Blog » Site The official blog of Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:45:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Ancestry Weekly Roundup: September 22nd Edition Mon, 22 Sep 2014 17:45:19 +0000 Anne Gillespie Mitchell Read more]]> pirate-ship-flagBlog Posts


Interview with Who Do You Think You Are? Production Crew

From the Barefoot Genealogist:
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Throwback Thursday: Dolls and Other Toys Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:31:17 +0000 Juliana Smith Read more]]> Family-Christmas 1971Now that my daughter is off to college, I’ve been doing some heavy duty house cleaning and going through some of her old toys that for some reason I’ve hung onto. I guess I figured if we hung on to them, we could hang on to some of her fleeting childhood. But it’s time to go through some old boxes that have been stored and determine what’s worth keeping and what we should donate. As I reminisced over some of her toys, I was thinking back to some of the toys we had growing up, so that’s the topic for this week’s Throwback Thursday post.

Growing up in a home with three sisters, dolls were a big part of playtime. We had Barbie dolls, cupie dolls and other assorted baby dolls, including some that talked or cried when you pulled a string. Then there was the Crissy doll, whose hair could be lengthened or shortened with the push of a button. That feature could have come in handy for those of us who did a little hair styling of our own. I cut my hair once with pinking shears. Not the best tool for cutting hair.

We also had a Doctor Doolittle doll. When you pulled his string, he said, “I talk to the animals.” My sister hated that doll and we might have tortured her a bit with it. We got in trouble for that.

With the Barbie dolls came accessories, like those tiny shoes that would somehow always find their way into the soles of your bare feet. Like socks disappearing in the dryer, we could never find a matched pair, so our Barbie dolls typically just went barefoot.

We had a lot of stuffed animals too. One of the early favorites was a Cuddly Duddly doll,that came complete with a cardboard house. I slept with him so often that eventually all the stuffing in his neck was gone and his head just drooped to the side. The black poodle in this picture was a later favorite. I named him Frenchie.

One of the more unusual toys we had was a Roulette wheel. Don’t remember where we got it, but it seems strange in retrospect. I guess it was an effective tool at discouraging gambling because we learned at an early age how impossible it was to actually pick the number that came up.

We also had a pet rock the year they were all the rage. We had to share though. I seem to remember my dad not being thrilled with us spending money on a rock.

One of my favorite pastimes was working on jigsaw puzzles. I had one of a Venetian painting that I worked and re-worked so many times that I practically knew it by heart. Since family history research is often compared to putting together a jigsaw puzzle, I guess it’s not too surprising that I was (and am) drawn to them.

What about you? What toys did you play with growing up? Did you play more indoors or outdoors? Share your memories with us, and more importantly, write them down and share them with your family.

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Utah’s ABC 4 Takes a Deeper Look at One Anchor’s Family History Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:53:08 +0000 Anna Swayne Read more]]> Learning from others helps to inspire us to do more for our own story. In this three piece segment, Utah’s ABC 4 news anchor Nadia Crow discovered her story using the tools on Ancestry. Each video follows a different step in her journey and includes some behind-the-scenes footage of Ancestry’s scanning technology.

Click on the links below to watch the three part series,

Getting started on your family tree [Video 1]

Nadia Crow








What you can find out from the records [Video 2]

Nadia Crow









DNA is another tool for your research [Video 3]

Nadia Crow









Want to begin your family history research journey? Start with Ancestry or by taking a DNA test.

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Star of stage and screen Martin Shaw is next on Who Do You Think You Are? (UK) Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:23:41 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> Actor Martin Shaw is the next celebrity to explore his family history on tomorrow night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

Question mark


Born and raised in Birmingham, the eldest of two children, Martin now lives in Norfolk. The star of over 100 films, plays and television shows, Martin is curious to discover the truth about what happened to his grandfather, Edwin.

‘‘As far as I know, at about 1930 or at the beginning of the 1930s Edwin vanished,’’ said Martin.

Keen to unravel the mystery, the Who Do You Think You Are? team arrange for Martin to meet with a military historian who starts him on his journey to explore his grandfather’s military career. They discover that he enlisted in the Royal Marines at age 18. He went on defend Birmingham from the German air assault during the Second World War.

Was there more to Edwin? What will Martin Shaw discover on his journey through his families past?

‘‘Grandparents are usually there in your memory, but I don’t know what kind of man he was. It would be wonderful to find out now who he was, what he did – mysterious Edwin,’’ said Martin.

Who Do You Think You Are? airs on  BBC1 this Thursday at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts or questions.

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Mary Berry of the “Great British Bake Off” discovers her family story on the next “Who Do You Think You Are?” (UK) Wed, 10 Sep 2014 09:00:08 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> Star of the Great British Bake Off, Mary Berry is next to delve into her ancestry on tomorrow night’s episode of Who Do You Think You Are?


