CNN Roots with Fareed Zakaria: From Bombay, India to Bombings in London

Posted by wexon on October 24, 2014 in CNN

Many decisions made by our ancestors have had a direct impact on what and where we are today. Sometimes these influential ancestors are not generations away from our memory, but have lived in our recent history, still leaving us a legacy of choices made and stories to share. Fareed Zakara, host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria… Read more

CNN Roots with Christine Romans: Bedstemor’s Tickets

Posted by wexon on October 24, 2014 in CNN

We all have legends among our family stories. Some are linked to historical celebrities (my 3x great-grandfather rode with Teddy Roosevelt); some to historic events (my ancestors lived through the Great Chicago Fire); and some are inspiringly personal (my 4x great grandmother raised 12 kids on her own). Many family history adventures start when someone… Read more

CNN Roots with John Berman: What’s in a name?

Posted by wexon on October 24, 2014 in CNN

John Berman remembers walking past a wall in the Boston Public Library that listed the names of famous philosophers throughout history. His father would point to Baruch Spinoza’s name and say, “We are related to him!” It was a strong statement given “Spinoza” is the middle name they both share, after John’s grandmother Grace Spinoza.… Read more

Leonardo the Goat Herder: What If Today’s Stars Made Their Livings the Way Their Ancestors Did?

Posted by Jeanie Croasmun on October 23, 2014 in Family History

While surnames are key to family history research on Ancestry, they are a fairly recent invention. In most European countries they became common as populations grew and people found they needed a way to distinguish William the blacksmith from William the yeoman when telling a story about one of the their neighbors, or the taxman wanted… Read more

Jones: A Short History of an American Surname

Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Surnames

There are a lot of Joneses because there have always been a lot of Jons. In the Middle Ages, children were given surnames related to their father’s first name, such as Williamson for the son of William, which meant that the surname changed with each generation. Jones fits into this category, modified from the Middle… Read more

7 Real Patent Medicines the FDA Would Never Approve

Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Family History

Once upon a time, some of the greatest medical crises America faced included “tired blood” and “female weakness” — or so many patent medicines claimed. Between the end of the Civil War and the Great Depression, Americans spent millions of dollars on heavily advertised “natural” remedies whose claims of being free of addictive substances overlooked… Read more

There Are Four Common Types of German Surnames. Which One Is Yours?

Posted by on October 9, 2014 in Surnames

In German, a surname is called the “Nachname” or “Familienname.” The family name gradually started being used during the Middle Ages. Prior to that, people generally used only a given name. As the population increased, though, that population needed a way to differentiate between all those new people. Now, those surnames can help you trace your family… Read more