New records released by The National Archives reveals a highly successful ‘agent provocatrice’ in The Second World War

The National Archives this week announced the release of more than 3,300 Security Service records available online to view. Within these new records is a fascinating file on the use of an ‘agent provocatrice’ by The Special Operations Executive (SOE) in Second World War Operations.

The SOE used this ‘agent provocatrice’, known as ‘Fifi’ but real name Marie Christine Chilver, as part of the training programme for SOE students before they were sent out into enemy territory. Students would use the skills they learned at SOE’s security training school at Beaulieu to carry out secret training activities all over Britain. The trainers would lay traps, either police interrogations or the temptation to part with secret information to a pretty young lady. Fifi played her part in these training schemes and managed to trip up many of the SOE trainees.

The release of this file (HS 9/307/3) reveals Fifi’s identity and her special talent for character assessment which enabled her to extract information from up and coming trainee secret agents. The file contains Fifi’s reports on trainee agents and handwritten correspondence from her relating to SOE training operations.

There’s more details on the new records and the role of Fifi and the Special Operations Executive in The National Archives blog.

 

 

Martin Shaw discovers more about his family history tonight

The latest episode of Who Do You Think You Are? continues tonight on BBC1 at 9pm with Martin Shaw,  star of The Professionals, Judge John Deed and Inspector George Gently. Martin’s family roots have strong Birmingham connections in the thriving brass industry of the 1800s. If you’d like to know more, TheGenealogist has looked into his family history in their ‘Featured Article’ section.    

It promises to be an interesting episode tonight. There’s a grandfather who suddenly disappears and also some of Martin’s ancestors were involved in the gun manufacturing industry in the 1800s, a coincidence given the ‘expert shot’ that Martin Shaw played in his acting role in The Professionals, that of former Detective Constable Raymond Doyle!

What are your thoughts on the series so far?

Martin Shaw
Martin Shaw discovers his family history on Who Do You Think You Are? tonight

Offer of the week from S&N Genealogy

For those family historians looking for a bargain this weekend, S&N Genealogy Supplies have another special offer running.

Buy any three directories, Army or Navy Lists and  the cheapest one is free.

If you’d like more information visit their special offers page to find out more.

Mary Berry to feature on ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ tonight

As the ever popular series of Who Do You Think You Are? continues, tonight at 9pm on BBC1 sees the spotlight focus on award winning cook, writer and broadcaster, Mary Berry. The style of the series has received mixed reviews this year but may revert back to the usual style tonight as Mary has a number of interesting ancestors in her family tree.

Her ancestors also appear to have had the same hard working, determined ethic that she is so renowned for. From a corset maker (also called Mary Berry) who worked and raised a family single handed, to her ancestor Robert Houghton who ran a bakery in Norwich, providing bread for the local workhouse , there’s a number of interesting tales in her family history.

It promises to be a good programme, will you be watching?

If you’d like a taster of Mary’s family history, TheGenealogist has a featured article available to view.

Mary Berry on Who Do You Think You Are?
Mary Berry discovers some baking history in her family tree

Sheridan Smith on Who Do You Think You Are?

The latest programme in the Who Do You Think You Are? series continued last night with acclaimed Lincolnshire actress Sheridan Smith and her family history story.

The programme continued the style of many previous shows this series by mainly concentrating on just one ancestor. Benjamin Doubleday, Sheridan’s great great grandfather,  was discovered to be a popular and respected banjo player who worked hard to make a name for himself in show business in the Sheffield area. However, in a competitive industry he over-committed himself and ended up bankrupt, losing his family and trying to allegedly commit insurance fraud. The story had many interesting twists and turns and Benjamin manages to reconcile with two of his daughters (also musicians) and returns to show business in the years before his death.

TheGenealogist has looked into Sheridan’s family history and discovered some other unique records, including details of his bankruptcy in the 1890s. If you’d like to know more, TheGenealogist has uncovered more which can be found here in their featured article.

What did you think of last night’s episode?

Sheridan Smith family history
Sheridan Smith and her musically talented family history

New Email News from S&N Genealogy Supplies

If you’d like to keep updated on the latest family history developments and special offers, it’s worth taking a look at the latest email newsletter from S&N Genealogy Supplies. With details on the latest record releases from TheGenealogist.co.uk  including over 1.3 million records of wounded soldiers from the First World War and a new collection of Distinguished Conduct Medals  now online and the latest downloads from Surrey parishes available from S&N, there is something for every family historian.

