A FAMILY tree expert helped Star Trek actor Sir Patrick Stewart lay a ghost about his father to rest.
Wakefield-based archivist Jennie Kiff was featured on prime time TV on Wednesday night with the X-Men star on BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are?
The documentary followed the Mirfield-born actor’s quest to find out more information his father, including a suspicion that his dad was not the father of his elder brother Geoffrey.
He came to West Yorkshire Archive Services Registry of Deeds on Newstead Road to find out more.
Ms Kiff showed Sir Patrick an extract from a court register which revealed that his father accepted parentage following his mother’s maintenance battle.
The actor appeared genuinely moved when Ms Kiff revealed there was no doubt about his father and his brother. He thanked her for “laying the family ghost” to rest.
Ms Kiff praised the star’s mum who fought in court to get recognition for Geoffrey, saying “She was quite a brave woman. When it came to fighting for her son she stood her ground.”
Cameras rolled at the registry on Newstead Road in April but Ms Kiff was sworn to secrecy about her brush with Hollywood royalty until the programme aired.
The mum-of two said: “He was fantastic, he was charming but we just treated him like everybody else. He seemed to respond well to that. He didn’t have any airs and graces. He was very down to earth. He gave us Chocolate Buttons, asking, ‘would you like a Chocolate Button?’ in that wonderful voice.”
The programme also included a press cutting on his father’s World War Two experience from our sister paper the Mirfield Reporter, where Sir Patrick was a junior reporter before concentrating on acting.
Sir Patrick was so pleased with the service he received at the registry that he has written a testimonial for its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to secure a new home for the deeds.
Ms Kiff added: “He was very interested in the building and documents. He has written a testimonial to support our bid for a new building because he was so impressed.”
She encouraged people to people to bring in their own family histories so they can experience the Who Do You Think You Are? treatment first hand. The Registry of Deeds is open to the public on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9.30am and 5pm and 9.30am to 1pm on the second Saturday of the month. Appointments are recommended. Call Ms Kiff on 01924 305980 for more information.