Tracing Your Roots

BBC Radio 4

Series exploring the practice of researching family history, one of the UK's most rapidly growing pastimes

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Radicals and Revolutionaries
Radicals and Revolutionaries
This week the popular Radio 4 genealogy show presented by Sally Magnusson features listeners whose ancestors may have been involved in revolution or radical actions. Trying to find records pertaining to revolutions is always tricky, since by their nature revolutions are fraught with chaos and upheaval. Files tend to be mislaid or destroyed, or too secret to have been placed in national archives. However, when an ancestor gets involved with revolution as well as high profile legal wrangling, there's a much better chance of striking gold. In this week's programme, Listener Anne Induni finds out the true story of her ancestor's arrest, for killing a politician in a 19th century Swiss revolution, and there are a whole lot more eye popping revelations about his activities. When Judy Thompson wrote into the programme wanting to find out about her French ancestor's activities in the Paris Commune of 1871, she was hoping to track down more details from French archives, but found getting access and information baffling for a non gallic speaker. Author Gavin Dowd has been through the process and joins the team to dispense advice.And another listener is keen to verify if she really is the great great great granddaughter of the assassin of a British 19th century Prime Minister. The first and only successful attempt in British history didn't quite spark a revolution, but has left a legacy in the modern House of Commons.And regular studio guest Dr Nick Barratt is on hand to dispense advice and tips on how to trace revolutionaries in your family tree.