7 British Firsts from World War I

Posted by Paul Rawlins on July 8, 2015 in Military Records

War has a tendency to hasten progress and inspire invention. After all, necessity is said to be the mother of invention, and wartime is a period of prolonged, urgent necessity. The radar, the computer, duct tape, and Twinkies all owe their invention or improvement to World War II. Here’s a list of more innovations you… Read more

The Surprising Roles Women Played in the Civil War

Posted by Ancestry Team on April 13, 2015 in Military Records

The Civil War tore the nation in two, pitted state against state and brother against brother, and led to the death of over 625,000 soldiers. But the Civil War didn’t just change the lives of men who fought in it — it transformed the lives of women, too. Women served on the battlefield in various… Read more

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

Posted by Paul Rawlins 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 to Find the Story of Your Civil War Ancestors

Posted by Paul Rawlins 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 by Paul Rawlins 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 by Paul Rawlins 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

7 Facts You Didn’t Know about the D-Day Invasion at Normandy

Posted by Ancestry Team on February 7, 2015 in Military Records

D-Day, or June 6, 1944 —the day the Allied troops invaded the beaches at Normandy, France— was the largest seaborne invasion in history and the first time since 1688 that an invading army successfully crossed the English Channel. The D-Day landings led to the liberation of France from Nazi control and have been called the… Read more

7 Stunning Facts You May Not Know About World War II

Posted by Ancestry Team on February 6, 2015 in Military Records

Most of us know the larger story of World War II and have a sense of its horrors: 70 million people fought in the war, which lasted from 1939 to 1945, killed millions, and drastically changed our world and its nations, economies, and lives. But here are some stunning facts about World War II you… Read more

7 Suprising Facts About the French & Indian War

Posted by Ancestry Team on January 27, 2015 in Military Records

Did you know that the failed diplomatic efforts of a 21 year old precipitated the French and Indian War (1756-1763)? The dispute between Britain and France was over control of the area in the upper Ohio River Valley, where the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers meet (located near modern-day Pittsburgh and valuable for transporting goods). When… Read more

6 Unexpected Facts About the Spanish-American War

Posted by Ancestry Team on January 26, 2015 in Military Records

Did your ancestors fight in the Spanish-American War? You may remember the basics of that war: Put simply, Cuba wanted to be free of Spanish rule, the U.S. supported Cuba, and Spain subsequently declared war on the U.S. over it. Here, though, are few facts from those months in 1898 you may not know: Oops,… Read more