Jerry Hall’s episode

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Dur­ing Jerry Hall’s truly won­der­ful episode, the card James Hall sent to his fu­ture se­cond wife Parthe­nia ( Jerry’s great grand­mother) iden­ti­fies him as a man of the ut­most charm, con­fi­dence and hu­mour, as well as be­ing brave, strong, in­tel­li­gent and a rail­road man!

Surely his rail­road records (if any) might re­veal what a spe­cial man he was? Surely Jerry can’t wait to go back again and do some more dig­ging? The same ap­plies to Parthe­nia’s an­ces­tor Humphrey Best. With a name like that he must have come from Eng­land. Jerry, please start at Ken­tucky and work back­wards! An­drew Simp­son, East Ken­nett Editor replies: We asked the mak­ers of the episode if they had dis­cov­ered more than was re­vealed dur­ing Jerry’s episode and they said: “We didn’t trace Humphrey to Eng­land. We do sus­pect that’s where his an­ces­tors came from but the ship lists are in­com­plete and we were un­able to find doc­u­men­ta­tion to link all the gen­er­a­tions back from our Humphrey to the first Humphrey Best liv­ing in Mary­land just af­ter Wil­liam Penn es­tab­lished his colony.”

A worth­while trio

Your ar­ti­cle on the Who Do You Think You Are? Treat­ment in the Sum­mer is­sue was very in­ter­est­ing, but not com­plete. You failed to men­tion three of the most valu­able tools in the box. gives free ac­cess to tran­scribed UK Census records 1841 to 1891; al­lows free ac­cess to tran­scribed and ac­tual GRO BMD records; while pro­vides free ac­cess to parish reg­is­ters through­out the UK. The last source is rel­a­tively new and has just in­tro­duced a new search en­gine and can be found at

I am a tran­scriber for this web­site and can vouch for the fact that the ac­cu­racy of tran­scrip­tion is ex­cep­tion­ally good.

David James, by email

Editor replies: Good spot, David. They are fan­tas­tic vol­un­teer projects and we are very im­pressed with FreeReg’s sleek new de­sign.

Flip­pant Anne

I was ap­palled at Anne Reid’s flip­pant at­ti­tude to her fraud­ster an­ces­tor in her episode of WDYTYA? How could she de­fend this dread­ful crim­i­nal and laugh at what he did? He cheated peo­ple out of their money and ut­terly de­served the sen­tence he re­ceived.

I won­der what her at­ti­tude would be to the light sen­tences given to to­day’s fraud­u­lent city fi­nanciers – I bet she thinks they de­serve heav­ier ones! Keith Atkin­son, by email Editor replies: We had a few emails, as well as posts on our Face­book page, re­gard­ing Anne Reid’s re­ac­tion to her an­ces­tor’s mis­de­meanours. Al­though some of the com­ments on Twit­ter praised her ir­rev­er­ent at­ti­tude, the ma­jor­ity who re­sponded felt she hadn’t quite grasped the im­pli­ca­tions of his ac­tions and that her at­ti­tude to those who sen­tenced him didn’t take into ac­count the his­tor­i­cal con­text. In her de­fence, the pro­duc­tion team say she was a de­light to work with and very gen­er­ous and en­thu­si­as­tic about the whole ex­pe­ri­ence. I watched the WDYTYA? episode fea­tur­ing Anne Reid with ut­ter amaze­ment. I’ve re­cently found a ‘miss­ing’ great great un­cle who was trans­ported to Van Diemen’s Land for horse steal­ing on the same ship, the Earl Grey, as Anne’s great great grand­fa­ther in Septem­ber 1842.

In the di­ary of the ship’s sur­geon Colin Ar­rott Brown­ing MD, he records the pris­on­ers were di­vided into groups for the pur­poses of learn­ing to read and

Jerry Hall: will she re­turn to the US to take her re­search fur­ther?

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