HOLLYWOOD star Sir Patrick Stewart uncovered more about his family thanks to help from West Yorkshire Archive Service.
Mirfield-born Sir Patrick explored his family background for the BBC TV show Who Do You Think You Are? which aired last night.
Archivists from the Wakefield-based organisation worked closely with programme researchers.
But it was no celebrity-only service as the same assistance is available to anyone who wants to unearth their family tree or search out long-forgotten relatives.
Sir Patrick, brought up in Mirfield, learned more about his late father Alfred, a soldier, who often beat wife Gladys. Sir Patrick’s memories of his father were scarred by the domestic abuse of his mother.
Graham Hebblethwaite, chief officer of West Yorkshire Joint Services, which oversees the work of the Archive Service, said it wasn’t just the stars who could be surprised at what is found in family archives.
“Every family tree is interesting and family historians now have access to a wealth of online resources,” he said.
West Yorkshire Archive Service, in partnership with Ancestry.co.uk, has already made a large number of parish and non-conformist registers available online.
For a limited period its Research Service is offering local people the chance to have their own expert examine their existing family tree.
Mr Hebblethwaite said: “You don’t have to have a famous face to get the star treatment at the Archive Service.
“With us everyone is a ‘celebrity’, every family has a history and we can help you to find out fascinating details about your ancestors.”
Clr Andrew Pinnock, of the Archives, Archaeology and Trading Standards Committee, said the records shown on Who Do You Think You Are? were just a small part of what the West Yorkshire Archive Service had to offer.
The research service could help analyse and interpret information and suggest ways forward.
To find out more see www.archives.wyjs.org.uk or email email@example.com.