Tracing your Roots-logo

Tracing your Roots

90 Favorites

More Information


London, United Kingdom




Sally Magnusson presents a series exploring the practice of researching family history, one of the UK's most rapidly growing pastimes. Meeting both experts and amateur genealogists, she discovers the huge range of resources available, and the detective work and lateral thinking sometimes needed to make the most of them. With the right tools, we can not only construct our family trees but also find out how and where our ancestors lived, what they did, and sometimes even how they looked.




What Happens Next: Part 2

The accidental tourist who turned out to be a full blooded revolutionary. The family tale of Queen Alexandra attempting suicide. And finding the POW father who returned to Germany after the war. Sally and Nick discover new information and lasting repercussions as they revisit three of their favourite Tracing Your Roots stories.

Duration: 00:28:06

What Happens Next: Part 1

When Sally and Nick are able to provide vital new clues for listeners, they often wish they knew what listeners decide to do next with this new found information. Today Sally and Nick follow up on a few of their favourite stories from past series and discover the remarkable consequences one tiny detail can lead to.....

Duration: 00:27:58

Follow the Money

The uncle who lost millions, and the family legend of a pile of cash just waiting to be released from chancery....Sally and Nick attempt to trace what happened to the money. Delving into the debtors' prison system- how to land in there, how to earn your way out, and whether there really are millions stuck in chancery just waiting to be released to families today. Produced by Lucy Lloyd.

Duration: 00:27:53

Life in Confinement

What happened to all those ancestors who were "disappeared" into institutions because society couldn't cope with them or deemed their behaviour unacceptable? Sally and Nick answer listeners questions about life in confinement. And what if your ancestor was locked away indefinitely on the Queen's say-so? Sally visits the Tower of London looking for traces of a suspected traitor. Produced by Liza Greig.

Duration: 00:27:53

What's in a name?

Sally Magnusson is back with more genealogical mysteries for Nick Barratt to sink his teeth into. Today, they all involve name changes, and we reveal the stories behind them. And how can you let future generations looking into your family history know that you've changed name and gender? Nick tackles that question. Produced by Lucy Lloyd.

Duration: 00:27:55


In this Tracing Your Roots Census Special, Sally Magnusson visits Fox Lane in Leyland. With the help of genealogist Nick Barratt, she explores how, through the Census, we can piece together a street's changing history and also uncover secrets about our own family's past. The first census records date back to the early 1800s. At this time, Leyland was a small village which became a small town over the nineteenth century. Sally visits one of the original weaver's cottages where the owners...

Duration: 00:27:48

Objects and Heirlooms

The last programme of the series ties in with the History of the World in 100 Objects. Sally Magnusson and resident genealogist Nick Barratt track down the stories behind fascinating objects and family heirlooms. All the objects featured in the programme are also featured on the History of the World website, where listeners are also encouraged to upload their own treasured heirloom. When listener Sarah Bailey inherited a pearl necklace and a letter written at the time of Marie Antoinette,...

Duration: 00:28:04

Caribbean Roots

October is Black History Month and this week Tracing Your Roots hears from listeners with family ties to the Caribbean. We follow Monica Brown, whose family come from Jamaica, as she makes an emotional trip to Zanzibar, visiting the underground chamber where slaves - including, she believes, her ancestors - were kept in horrific conditions before being sold. She wants to know more about her east African heritage. Rosemarie Barnes also has slavery on her family tree, or so she thinks. Her...

Duration: 00:28:03

Radicals and Revolutionaries

This week the popular Radio 4 genealogy show presented by Sally Magnusson features listeners whose ancestors may have been involved in revolution or radical actions. Trying to find records pertaining to revolutions is always tricky, since by their nature revolutions are fraught with chaos and upheaval. Files tend to be mislaid or destroyed, or too secret to have been placed in national archives. However, when an ancestor gets involved with revolution as well as high profile legal...

Duration: 00:28:04

Tracing Rootless Ancestors

Tracing the roots of rootless ancestors might seem an impossible task, yet in this second programme of the series, Sally Magnusson and Nick Barratt attempt to do just that. Mark Lorch is descended from a troupe of German Jewish acrobats, at one time the highest-paid circus act in the world. Mark wants to know more about their service in World War One and to fill in other gaps in his ancestors' lives. For a glimpse into the world of the circus and of the Lorch family, Sally visits the...

Duration: 00:28:05

Vanishing Without Trace

In the first of a new series, Sally Magnusson goes on the trail of ancestors who vanished without trace, abandoning their families either by choice or by force of circumstance. The mother who handed her three-day-old baby to the Foundling Hospital in London in 1758 left no clues to her own identity. Helen Warren, the baby's direct descendant, asks Tracing Your Roots to find out more about the woman who took the mother's place, the wet nurse who ensured the baby's survival, yet whose own...

Duration: 00:28:02