Who Do You Think You Are?

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Katherine Ryan

Series 16 - Episode 5 Katherine Ryan



Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan’s young daughter Violet considers herself very English, which makes her mum keen to unearth English ancestors in her WDYTYA? search. On her dad’s side Ryan knows she is “super Irish”, but she has little idea of the roots of her mother’s family.

So, wrapped up against the cold (as she is throughout a snowy, chilly Canadian odyssey that includes Nova Scotia), Ryan visits her charming and ebullient mum in Toronto to explore a branch of the family tree featuring Ryan’s three-times great-grandfather, the grandly named James Arminius Richey.

It’s not a very showy episode in the ancestry hunt series, and there are certainly no tears, but the search is absorbing and informative and throws up some gentle revelations, including the fact that J.A.R. as he was known, was a poet of some renown.

And it’s up to a delightful, twinkly historian to reveal if there are any longed-for English forebears.


Canadian comedian Katherine Ryan is the latest celebrity to dig into her family's past in the popular genealogy documentary. Her investigation leads her to a Methodist minister and his family in colonial Nova Scotia, cod traders in Newfoundland, and eventually to her English roots in Dorset.

Cast & Crew

Contributor Katherine Ryan
Director Ben Southwell
Executive Producer Colette Flight
Series Producer Sarah Feltes