Past Articles

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

8 Quintessential American Products That Debuted at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair

Posted on September 4, 2014 in Family History

What was the hottest summer ticket in 1893? If 26 million visitors counts for anything, it was the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World’s Fair. Meant to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America, the fair was our country’s chance to show off how far it had come.… Read more

4 Types of French Surnames: Which One Is Yours?

Posted on September 3, 2014 in Family History

Is your last name French? Did you ever wonder where it came from and how your family got it? The most common French surnames for people born between 1891 and 1990 were: Martin (patronymic; after the most popular French saint, Saint Martin of Tours) Bernard (patronymic; from the given name, which is of Germanic origin)… Read more

It’s a Conspiracy: No J? No Gig for “Tonight Show” Hosts

Posted on August 29, 2014 in Family History

One of the most fun aspects of using Ancestry is that, on a whim, you can look up the lineage of various celebrities. For instance, on Johnny Carson’s search results page, you can find out that he’s on family trees from places as diverse as Cleveland and Nantucket. You can also see him in the… Read more

What’s the Most Popular Baby Name in Your State?

Posted on August 28, 2014 in Family History

Names like John and Mary have long been staples in the United States, at least since 1880 (according to the U.S. Social Security website). But you might have noticed a lot more men named David than John while you were investigating your family tree on Ancestry. That might have something to do with where you… Read more

On the Road Circa 1914: Glamping with Henry Ford and Thomas Edison

Posted on August 28, 2014 in Family History

Who knew that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were sort of the Thelma & Louise road-trippers of their time—without the guns? Starting in 1914, the two captains of industry took to the roads together for a two-week camping trip almost every year for about a decade. They called themselves “The Vagabonds” and were often joined… Read more