Past Articles

Calling James Smith! 10 Most Common First and Surname Combinations

Posted on January 20, 2015 in Surnames

If you look up when someone says “James Smith,” you’ve got plenty of company. That’s the most popular first and last name combination in the United States, according to a study conducted last year by a retired university professor. So as you research your family background, you might find some spouses or distant cousins with… Read more

Head of the Class: Do Certain Surnames Indicate Nobility?

Posted on January 12, 2015 in Surnames

Do you think your family originated from the top 1 percent? According to a new study of unique last names from around the world, moving in or out of the upper class doesn’t take just a few generations — it takes centuries. Measuring not just income and wealth but also occupation, education, and longevity, researchers… Read more

10 Big Facts You Didn’t Know About WWI

Posted on January 6, 2015 in Military Records

  It’s been a hundred years since Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo in 1914. That, of course, set off the chain of reactions and events that led to “the Great War,” as people called World War I at the time. By now, you’d think we know everything there is to know about “the… Read more

Yes, That’s Grandpa in a Dress

Posted on December 31, 2014 in Family History

Blue is for boys. Pink is for girls. Right? It wasn’t always that way. Tastes in children’s fashions have changed with every generation. Believe it or not, pink used to be the color of choice for dressing little boys. Not only that, but Grandpa (or Great-grandpa) probably wore a dress until he was about 6.… Read more

Pilgrims’ Progress: 7 Celebrities Who Are Mayflower Descendents

Posted on December 30, 2014 in Celebrity

Visit any town in Massachusetts for a day, and there’s a good chance someone will point to a big fancy house and say, “That family’s been here since the Mayflower.” But it isn’t just wealthy New Englanders who can claim they’re descended from those first Pilgrims. Not at all. Given how far and wide families… Read more

Eight Celebs With Royal Ancestry

Posted on December 30, 2014 in Family History

After years entrancing audiences and thrilling moviegoers, a few talented actors reach such heights of fame that we consider them Hollywood royalty: George Clooney. Leonardo DiCaprio. Julia Roberts. Before them, Elizabeth Taylor, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant. But some actors are lucky enough to rank as royalty the first time they ever stepped onto a set.… Read more

Which of “America’s Next Top Model’s” Male Contestants Share an Ethnicity?

Posted on December 29, 2014 in AncestryDNA

On this season of America’s Next Top Model, host Tyra Banks added a new twist: each of the contestants underwent AncestryDNA genetic testing, along with Tyra herself. When they received the results, they learned that not only are their family backgrounds vastly more diverse than they ever expected but also that they have more in… Read more

Tyra Banks Gets Surprising DNA Results on ‘America’s Next Top Model’

Posted on December 29, 2014 in AncestryDNA

On a recent episode of America’s Next Top Model, Tyra Banks turned her reality show into a DNA laboratory. The supermodel/TV mogul and her contestants went through AncestryDNA analysis, and the results surprised everyone. The AncestryDNA test is an autosomal test that looks across a person’s entire genome for clues into their past. Family historians… Read more

Tyra Banks Discovers Inspiring Stories In Her Family’s Past

Posted on December 29, 2014 in AncestryDNA

Tyra Banks is known for being a top supermodel, a successful talk-show host, and the co-creator and host of America’s Next Top Model, now in its 21st cycle on The CW. But when she delved into her ancestry on a recent episode of her show, she discovered that she’s not the first in her family… Read more

Scandal! What Grandma Gossiped About

Posted on December 23, 2014 in Family History

Our ancestors lived through many important events that made it into history books. But their lives were also touched by smaller stories more suited to gossip pages — the petty affairs and crimes that people talk about at kitchen tables. These events textured the lives of our grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents. Though they may never… Read more