Making History: Pupils find famous ancestors

Making History: Pupils find famous ancestors


We recently posted about MyHeritage’s involvement in the Making History UK schools pilot project.

We now have exciting news to share about famous ancestors and interesting historical connections that the pupils have discovered including:

— A family connection to Samuel Morse (of Morse Code fame).
— A relative who was in the Titanic’s orchestra when it sank.
— An ancestor who fought at Trafalgar and died on the same day as Nelson.
— A family connection to Dame Peggy Ashcroft.
— A grandfather in an Asian POW camp.
— A great-grandfather who was a daredevil stuntman who dived into blazing tanks of water and worked once with Evil Knieval.
— A great-grandfather who was a Hussar in WW1.

The pilot project included a number of sponsors and partners, including MyHeritage, who helped pupils trace their ancestors and also provided the platform on which pupils could input and print out their family trees. The students said that they loved using MyHeritage Family Sites and commented on how easy it was to use.

Miriam Margolyes with project students.

“We are delighted that MyHeritage will be supporting the project as it expands into its next phase. The support from their team has been of fantastic help to everyone,” said Making History founder Colin McFarlane.

“It has been a pleasure and privilege to work with the students, and to help them explore and document their family history,” said Laurence Harris, Head of Genealogy at “Their enthusiasm is contagious and we have all been amazed by the family stories that they have uncovered. We are delighted that our Family Sites software has been selected as the platform on which pupils in the next phase of the Making History project will build their family trees.”

Nick Barratt and Colin McFarlane listening to project students.

All students have received archival document cases in which they can keep family history documents, certificates, trees, photos and other memorabilia, safe and secure.

An end-of-project showcase event is scheduled for 14 December, when films of student research will be screened. Pupils will then discuss their projects and interesting ancestors with two family history experts. The “MyHeritage Awards for Making History” will also be announced.

Based on the pilot project’s success, Making History is now planning the next phase and has appointed as Principal Sponsor.

Here are some great videos of the pupils – with their celebrity mentors – presenting their findings.

For more information, contact either ,  or

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  • Dianne

    December 13, 2011

    I have often wondered what is the right age to talk to children about their family history. My grandchildren are aged 12 and 8 and I have recently started to talk them about some of the stories from the two world wars relevant to their family history. It looks like I could have started even earlier. A very interesting project

  • Rosemary McMeekin Desjardins

    December 13, 2011

    I wish my grandchildren where interested in their family history.
    Actually I wish I had done it when my family was alive to tell me what they knew.
    Unfortunately my grandparents on both sides are gone and my parents. All of my Mother’s brothers and sisters are gone also.
    I regret not doing it sooner.
    Such a good project for students to do. They will learn at a early age what is very important.
    They may not have someone who was a inventor but everyone is important in life for just being themselves. Family storied are very important.