The latest episode of Australia’s new series of Who Do You Think You Are? airs down under tonight (2nd) and features Jersey Heritage’s Director of Archives and Collections Linda Romeril as she helps popular actor Cameron Daddo discover his Jersey ancestry.
Cameron and a crew from the much-loved genealogy series visited Jersey last August to film on location at Mont Orgueil Castle and St Ouen’s Manor after he learnt that he was related to the de Carteret family.
Linda met him at Mont Orgueil and was able to tell him more about the 15th century story of Philippe and Margaret de Carteret, which is described in Les Chroniques de Jersey, a copy of which is held at Jersey Archive.
Linda said: ‘”Jersey Heritage was delighted to be able to help Cameron find out more about his Jersey connections and facilitate filming at Mont Orgueil Castle, where his ancestor Philippe de Carteret was imprisoned in 1470.
“There are significant connections between the Channel Islands and Australia with thousands of individuals leaving the Islands in the 19th century for new lives and opportunities on the other side of the world. Many Australians with Jersey connections are following Cameron’s journey to trace their roots – in the first five months of 2020, over 3,000 individual sessions on the Jersey Heritage online catalogue originated in Australia.”
Cameron has been based in Hollywood for much of his acting career but is currently starring in Australian soap opera Home and Away. Before filming in Jersey, he and the WDYTYA team visited Guernsey, where Cameron learnt about his great grandparents. He then came to Jersey after finding out that his family tree extends back 34 generations to 970 to Normandy in Northern France and that his de Carteret ancestors were landholding noblemen who took part in the First Crusades and fought in the Battle of Hastings.
Cameron Daddo’s Story from Who Do You Think You Are? Australia:
Long lasting relationships are part of actor Cameron Daddo’s heritage. His parents are still happily married, and Cameron is very public about his loving commitment to his wife, Alison Brahe. Cameron is curious to find out if love stories run deep in his ancestry.
Long intrigued by the origins of his Daddo surname, Cameron meets his father who gives him an additional mystery to solve: his 2 x great grandparents both had the surname of Daddo – were they related? Off to Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, he’s hugely relieved to discover they were third cousins. But the Daddos are not his only connection to the Channel Islands. He has only touched the tip of the iceberg.
Cameron is astounded to be shown his family tree extends back a staggering 34 generations to 970, to Normandy in Northern France, a short distance from the Channel Islands. He learns his de Carteret ancestors were landholding noblemen who took part in the First Crusades and fought in the Battle of Hastings.
In Jersey, Cameron tracks down the de Carteret family manor and is warmly welcomed by his distant cousin Ned Malet de Carteret who tells him the story of Phillipe de Carteret and his wife Margaret. Cameron learns Phillipe leads the resistance against the corrupt Governor of Jersey, and in 1470, he is accused of treason and shackled in a dungeon until his trial, by battle to the death. But Phillipe’s wife steps up to protect her husband. Only days after giving birth, she travels by boat through a hailstorm to England, to petition the King. At the eleventh hour, Margaret convinces the King of her husband’s innocence, Phillipe is released, and the corrupt Governor is sacked.
Cameron is inspired to learn he comes from two beautiful love stories, and is equally proud of the great fortitude shown by both his convict and his noble ancestors.
“Two beautiful love stories. One six generations ago and another back through further generations, yet love is the through line. I feel incredibly grateful that I have that to look back on. I come from love stories. Brings up such, such deep emotion.” – Cameron Daddo
Emigration from Jersey to Australia
Emigration to British Colonies, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had already been taking place during the 19th century – with Colonies advertising in Jersey for immigrants and offering incentives – when the Gold Rush started in Australia in 1851. It has been estimated that as many as 6,000 people may have left the Channel Islands for Australia from 1852-1855.
The economic downturn in Jersey of the 1870s and 1880s led to over 6,000 individuals leaving the Island. These individuals were looking for the opportunities to carry out their skilled trade in the Colonies or to purchase land for agriculture, which was always in short supply on the Island and would have been passed intact to the eldest son in a family.