Past Articles

Why Do Star Wars Names Sound…Familiar?

Posted on September 16, 2015 in Surnames

When “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” premieres in December, movie fans can revel in mind-blowing special effects and bask in the fictional universe that series creator George Lucas has been building since “Star Wars” appeared in theaters in 1977. A large part of the “Star Wars” allure comes from the evocative characters, with their even… Read more

The Mystery of an Excavated Jamestown Box

Posted on August 21, 2015 in Celebrity

In July 2015, archeologists announced they had discovered the 400-year-old bones of four prominent citizens of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. But what really excited the scientists were the bone fragments found in one of the graves. Those pieces of bone, found in a mysterious silver box, show how much we… Read more

6 Fascinating Things You Never Knew About Jamestown

Posted on August 21, 2015 in Celebrity

Steeped in legend and shrouded by time, Jamestown has long intrigued modern-day Americans. As the first permanent English colony in North America, Jamestown represented, then and now, a new beginning, a chance to conquer a continent, and a foothold for expansion of English law, customs, and traditions. Add to that a tale of love between… Read more

Adopted Sisters Find Each Other Through DNA Testing

Posted on August 7, 2015 in AncestryDNA

Wendy Garrett and Lisa Olivera are sisters, but they didn’t know it until February 2015. Living on opposite coasts with no mutual friends, they would never have met without AncestryDNA. Garrett, 29, grew up in California and then moved to Pennsylvania. Adopted through an agency, she knew that she had a brother, but not a… Read more

Are More Men Taking Their Wives’ Last Names?

Posted on July 2, 2015 in Surnames

For genealogists today, or those just interested in researching their family trees, surnames are a vital link between present and past, a line of breadcrumbs that guides us down the corridors of our family histories. But surnames can be a source of tension, especially when they involve gender relations. When actress Zoe Saldana revealed in… Read more

What if America Had Surnames for Illegitimate Children Like “Game of Thrones”?

Posted on July 2, 2015 in Surnames

In the fictional kingdom of Westeros, created in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice series and depicted on HBO’s Game of Thrones, illegitimate children of noble houses take certain surnames depending on which of the kingdom’s nine regions they are raised in. Thus, fan favorite Jon Snow takes his surname from… Read more

What Is the Real Story Behind Hillary Clinton’s Ancestry?

Posted on June 26, 2015 in Celebrity

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. Next year, she hopes to add another title to her resume: President of the United States of America. Clinton is the early front-runner to win the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and if she makes it to… Read more

Hard Time: More Escape Stories from Clinton Prison

Posted on June 23, 2015 in Family History

New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility — or Dannemora as it’s often known — became a regular part of the national news when two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, escaped using power tools. Though the entire situation seems like a plot straight out of a movie, this isn’t the first time prisoners used tools… Read more

9 Famous Smiths Through History – Are You Related to Them?

Posted on June 12, 2015 in Celebrity

Smith is the most common last name in America, so if your people have been here for awhile, there is a good chance the name belongs to someone somewhere on your family tree. But was it someone who was famous? Or infamous? That’s where Ancestry comes in. Even though there are over a billion records… Read more

What Your Last Name Tells You About Your Ancestor’s Job

Posted on June 12, 2015 in Surnames

If surnames were instituted today, what would yours be? Maybe you’d be Joe Dentist, or Mary Blogger, or Jamie App Developer. Centuries ago, as populations boomed, people started to think, “Hey, we need to a way to differentiate that John from that other John.” So people took on surnames, many of which described their occupations.… Read more