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Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ancestral Turf Came With Serfs

The Daily Mail has tracked down actress Helen Mirren's Russian relatives—including a branch descended from a famous 18th-century field marshal and ally of Catherine the Great.

Her ancestors' estate was at Gzhatsk, which in Soviet times was renamed after its most famous son - Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, who came from humble peasant origins in one of the local villages.

It is extremely likely that Gagarin's forebears were serfs who worked the fields owned by Mirren's ancestors.

After being told of the Mirren link, the museum in Gagarin has put a picture of her on the wall. A proud doorkeeper said: "Now we have a famous daughter as well as a famous son." [Link]

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