Ancestry Blog http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm Mon, 27 Jul 2015 21:13:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 AncestryDNA Tests 1 Millionth Customerhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/27/ancestrydna-tests-1-millionth-customer/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/27/ancestrydna-tests-1-millionth-customer/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:21:51 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=8174 Popular family history website Ancestry just hit a huge milestone. AncestryDNA has now genetically tested one million people to help them discover more about themselves and their family story. The AncestryDNA database has more than doubled in the last year, and so far they have delivered 99 million connections of 4th cousins or closer. That means… Read more

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Popular family history website Ancestry just hit a huge milestone. AncestryDNA has now genetically tested one million people to help them discover more about themselves and their family story.

The AncestryDNA database has more than doubled in the last year, and so far they have delivered 99 million connections of 4th cousins or closer. That means that on average, 1 in 5,000 people who have taken the test are related within about 5 generations.

DNA US Infographic

 

What does one million in our database mean for you?

DNA testing has become a must if you’re looking to discover your own story, as more people take the DNA test every day means more opportunities for connections and new discoveries. It’s amazing to look back and see how fast genetic testing has grown, but what’s really impressive are the stories of new discoveries and lives changing because of a simple DNA test.

Have you discovered the stories waiting in your DNA? Join the million+ who have today.

 

melyssa

 

“I connected with a 4th cousin and was able to break down a wall on my paternal line.” ―Melyssa from Pennsylvania (read her full story here)

 

 

wendy

“AncestryDNA helped bring my sister and me together. It’s been an incredible journey.” ―Wendy from California (read how she first met her sister here)

 

 

mike2

 

“I solved a 30-year-old mystery using AncestryDNA.” ―Mike from England (watch his full story here)

 

 

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7 British Firsts from World War Ihttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/08/7-british-firsts-from-world-war-i/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/08/7-british-firsts-from-world-war-i/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 18:53:27 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=6897 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

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John Warwick Brooke, Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916. (Public domain, via Wikimedia commons)

John Warwick Brooke, Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916. (Public domain, via Wikimedia commons)

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 probably never knew emerged from Britain as a direct result of the Great War.

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Plastic surgery

We often associate plastic surgery with Hollywood actors chasing eternal youth and beauty, but modern plastic surgery’s origins were far more practical (and, perhaps, noble). Horrified by returning soldiers’ disfiguring shrapnel wounds, British doctor Harold Gillies developed methods of facial reconstruction to ease veterans’ transition back into normal civilian life. He pioneered techniques like skin grafts to repair cheeks, noses, and chins. His pedicle tube graft to supply blood to newly reconstructed areas is still used today.

 

Gas masks

When German troops initiated the first chemical warfare by releasing chlorine gas on opposing troops, it didn’t take long to realize that urine-soaked socks were not the most effective (or sanitary) protection. Thankfully, British officer Edward Harrison stepped up to the challenge and invented the very first gas mask, using himself as a guinea pig to test its effectiveness. He died days before the end of the war, reportedly working himself to death improving the masks.

 

Tanks

While nowadays a tank is considered the pinnacle of military strength, the very first tank was a relatively slight vehicle known as “Little Willie.” It was developed from farm vehicle technology, could carry only three men, and reached a maximum speed of a whopping three miles per hour. The British pioneered the invention of tanks as a way to navigate the trenches and gain the upper hand in World War I, and their development was so secret that even the factory workers building them didn’t know what they were.

 

Metal helmets

It may seem unbelievable, but it’s true: for the first year of conflict, British soldiers fought with only cloth caps protecting their heads. Within a year, the British developed the iconic Brodie steel helmet, an invention the Imperial War Museum heralds as a “masterpiece of simple design.”

