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kiterunner 08-07-18 21:42

Who Do You Think You Are - Olivia Colman 9th Jul
At 9 p.m. on BBC1; 10:45 p.m. in Wales. Repeated 11:40 p.m. Tuesday 17th Jul on BBC1.

Olde Crone 09-07-18 21:28

I enjoyed that!

But.....was that really a wedding photo (1838) or did I misunderstand?


Tilly Mint 09-07-18 21:46

I thoroughly enjoyed that of my best.

kiterunner 09-07-18 22:33

Episode summary
Olivia Colman lives in London with her husband and children, but she grew up in Norfolk. She knew quite a lot about her father's side of the family as her paternal grandparents lived with her family when she was a child, but she didn't know much about her mother's side of the family (her mother's maiden name being Leakey, apart from being told that one of their female ancestors was French.

Olivia went to Norfolk to visit her parents, and her uncle Richard also visited to show them the family tree he had done. He said that the Colman side of the family were all from Norfolk, being agricultural labourers, postmen, and the like, but that the other side of the family was more varied. The tree he had done went back as far as the birth of Richard Campbell Bazett in 1766 on the island of St Helena. Uncle Richard showed Olivia portraits of Richard Campbell Bazett and his wife Sarah. He said that Richard Campbell Bazett worked in London for the East India Company in the early 1800's.

Olivia went to London to meet an historian who showed her a page from Richard Campbell Bazett's accounts book, which tallied large amounts of money. Richard had also worked in Calcutta some of the time, and in 1790 he married Margaret Ann Hampton, spinster, there. There was a church court case Bazett v Bazett dated 1808 in which Richard sued for a legal separation from Margaret, saying that she had had an affair with a musician called Frederick Dizi. The church court had granted the separation. Olivia then went to Westminster to find out whether Richard had gone on to have a private Act of Parliament passed to give him a divorce, allowing him to remarry, and she was shown in the Parliamentary Archives that such an Act was indeed passed in 1809. Richard's will, dated 17 Jan 1833, mentioned his wife Sarah and his five sons, all with the middle name Young. The eldest son, William Young Bazett, was baptised in Jan 1806, and the second son, Charles Young Bazett, Olivia's direct ancestor, was born on the 12th Sep 1807 according to his army papers, so both born before the legal separation from Margaret.

The 1871 census showed Charles Young Bazett in Reading, age 63, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army, born London, with wife Harriot, also 63, born East Indies Kissengunge (Kishanganj), and three servants. Olivia went to Kishanganj in North East India to find out more. It is now a city of over 100,000 people, but was a village in Harriot's time. Olivia went to the British Club and met an historian who showed her Charles and Harriot's marriage certificate, naming Harriot's father as William Slessor of the East India Company. William was born in 1778 and became a captain by 1804. The historian had not managed to find a record of William's marriage nor of Harriot's birth, which suggested that Harriot's mother might have been a native Indian woman. The historian showed Olivia an administrator's list of William's possessions, and a newspaper cutting which said that the Madras Courier had reported that Captain Slessor had accidentally shot himself in the head at Kissengunge and died, in 1810.

A lawyer's letter showed that William's mother, Harriot Elizabeth Slessor, had paid for Miss Harriot Slessor's voyage to England. Olivia went to Calcutta to see where Harriot would have sailed from, and met an historian who showed her a passenger list from 1811, with Miss Harriot Slessor, age 7, listed, and no servant named as her attendant. The Master of the ship was a James Fairfax. The voyage would have taken about six months, and the ship arrived in London on the 10th May 1812.

Olivia met another historian who showed her the will of Louisa Girardot, Harriot sr's sister, dated 1824, which left £300 to great-niece Harriot Slessor, "now residing with Miss Mills", who ran a boarding school in Bristol. A codicil dated four years later added an extra £500. A passenger list from 1832 showed that Harriot travelled back to India, arriving on the ship Orient. The historian thought that she was probably Anglo-Indian and travelled back to India to find a husband. He showed Olivia an 1832 marriage record between William Trigge Garrett and Harriot. William was a Lieutenant in the Bengal Artillery and also appeared on the passenger list of the Orient. A death record showed that William died on the 25th Jul 1833, age 29.

Olivia then went to St John's Church, Calcutta, and met another historian who showed her a letter written by Charles Young Bazett in Cheltenham in 1838, to his brother Richard jr, telling how he had met Harriot four years previously and fell in love with her, but was refused, and had recently met her again in England at her brother-in-law's house, and had been accepted this time. There was a photo of Charles and Harriot, and Harriot did look Anglo-Indian. Another letter to Richard, dated 21 Sep 1839, said that Harriot would soon give birth, and she had written part of the letter. The couple had four children: Richard, Mary, Charles, and Fanny. Harriot Elizabeth Slessor's will left £50 to "India Harriot". Olivia was shown a book about Harriot sr and the Slessor family which included documents owned by a descendant of the family who lived in the Scottish Highlands.

Olivia then went to Scotland to meet her fourth cousin Geordie, who showed her a portrait of Harriot Elizabeth Slessor. Harriot sr lived most of her life in Portugal where her husband served in the army, and she wrote diaries and letters which have been typed up to form the book which Olivia had previously seen. There was a letter about her leaving her two eldest sons at school in England with her sister Louisa agreeing to have them for the school holidays. The letter also mentioned saying goodbye to Harriot sr's mother, Anne Judith Bristow, in England. Geordie had a picture of Anne Judith Bristow, the wife of John Bristow who was an MP in Norfolk. Anne Judith's naturalisation papers showed that she was born in France, the daughter of Paul Foissin, a French Huguenot. So she was the French ancestor who Olivia had heard rumours about.

kiterunner 09-07-18 22:33


Originally Posted by Olde Crone (Post 351216)
I enjoyed that!

But.....was that really a wedding photo (1838) or did I misunderstand?


That seemed to be what they said.

kiterunner 09-07-18 22:52

I would like to know how they know that William Young Bazett and Charles Young Bazett were children of Sarah's and not of Margaret Ann's, as they seemed to assume in the programme. Probably there is something we weren't shown? Or did William's baptism show his mother's name? I don't think I saw it although they gave the date.

Guinevere 10-07-18 05:22

I enjoyed that so much. I love Olivia anyway and the programme confirmed everything I've ever thought about her. I love that she thought she was more interesting than she believed before.

A fascinating story, I wondered about the photo as well.

kiterunner 10-07-18 06:42

Another thing - they kept going on about how Harriot left her mother behind in India, but how did they know that Harriot's mother didn't die before Harriot left India?

Merry 10-07-18 07:02

The very first photo of a clear human face was taken around 1839/40 by John William Draper. The earliest image to survive is of his sister, Dorothy:

This 1838 wedding photo looks (to me) like it was taken in a studio in the late 1850s or 1860s.

Ann from Sussex 10-07-18 07:08

Loved, loved, loved it! It was very interesting and made all the more enjoyable by Olivia's enthusiasm and joy at what she found. My only disappointment was a personal one. I have a gt. gt. grandfather who was born on St Helena. His father went there as an apparently single 18 year old army recruit in 1815 but returned to Ireland in 1836 with a wife and 4 children. A cousin searched East India Company records but couldn't find a marriage record so I was hoping the programme would give some indication of where else we could look for St Helena records.

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