We released new research this week that reveals that New Zealand trumps Australia in the celebrity stakes, as 16 per cent of Kiwis are able to lay claim to someone famous. However, Aussies should not fear as we are twice as likely as New Zealanders to be related to ‘convict royalty’, with almost one in five (17 per cent) of Australians having a link to a convicted criminal or convict.
2,000 Australian and New Zealand residents were surveyed, the results highlighting that the family trait of keeping skeletons in the closet is universal. In both Australia and New Zealand, almost 12 per cent of people said family members refused to discuss family secrets or rumours. Fortunately, it would appear that you don’t have to shake the family tree too hard to uncover your own family secret as almost one third (33 per cent) of respondents in both countries have discovered one by chance.
But not all are so easily revealed – more than half of Australians (55 per cent) currently exploring their family history are seeking to shed light on a family secret. 35 per cent also said that confronting a family secret resulted in them getting in touch with relatives they didn’t know previously, and that it also brought their family closer together.
Australia is a nation driven by a curiosity about our past, with 62 per cent of those surveyed exploring their family history in order to find out where their ancestors came from. Three quarters (75 per cent) think knowing their family history is important, although 72 per cent are yet to explore their roots. 43 per cent said that they want to know about their family history in order to share it with their children.
Given the time of year, it is the perfect opportunity for Australians to sit down with their relatives and start to explore their family history.
Brad Argent, content director, Ancestry.com.au, comments: “One of the most common regrets I hear from people is that they didn’t ask questions about their family, and particularly the older members, when they had the chance.
“Every family has an interesting story to tell, and this research certainly proves that we Australians are curious about our past – even if we have yet to explore it. Where we came from and how we got here are just such fundamental questions for us all and Christmas is the perfect time to start discussing them with your family.”
To begin searching your family history, visit www.ancestry.com.au.