Alex Kingston was filming for the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are
Star of film, TV and theatre Alex Kingston made some amazing discoveries about her ancestors after studying a range of historical records held by Wandsworth's Heritage Service.
Ms Kingston, who starred in the long running US hospital drama ER and who has also appeared in Dr Who, recently took part in the BBC's 'Who Do You Think You Are' series and made some surprise discoveries - including the fact that one of her female ancestors had once run a brothel.
Her research into her family tree took her to Battersea Library which houses the Wandsworth Heritage Service, because her great grandfather, who was killed in the First World War, once lived in the borough.
By checking the historical documents held by the service she was able to start tracing her family back hundreds of years - and in the process unearthed not only her Jewish roots but also that her great, great, great, great grandmother had once run "a house of ill-repute" in Westminster.
Heritage officer Ruth Macleod, who appeared in the programme helping the actress in her search, said: "We were able to locate her great grandfather and other members of her family from census records, and armed with those details she was able to start her journey back through history.
"This is something we do on a fairly regular basis for people who want to find out more about their backgrounds and the lives of their ancestors. The historical documents we hold are often the key to unlocking some amazing family secrets."
Staff at the heritage service can give people lots of advice on how to start their research and where to look for information, as well as being able to suggest other historical sources that could cast more light on the lives of their relatives. These include:
The service also holds various historical documents that can be used for a wide range of research topics including family history, house history, school projects, local history research and art or drama projects. These include:
October 8, 2012