 

Female soldiers

A century ago, women were forbidden to serve in the British military on account of their purportedly weaker dispositions. English reporter Dorothy Lawrence also encountered this prejudice when she tried to make her name in journalism, getting turned down by editor after editor for a post as a war correspondent. Undeterred, Lawrence took extreme measures to prove her capacity. She chopped off her hair, bound herself in a corset, disguised herself as a man, and headed to the front lines. She became the first and only English woman to fight in the trenches of the First World War. British officials were so embarrassed by her successful disguise that they detained her in a French convent until she swore not to tell her story.

 

Blood banks

When World War I began, the British Army was conducting direct blood transfusions from donor to patient, the only way they knew to prevent the blood from coagulating. Along came British-born American Captain Oswald Robertson, who demonstrated that with the addition of sodium citrate, donated blood could be stored on ice for up to 28 days. This led to the very first blood banks, which increased the availability of blood to wounded soldiers needing immediate transfusions and saved countless lives. Robertson’s work also led to the first blood donor station in London in 1922, where donors agreed to be on 24-hour call.

 

Sanitary napkins

For centuries, women improvised with fur, cotton, wool, or even grass inserts to manage their monthly periods. But when Cellucotton was used for soldiers’ bandages during the First World War, nurses recognized new potential for these absorbent, disposable cloths, and their use as sanitary napkins spread in popularity. Commercial companies latched onto the idea, and mass-market sanitary napkins became available in the following years.

—Connie Ray

 
Search for your own war heroes in military records on Ancestry.

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10 Baby Girl Names Making a Comebackhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/08/baby-girl-names-redux/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/08/baby-girl-names-redux/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 16:42:54 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7724 Naming a baby represents the culmination of an intensely personal decision-making process, but a newborn’s name also forms one tiny part of a larger pattern. The selected name might reflect widespread cultural forces — like the lasting popularity of Mary or John — or reflect more narrow subcultural or ethnic influences. It might reflect larger… Read more

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Baby girl namesNaming a baby represents the culmination of an intensely personal decision-making process, but a newborn’s name also forms one tiny part of a larger pattern.

The selected name might reflect widespread cultural forces — like the lasting popularity of Mary or John — or reflect more narrow subcultural or ethnic influences. It might reflect larger trends in popularity (held any babies named Jackson or Sophia lately?). Or it might honor someone in the baby’s family tree.

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While some names have always been popular in Western societies, a few once burned brightly, faded from view, and have since rekindled again. Here are 10 girl names that might have been popular in your grandmother or great-grandmother’s generation, fell from popularity, and now have regained their appeal for today’s parents.

EvangelineWhile this name, Greek for “bearer of good news,” was never hugely popular, it clearly experienced a drop in popularity followed by recent revival in the U.S. In the 20th century, Evangeline peaked at number 398 in 1901, but the name lost fans and fell out of the top 1,000 after 1966. In 2006, however — two years after the premiere of the hugely popular television show Lost, starring Evangeline Lilly — the name suddenly burst back as the 599th-most-popular name. In 2009, the year Disney’s “Princess and the Frog” came out with a character named Evangeline, the name stood at 429. It eventually peaked at number 285 in 2011, one year after Lost ended.

Adelaide — A variation on Adele, German for “noble” or “nobility,” Adelaide peaked at 179 way back in 1883. In 2005, the name cracked the top 1,000 for the first time in decades, and it’s been a dizzying ascent since. In 2011, the year that singer Adele released her Grammy-winning album 21, Adelaide made it to 407, and it’s still climbing.

Elsa — Elsa was originally a German nickname for Elisabeth, the Northern European form of the biblical name meaning “dedicated to God.” The name peaked in popularity in 1895 at number 215, but recently, it’s experienced a rapid renaissance. The name has risen in popularity every year since 2006. The 2013 hit film Frozen practically guarantees the name’s continued rise up the charts.

Evelyn — This name may be more likely to appear somewhere in your family tree than any other on this list, but it, too, has seen rises and falls. Peaking at number 10 in 1910, it remained in the top 20 names through 1930. In 2009 Evelyn broke back into the top 40 for the first time since 1939, leapt up to number 20 in 2013, and last year, actor Bruce Willis named his fifth daughter Evelyn. Evelyn is an English variant of the surname Aveline, a French diminutive form of the Germanic Avila, which, finally, has an unknown meaning.

