The Geographical Origins of Popular English Surnames

Posted by sdalton on May 28, 2015 in Surnames

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

Do You Come From Royal Blood? Your Last Name May Tell You.

Posted by sdalton on May 22, 2015 in Surnames

Do you think your family originated from the top 1 percent? According to a new study of unique last names from around the world, moving in or out of the upper class doesn’t take just a few generations — it takes centuries. Measuring not just income and wealth but also occupation, education, and longevity, researchers… Read more

Is Your Rare Surname About to Go Extinct?

Posted by Ancestry Team on May 21, 2015 in Surnames

You probably don’t know anyone with the name Chips, Hatman, Woodbead, or Nithercott. That’s because they’re among the approximately 200,000 surnames that have disappeared in England and Wales since 1901. Hundreds more may soon follow. The actors Bill Nighy, Helen Mirren, and Hugh Bonneville, for instance, all have endangered last names on the verge of… Read more

How to Unlock the Mysteries of Your Surname

Posted by Ancestry Team on May 13, 2015 in Surnames

Surnames give individuals a sense of identity as they go into the world. Family names can also be a key to unlocking a person’s roots, revealing who their ancestors were, what culture they shared, and how forces of history affected where they lived and why they moved. That’s why one of the most powerful tools… Read more

If George Clooney Is This Guy’s Cousin, Who’s In Your Family Tree?

Posted by Ancestry Team on May 7, 2015 in Celebrity

Eloquence, an interest in politics and global affairs, rugged good looks, the ability to connect with crowds — there’s a lot that Abraham Lincoln and George Clooney have in common. But did you know that the 16th president of the United States and the Oscar-winning actor/director/writer/producer/dreamboat also have a common ancestor? Researchers at Ancestry combed… Read more

Hola, Neighbors! 10 Famous People You Didn’t Know Were Mexican

Posted by Ancestry Team on April 30, 2015 in Celebrity

Sometimes, names can tell a whole story about a person’s ethnicity. But married surnames, as well as chosen pseudonyms, can also bury entire lineages until you do a little digging. This holds true for famous names as much as your own. While there are many Mexican-American celebrities prominently showing their Chicano roots, there are plenty… Read more

What Did People Eat In The 1800s?

Posted by Ancestry Team on April 29, 2015 in Family History

The War of 1812 concluded in 1815, and in the decades to come, the United States developed a vast transportation system, a national bank, and interstate trade. The economy blossomed, and canals, roads, cities, and industrialization expanded. England’s defeat in the War of 1812 also removed barriers to westward expansion and, tragically, accelerated Native American… Read more