Past Articles

What’s the Most Common Birthday?

Posted on September 26, 2014 in Family History

Do you have a fall birthday? Is your birthday in September? Is your birthday, by any chance, September 16? If so, congratulations! You have the most common birthday in the U.S., based on data on American births from 1973 and 1999 analyzed at Harvard University. Least common? That’s an easy one: February 29. But on… Read more

9 Things They Don’t Teach in College Anymore

Posted on September 19, 2014 in Family History

Laugh all you want at the courses colleges offer these days on Lady Gaga and zombies — is that really so much less practical than the ancient Greek and Roman would-be scholars had to study in centuries past? Ancestry has a whole collection of school catalogs from the 19th and early 20th centuries that are… Read more

4 Types of Spanish Surnames: Which One Is Yours?

Posted on September 17, 2014 in Family History

Ever wonder about Spanish surnames (“apellido” in Spanish) and how they came to be? Spanish surnames started being used in medieval times, when populations were growing and it became necessary to distinguish between individuals with the same given name. The 10 most common Spanish surnames today cover about 20 percent of the population in Spain.… Read more

It’s a Boy … and a Boy … and Another Boy: Does Child Gender Run in Families?

Posted on September 16, 2014 in Family History

Genealogy isn’t just a great way to learn about your personal history; it may also hold the key to longstanding mysteries in biological science. For decades, scientists and philosophers around the world have wondered what causes the “returning soldier effect” — a boom in baby boys born after a society’s soldiers return from war. Theories… Read more

10 Weird but True Facts About DNA

Posted on September 16, 2014 in AncestryDNA

AncestryDNA does amazing things. With just a few drops of saliva, it can trace your genes to Senegal or Scandinavia. It can reveal hidden branches of your family tree and connect you to previously unknown third cousins. But these revelations are just the beginning of your complex genetic map. Here are some stunning but true… Read more

Born on the Wrong Side of the Blanket? 8 Illegitimate Offspring Who Made History

Posted on September 15, 2014 in Family History

If you think there’s reason to be ashamed of any illegitimate ancestors you find stashed in your family’s closet, then, in the words of Game of Thrones‘ Ygritte, “You know nothing, Jon Snow” (a bastard himself). Even Prince William, the future King of England, can trace his roots (on Diana’s side) back to two of… Read more

Oh, Ethel! 10 Baby Girl Names That Used Be Popular

Posted on September 9, 2014 in Family History

Much like fashion, baby names follow trends. These days, classic-sounding names like Olivia, Sophia, and Ava are in vogue, but some more traditional names that were once on top have completely fallen to the wayside. Now, a name like Minnie (which you may come across frequently if you are digging around your Ancestry family tree… Read more

All Work and No Play? No Way! 8 Early Amusement Parks Your Ancestors Visited

Posted on September 9, 2014 in Family History

Our ancestors weren’t so different from us. They worked, they took care of their homes and families, and when they had free time, they sometimes enjoyed taking their families to visit fairs and other early attractions that were precursors to our modern amusement parks. In the Middle Ages, people enjoyed “periodic fairs,” and one of… Read more

History’s 8 Worst Jobs for Kids

Posted on September 9, 2014 in Family History

It’s hard to believe that child labor wasn’t outlawed in the U.S. until 1938, when the Fair Labor Standards Act was passed. For centuries, poor families relied on every member of the household to help make ends meet. Families with more means could apprentice their child to a tradesman. Your own ancestors might have been… Read more

10 of the Most Disgusting Jobs in History

Posted on September 9, 2014 in Family History

The 21st century certainly has its share of disgusting jobs, but in the times before mechanization, indoor plumbing, and electricity, our ancestors really bore the brunt of the literal dirty work. Here are 10 jobs found in Tony Robinson’s The Worst Jobs in History that are NSWE (not safe while eating). 1. Vomit collector. It’s… Read more