Last Word: First-Person Accounts of American Slavery

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 13, 2014 in Family History

During the Depression, when the U.S. government was trying to put to work one person in every family that had an unemployed breadwinner, some remarkable things were done. Between 1935 and 1943, the Works Project Administration (WPA) hired almost 8 million unemployed people across the country to build new roads, bridges, schools, botanical gardens, zoos,… Read more

9 Typical Ellis Island Experiences

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 13, 2014 in Family History

More than a third of all Americans can trace their ancestry to Europeans who entered America after a mandatory stop at Ellis Island. Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million people passed through the immigration inspection station in Upper New York Bay, and on average immigrants spent 2-5 hours there. So, what was the… Read more

One If By Land — What Type of Transportation Did Your Ancestors Use?

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 8, 2014 in Family History

How did your ancestors get around? Go back far enough, and they primarily walked or rode horses (which were domesticated about 4,000-3,000 B.C.). But how about in more recent times? Not sure? Have a look at Ancestry’s helpful explanation of its maps, atlases and Gazetteers collection from across the U.S. Looking at the lay of… Read more

What It Was Like on the REAL Oregon Trail?

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 8, 2014 in Family History

Whether you were addicted to The Oregon Trail on your Apple IIc as a kid, got hooked on it on Facebook as an adult, or just have an affinity for old Westerns, you probably think you have an idea of what life was like for our pioneer ancestors who made the journey to the Pacific… Read more

13 Fascinating Victorian Funeral Customs

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 29, 2014 in Family History

Many Victorian funeral customs started when Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, died of typhoid in 1861. She mourned him for the rest of her life, dressing in full mourning for the first three years after his death (her entire court did the same). Her style of mourning was copied the world over, especially in England,… Read more

A (Long) Day in the Life of Your Grandparents

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 25, 2014 in Family History

Family life in the 1950s is the stuff of myth: rolling suburban lawns, practical housewives, Cadillacs, and tuna casserole. A lot of that is based in fact. Flush with postwar freedom and cash, life looked pretty good to most Americans. They got married earlier than at any other time in the century (women at 21… Read more

What’s Trending

Posted by wexon on July 22, 2014 in Family History

What Can Your Last Name Tell You In Western Europe, surnames first came about in Medieval times as civilizations grew larger and it became necessary to distinguish between people. Sometimes, names were based on occupation: a blacksmith may have been “John le Smith” (John the Smith) which became, over the generations, “Smith,” and a person… Read more

12 Bizarre Dining Customs That Are Now Extinct

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 20, 2014 in Family History

It’s no secret that humans spend an inordinate amount of time on food, whether it’s procuring it, preparing it, serving it, or, of course, eating it. Here are 12 dining customs we’re glad are no longer in vogue. 1. Vegetarians that were, well, not. In Medieval Britain, chickens, pigeons and fish were considered “vegetarian.” At… Read more

Hot Summer Nights: The 1890 Ice Famine

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 20, 2014 in Family History

In the summer, it’s hard to imagine going without ice. But until the early 20th century, ice was a luxury and could be hard to come by. In the 1800s, it was “harvested” from ponds and streams, the frozen surface broken into huge chunks and shipped to cities to the south. This system could be… Read more

Phoenix NBC News Anchor Kim Covington Uncovers Her Slave Roots—and a Surprising Celebrity Connection

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 11, 2014 in Family History

Phoenix NBC news anchor Kim Covington knew nothing about her Covington name or heritage, and like many African-Americans, she believed it was impossible to find out more. But when family history experts from Ancestry.com began a search into her past, what they discovered not only answered questions about Kim’s family tree, but also, she says,… Read more