Eleanor — Eleanor definitely demonstrates the cyclical nature of name popularity. In 1884, the birth year of Eleanor Roosevelt, the name was the 124th-most-popular name in the United States. The name reached an all-time high in 1920 at 25 and didn’t fall out of the top 50 until after 1936. But not even the First Lady’s popularity during World War II could reverse a long slide in popularity. Still, it’s hard to keep this good name down. In 2013, Eleanor was knocking on the door of the top 100 at 106. Eleanor is an English version of the Provençal name Alienor, meaning “Other Aenor,” the name given to 12th-century Eleanor of Aquitaine to distinguish her from her mother, who was also named Aenor.

Eva — Did you have an Eva in the family? The 1852 publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the best-selling novel of the 19th century, propelled this name to popularity with its tragic figure Little Eva. Eva stayed in the top 100 through 1934, then went on a slow decline. The name reentered the Top 100 in 2009 at number 99, perhaps inspired by actress Eva Longoria, who co-starred in Desperate Housewives from 2004 to 2012. By 2013, it reached number 88. An impressive feat, but modest compared to its variation Ava, which has ranked 4 or 5 since 2006. Eva is a Latin form of the biblical Hebrew name Chava, meaning “life.”

Hazel — Here’s another name that’s likely to show up somewhere in your family tree. Hazel is one of several names derived in the 19th century from plants — in this case, the hazelnut tree. It peaked in popularity in 1897 at number 18, and remained in the top 100 through 1936. Julia Roberts gave the name a boost when she named one of her twins Hazel in 2004, and in 2012 author John Green name the protagonist of his bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars Hazel Grace. (Hazel used to do double duty as a male and female name. In the 1880 census, there are actually more men named Hazel than women.)

Violet — The current popularity of Violet, which was number 69 in 2013, exceeds the name’s last golden era, during the 1910s. It bottomed out in the 1980s, when it disappeared from the top 1,000. In 1998, however, parents started picking the name again, and it climbed even more sharply after celebrity couple Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck named their daughter Violet in 2005. This is another name derived from plants and trees that became popular in the 19th century.

Josephine — Josephine is slowly regaining popularity. The name has been on a nearly uninterrupted rise in popularity since 1987, when it hit an all-time low. The name’s heyday was in the 1910s, when it peaked at number 21 in 1917. The name is a feminine, English form of the Hebrew name Josef, meaning “he will add,” and the U.S. added plenty of Josephines in 2013, when the name clocked in at number 160.

Ruby — Ruby’s greatest popularity came between 1900 and 1936, when the name enjoyed time in the top 50, peaking at number 22 in 1911. In 2013, Ruby vaulted back into the top 100, at number 93. Ruby is taken from the name of the deep red gem, which is derived from the Latin rubeus, meaning “reddish” via the Old French rubi.

— Sandie Angulo Chen

If you’re looking for retro names to bring back, there’s no better place to find them than in your own family tree on Ancestry. Start a free trial today.

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The Geographical Origins of Popular English Surnameshttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/08/the-geographical-origins-of-popular-english-surnames-2/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/08/the-geographical-origins-of-popular-english-surnames-2/#comments Wed, 08 Jul 2015 16:03:38 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7919 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 of… Read more

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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 of Richard, Henry the Whitehead, Elizabeth of the Field, and Joan of York that, ultimately, led to many of our current surnames.

There are perhaps 45,000 different English surnames. Of those, many come from specific places or locations. The chart below details the geographical origins of some of the most popular English surnames.

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Visit Ancestry.com to discover the origins and history of your surname, and to begin a family history journey of your own.

