Stephen Fry discovers that he is just another ruddy peasant

Ian Bell has an article in The Herald (UK) covering the hit BBC series ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ and discusses some of the things that Stephen Fry, the English comedian, learned about his family through the course of the show. ‘Who Do You Think You Are?‘ focuses on genealogy and helps people with their family history.

Excerpt from the article:

But then there was great-great grandfather Henry Pring, “pauper inmate” of Lewisham Union Workhouse. There was Henry’s brother, Ernest, turning up in Knutsford Gaol. “I’m beginning to wonder,” said Fry, “how much further down the social scale my family’s going to tumble.”

His point was that barely a century elapsed between Henry’s death and his own graduation from Cambridge. Was that merely luck, as understood by the British class system, or something more profound? Grandfather Neumann, his mother’s father, found a job in a Bury St Edmunds sugar works a few years before Hitler came to power. Back home, the rest of the family perished. Fry, struggling with tears, scanned records that ended abruptly in 1943: “That f**king word, Auschwitz.”

Leave a Comment