Question mark


It turns out that baking is in Mary’s genes as she discovers that her ancestor Robert Houghton ran a bakery in Norwich. He ran the bakery for almost 40 years and even supplied the city workhouse. To Mary’s surprise, his bakery was located in an area renowned for prostitution and criminality.

Mrs Berry also learns that her 3rd great-grandfather was a printer and bookseller. Successful for a time, he was hit with bankruptcy and he and his family were sent to the workhouse. Only two of the children were spared that experience, her great-great-grandmother Mary and her brother Chris.

“I know Robert Houghton worked very hard in his bakery, but I think my genes come from Mary, who survived the workhouse and was very family focused, just like me,” said Mary.

Who Do You Think You Are? airs on  BBC1 this Thursday at 9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts or questions.

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The Soldiers’ Charity Frontline Walk Tue, 09 Sep 2014 09:05:01 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> The Frontline Walk

  • Mark the 100th anniversary of World War One
  • Cover 100kms through France and Belgium
  • See the battlefields of the Western Front

Here at Ancestry we take great pride in our work. It is our mission to help people discover, preserve, and share their family history. As the world’s largest online family history resource Ancestry is the best place to learn about your military ancestors. We have more than 20 million WWI records available on our dedicated WWI page here:

To ensure that all those who have suffered and sacrificed are not forgotten, we are proud to support ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, which exists to help individual soldiers, ex-soldiers, and their families. ABF The Soldiers Charity is for soldiers, for life. They provide financial assistance to all soldiers and their families when in need. Even when a soldier leaves the Army, they are still eligible for help from the charity.

Our friends at the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity are delighted to offer you the chance to mark the centenary of WWI in a very unique way. The Frontline Walk gives you the opportunity to walk along the Western Front, finishing at the Menin Gate.

Taking place over the 15th – 19th October 2014, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity are asking you to walk representing your local regiment or the regiment of a family member. Sign up today for a truly unforgettable experience and help raise funds for a great organization.

We believe that all those who served in WWI deserve to be remembered and we want to help everyone to discover their WWI connection. That’s why we have made our WWI medal records universally available and completely free to use until the end of the year. You can access them here British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards (1914-1920).

For information on fundraising requirements and the sign-up process, click here:

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Ancestry Weekly Round-Up: September 8 Edition Mon, 08 Sep 2014 14:28:19 +0000 Juliana Smith Read more]]> Library of Congress, “Girls running warping machines in Loray mill, Gastonia, N.C…,” color digital file from B&W original print

Library of Congress, “Girls running warping machines in Loray mill, Gastonia, N.C…,” color digital file from B&W original print

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Cabot Creamery Encourages Families to Build Their Legacy, While Honoring Their Ancestry Fri, 05 Sep 2014 13:59:23 +0000 Jessica Murray Read more]]> Between ballet class, soccer practice and busy work schedules, spending quality time as a family can be difficult. Cabot Creamery is inviting families to spend more time together and encouraging them to participate in activities that enrich their family legacy, such as giving back and cooking in the kitchen together.

According to a survey by Sentient Decision Science for Cabot1 that explored the importance of volunteering and family values, respondents indicated that the company is not alone in its desire to extend families’ legacies through giving back. Seventy-five percent agree it is important to pass on shared family values to younger generations, and both community service (43 percent) and volunteering (40 percent) ranked among the most important values parents want to share with their children.

Mealtime also offers a good opportunity to reconnect with loved ones after a busy day. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics2, families who eat together at least three times a week benefit nutritionally, when compared with families who do not share many meals together. Results demonstrated that the children of families that eat together have a 12 percent lower risk of being overweight and are also more likely to make healthier meal choices. Cooking together is a great way to bond as a family in preparation for dinnertime.

In an effort to encourage families to reconnect around the dinner table and cook together in the kitchen, Cabot Creamery is hosting the Farmers’ Legacy Recipe Contest. Families are invited to submit up to three legacy recipes that include at least two ounces of one of the Farmers’ Legacy Collection varieties, for a chance to win a $5,000 cash prize and a $5,000 donation to a volunteer organization of their choice, among other prizes. For more information on how to enter, visit Entries may be submitted through Sept. 5,2014.

Mealtime allows for the opportunity to slow down and be together as a family. That togetherness is an effective way to bond with your children, giving them a sense of unity and security. Recipes can be easy to make and even more delicious to eat together. The farm families of Cabot often develop recipes that combine fresh products from their farms adding a touch of their own family legacy. Check out their recipes to get a head start on dinner tonight!

Below is a favorite as we head in to fall.

Sweet Potato Chipotle Cheddar Soup

Chipotle Cheddar Soup

Sweet Potato Chipotle Cheddar Soup









Makes 7 (2-cup) servings

Recipe courtesy of Katie Webster.