 

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10 Baby Boy Names That Used to Be Popularhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/07/10-baby-boy-names-that-used-to-be-popular-2/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/07/07/10-baby-boy-names-that-used-to-be-popular-2/#comments Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:32:35 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7194 Names — they can be as timeless as some found in the Bible (John, David, James) or as trendy as a celebrity’s kid (North, Sparrow, Brooklyn). Every parent understands the complexity of choosing a name, because while some names never fall out of favor, others can stop being in vogue in a generation. Of course,… Read more

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Photo by John Vachon for U.S. Farm Security Administration (courtesy Library of Congress)

Photo by John Vachon for U.S. Farm Security Administration (courtesy Library of Congress)

Names — they can be as timeless as some found in the Bible (John, David, James) or as trendy as a celebrity’s kid (North, Sparrow, Brooklyn). Every parent understands the complexity of choosing a name, because while some names never fall out of favor, others can stop being in vogue in a generation. Of course, the reverse phenomenon is true as well, with old-fashioned names that make a comeback.

We took a look at the most popular boys’ names from 1880 (the earliest available date for government statistics about given name popularity) to the 1930s and picked 10 that are hardly used anymore. Sure, there are still tons of Williams, Henrys, and Edwards, but when’s the last time you received a birth announcement for an Ernest, Harold, or Herbert?

You can find out if you have any forebears with these names by researching your family tree on Ancestry.

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1. Clarence — According to government records going back to 1880, now maintained by the Social Security Administration, Clarence peaked in popularity in 1895, when it was the 17th-most-popular name in the U.S. A year earlier, in 1894, famed lawyer Clarence Darrow represented union leader Eugene V. Debs in his trial for leading an illegal railroad strike.

2. Herbert Herbert is another name that has fallen in popularity. Herbert’s popularity peaked in 1929, when it hit number 25. Maybe not coincidentally, 1929 was the year one of the 20th century’s most famous Herberts, Herbert Hoover, took office as the 31st president. Perhaps the fact that he presided over America’s slide into the Great Depression accounts for the name’s drop in popularity.

3. Elmer — In 1893, Elmer peaked in popularity at number 32 and accounted for 0.474 percent of all newborn boys, or 2,338 individuals per million. The name — best known now for a brand of glue — stayed in the top 100 for six decades but has steadily declined since the ’40s. 4. Ernest — Ernest made it to number 21 in 1885, when 0.619 percent of newborn boys were given this name. Ernest last made the top 100 in 1956, when it was 94th.

5. Harold — Harold’s modern heyday was in the 1920s. In 2013, the name hit an all-time low in popularity, at 893. After King Harold II, the last Anglo-Saxon king of England, died at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, the name largely died out with him, but it was reintroduced in the 19th century with other Old English names.

6. Eugene The popularity of Eugene peaked in 1929 at number 20. The name last made the top 100 in 1957, at number 92.

7. Willie — It’s now usually considered a nickname for William, but Willie was one of the most popular names for boys in the first decade of the 20th century. It hit number 11 in 1910, and the name stayed in the top 100 until the late 1960s, perhaps kept popular by baseball star Willie Mays, who won National League rookie of the year in 1951 and played until 1973. (Unlike Willie, William has stayed popular. William was the fifth-most-popular name in 2013, and it has never dropped below number 20 since 1880.)

8. Albert — Like Willie, Albert peaked in popularity in 1910, when the name reached number. Albert had been popular for much of the 19th century after Prince Albert took his place as Royal Consort to England’s beloved Queen Victoria in 1840, a title he held until his death in 1861.

9. Arthur As with Albert, Arthur has been experiencing a steady decline in popularity since 1880, even if its popularity hasn’t plummeted as drastically as Elmer or Herbert. Arthur was ranked number 14 or 15 for all of the 1880s but last cracked the top 100 in 1969.

10. Walter — Walter stands out because it once ranked the highest of all the names on this list. In 1914, it hit number 10 in popularity, but the greatest number of Walters was actually born in 1892, when 1.696 percent of newborn boys were given that name. Walter didn’t drop out of the top 100 until after 1972.

