Past Articles

12 Questionable Pieces of Retro Advice

Posted on March 31, 2015 in Family History

From Dorothy Dix to Ann Landers, advice columns have long filled American newspapers. The archives on Ancestry are rich with pointers on how to snag a man or behave in polite company. They’re a window into the social mores of different eras — many of which are thankfully long gone. If you’re looking for some… Read more

10 Retro Baby Girl Names Making a Comeback

Posted on March 24, 2015 in Surnames

While naming a baby represents the culmination of an intensely personal decision-making process, a newborn’s name also forms one tiny part of a larger pattern. The selected name might reflect widespread cultural forces — like the lasting popularity of Mary or John — or reflect more narrow subcultural or ethnic influences. It might honor someone… Read more

The Meanings of 6 Celebrity Surnames

Posted on March 19, 2015 in Celebrity, Surnames

Surnames, like the families and lineages they represent, can bestow a sense of identity on individuals to forge into the future with. Knowing the meaning of surnames can also help individuals discover their roots and where they originate. Sometimes, the meanings of family surnames are obvious, particularly if they originate in the same language spoken… Read more

Fascinating Secrets From 6 First Ladies’ Family Trees

Posted on March 19, 2015 in Celebrity

Think the U.S. presidents have interesting ancestry? Their wives come from equally surprising bloodlines. Here are six first ladies with amazing family trees. Hillary Clinton is related to Angelina Jolie. According to a study by the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie are ninth cousins twice removed. Their common ancestor is… Read more

What Your Name Says About What You Do

Posted on March 9, 2015 in Surnames

Every expectant parent has wondered the same thing: “What impact will a particular name have on my child’s life?” If my family name is McDonald, will my son be teased if I name him Ronald? If I name my daughter Abbott, will she become a Franciscan friar? If I call my baby boy Elvis, is… Read more

Kicking the Bucket: What Killed Your Ancestors?

Posted on March 4, 2015 in Death Records

We know we’re living longer than our ancestors did due to the benefits of modern medicine and public health initiatives, but what exactly did folks die from in the past? Mortality information was collected with U.S. census records starting in the mid-1800s, but the further you go back in time, the more difficult it can… Read more

Virtual Genealogy Gets an Update in The Sims

Posted on March 3, 2015 in Family History

Video games and genealogy are two of America’s favorite pastimes, separated by what might seem like a wide generational divide. Unless, of course, you’re talking about The Sims. Virtual Genealogy In this life simulation game, where no one wins or loses, family tracking is a way of keeping tabs on your progress, says senior producer… Read more

5 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Kicked Out of College

Posted on March 2, 2015 in Celebrity

Even successful people hit bumps along the way. It’s reassuring to see that these famous people went on to do very well, even though they were expelled from college, whether for academic reasons or…other circumstances. Check out some of these fantastic—and entertaining—finds from the School Lists & Yearbooks collections on Ancestry. Edgar Allan Poe The author had… Read more

Summer Scorchers: America’s 9 Worst Heat Waves Ever Recorded

Posted on February 26, 2015 in Family History

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a record of heat waves starting in 1895. Since that time there have been nine major heat waves to hit the U.S., and each has left damage and destruction in its wake. 1. Heat Wave of 1896 New York City experienced tragedy during the summer of 1896.… Read more

5 Amazing Facts You Never Knew About the American Cowboy

Posted on February 20, 2015 in Family History

Though there were cowboys both before and after, the golden age of the American cowboy, really started in 1866. The Civil War had just ended, the Union Army had exhausted the supply of beef in the North, and a steer that was worth $4 a head in Texas—where millions ran wild—could bring $40 in the… Read more