Past Articles

The Meanings of 6 Celebrity Surnames

Posted on March 19, 2015 in Celebrity, Surnames

Surnames, like the families and lineages they represent, can bestow a sense of identity on individuals to forge into the future with. Knowing the meaning of surnames can also help individuals discover their roots and where they originate. Sometimes, the meanings of family surnames are obvious, particularly if they originate in the same language spoken… Read more

Fascinating Secrets From 6 First Ladies’ Family Trees

Posted on March 19, 2015 in Celebrity

Think the U.S. presidents have interesting ancestry? Their wives come from equally surprising bloodlines. Here are six first ladies with amazing family trees. Hillary Clinton is related to Angelina Jolie. According to a study by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie are ninth cousins twice removed. Their common ancestor is… Read more

What Your Name Says About What You Do

Posted on March 9, 2015 in Surnames

Every expectant parent has wondered the same thing: “What impact will a particular name have on my child’s life?” If my family name is McDonald, will my son be teased if I name him Ronald? If I name my daughter Abbott, will she become a Franciscan friar? If I call my baby boy Elvis, is… Read more

Kicking the Bucket: What Killed Your Ancestors?

Posted on March 4, 2015 in Death Records

We know we’re living longer than our ancestors did due to the benefits of modern medicine and public health initiatives, but what exactly did folks die from in the past? Mortality information was collected with U.S. census records starting in the mid-1800s, but the further you go back in time, the more difficult it can… Read more

Virtual Genealogy Gets an Update in The Sims

Posted on March 3, 2015 in Family History

Video games and genealogy are two of America’s favorite pastimes, separated by what might seem like a wide generational divide. Unless, of course, you’re talking about The Sims. Virtual Genealogy In this life simulation game, where no one wins or loses, family tracking is a way of keeping tabs on your progress, says senior producer… Read more

5 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Kicked Out of College

Posted on March 2, 2015 in Celebrity

Even successful people hit bumps along the way. It’s reassuring to see that these famous people went on to do very well, even though they were expelled from college, whether for academic reasons or…other circumstances. Check out some of these fantastic—and entertaining—finds from the School Lists & Yearbooks collections on Ancestry. Edgar Allan Poe The author had… Read more

Summer Scorchers: America’s 9 Worst Heat Waves Ever Recorded

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Family History

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a record of heat waves starting in 1895. Since that time there have been nine major heat waves to hit the U.S., and each has left damage and destruction in its wake. 1. Heat Wave of 1896 New York City experienced tragedy during the summer of 1896.… Read more

5 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About the American Cowboy

Posted on February 20, 2015 in Family History

Though there were cowboys both before and after, the golden age of the American cowboy, really started in 1866. The Civil War had just ended, the Union Army had exhausted the supply of beef in the North, and a steer that was worth $4 a head in Texas—where millions ran wild—could bring $40 in the… Read more

​7 Famous Sons of the American Revolution

Posted on February 17, 2015 in Family History

A person’s heritage can influence so much in their life, from the kinds of foods they prepare to the groups they associate with. The Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) is a lineage society made up of men who can prove their descent from a Patriot ancestor. The organization’s earliest iteration started in 1876 as… Read more

7 Facts You Didn’t Know about the D-Day Invasion at Normandy

Posted on February 7, 2015 in Military Records

D-Day, or June 6, 1944 —the day the Allied troops invaded the beaches at Normandy, France— was the largest seaborne invasion in history and the first time since 1688 that an invading army successfully crossed the English Channel. The D-Day landings led to the liberation of France from Nazi control and have been called the… Read more