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Marilyn Teaff Barton
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« on: November 28, 2006, 09:30:16 PM »

BBC News November 28, 2006

Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon's search for her family history has brought her to Wales.
Born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York, the Hollywood star has been tracing her family tree for a BBC programme.

After Ms Sarandon and her brother provided DNA samples, a genetics expert said they were "clearly very Welsh".

Professor Bryan Sykes, head of human genetics at Oxford University, who analysed the samples, said Sarandon was "delighted" with the outcome.

He said: "Ms Sarandon had genetic proof after her long search."

Sarandon won the best actress Oscar for her role in the 1996 film Dead Man Walking.

 
Professor Bryan Sykes has conducted lengthy genetic surveys

Sarandon - who won a best actress Oscar for Dead Man Walking - discovered her roots through research for the BBC series Coming Home, which traces family trees.

Prof Sykes appears on the programme to explain the results to Miss Sarandon. He said it was strange to meet someone with such a familiar face: "I felt I knew her. She was so like I expected her to be."

Analysis of the star's maternal DNA showed she had Italian ancestry on that side of her family, he said.

However after looking at her brother's DNA, to determine her paternal ancestry, they found Ms Sarandon's links to Wales through her father, Phillip Leslie Tomalin.

The genealogy of the Tomalin family goes back to 1280 in Carmarthenshire where the oldest records of a Tomalin are held.

 
Sarandon met up with relatives for a drink at the Llynfi Arms

Prof Sykes has conducted a lengthy survey collecting samples from over 10,000 volunteers to create a genetic map of the British Isles.

His book, Blood of the Isles, chronicles the process which includes a large portion on the genetics of Wales.

During September, Ms Sarandon joined long-lost Welsh relatives at the Llynfi Arms in Tondu, near Bridgend. She brought members of her own family including her son Miles.

Following the visit, Sarandon flew to Italy to meet more relatives found through the programme.

Click here to read the article.


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