Islandmagee family give up the gadgets and get back to their roots

Gavin and Alan join the family for church.
Gavin and Alan join the family for church.

A new three-part television series takes an east Antrim family on a journey back in time as they attempt to experience what life was like for their ancestors.

Family Footsteps, presented by Gavin Andrews, sees the Laughlins from Islandmagee trace their roots back through the centuries.

Hope and Anya at Ballydown National School.

Hope and Anya at Ballydown National School.

Grandfather Alan leads the charge as the genealogical detective, while mum Kerry, dad Ainsley and their three daughters, Sophie, Anya and Hope, surrender their gadgets, roll up their sleeves and experience the harsh reality of what life was actually like for their ancestors living here in the 18th and 19th centuries.

And as they quickly discover it’s very different from their comfortable lives on the Antrim coast.

It’s an adventure packed with surprises that ultimately leads to a connection with a celebrated historical figure.

In the first episode, to be broadcast on BBC One Northern Ireland on Monday, October 1, at 7.30pm, the Laughlins journey back to the turn of the 19th century.

Gavin introduces the family to their 1900s costumes.

Gavin introduces the family to their 1900s costumes.

There they discover that their family owned a small farm near Cookstown.

But, although they were not poor, rural life at that time meant no electricity and many manual tasks for everyone in the family.

Later in the series the Lauglins discovers their humble roots as poor farm labourers in the 1800s, even reliving their ancestoral past by spending the night in a small farm cottage with a goat.

However, it’s when they trace their roots further back to the 1700s that they discover a family connection with a celebrated historical figure who made big strides in America by establishing an Ulster-Scots community.

Family Footsteps is a Waddell Media production for BBC Northern Ireland with support from Northern Ireland Screen’s Ulster-Scots Broadcast.