“Family Footsteps” is a living history format where a contemporary family traces its roots through the centuries, trying to live as their ancestors used to. In this series, presenter Gavin Andrews hooks up with the Laughlin family from Islandmagee as they piece together the Laughlin family tree and try to experience life as it would have been for their family members in the 18th and 19th centuries. It’s an adventure packed with surprises that ultimately leads to a connection with a celebrated historical figure.
Grandfather Alan leads the charge on the genealogical trail, while mum Kerry, Dad Ainsley and their three daughters Sophie, Anya and Hope roll up their sleeves and experience the harsh reality of what life was actually like for their ancestors. It’s all very different from the comfort and gadgets of their lives on the Antrim Coast.
Episode 1 Gavin Andrews takes The Laughlin family on a personal historical journey as they step back in time to discover what life was like for their Ancestors at the Turn of the 19c. Abandoning their comfortable 21 Century lives, Mum Kerry, Dad Ainsley and daughters Sophie, Anya and Hope find out what its like to run a small farm with no electricity and a kitchen made up of a table and an open fire. While they struggle with pigs, laundry and fire pots, Grandfather Alan begins a genealogical detective trail which will eventually lead to a celebrated historical figure.
Episode 2 With the help of presenter Gavin Andrews The Laughlin family discover what life was like for their ancestors living as poor farm labourer’s at the beginning of the 19c. This week they will attempt to spend the night with a goat in a traditional one roomed byre dwelling. While Dad Ainsley digs the ground for potatoes, Hope and Anya experience the discipline of a Victorian national school. As Grandfather Alan continues to research the families genealogy he discovers the harsh realities of the poverty experienced by his great great relatives, some of whose names he finds in work house registers.
Episode 3 The Laughlin’s final step back into their family history, begins in 1718 and presenter Gavin Andrews reveal a direct link to a famous ancestor known in America as the Moses of the Ulster Scots. 300 years ago their ancestor led a community to America . It was one of the earliest and most celebrated mass emigrations in history and the Laughlin’s are completely unaware that one of their ancestors played such a big part. Gavin takes Grandfather Alan and his son Ainsley on an American road trip to find out what life was like for the early Ulster Scots settlers before visiting the community that their ancestor founded. While they do that the rest of the family look into the early life of their ancestor. The programme culminates in a surprise party where the Laughlin’s get to meet an American branch of the family that they knew nothing about.