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J.K. Rowling featured in Sunday's Who Do You Think You Are?

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From TLC --

J.K. Rowling’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are? airs Sunday, August 2 at 9/8c on TLC

Episode Summary:

JK Rowling goes on a journey in France to trace her mother’s roots. She discovers that a family war story might not be what she thought when military records reveal a surprising truth. Tracing the trail even further back, Jo learns of her 2x great-grandmother, who had plenty of struggles both as a poor, single mother and a witness to German invasion during wartime, which forced her family to choose sides in a time of turmoil.

Major discoveries throughout the episode:

-Author J.K. Rowling (Jo) goes on a journey to trace her late mother’s French roots.

- Jo pours over Louis Volant’s Legion d’honneur records. She finds a fascinating tale of bravery, but is surprised to realize the man in this account is actually not her ancestor! There are two Louis Volants.

- Jo finds the correct war records for Louis Volant. She learns that in WWI he found himself caught unexpectedly, and with barely any training, in a battle when Germans attacked his regiment in France.

-Louis Volant heroically took command of his troop and killed several German soldiers to save his regiment. Jo is overcome with tears to find that for his bravery, Louis won the  prestigious Croix de Guerre, an award for fighting; and for a soldier, a distinction greater than the Legion d’honneur.

-Jo then sets out to learn more about her 2x great-grandmother, Salome Schuch. Jo discovers that when Louis was born, Salome was an unwed servant working nearby in Paris. As an illegitimate son, Louis’ given last name was “Schuch,” making Jo wonder how he became a “Volant.”

- Documents reveal that some years later, Salome moved up in the world, becoming a dress maker and marrying Pierre Volant, who took on Louis as his own son.

- A census reveals that Salome had five other siblings and that the family was rather poor. Jo sees that Salome’s father died young, continuing a trend in Jo’s family of single mothers raising children. Salome’s mother’s death certificate creates new questions for Jo as she sees it is written in German and not French; a result of the area changing hands from France to Germany during wartime.


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