—Sandie Angulo Chen
 

Do these outdated names appear in your family history? Start your free trial on Ancestry today and find out.


 
 

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Did Kate Middleton Come From…Middleton?http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/29/did-kate-middleton-come-frommiddleton/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/29/did-kate-middleton-come-frommiddleton/#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 21:15:54 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7563 Our surnames often hold clues from our family’s past. English surnames came about in the Middle Ages as populations grew and people found they needed a way to distinguish William the blacksmith from William the cooper when telling a story about one of the their neighbors, or the taxman wanted to make sure both John… Read more

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[Image courtesy of tsaiproject]

[Image via tasiproject]

Our surnames often hold clues from our family’s past. English surnames came about in the Middle Ages as populations grew and people found they needed a way to distinguish William the blacksmith from William the cooper when telling a story about one of the their neighbors, or the taxman wanted to make sure both John the baker and John who lived on the hill got dinged for his fair share.

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They were often based on an occupation (Baker, Miller, Smith), a characteristic (Redd, Little, Brown), a patronymic taken from a father’s name (Williams, Johnson), or a place.

In fact, some of the earliest surnames were simply references to places. So John who lived by the stream crossing might be John Ford, while John who had place on the lake came to be called John Atwater. Other people might adopt the name of a town or village.

Which Middleton Is Kate’s Middleton?
Which got us thinking: Kate Middleton’s surname obviously has its roots in a place once called Middleton (or Middle Town). Maybe she had an ancestor who lived near a Middleton or came from one. The problem is, there are about 47 Middletons in England. So which is it?

Records get spotty the further back you go, so we may never be sure, but two of the Duchess’s ancestors may provide a clue.

Kate’s Middleton Heritage
Family historians at Ancestry have traced Kate Middleton’s ancestor back more than 250 years in England. (OK, that’s still a long way from the Middle Ages, we know, but keep reading).  Kate’s 4th great-grandfather, John Middleton, was christened on July 3, 1757 in the ancient parish of Warmfield, Yorkshire. His parents were Robert Middleton and Ann Wade.

Her earliest known Middleton ancestors are Robert Middleton and Ann Wade, who were married in Ann’s native Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1748. (Kate’s 5th great-grandparents). The city of Wakefield is plenty old, dating back to 1086.

South of Leeds?
Middleton means “Place in the Middle,” which could refer to any number of places—or places named or once called Middleton—in England. But take out a map. You’ll find Wakefield about 11.5 miles south and a little east of Leeds. It’s still a good-sized city in Yorkshire. Warmfield is about 3.5 miles to the east. But look to the north and a little west, and you’ll find a Middleton only 6 miles from Wakefield and 8.5 from Warmfield.

Could that town be Kate’s Middleton namesake? Without more records, we may never be able to say for sure, but for now… The town might want to start rooting around the local archives.

Are you wondering what your last name has to say about you? Plug it into the surname widget on Ancestry. Or if you’re ready to start tracing your own roots—royal or otherwise—sign up for a free trial.

 

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If You Have Virginia Relatives, Governor McAullife Has Good News for Youhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/va-vitals/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/va-vitals/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:48:09 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7840 Do you have Virginia ancestors?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could have access to Virginia birth, marriage, death, and divorce records? Can you imagine the goodies that you might find in there? Parents names and birth places, birth, marriage, and death dates and places, possible other relatives, burial places.  Sounds like a recipe to… Read more

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Do you have Virginia ancestors?  Wouldn’t it be great if you could have access to Virginia birth, marriage, death, and divorce records? Can you imagine the goodies that you might find in there? Parents names and birth places, birth, marriage, and death dates and places, possible other relatives, burial places.  Sounds like a recipe to break down a brick wall or two.

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Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced the completion of a two-year project to bring details from Virginia vital records from the state archives onto your laptop. The project was a joint effort between the Virginia Department of Health and Ancestry to fully digitize the state’s vital records as a means of preservation and permitting public access, all while meeting the state’s privacy requirements.

