Look out for the Society of Genealogists on this week’s Find My Past TV show on Yesterday Channel on Tuesday 15 January at 9pm.
This episode features a fascinating story concerning the double life of Charles Dickens and features Society of Genealogists’ Else Churchill as she helps reveal how people are related to someone from a significant historical event by searching the records on findmypast.co.uk. We follow their journey as they discover who their ancestor is and the part they played.
This week’s episode goes back to the Victorian era to tell the true story of Charles Dickens’ life. During the 19th century, Dickens was an international celebrity with journalists camped at his house and fans desperately trying to give him locks of their hair.
Ollie Dickens, the author’s great-great-great-grandson, discovers that his infamous ancestor had a dark secret that a fatal rail crash in Kent in 1865 almost exposed.
Travelling with Dickens was Nelly Ternan, a little-known actress. Her descendant, Marcus Allen, discovers that she was Dickens’ mistress and that their secret affair could have destroyed Dickens’ reputation and the sale of his books.
Joy Hillday uncovers her ancestor Henry Benge’s role in the disaster. Benge was in charge of the team of workmen who maintained the track on the day of the crash. An official inquiry reveals the tragic consequences of the crash.
Catch this episode at 9pm on Tuesday 15 January 2013 on the Yesterday channel: Freeview channel 19, Sky 537, Virgin Media 203.