London, Jun 22: Now, you can take a trip into your ancestry, thanks to a new genealogy firm in Britain, which guarantees to take people on a deluxe tour around their forefathers. But the ancestry ride doesn't come cheap - at 25,000. The company, Ancestral Footsteps, has been set up by Sue Hills, the director of Who Do You Think You Are?, the hit BBC television series where celebrities take a trip back into their past.
Now, Hills has formed the company to offer the same (but camera crew-free) experience to noncelebrities. She will create a seven-day bespoke tour of your heritage, complete with the car, country house hotels and fine food. And, of course, the several months of painstaking research which precedes it.
One of the things that she cannot guarantee is that your ancestors will be a good, upstanding citizen. Indeed, she even asks you to sign a piece of paper promising not to get too upset if it turns out that your great-great-grandmother was a hooker.
"It's easy to make mistakes when you're researching your family tree and head up the wrong branch," Times Online quoted her, as saying.
"We triple-check everything, so you know it's right. It just might be different from what you were expecting," she added.
The extent of interest with genealogy first became clear in 2002 when the data from the 1901 census was posted online. The website was overwhelmed, crashing under the weight of 30m hits a day as people looked up their ancestors. If you are brave enough, Ancestry.co.uk offers a DNA test to its 200,000 British subscribers. It then matches the results and lets you know which other subscribers are most likely to be your relatives.
Hills take it a step further, bringing a professional's discipline to the search.
It is expensive, but its results can of course be extrapolated to many family members. For the full 25,000 pounds, Hills will research your whole heritage.
As far back as 1837 it is relatively easy to trace your roots because of the Registrar General of births, deaths and marriages. You can also get professions and addresses from the census, the first of which took place in 1841.