Family Histories of the Downton Abbey Cast

Lots of us in the U.S. will be tuned to the opening of Downton Abbey’s season 4 tonight. Recently, the Daily Mail hired genealogists to research the family histories of the Downton Abbey cast … and found that fiction and reality are sometimes quite close.

The family history of Sophie McShera, who plays the lovable kitchen maid Daisy, reveals that her ancestors worked Downstairs. McShera’s great-grandmother Annie Henderson Corsbie was employed as a cook and her great-grandfather an electrician, according to their marriage certificate.

family history downton abbey cast sassy jane genealogy

Courtesy Ancestry.co.uk

In an Upstairs case, actor Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Grantham, descends from the nobility. His great-great-great-great grandfather is recorded as a ‘gentleman’ living in Pembrokeshire, Wales, on his son’s marriage record.

family history downton abbey cast sassy jane genealogy

Courtesy Ancestry.co.uk

Brendan Coyle – who portrays valet John Bates – was wounded in the Boer War serving as Lord Grantham’s batman. Coyle’s great-grandfather, Alexander Busby, was killed in action in World War One in 1917.

To find out more about the parallels the family histories of the Downton Abbey cast and the characters they play, read more here.

By |5 Jan 2014|Family Photos & Records, Genealogy|Comments Off on Family Histories of the Downton Abbey Cast

About the Author:

Nancy Loe has an MA in American History and an MLS in Library Science and Archives. She has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, at Rootstech, SCGS Jamboree, and state and regional genealogy conferences. Her website was featured in Family Tree Magazine's “Social Media Mavericks: 40 to Follow.”