13 Spooky Family History Finds

Posted by wexon on October 30, 2014 in Family History

Witches, ghosts, murder—researchers from Ancestry found them all and more when they started combing the headlines for spooky facts in some current, and former, celebrities’ pasts. Real Witch Found in Emma Watson’s Family Tree: Muggle actress Emma Watson, famous for playing Hermione Granger, the preternaturally talented witch and ally of Harry Potter, has a real-life… Read more

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

Posted by Paul Rawlins 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

How Does Your Family Stack Up to the Average Life Expectancy?

Posted by Ancestry.com on October 28, 2014 in Family History

We’ve all heard about that one older relative who lived until 100, but where does your family fall when it comes to the national average of lifespan? Do you have a particularly strong gene pool? If not, don’t fret. No matter your genetics, people are definitely living longer these days; over the past century, there’s… Read more

Five Jobs That Transformed America

Posted by Ancestry.com on October 28, 2014 in Family History

From 1860 to 1910, the population of the United States nearly tripled, from 31.4 million (including 3.9 million enslaved individuals) to 92.2 million. During that period, of course, the United States endured the Civil War. But the country also underwent the Second Industrial Revolution, transforming itself from a largely agrarian society into the greatest industrial… Read more

Uncovering a Free Black Man’s Past: Buying a Slave to Unite His Family

Posted by wexon on October 24, 2014 in Family History

My ancestor, Lewis Freeman, was a free Negro who lived in Chatham, North Carolina from at least 1800 until his death in 1845. I would like to know when he was born. – Harold F. _________Dear Harold, When searching for family roots in the South, a researcher might assume his or her African American ancestors… Read more

Leonardo the Goat Herder: What If Today’s Stars Made Their Livings the Way Their Ancestors Did?

Posted by Jeanie Croasmun on October 23, 2014 in Family History

While surnames are key to family history research on Ancestry, they are a fairly recent invention. In most European countries they became common as populations grew and people found they needed a way to distinguish William the blacksmith from William the yeoman when telling a story about one of the their neighbors, or the taxman wanted… Read more

7 Real Patent Medicines the FDA Would Never Approve

Posted by Ancestry.com on October 14, 2014 in Family History

Once upon a time, some of the greatest medical crises America faced included “tired blood” and “female weakness” — or so many patent medicines claimed. Between the end of the Civil War and the Great Depression, Americans spent millions of dollars on heavily advertised “natural” remedies whose claims of being free of addictive substances overlooked… Read more

Designer Impostors: 8 People Who Faked Membership in Famous Families

Posted by Ancestry.com on October 14, 2014 in Family History

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family, the saying goes. Throughout history, though, there have been particularly skilled and audacious con artists who’ve done a darn good job of faking membership in the family of their choosing. A few succeeded in passing as royal heirs to ascend a throne, some used… Read more

A Trip to the Past: America’s 8 Best Living History Farms & Museums

Posted by Ancestry.com on October 14, 2014 in Family History

If you’ve been researching your family tree on Ancestry, chances are you’ve stumbled on a relative or two who has worked in agriculture or experienced the challenges of pioneer life. If you are looking to get a feel for how they actually lived, living history farms and museums scattered all across the U.S. that use… Read more

Hate going to the dentist? So did your ancestors.

Posted by Ancestry.com on October 9, 2014 in Family History

Neolithic-era teeth found in modern-day Pakistan show evidence of having been drilled — with drills made of flint — and in a “remarkably effective” way, according to modern researchers who studied the 9,000-year-old teeth. Which goes to show that fear of going to the dentist probably predates written history. During the early Middle Ages in… Read more