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Posted by wexon on July 22, 2014 in Family History

What Can Your Last Name Tell You

what does your last name meanIn Western Europe, surnames first came about in Medieval times as civilizations grew larger and it became necessary to distinguish between people.

Sometimes, names were based on occupation: a blacksmith may have been “John le Smith” (John the Smith) which became, over the generations, “Smith,” and a person named Appleby lived by or tended the apple orchard… Actor Christopher Reeve’s ancestor, the one to first take the surname, was most likely a sheriff, and Sarah Jessica Parker’s early medieval ancestor probably tended a park.

[Read more. Discover the surnames and stories in your family]


Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testing

titanicDNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago.

The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the Atlantic on the Titanic. At the time of the sinking, it is said that Trevor was rushed to a lifeboat by their maid and that the other three died on the boat. However, only Hudson’s body was found, leaving the mystery of what happened to Loraine and her mother.

[Read more. Uncover your family secrets by taking an AncestryDNA test.]

 


6 Things You Didn’t Know About Bonnie and Clyde

bonnie and clydeThe young gangsters in love tore across the American Southwest during the Great Depression, leaving a trail of robberies and murders. Newspapers demonized Clyde Barrow and his “gunwoman” Bonnie Parker as “notorious desperados” and “dangerous killers,” so the following six facts might surprise you.

The pair attained such notoriety that <strong>hordes of people flocked to the scene of their death and later to the coroner’s to retrieve “souvenirs.” Some attempted to cut off Barrow’s ear or finger; others took snippets of Parker’s blood-soaked dress or shattered window glass. One man offered Barrow’s father over $30,000 for Barrow’s body—the equivalent of over $600,000 today.

[Read more. Investigate your own outlaw ancestors]

Past Articles

8 Celebrities With Asian Ancestry

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 21, 2014 in Celebrity

For decades, Asian characters in Hollywood films and television shows were commonly played by non-Asian actors, and then for a few more decades, the only Asians portrayed were martial artists in action flicks. Even in today’s increasingly multicultural America (according to the 2010 census, 5.6 percent of the population is Asian, and it’s the fastest-growing… Read more

12 Bizarre Dining Customs That Are Now Extinct

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 20, 2014 in Family History

[Photo credit: Shutterstock] It’s no secret that humans spend an inordinate amount of time on food, whether it’s procuring it, preparing it, serving it, or, of course, eating it. Here are 12 dining customs we’re glad are no longer in vogue. 1. Vegetarians that were, well, not. In Medieval Britain, chickens, pigeons and fish were… Read more

Hot Summer Nights: The 1890 Ice Famine

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 20, 2014 in Family History

In the summer, it’s hard to imagine going without ice. But until the early 20th century, ice was a luxury and could be hard to come by. In the 1800s, it was “harvested” from ponds and streams, the frozen surface broken into huge chunks and shipped to cities to the south. This system could be… Read more

Phoenix NBC News Anchor Kim Covington Uncovers Her Slave Roots—and a Surprising Celebrity Connection

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 11, 2014 in Family History

Phoenix NBC news anchor Kim Covington knew nothing about her Covington name or heritage, and like many African-Americans, she believed it was impossible to find out more. But when family history experts from Ancestry.com began a search into her past, what they discovered not only answered questions about Kim’s family tree, but also, she says,… Read more

What Was It Like to Live in 18th-Century England?

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 10, 2014 in Family History

The Dashwood sisters, characters from Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, lived rather elegantly in 1700s England. Is that what your 18th-century ancestors’ day-to-day lives were like? There were two very different lifestyles in 18th-century England: that of the rich and that of the poor. With the Industrial Revolution, which started in the middle of… Read more

1934: A Bad Year for America’s Most Wanted

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 10, 2014 in Family History

It was 1934, the height of the Depression. FDR was president, the Apollo Theater had just opened in Harlem, and all year long, newspapers were full of articles about the “Dillinger Gang” and America’s Most Wanted criminals. It was a busy year for bad guys, and ultimately a bad one for them, too, as many… Read more

9 Things You Don’t Know About Your Clothes

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 9, 2014 in Family History

In many ways, clothes defined our ancestors. What they wore gave clues to their class, occupation, and status in the world. And to some degree, not much has changed. Today, we have uniforms for certain jobs, outer labels on clothing that indicate their expense, and different styles that define how we (and others) see ourselves.… Read more

8 Jobs You Were Born Too Late to Get

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 9, 2014 in Family History

Some jobs just aren’t meant to last. Technology trims a trade. Fashion fickleness frustrates growth. Reduced resources wreak havoc on an industry. In the 21st century, no one’s surprised when automation and offshoring render occupations obsolete. But that process of creative destruction has always occurred. Steel replaces bone. Siri the talking iPhone replaces Sally the… Read more