WDYTYA? key documents: Charles Dance's episode

By Harriet Beadnell, 6 July 2017 - 7:05pm

Charles Dance's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? was filled with an exciting array of genealogical sources. We take a look at some of the most important documents seen on screen...

Charles Dance was moved to see original portraits of his Futvoye ancestors and artwork produced by his 3x great grandfather

Star source

Artist records

Charles Dance discovers that his Futvoye ancestors were connected to London's Oriental art scene, which became highly fashionable during the early years of the 19th century. He later gains access to an original work produced by his 3x great grandfather, Charles François Futvoye, by visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

There are a number of ways that you can find information about your artist ancestors. One of the most useful resources is the Artists' Paper Register, which allows you to search for biographical and occupational information. You can also search for artists in reference guides such as The Dictionary of British Artists, 1880-1940 (Johnson and Greutzner, 1976) and other volumes published by the Antique Collectors Club.

To locate and view original artworks, you can contact museums, galleries or institutions that hold specific collections. Tate Modern, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Scottish National Gallery, are just some of the major repositories of artworks in Britain. Many may hold artworks in storage, which may be viewed in person upon request.

Other key sources

The Morning Post newspaper

Charles learns about the artistic careers of Charles François Futvoye and Matthieu Futvoye through a number of clippings from The Morning Post, a daily newspaper published in London between 1772 and 1937. Digitised copies are available to search at the British Newspaper Archive, which is also accessible via Findmypast.

Boer War records  

Miscellaneous records from the Boer War, including those relating to Walter Dance, can be found in the vast Anglo-Boer War Records 1899-1902 collection on Findmypast. Ancestry has also digitised the Queen's South Africa (QSA) and King's South Africa (KSA) medal rolls from series WO 100 at The National Archives.

For a full guide to researching Boer War soldiers, click here.

The Surveyor magazine 

With help from genealogist Laura Berry, Charles finds an advert that his father placed in The Surveyor magazineshowing that he sought to gain employment in South Africa. Historic sections of the publication are available to view on Google Books, including Walter Dance's advert

Outbound passenger lists 

Charles discovers that Walter, along with his first wife Louie, emigrated to South Africa in 1924. Passenger lists for people leaving the UK between 1890-1960 can be found on both Ancestry and Findmypast, having been digitised from records in series BT 27 at The National Archives.


WDYTYA? location guide: Charles Dance
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WDYTYA? location guide: Charles Dance
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Trace your Boer War ancestors like Charles Dance
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