Past Articles

8 Jobs You Were Born Too Late to Get

Posted 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

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Smith: America’s Most Common Surnames

Posted on July 8, 2014 in Surnames

You won’t find this Top 10 list on Letterman, but according to the 2000 U.S. Census, the top 10 surnames in the United States, in order, are: Smith Johnson Williams Brown Jones Miller Davis García Rodríguez Wilson In 2000, there were 2.4 million Smiths, 1.9 million Johnsons, and 1.5 million Williamses in the U.S. Those… Read more

Nine Hollywood Family Dynasties That Passed Acting Through Generations

Posted on July 8, 2014 in Celebrity

Some children inherit their parent’s toolboxes and become artisans. Some ride their father’s ladder truck and eventually follow them as firefighters. Others simply inherit their family fortune which they can build upon or squander. A lucky few, however, wait in the wings or linger on the set until the day when they, too, can explore… Read more

Celebrate Homecoming Scotland by Researching Your Family History

Posted on July 8, 2014 in Family History

This is a big year for Scotland: Its historic independence vote will be held September 18, with the country deciding whether to go it alone or remain part of Great Britain. The vote has prompted a lot of soul-searching about the region’s past and what it means to be Scottish, so it’s appropriate that 2014… Read more

Why Your DNA Might Not Match Your Parents

Posted on July 3, 2014 in AncestryDNA

It’s fascinating what we can learn these days now that technology allows us to look into our DNA. One Washington state woman learned more than she wanted to know, though — that, somehow, she and her biological children did not share any DNA — and almost lost custody of her beloved children. It turned out… Read more

Is the Art of Handwriting Dead? How It Affects Genealogy Research

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Should today’s schoolchildren be taught handwriting? It’s a question that’s receiving attention lately, as the laborious process of learning to write by hand is removed from elementary curricula across the country in favor of typing. The New York Times recently reported that the widely adopted Common Core standards suggest teaching printing in kindergarten and first… Read more

All We Need Is Love: How Your Ancestors Courted Back in the Day

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Courtship: A period when a couple gets to know one another exclusively in order to determine whether they might become engaged or otherwise commit to each other. How did your grandparents and great-grandparents court and fall in love? These days, couples in Western countries usually date casually — though online matchmaking has recently changed the… Read more

What’s For Dinner? What Your Ancestors Ate Back in the Day

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Your Indus Valley ancestors (3300-1300 B.C.), according to archaeologists, ate a healthy diet that contained more fruits and vegetables than meat. They did keep cows, pigs, sheep, and goats for food, and they grew dates, grapes, and melons. Their field crops included wheat and peas. How did our diets evolve over the centuries, and what… Read more

How the History of Surnames Affects Your Ancestry

Posted on July 2, 2014 in Surnames

 People have always had names, of course. It’s how we distinguish between one another. But in the big picture, we really haven’t used surnames for all that long. China might be the exception. Way back in 2852 BC, the emperor Fu Xi standardized the naming system there, for reasons related to census taking. Until the… Read more

There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours?

Posted on July 1, 2014 in Surnames

Many of us have surnames passed down to us from ancestors in England. Last names weren’t widely used until after the Norman conquest in 1066, but as the country’s population grew, people found it necessary to be more specific when they were talking about somebody else. Thus arose descriptions like Thomas the Baker, Norman son… Read more