What Was It Like to Live in 18th-Century England?

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 10, 2014 in Family History

The Dashwood sisters, characters from Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility, lived rather elegantly in 1700s England. Is that what your 18th-century ancestors’ day-to-day lives were like? There were two very different lifestyles in 18th-century England: that of the rich and that of the poor. With the Industrial Revolution, which started in the middle of… Read more

1934: A Bad Year for America’s Most Wanted

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 10, 2014 in Family History

It was 1934, the height of the Depression. FDR was president, the Apollo Theater had just opened in Harlem, and all year long, newspapers were full of articles about the “Dillinger Gang” and America’s Most Wanted criminals. It was a busy year for bad guys, and ultimately a bad one for them, too, as many… Read more

9 Things You Don’t Know About Your Clothes

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 9, 2014 in Family History

In many ways, clothes defined our ancestors. What they wore gave clues to their class, occupation, and status in the world. And to some degree, not much has changed. Today, we have uniforms for certain jobs, outer labels on clothing that indicate their expense, and different styles that define how we (and others) see ourselves.… Read more

8 Jobs You Were Born Too Late to Get

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 9, 2014 in Family History

Some jobs just aren’t meant to last. Technology trims a trade. Fashion fickleness frustrates growth. Reduced resources wreak havoc on an industry. In the 21st century, no one’s surprised when automation and offshoring render occupations obsolete. But that process of creative destruction has always occurred. Steel replaces bone. Siri the talking iPhone replaces Sally the… Read more

Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Smith: America’s Most Common Surnames

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 8, 2014 in Surnames

You won’t find this Top 10 list on Letterman, but according to the 2000 U.S. Census, the top 10 surnames in the United States, in order, are: Smith Johnson Williams Brown Jones Miller Davis García Rodríguez Wilson In 2000, there were 2.4 million Smiths, 1.9 million Johnsons, and 1.5 million Williamses in the U.S. Those… Read more

Why Your DNA Might Not Match Your Parents

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 3, 2014 in AncestryDNA

It’s fascinating what we can learn these days now that technology allows us to look into our DNA. One Washington state woman learned more than she wanted to know, though — that, somehow, she and her biological children did not share any DNA — and almost lost custody of her beloved children. It turned out… Read more

Is the Art of Handwriting Dead? How It Affects Genealogy Research

Posted by Ancestry.com on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Should today’s schoolchildren be taught handwriting? It’s a question that’s receiving attention lately, as the laborious process of learning to write by hand is removed from elementary curricula across the country in favor of typing. The New York Times recently reported that the widely adopted Common Core standards suggest teaching printing in kindergarten and first… Read more