There is also a special offer on binders and sleeves if you’re looking to get all your valuable documents in order and a competition to enter to win some great prizes in this free e-newsletter. It’s all available at S&N Genealogy Supplies Email News.

 

 

Who Do You Think You Are? continues with Sheridan Smith

The new series of Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1 continues this Thursday at 9pm with star of stage and screen, Sheridan Smith. Both of her parents were musically talented and Sheridan inherited a love of singing and show business from them. In this week’s programme, she is keen to find out if her family connections to the world of entertainment stretch back even further.

The programme concentrates on her great great grandfather, Benjamin Doubleday and his famed banjo playing in the 1880s and 1890s. From fame and popularity he falls upon hard times as the fickle nature of show business deals him a crushing blow. However, despite circumstances conspiring against him, he carries on his banjo playing performances, into the early 1900s.

If you’d like to find out more before the programme airs later this week, TheGenealogist has a special featured article on Sheridan Smith.

Sheridan Smith on Who Do You Think You Are?
Sheridan Smith looks at her banjo playing ancestor in this week’s episode

A different style to last night’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

Last night’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are? on BBC1 featuring Brendan O’Carroll took on a more unusual format. The star and creator of the hit comedy show ‘Mrs Brown’s Boys’ had requested the programme to specifically look into the history of his grandfather Peter O’Carroll and his tragic murder in Dublin in 1920.

The programme was able to assist Brendan in his search to find the perpetrator of the murder nearly one hundred years ago. Discovering the fact that his family was under surveillance by the security services we find how law and order was administered under British rule at the time.

Brendan’s grandfather was murdered by a particularly ruthless intelligence officer, Major Jocelyn Lee Hardy in his quest to find out the whereabouts of Peter’s sons, known IRA supporters.

What did you think of last night’s show, did you prefer the format of just looking at one ancestor or do you prefer the more usual ‘Who Do You Think You Are? ‘style? Let us know.

If you’d like to find out more about Brendan O’Carroll and his family history, TheGenealogist has a comprehensive history of him in their Featured Articles.

Brendan O'Carroll
Brendan O’Carroll offered a different style to Who Do You Think You Are?

 

Another great episode of Who Do You Think You Are? last night

The excellent series of Who Do You Think You Are? continued last night looking into the family history of actress Tamzin Outhwaite.

Concentrating on her Italian ancestry, the programme showed a fascinating tale of Adelmo Santi and his journey from Braga in Italy to join the Italian community who had settled in Glasgow in 1913. After being called back to Italy for war service in the First World War, Adelmo returns to Scotland in the 1920s with his wife and small son.

He then strives to set up and develop an ice cream business, moving to Fishburn in County Durham and despite hardships and becoming interned with his son on the Isle of Man in the Second World War as an ‘enemy alien’,  Adelmo makes a success of his business and becomes ‘the richest man in Fishburn’ according to local folklore.

Tamzin made a widely travelled and emotional journey looking into her maternal ancestry and it made for a good and interesting programme.  What do you think? Did you enjoy the programme?

Tamzin Outhwaite
An emotional journey for Tamzin Outhwaite in last night’s Who Do You Think You Are?

Tamzin Outhwaite features in the next episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

After a great episode last week featuring Brian Blessed, this Thursday ‘s ‘Who Do You Think You Are? programme features former Eastenders actress and now star of BBC drama ‘New Trick’s – Tamzin Outhwaite and her family history story.

Tamzin’s mother,  Anna,   had Italian ancestry from the Santi and Gonnella families and the programme looks in-depth at their experiences moving from Italy to Britain and their hardwork and perseverence in building a life and a successful ice-cream business which gave them wealth. They endured poverty and then internment on the Isle of Man as ‘enemy aliens’ in the Second World War but overcame these difficulties to build a life for their families in the UK.

The programme airs on Thursday 20th August at 9pm on BBC1. If you’d like to find out more, TheGenealogist has looked into Tamzin Outhwaite’s family history.

The series has been excellent so far. Let us know your thoughts!

Tamzin Outhwaite
Tamzin Outhwaite is next in line to feature on BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?