Past Articles

First Foodie: What Presidents Ate in the White House

Posted on January 28, 2015 in Celebrity

From a love of French cuisine to down-home barbecue, each president brings his own tastes to the White House. While not all our commanders-in-chief were epicures, they inevitably influenced our ancestors’ eating habits. Here’s a look at some presidential palates. Thomas Jefferson As minister to France, Jefferson couldn’t get enough of the cuisine in Paris.… Read more

Beyond Corleone: Italian Place Names as Surnames

Posted on January 27, 2015 in Surnames

It’s a famous scene in cinema: In “The GodfatherPart II,” 9-year-old Vito Andolini arrives at Ellis Island and, being unable to tell the clerk his name, becomes Vito Corleone, the town of origin listed on his paperwork. While the scenario of an Ellis Island clerk changing immigrant’s names on a whim isn’t historically accurate, it’s… Read more

10 Baby Boy Names That Used to Be Popular

Posted on January 22, 2015 in Family History

Names — they can be as timeless as some found in the Bible (John, David, James) or as trendy as a celebrity’s kid (North, Sparrow, Brooklyn). Every parent understands the complexity of choosing a name, because while some names never fall out of favor, others can stop being in vogue in just a few generations.… Read more

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

Why Your Great-Grandmother’s Life Was Totally Awesome

Posted on January 14, 2015 in Family History

When you think about someone born circa 1894, or right around the turn of the century, your mind probably jumps to the fact that they had no refrigerators to keep their leftover Chinese food in (and worse, no Chinese food delivery), which sounds pretty terrible. But while she probably faced plenty of hardships in her… Read more

Do You Come From Royalty? Your Last Name May Tell You.

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