What does all this mean if you have Virginia ancestry? A lot.

Virginia, Birth Records, 1864-1999

Birth details have been extracted from Virginia birth records for the years 1864-1999 as well as images of birth records for the years 1864–1913, which fall outside the 100-year privacy restriction.

Included in this collection are delayed birth certificates. These are certificates applied for after the fact, often because people needed proof of a birth date later in life when they were applying for, say, a passport or Social Security.  On the delayed birth certificates, you will see a section that states the proof.  Oh, how I wish I could get my hands on the family Bible that this Notary Public saw stating the proof for the birth date of my great-aunt!

minniemaude

And if you find a delayed birth certificate, make sure that you look at the following image.  Someone may have filed the proof with the certificate, like this letter for Eloise Jordan.

eloisejordan

Virginia, Marriage Records, 1936-2014

You’ll find indexed Virginia marriage records from 1936 to 2014. And while there are privacy restrictions for records from 1989 to 2014, Ancestry does have images of the actual certificates that were recorded for the years 1936-1988.  These records include specific details about the bride and groom and often the parents’ names as well.

Looking for brothers and sisters?  Search just parents’ names to see if you can find a sibling that you never knew about.  Often the mother’s maiden is given.

Virginia, Death Records, 1912 – 2014

Death records are indexed for the years 1912-2014, and images are available from 1912 to 1987.

Make sure you read the entire record.  There is a story there.  On the record below, we learn that Wyatt died from organic heart disease and that he had been attended by the doctor for 10 years.  He worked as a carpenter and was retired.  We also find his parents’ names and birthplaces. You might think that his mother’s maiden name wasn’t given; however in this case, it was. I happen to know that Jerimiah and Mary were first cousins.

wyattpaul

You’ll also notice that part of the document was redacted; that is where you would find the Social Security number.

Virginia, Divorce Records, 1918-2014

Virginia may be for lovers, but not every marriage works out. If it didn’t for your ancestors, they left behind important vital information that lets you know.  Images of divorce records are available from 1918 to 1988 and indexed information from 1989 to 2014. You’ll find birth information and when and where the couple were married, as well as the cause of the divorce and the number of children they had.

divorcee

These records were made available via a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and Ancestry. Read the announcement made by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe here.

 

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There’s a 1 in 300 Chance That a Complete Stranger Is Your Cousinhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/theres-a-1-in-300-chance-that-a-complete-stranger-is-your-cousin/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/theres-a-1-in-300-chance-that-a-complete-stranger-is-your-cousin/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 21:33:14 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7874 New demographic research has revealed just how likely the British are to be closely related to a complete stranger they might meet in their homeland. Analysis by AncestryDNA, part of the world’s largest online family history resource, of birth rates and population figures for the past two centuries suggests that the typical Brit has 193,000… Read more

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dna-kit

What can AncestryDNA help you discover?

New demographic research has revealed just how likely the British are to be closely related to a complete stranger they might meet in their homeland.

Analysis by AncestryDNA, part of the world’s largest online family history resource, of birth rates and population figures for the past two centuries suggests that the typical Brit has 193,000 living cousins. These relatives are sixth cousins or closer and share a common ancestor born in the last 200 years.

What this means – translating the facts:

  • If you walk across Britain, you’ll find about two cousins per square mile.
  • With over 61 million people in the UK, the average Brit will have enough cousins to fill Wembley Stadium twice.
  • If you finished first in the London Marathon, 111 of your relatives may follow you across the finish line.
  • A cruise on the world’s largest liner would give you the chance to meet nearly 20 relatives at the buffet.
  • Londoners share their daily tube commute with 12,000 unknown relations and will ride with a cousin on one in four (24%) bus journeys.

Methodology:

Researchers at the site mined birth rates and census data from the last two centuries to build a model that estimates how many close living relatives each of us has. The model suggests that the typical Brit has five first cousins, right up to 174,000 sixth cousins (see table one).

