Posted on March 1, 2011
In the fourth episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" actress Kim Cattrall dives into the 70+ year mystery of her grandfather's disappearance. In case you missed it here's a quick recap of this powerful, emotionally charged episode.
Kim's journey begins with a visit with her mother and aunts, who tell what little they remember of their father George Baugh. It's clear that the children suffered considerably after their father departed, left to grow up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Great Brittan.
A newspaper clipping presented by Kim's aunts helps her to locate George's sisters Edna and Amy Baugh. They recall George as a smart but troubled youth, who had expressed dissatisfaction with his marriage. The sisters were also in the dark about his whereabouts, having had zero communication with him since his abrupt departure decades before. At this, it seemed that Kim's search was at a dead-end.
However, a researcher did some digging, and was able to find a record indicating that her grandfather had re-married less than a year after leaving his family. Since he never divorced, this meant he was a bigamist. In local parish records Kim was shocked to discover George had four other children with his new wife Isabella Oliver. Unfortunately, these facts began to confirm Kim's worst fears about her grandfather's character.
This break-through information allowed Kim to find contact information for Isabella's sister Maisie. Kim visited with Maisie and her daughter Shelia, who were able to help put the rest of the story together. It turns out, George met Isabella and had daughter Irene in 1938. Isabella and her family were never aware of George's other wife or children. Ultimately, George and Isabella left with their children for Australia in the 1960's. George subsequently passed away in 1974.
Kim's disappointment in her grandfather was palpable. From her investigation it was clear George had no justification for leaving his family the way he did, and demonstrated no remorse for his actions. Kim delivered the news to her mother and aunts, who displayed mixed emotions - grateful to know the fate of their father, but hurt by his disregard for their family.
Though Kim's story was bittersweet, it ultimately brought her closer to her existing family, and gave her greater respect for hardship that her grandmother, mother, and aunts endured. She says, "..and that's a great gift." This is a great lesson for any family historian - though you may not find a happy ending, the journey will always be worth your while.
Watch the Kim Cattrall episode online at NBC.com, and be sure to catch this week's episode Friday, March 4th.
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