The NBC series Who Do You Think You Are? help trace Kim Cattrall’s ancestry last night. Using the only known photo containing an image of her grandfather, Cattrall was interested in finding more about the man who abandoned her mother and aunts at a young age.

Based on a 1980 newspaper article her aunt had saved, Cattrall was shocked to learn that her grandfather was a bigamist who married another woman and then settled in Tudhoe Village in the County of Durham, (see Ferryhill St. Luke, Durham records) a few hours away from Liverpool. Upon further research, and after meeting with previously unknown relatives, she traced her grandfather’s other family to Australia.

Even though the actress was visibly upset after learning about her grandfather’s behavior, she concluded, “This journey of finding him was more about finding the family that I do have and that’s a great gift.”

See Sharing Family History with Who Do You Think You Are? for suggestions to get started.

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  1. I worked with Irene (Georges daughter) and can remember clearly the day she came in the office where we both worked and said that her Dad had told her they were going to emigrate to Australia and Irene said she did not want to go, We exchanged letters during her long voyage and when they first arrived in Australia but the correspondence gradually lapsed. I would be delighted if the was any mechanism as to be able to get in touch with Irene and to find out how she and her family are after all these 50 years of no news.

    Ann 02 November 2011
    1:37 pm
  2. I have watched this at least Twice - once on BBC, once on Blighty and I have also watched it on the version I recorded. I have compared the television version it to the life which I know was lived by George and Marion and found it sadly lacking. This obviously is merely my opinion. There were many omissions mainly to make the story emotive so that it appealed to the public sensibilities. Had the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth been told then it would not have been so one sided and perhaps not so saleable. I remember as a young teenager watching the Sound of Music in Liverpool when it first came out - cannot quite recall the year but that is of no importance - perhaps somewhere round 1965. I thought the story was utterly enthralling and I went to see it again - when it moved on to Chester. Then I bought the book. The Sound of Music was loosely and I say loosely filmed round the story of the book. I feel the story of Marion and George which Kim tells is very very loosely built around the facts. Factually correct but it is the omissions which make the difference. Ah well. It made for good viewing and nice royalty repeat fees. Truth to tell I would have been more interested in learning about the backgrounds in both families, about the bakers and the coal merchants. And Georges Gt. Gt. Grandfather who made good. That however would not have have mass public appeal. Would they even have televised it? Perhaps not.

    Katie Crombie Baugh 18 March 2011
    4:42 am
  3. WITHOUT PREJUDICE When I first learnt of Georges bigamy I was shocked, appalled and felt that for whatever the situation it could not have been justified. On the face of it he was just another man who could not face up to his responsibilities. I probed deeper because he so obviously loved his bigamous wife Isabella and their four children and made a happy life with them that the character he appeared with them seemed nothing like the person he appeared to be by his bigamous marriage. George did the right thing by marrying Marion. It was so to speak a forced marriage - just as much a forced marriage as the marriages which we see and condemn today in the Muslim world. However, it was the society of the 20s and 30s which forced this marriage - just as it is the society in the Muslim world which forces their young people to abide by their rules for whatever the consequences. The marriage was a disaster but and I have to state this as my opinion only but every time George attempted to break free, despite the fact that she herself was deeply unhappy, Marion produced a child. I know it takes two to make a child but this is an inescapable fact. Abandonment in itself creates a picture of a woman and children being left alone and starving. This is the picture which the television programme deliberately created. They used photos etc of Liverpool waifs and strays to help create this effect. They also created the effect of Kim finding out facts herself as she went along which again was an illusion. The programme researchers actually advertised in the Metro, a local newspaper and on the Francis Frith website for information about George, Marion and Georges great grandfather in an effort to muck rake. Two of girls cousins, 2nd or 3rd I am not sure, also asked me via the internet for the same information as the researchers were asking questions about on Francis Frith - however on Francis Frith they were purporting to be private individuals not BBC Researchers. George left Marion - the lack of food and that mentioned of the lack of pots and pans etc were what the majority of the population of England were enduring at the time because of the war and the rationing. The Government came around the streets and collected pans etc to make munitions. George did not abandon the children - Gladys (Shane) in her own words told how her father wanted to take her with him. She also did not say it was after one eventual bad argument in which he left. She said he returned the house and to attract her attention threw stones at her bedroom window. Gladys went down those stairs and let him into a house which was locked. Marion was not in that house - where was she? In this day and age she too would have been accused of abandonment by the Social Services because someone would have told that she was going out at night on a regular basis to the pubs in the area leaving three small girls under the age of ten in a house on their own. George left Marion not the children. Abandoning the children is what many parents, mothers and fathers alike tell their children has happened when the other partner in an unhappy marriage leaves them. They do it deliberately so that the children are left feeling bitter and resentful towards the parent who has left. The parent who is left use the express he/she has left us. When in actual fact it should be he/she has left me. Let us be totally honest a man and woman make a marriage children are an add on - part of a family who will grow up eventually and make marriages and children of their own. If George abandoned anyone it was Marion not the children - the two smaller children were two young for him to take with him and Gladys, by her own admission, refused to go with him deciding to stay with her mother. I do however think the word abandonment too strong. George left Marion but it was something that was forseeable from their wedding day.

