Past Articles

Decoding History: Ancestry of Benedict Cumberbatch Revealed

Posted on February 11, 2015 in Celebrity, Military Records

New research reveals that actor Benedict Cumberbatch is related to revolutionary code breaker Alan Turing, whom he portrays in the newly released biographical thriller, The Imitation Game. Researchers from Ancestry were able to crack Cumberbatch’s ancestral cipher and identify that both men share a common ancestor in John Beaufort, the Earl of Somerset, making them 17x… Read more

6 Facts That Prove Canada Dominated in World War I

Posted on January 21, 2015 in Military Records

With superpowers like Britain, Germany, and France as the star players in the First World War, the role of Canada—then still a part of the British Commonwealth—is often overlooked. However, Canadians were critical players in the Allied victory in the Great War. Here are 6 facts that prove Canada was one of the great, underrated… Read more

You’ll Never Guess What the Name Disney Means

Posted on January 14, 2015 in Surnames

People didn’t always use surnames. Think about it: if you lived on a manor with only a few families or in a village with only a few more, you didn’t need two names to keep everybody straight. Surnames came about as populations grew and both people and governments needed improved ways to differentiate between people… Read more

4 British WWII Heroes You’ve Never Heard Of

Posted on December 31, 2014 in Military Records

Anyone can spout off Winston Churchill and King George VI as prominent Englishmen in the Second World War, but they certainly weren’t the only Brits of wartime significance. Here’s a look at four, fascinating English men and women whose stories of heroism in WWII went relatively untold for decades. Eileen Nearne Topping the list is… Read more

Fox 13 Tampa’s John Wilson Finds a Grandfather on Both Sides of the Civil War

Posted on December 11, 2014 in Family History

John Wilson of Fox 13 News, Tampa, knew next to nothing about his great-grandfather Alfred Wilson. Even his 96-year-old aunt, Opal Mullins, knew only that Alfred had served in the Civil War. So neither was prepared for the shock when genealogy experts uncovered exactly what Albert was up to during this turbulent period of… Read more

Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, and Carey Mulligan: What These Stars’ Surnames Really Mean

Posted on December 2, 2014 in Surnames

Sometimes a name just sticks. I have a 93-year-old friend named Scoop. His parents didn’t actually name him Scoop. In fact, I don’t know what they named him because everybody calls him Scoop. I thought he might have been a newspaper man back in the day, but the real story is he used to slide… Read more

Who Are the Most Likely Homeowners in the U.S.?

Posted on October 29, 2014 in Family History

Members of the armed services are among those least likely to own a home in the United States, according to a new analysis from the research team at Ancestry. We analyzed 112 years of U.S. Federal Census data to better understand the connection between occupation and home ownership across the nation over the last century.… Read more

Down the Mine at 89: “Retirement” Age in Victorian England

Posted on September 2, 2014 in Family History

Analysis of historic census records reveals the majority of over-65s in Victorian England worked full-time – Ancestry Victorian census reveals farmers, miners, servants and cleaners in their 80s or 90s More than half (57 percent) of people had to work beyond the age of 65 compared to just 10 percent today Records also show how… Read more

Simple Family Questions Uncover Shocking Family Secrets for KSTP Minneapolis Anchor Bill Lunn

Posted on May 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

When news anchor Bill Lunn approached ancestry experts for help answering questions about his great-great-grandfather, he hoped to learn more about his family’s origins. What he didn’t expect was a transatlantic treasure hunt that would reveal shocking family secrets and monumentally change his own sense of identity. Lunn knew that his great-great-grandfather, Nikolas, immigrated to… Read more