Ghosts of Presidents Past: Who’s Haunting the White House?

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 27, 2014 in Family History

President Harry Truman once wrote in a letter to his wife that the White House was “haunted sure as shootin’.” This country’s most famous address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, may also be its most haunted house. Plenty of reputable people have reported seeing the White House’s various ghosts: Abraham Lincoln The most well-known White House ghost… Read more

Did You Know Tom Cruise Has an Acting Cousin?

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 26, 2014 in Family History

Tom Cruise has a million-dollar smile, a trio of beautiful ex-wives, and a cousin who loves him. That last one’s important — for the cousin, especially. William Mapother is an actor like his first cousin, but without the $6.4 billion in ticket sales to his name. But it’s not for lack of trying from both… Read more

No School for You? A History of Education

Posted by Ancestry.com on August 26, 2014 in Family History

We may take an elementary school education for granted nowadays, but school hasn’t always been the rule for children. In generations past, children were often considered “small adults” and went to work at very young ages without a formal education. Which of your ancestors went to school as kids? That may have depended on where… Read more

How Did Our Ancestors Listen to Music?

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

You know how in those period dramas made from Jane Austen books and the like, everyone repairs to the drawing room after dinner, where one of the women plays the piano and sings while everyone else sits politely in their chairs and listens? There was a good reason for that. Back then, the only music… Read more

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