Ewww, They Ate That? 8 Gross Things Our Ancestors Ate

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 25, 2014 in Family History

Turn on any channel along your cable dial, and you’ll notice a lot of people eating things we might find disgusting. What most of us don’t realize, though, is that a variety of foods that are now labeled “bizarre” or “gross” were crucial to the survival of our ancestors in the U.S., especially in times… Read more

Kelsey Grammer Researches His Grandmother’s Turbulent Family

Posted by wexon on August 21, 2014 in Who Do You Think You Are

“Now there’s all these names alive and sort of flickering in my imagination.” —Kelsey Grammer Cheers and Frasier star Kelsey Grammer grew up with his mother, sister, and mother’s parents: Grandpa Gordon and “Gam,” as he called his grandmother Evangeline. He feels his grandmother’s influence to this day, but he knows little about her—Gam never… Read more

The Civil War’s Biggest Killer? Lack of Good Medical Care

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 21, 2014 in Military Records

When the U.S. Civil War started in 1861, medical knowledge was still primitive. Battlefield doctors didn’t understand infection or the importance of sterile conditions during surgery. In fact, the country was just coming out of a period when doctors used bloodletting, purging, and blistering to cure ailments. So it’s no wonder Civil War soldiers were… Read more

Was Your Grandmother a Girl Scout?

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 20, 2014 in Family History

Musician Taylor Swift, herself once a Girl Scout, tweeted she was “beyond stoked” when some Girl Scouts came to an event of hers and brought her Girl Scout cookies. Other famous former Girl Scouts include Nancy Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Laura Bush, Katie Couric, Barbara Walters, and Mariah Carey. Lucille Ball, Mary Tyler Moore, Debbie… Read more

The American Vacation: Circa 1900

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 20, 2014 in Family History

It’s hard to believe today, but leisure was considered a questionable pursuit for much of American history. Thanks to the Protestant work ethic and endless days in the fields, time off was barely a consideration for most people. But as cities grew crowded and unsanitary in the mid-19th century, fresh air increasingly seemed like a… Read more

Valerie Bertinelli explores her family’s roots in Italy and England

Posted by wexon on August 14, 2014 in Who Do You Think You Are

“They really made my world a better place because of the things that they did.” —Valerie Bertinelli Actress and author Valerie Bertinelli has always identified with her father’s Italian heritage and remembers watching her “Nonni” (grandmother) cook at big family dinners. But that’s about as far back as her history goes. Now Valerie “doesn’t want… Read more

10 Strange But True Facts About the Revolutionary War

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 13, 2014 in Military Records

For a war about taxes, the American Revolution sure wasn’t boring. Tales of the scrappy Colonists’ rebellion against King George III made many of us history buffs back in elementary school. (Even as adults, some of us still geek out over Revolutionary War records on Ancestry.com.) But those textbooks didn’t teach us everything there is… Read more

Last Word: First-Person Accounts of American Slavery

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 13, 2014 in Family History

During the Depression, when the U.S. government was trying to put to work one person in every family that had an unemployed breadwinner, some remarkable things were done. Between 1935 and 1943, the Works Project Administration (WPA) hired almost 8 million unemployed people across the country to build new roads, bridges, schools, botanical gardens, zoos,… Read more

9 Typical Ellis Island Experiences

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 13, 2014 in Family History

More than a third of all Americans can trace their ancestry to Europeans who entered America after a mandatory stop at Ellis Island. Between 1892 and 1954, more than 12 million people passed through the immigration inspection station in Upper New York Bay, and on average immigrants spent 2-5 hours there. So, what was the… Read more