 

Type and number of living cousins for the average Brit

 

Type of relation

 

Approximate number of relatives of that relation alive today (3 s.f.)

 

1st cousin

5

2nd cousin

28

3rd cousin

175

4th cousin

1,570

5th cousin

17,300

6th cousin

174,000

Total number of 6th cousin or closer

193,000

 

The research follows the launch of AncestryDNA in the UK and Ireland. This new DNA matching service allows people to discover more about themselves and their family history and also connect with relatives they previously didn’t know existed.

The AncestryDNA test uses microarray-based autosomal DNA testing, which surveys a person’s entire genome at over 700,000 locations via a simple saliva sample. Analysis of the DNA data provides an estimate of the locations of ancestors from 26 separate world-wide populations, including Great Britain and Ireland, Europe, Scandinavia, Asia and South and North Africa.

In contrast to Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA tests, which only test one line of your family and generally provide information about ancestry several thousand years ago, the AncestryDNA autosomal test targets the last few hundred or thousand years. This enables people to learn more about their more immediate family history and uncover new family connections with other people who have taken the test.

Commenting on the research, Brad Argent, Commercial Director at Ancestry said: “It’s incredible to think that many of us will be in daily contact with unknown relatives – with no idea that we share much more than the same sporting team or commute to work.”

Which means Brits might want to think twice about how they treat that stranger standing next to them on the tube or in the shop. They might be family.

 

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What Is the Real Story Behind Hillary Clinton’s Ancestry?http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/whats-the-real-story-behind-hillary-clintons-ancestry/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/26/whats-the-real-story-behind-hillary-clintons-ancestry/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:46:18 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7897 Hillary Rodham Clinton has been First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. Next year, she hopes to add another title to her resume: President of the United States of America. Clinton is the early front-runner to win the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and if she makes it to… Read more

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[Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Hillary Rodham Clinton has been First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State. Next year, she hopes to add another title to her resume: President of the United States of America.

Clinton is the early front-runner to win the Democratic Party’s nomination in the 2016 presidential race, and if she makes it to the White House, she would become the first woman to hold the office. She would also create a new dynasty as the second President Clinton, joining the likes of the Adamses, Roosevelts, and Bushes.

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So how did this formidable woman get to be here, on the cusp of making history? Her background has been the subject of some controversy, as Clinton herself has misspoken about her ancestors.

While speaking in Iowa about immigration policy in April 2015, Clinton claimed that all of her grandparents were immigrants. “All my grandparents, you know, came over here and … my grandfather went to work in a lace mill in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and worked there until he retired at 65,” she said. However, only one of her grandparents — Hugh Rodham Sr. , that lace factory worker — immigrated to the U.S. as a child. The rest were born in this country.

However, seven of Clinton’s eight great-grandparents were immigrants, primarily from Northern England and Wales. Her lineage includes English, Welsh, Scottish, French, and French Canadian ancestry.

This makes her family tree a relatively young one in the U.S. Compare that to her husband, Bill, whose eight great-grandparents were all born in this country.

Through her French Canadian branch, Clinton is distantly related to both Angelina Jolie and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Jolie is her ninth cousin twice removed and the Duchess her ninth cousin once removed, through Clinton’s great-grandmother Delia Martin, who was half French, half French Canadian. Delia’s grandmother’s French Canadian ancestors have links to many celebs — Clinton is also related through them to Madonna!

Two sets of her great-grandparents settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Though Clinton is a proponent of clean energy, coal mining runs in her family. Her English and Welsh ancestors worked at that occupation, and in her autobiography, she calls them “black-haired Welsh coal miners.” Once they came to America, they worked in factories, as mechanics, and as policemen.

So perhaps Clinton neglected to add the word “great” in her speech, but what she said of her ancestors’ grit was true: “They worked hard, they kept the faith, they lifted themselves up into the middle class, they brought property.” And now, their descendant just might become the next POTUS.