    Katie Crombie Baugh 17 March 2011
    8:52 am
  4. Interesting, Excellent ,Classy Lady-Anyone who hasnt seen it,should.

    Charles Weech 10 March 2011
    6:25 pm
  5. There is NEVER any reason to abandon your children. I am sure both Marion and George should not have been together, but may I repeat. There is never any good reason to abandon your children.

    Louise Carter 09 March 2011
    3:07 pm
  6. In August 2009 the programme Who Do You Think You are aired the story of George Baugh and Kim Cattrall in England. I am assuming that the story recently shown in America and British Columbia is identicle, however, it is possible that there may be additions or subtractions as Television companies tend to change their programme content to match their audience. I have been studying my own family history for many years and George was born in the same year as my mother 1908 and is in actuality my fourth cousin. When I first learnt of Georges bigamy I was appalled. I then went on to look at the situation surrounding his life and began to understand him better. I came to the inevitable conclusion that George was quiet, sensitive and a dreamer and that Marion liked was the opposite being gregarious and outgoing. These two totally mismatched people were forced into marriage when Marion became pregnant basically because of the age they lived in. Neither of them were happy in the marriage despite this they went on to have three children. George discussed the possibility of leaving and divorcing with his mother but was told that he had made his bed and must lie in it. Marion herself had made her unhappiness clear. In June or July 1935 George attempted to follow his childhood dream of sailing to America - at the time he would have been 25 years of age. He was deported and landed in England at the end of July 1935 - he had possibly been gone for three months as sea voyages would have taken about six weeks each way. I have my doubts as to whether George ever returned to live with Marion after this escapade although the youngest daughter was born in 1936. According to Marion and to Amy (Georges sister) Marion never saw George after say the spring of 1937. Yet Gladys, Kims mother, has the recollection of her father coming to a locked house when her mother was out and she and her two younger sisters were in bed when she was she thinks ten years old. This therefore would take Georges last visit to 1939. That same year 1939 George entered into his bigamous marriage with Isabella and in December Marion gave birth to a child which she called George and put George down on the birth certificate as the childs father. From my point of view if the child was Georges then Marion had lied to many people when she said she had never seen George after 1937 by the same token if the child was someone elses then Marion committed a criminal offence by putting George down as the childs father on the birth certificate. Marion went on during the next few years to have three more children by two different fathers. George had four children during the next 20 years with Isobelle. Whether Isabelle knew the truth I do not know. The strange thing from my point of view is that George and Isabella initially intended to emigrate to Canada - this should have taken place in 1959. Because of Isabellas health the Canadian authorities would not allow them to go there. The family therefore went to Australia on the assisted passage scheme. The strange thing is of course that Gladys and her young family emigrated to Canada in 1959. George and Marion were both too immature when they married. However, George found happiness in his second bigamous marriage. Having investigated the background I do not feel that George was anywhere near as black as painted and that Marion was equally responsible for her own childrens unhappiness.

    Katie Crombie Baugh 08 March 2011
    4:56 pm
  7. This ancestry information is very valuable and helps me to understand myself better. I just found out today, information about my grandparents that my father, who is now deceased never knew. Too bad he did not know this information about his parents who passed when he was six. It is a gift having this information now, albeit, a little late.

    Eileen B. 06 March 2011
    9:22 pm
  8. Its a good thing that the Lord has big enough arms to welcome us all into his fold, regardless of what we have done. He is so much more interested in our future than in our past. My father was introduced to the Mormon Missionaries by a member of the Mormon Church with whom he was having an affair while he and my mother were split up. A child eventually came from that union who was raised in the Mormon Church and my parents later reunited before joining the church. My parents eventually did divorce in the 1970s and some 35 years later when light was shed on this subject it was sensitive for some but we all realized as children of this father that we were introduced to the Gospel through this act, as strange as it may seem. His tombstone proclaims, You brought us the Gospel. Yes, His arms are big enough to welcome all into his fold.

    Mark Lay 06 March 2011
    3:30 pm
  9. I loved that they brought a sensitive issue into the forefront in a sensitive way. I personally have a relative who didnt know a half sibling of theirs existed until she was in her 50s and just last year I found him and spoke with him on the phone. She didnt want anything to do with it because it was too sensitive for her. I think it is healthy to let these things out into the forefront so other people can deal with these things in their families better. I have strong opinions about what is right and wrong, but I still think we should let the truth be known about all the family stories regardless of their ability to meet the ideal. Being sensitive is always important of course too.

    Michael McCormick 04 March 2011
    8:41 am
  10. I feel that the story of her grandfather was tragic but I also felt that it was good to show that not all of these famous people have perfect ancestors. Im glad her mother and aunts were able to get some closure in their lives and have recognized the blessings that have come from this womans search.

    Sue 03 March 2011
    3:24 pm
  11. Kims story brought something to light for me. I had never found a divorce record for my parents. My dad married 2 1/2 months later in another county and my mom never remarried although she lived with a man for about 30 years. So far I have found no divorce records for my parents, but have found them for his other two marriages. Also found out my dad told people that my mom had died when she was still alive. It was at my Dads funeral when our cousins found out she was still alive. You gotta love genealogy and the things we find

    Laura 03 March 2011
    2:43 pm

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