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chopped celery
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
6 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
1 chipotle chili in adobo, minced, or more to taste
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 ounces Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar*, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 sliced green onions for garnish


1. Heat oil in large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and starting to brown, about 7 minutes.

2. Stir in cumin and cinnamon and cook just until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add sweet potatoes and broth, cover pot, increase heat to high and bring to simmer.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low to maintain gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, until potatoes are completely soft and falling apart, about 20 minutes. Add chili and vinegar and remove from heat.

5. Working in batches, transfer several cups of sweet potato mixture to blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Alternatively, puree with immersion blender.

6. Add cheddar to soup, stirring until completely melted. Serve topped with green onions.

*If Cabot Farmhouse Reserve Cheddar is not available in your area, you can substitute for Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar.

To see more Farmers’ Legacy Recipes click here.

Total Fat14g
Saturated Fat5g
Dietary Fiber2.5g


1 The Cabot Volunteering and Family Values Survey examined volunteering perceptions/behaviors and family values among U.S. consumers. Cabot Creamery commissioned Sentient Decision Science, an independent behavioral science and consulting firm, to conduct this study. The research is based on an online survey of 1,000 U.S. households, randomly selected from a national panel. Conducted June 26-29, 2014, the survey split participants equally across gender (half men and half women), ages 18 and older, and the data is representative of the U.S. Census population. The margin of error for a survey based on 1,000 interviews is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence. For more information about the sampling methodology of this study, please contact Leigh Reynolds at Sentient Decision Science.

2 American Academy of Pediatrics, “Is Frequency of Shared Family Meals Related to the Nutritional Health of Children and Adolescents?”



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Throwback Thursday Topic: School Activities and Projects Thu, 04 Sep 2014 13:55:22 +0000 Juliana Smith Read more]]> Julie 7th grade project 001Last week Ancestry added 43,000+ new yearbooks to its existing collection bringing the total to 99,000+ yearbooks. I was thinking back on my days in school and all of the projects I had to create and the activities I participated in.

In high school, I was a Mathlete. Yes, you heard that right. No idea why I chose that, but I did. And I was never chosen to compete in any events. Probably because I stunk at math.

I also worked in the library. That was much more up my alley. I loved shelving the books because I would always browse the titles around the ones I was putting up. The biographies were always calling out to me and I read quite a few of them. I guess I should have seen the writing on the wall even back then.

I was not particularly athletic. Ok, I was (and am) a klutz. I did join a local softball team for a while, and enjoyed that, but was content to play right field. My coach used to like to play “pepper” at our practices. This meant he would stand on the pitcher’s mound and hit line drives at us. I hated pepper. One time I put on all the catcher’s gear so when it was my turn, I was prepared.

I think I was on the swim team for a short time, but I wasn’t particularly good at any of the strokes. I could tread water for a long time. Sadly that is not a competitive event though, so my swimming career was short-lived.

In grade school, I remember a lot of school projects. We did the paper mâché globe where we covered a balloon with strips of newspaper coated in gook and then when it dried, painted the continents and oceans on it. That was fun. Thinking about it makes me want to make a bowl or something.

Pictured you can see me with my cardboard and Styrofoam rendition of the Parthenon, but my pride and joy was a replica of the Aztec pyramids and the city at Tenochtitlan made of sugar cubes. Wish I had a picture of that one. I remember staying up into the wee hours to work on that.

What about you? What activities did you participate in? Did you create any memorable projects?  Share your memories with us, and more importantly, share them with your family. And if you need something to jog your memory, browse through some of the yearbooks in the newly expanded yearbook collection.

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The emotional rollercoaster comes to an end. It’s the last in the season of Long Lost Family! Sun, 31 Aug 2014 11:40:40 +0000 Brian Gallagher Read more]]> It has been quite the emotional rollercoaster this season. We have had front row seats to some beautiful reunions. We have smiled and cried in equal measure as we shared the journeys of this season’s participants. Join Davina McCall and Nicky Campbell as they help people find their absent family members in the final episode of Long Lost Family.


Sandra Macdonald

Sandra Macdonald grew up in Edinburgh as the only child of her adoptive parents. From a young age she felt as though she didn’t belong, despite doing everything she could to gain their acceptance. As a teenager these feelings became stronger. When she was 15, Sandra decided that she needed to find her birth mother.

All Sandra knew was that her mother had been in the care of a church organization when she gave birth. Hoping that they could help, Sandra approached them but was met with cruel and cold words. Being told that her mother had sinned and didn’t want to be reminded of those sins was a painful thing to be told.

It was two years before she could access the adoption records. The paperwork gave Sandra some clues to work with in her search. She discovered that her mother’s name was Elizabeth Blair, and that she was married and already had one child. But those details did not prove to be enough to find her mother.

Now 53, Sandra has spent almost forty years searching. She is hoping that the Long Lost Family team can complete the task and reunite her with the family she longs to be a part of. Join us for the final episode of the series and see if Sandra gets her wish.

Long Lost Family will air on ITV this Monday September 1st at  9pm. Join us on Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on this episode.

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