When did your ancestors immigrate? Dig through millions of immigration records with a free trial from Ancestry.

— Kelly Woo

 

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Hard Time: More Escape Stories from Clinton Prisonhttp://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/23/hard-time-more-escape-stories-from-clinton-prison/ http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/2015/06/23/hard-time-more-escape-stories-from-clinton-prison/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 18:12:01 +0000 http://blogs.ancestry.com/cm/?p=7885 New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility — or Dannemora as it’s often known — became a regular part of the national news when two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, escaped using power tools. Though the entire situation seems like a plot straight out of a movie, this isn’t the first time prisoners used tools… Read more

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[Photo credit: Correctionhistory.org]

New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility — or Dannemora as it’s often known — became a regular part of the national news when two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, escaped using power tools. Though the entire situation seems like a plot straight out of a movie, this isn’t the first time prisoners used tools to bust out of “Little Siberia.” Here are four amazing stories of felons who escaped Clinton Prison’s stone walls.

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1. Prisoner: James F. Whiting

One of Clinton Prison’s earliest escapes seems so simple because James F. Whiting pulled it off flawlessly. Originally charged with robbery in Saratoga Springs, Whiting was sentenced to 9 years and 6 months. In 1860, he donned a civilian suit and walked out of the prison posing as a visitor. He lived his life on the outside as a swindler. It wasn’t until almost a year later that he was caught in Philadelphia trying to defraud a local jeweler. Once at police headquarters, a detective recognized Whiting as an escaped convict and he was promptly returned to Dannemora.

2. Prisoner: Peter James

[Photo credit: Ancestry.com]

First booked into Ossining Prison before being sent to Clinton, Peter James was mostly a career bank robber. He got busted when he led a gang of burglars in Bedford, New York. Things went awry when they were caught by the village postmaster and his son — both armed. Instead of giving up the loot, James shot and killed the elder of the two gentlemen with a bullet straight to the heart. This crime earned him a life sentence and an all-expenses-paid trip to Dannemora. He acted as a model prisoner and used his mechanical skills to get a work assignment with access to tools. Over the course of four years, James tunneled under the walls with the goal of accessing the sewer that would lead to the outside. Though he initially worked alone, his plan was eventually discovered by three other inmates who wanted in, and they started helping him with plans, preparations, and serving as James’s look-outs. Eventually, the four men escaped but were found 5 days later, only 4 miles from the Canadian border.

3. Prisoner: Herbert Mackie, aka the Midget Bandit

With his growth stunted in his earlier years, Herbert Mackie was a small-statured Brooklyn man viewed by many as the perfect prisoner. It wasn’t until 1928, 4 years into his 12-year sentence, that Mackie surprised everyone when he went missing. He was a cornet player in the prison band and said he forgot something in his cell. When it was time for the band’s roll call, they discovered Mackie missing. He remained at large for 6 weeks until he was caught underneath another convict’s cell. Mackie died at Raymond Street Prison in 1940.

4. Prisoner: John Filkins

Known as the Albany Express Robber, John Filkins was convicted on March 18, 1871, of robbery and the attempted murder of Thomas A. Halpine. Given a 20-year sentence, he was itching to get out of Clinton Prison as early as 1872. A deputy from Albany visited the prison and was informed of Filkins’s multiple escape attempts. They even went so far as to shave one side of his face to thwart his ambitions of going unnoticed as he left the prison. That’s why it’s rather amusing that on September 15, 1874, Filkins escaped by simply putting on civilian clothes and strolling out of the prison’s main gate. While no one can be certain what happened to him (the prison did find human bones in their sewer a year later), it is believed to this day that he eluded capture.

Obsessed with true crime? Want more information on the history of our prisons and prisoners?

Time to sign up for a free trial from Ancestry. You can dig through prison admittance records, including records for Clinton, for tidbits that can even include a prisoner’s physical description and records of commitments going all the way back to the 1800s.

— Shanna Yehlen

 

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