Finding Your Roots: Anderson Cooper Investigates His Own History

Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Finding Your Roots

As the child of famed high-society staple Gloria Vanderbilt, Anderson Cooper could easily open any history book about New York City and find details about relatives on his maternal line. But his famous jeans-designing mother was only partially responsible for Anderson’s genes. Though he’s typically the one digging deep into stories, he turned the reins… Read more

Finding Your Roots: Documentary Filmmaker Ken Burns Uncovers Lincoln Connection

Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Finding Your Roots

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns is well known for his lengthy and well-researched films, notably his five-part series The Civil War. But until his turn on Finding Your Roots’ “Our American Storytellers” episode, Burns didn’t have a true understanding of how deeply his own family tree was intertwined with that war. Ken was born in Brooklyn… Read more

The Story Behind America’s 4th Most Popular Surname

Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Surnames

The last name Brown essentially derives from a nickname. In England, Scotland, or Ireland, those with brown or red hair, or dark skin, might have been called “Brown,” and the name stuck. Sometimes, it has roots in a translation from another language, such as the French “Brun,” the German “Braun,” or the Gaelic “Donn.” In… 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

Williams: A History of the Popular American Surname

Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Surnames

      Williams means “son of William,” and its origins date to medieval England, when an increasing population meant people needed a way to identify each other by more than just a given name. One way to do this was to use a person’s father’s name as a surname. Williams got its start as just… Read more

Five Jobs That Transformed America

Posted by 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