Past Articles

Revealed: 1-in-3 British Naval Heroes Were Underage

Posted on March 20, 2015 in Military Records

Analysis of over 380,000 digitised historic naval records reveals that nearly a third of the sailors who helped Britain achieve naval supremacy in World War I were ‘underage’ volunteers. The Royal Navy Registers of Seaman’s Services, 1900-1928, now available on Ancestry, detail each sailor’s name, birthdate, birthplace, vessels served on, service number, and other service… Read more

How Irish Is Your City? AncestryDNA Has the Answer.

Posted on March 13, 2015 in AncestryDNA

At AncestryDNA, we’re exploring how we can use genetics to study Irish heritage in the U.S. Throughout our nation’s history, millions of individuals from Ireland planted new roots here in the United States. While hundreds of thousands of Irish immigrants arrived in the 1600’s and 1700’s, more than two million arrived in the mid-19th century – most… Read more

How to Find the Story of Your Civil War Ancestors

Posted on March 11, 2015 in Military Records

More Medal of Honor winners came from this war than any other—and more Americans lost their lives. Women disguised themselves as men to join the fight. After almost two years, black men were allowed to join the fight for freedom. These are just a few of the stories that came out of America’s bloodiest conflict.… Read more

Bizarre but True Facts: Canada in WWII

Posted on March 4, 2015 in Military Records

From the Holocaust to the famous Christmas Eve armistice, war tends to bring out the worst and the best in people, and it sometimes takes decades before those stories are ever told. Here are some crazy (but completely true) facts you may never have heard about Canadians in World War II. Canadians voted for conscription… Read more

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 Ancestry.com 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