Saturday, 8 December 2012

WDYTYA Series 9 - John Bishop

The long awaited tenth episode of series 9 of Who Do You Think You Are? aired on Thursday night (6th December). The ninth episode featuring John Barnes aired way back in October, so I'm not quite sure why the last episode was delayed for so long. Anyway, it featured Liverpudlian comedian John Bishop, and it lived up to the usual WDYTYA? high standards.

John first search of the records revealed that his great-great grandfather, Charles Bishop from Paddington in London, married his great-great-grandmother, Catherine Evitt of County Armagh, in 1852 in Montreal, Quebec. The records also revealed that Charles was a Lance Sergeant in the Army when the marriage took place.

Further research into Charles' military records showed that he was only fourteen years old when he joined up. He served in Bermuda before moving to Canada. He also joined the military band before becoming the band Sergeant several years later. The final piece of information revealed by the records was that he ultimately bought himself out of the Army for a large some of money while his wife was pregnant.

The next stage in John's journey was to visit Chichester cathedral, where Charles was on probation as a lay vicar in the 1850s. This tied in with the information that John previously had, which was that Charles was listed as a lay vicar in the 1861 census. A lay vicar was essentially a singer in the choir, which makes sense based on Charles' musical background. Later on in the 1860s Charles moved to York cathedral, before becoming a travelling performer as a minstrel. John was amazed to read newspaper reports that his great-great grandfather had performed in some of the same theatres as he had himself.

This is just one more example of the lives of our ancestors resonating in the present. Here's looking forward to series 10 of Who Do You Think You Are?

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