 in the education zone

Ancestry, the show’s sponsor, dominates the entrance again with what feels like a stand that’s twice the size of last year. This year they are still showcasing their DNA autosomal test (yeah, I bought another one), and this time they’re offering it at £59 – that’s abt 40% off and cheaper than last year (£70 I think).

DNA is still a hugely hot topic, and there’s plenty of other stands offering kits and advice on this subject. There’s also a specific DNA lecture theatre, covering a range of topics and a range of levels.

 

Prof. Mark Jobling of University of Leicester talks demographic history.
Prof. Mark Jobling of University of Leicester talks demographic history.

Having discovered what appears to be my surprise Jewish ancestor, I had plans to seek advice today – and the team at the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain stand, who were able to give me a few pointers as to where I could seek more records to help unravel the mystery.

It was also great to see what the Societies were offering, and I made sure that I visited my home teams of Huntingdonshire and Cambridgeshire to see what they had to offer.

Myko Clelland (FindMyPast), presenting in the Education Zone.
Myko Clelland (FindMyPast), presenting in the Education Zone.

There’s always so much to take in with the societies, because they produce such a wide range of materials or publish some fantastically niche record sets of which some are so specific and small scale that the larger companies would never find them financially viable. You also get to speak with people with that specific local knowledge – go see them!

Couple of down sides this year:

  1. The wifi was very unstable and mostly useless. In previous years it’s worked a treat.
  2. There was a theft of a purse and a camera, so it’s a reminder to keep your valuables close to you at all times

On the up side this year:

  1. The show is in exactly the same place as last year.
  2. There’s some great offers on this year, so have a good browse before you commit.
  3. There’s a beautiful Spitfire parked up at the back of the hall. I heard Else Churchill (Society of Genealogists) landed it there herself.

I spent the weekend in the 1940s

Spent the weekend in the 1940s – meeting Winston Churchill, watching a Spitfire flying around, eating spam sandwiches, and escaping Nazi officers.

I’ve just returned from a trip with friends, to the 1940s, where I saw Prime Minister Winston Churchill, some Nazis, was treated to a Lancaster Bomber and a Spitfire fly-by, and I ate some spam.

2d!
The NAAFI canteen was packed full of people having the tea, bread pudding, jam, and spam sandwiches.

Speaking of which… I did eat it. The blank flavour, and synthetic texture reminded me of when I last had it in about the 1980s. Despite it providing a useful food source back then, it’s pretty much sneered at these days despite still being in production and readily available (someone/thing must be eating it!).

The Spam Sandwich

Lucky the Pigeon
Around 250,000 Pigeons were used during the second world war to carry secret messages home in some of the most deadly battlefields, often from behind enemy lines, over the fighting and in to the British officer’s hands. The acts of the pigeon saved thousands of soldiers. Apparently this little chap is called ‘Lucky’.

NAZI soldiers

Ran in to these chaps. Thankfully my limited German allowed me to escape… although it was fraught with danger.

Nazis

Nazis

Doctor Carrot

A wartime poster encouraging healthy eating – and getting children to eat Vitamin A (a deficiency can lead to blindness).

Which will be no trouble, as there’s plenty of fresh vegetables growing in the garden:

A 40s house

Will post the Spitfire and Lancaster Bomber fly-past videos later (they’re taking a while to down/upload).

Check out the Ramsey 1940s Weekend website for more.