Can You Beat This 1940s Quiz?

Find out where your family lived in 1940, who they lived with, who the neighbors were, what they did for a living, and more things 1940 at Ancestry.

There Are 7 Types of English Last Names – Which One Is Yours?

Many of us have surnames passed down to us from ancestors in England. Last names weren’t widely used until after the Norman conquest in 1066, but as the country’s population grew, people found it necessary to be more specific when they were talking about somebody else. Thus arose descriptions like Thomas the Baker, Norman son Read More

Baby Name Trends: What A Difference a Century Makes

Elizabeth and William — two strong, Anglo-Saxon names. A current queen and a future king. They’re also the only two baby names to appear in the top 10 for both 1914 and 2013, a span of 100 years. For today’s American babies, traditional names like Charlotte and Benjamin are nearly as popular as more trendy Read More

Now and Then: Photos of New York City’s History

New York is one of the nation’s most recognizable cities. Yet despite a landscape filled with historic buildings, New York is a city that is always changing . Thanks to the New York City Municipal Archives, we can take a look back to the late 1930s and see what some of the Big Apple’s iconic Read More

11 Unbelievable Items from the Sears Catalog

Published from 1888 to 1993, the Sears catalog featured everything from sewing machines, clothes, and sporting goods to cars, houses, and livestock. The Sears catalog is a great chronicle of our country’s history, as told through everyday items sold to ordinary people. But, looking back, many of its pages were far from ordinary. Here are Read More

8 Celebrity Pictures from Our Yearbook Archive

The searchable collection of more than 50,000 U.S. school yearbooks on Ancestry includes a celebrity gallery, where you can see the likes of Madonna dancing with her high school classmates and Jake Gyllenhaal getting smooched by a couple of seventh-grade fans. It’s fun to see where someone famous went to school, what they looked like Read More

80-Year-Old Mystery Solved By a Simple DNA Test

Angelina Jolie unwittingly unlocked a mystery that an 80-year-old man had been trying to solve his entire life. Along with a friend, aspiring New York actress Cathryn Mudon took a DNA test after hearing Jolie was screened for the breast cancer gene. “We just did it on a whim,” she later told Dallas television station Read More

12 Stunning Civil War Facts

The Civil War was the bloodiest war in our country’s history. It is often called “the first modern war” because of efficient and deadly weapons that became available for the first time. Just how terrible was this war that pitted brother against brother? Consider these 12 jaw-dropping facts: 1. More soldiers died in the Civil Read More