Guest blog: Howes it going? by Paul Howes

Posted by Emma on 18 January 2013 in General, What's in a name?

  Authored by Paul Howes.  Paul started his One-Name Study after helping his son complete a school class project to research his family history.  Having three separate lines of Howes ancestors all from Norfolk, England, Paul was interested to break through some brick walls and see if the families tied up.  That was five years… Read more

New divorce records: A silver lining

Posted by Emma on 16 January 2013 in General, Record Collections

It’s a family history conundrum. You don’t like to imagine your ancestors having difficult lives. But every time they hit tricky times they seem to be really well documented, and provide some of your most fascinating discoveries. This is true of Poor Law records. It’s definitely the case with criminal records. And it crops up… Read more

Guest Blog: What’s in a name? MacAlister

Posted by Emma on 7 January 2013 in General, Guest Bloggers, What's in a name?

Authored by Lynn McAlister.   Lynn is a professional genealogist and has been a Macalister historian since 1997.  She researches the Macalister name worldwide as part of the Guild of One-Name Studies and maintains the blog ‘Today in Macalister History’ ( The MacAlister surname is Gaelic in origin: mac Alasdair means ‘son of Alexander’. The name… Read more

Member Trees: Merge Duplicate People

Posted by Emma on 10 December 2012 in General

A lot of people have asked over the years how to clean up duplicates in their Ancestry Member Tree.  If you are one of the people who discovered that your mysterious distant cousin Mary was really the same person as Uncle George’s wife Mary, then you’ll be happy to learn that we have a solution that… Read more

Never Mind ‘Elizabeth’ – Royal Baby Could be a ‘Lancelot’, ‘Boniface’ or ‘Grissel’

Posted by Emma on 6 December 2012 in General

If Prince William and Kate Middleton decide to take baby-name inspiration from their forebears, the royal baby could be born a ‘Grissel’, ‘Boniface’ or even ‘Lancelot’. New research from, the UK’s favourite family history website, reveals that while ‘Elizabeth’ and ‘John’ are the most common boys and girls names in both family trees, there… Read more

Ancestry Advent Calendar

Posted by Emma on 4 December 2012 in Advent

Forget your little candles or pieces of chocolate. If you’re interested in tracing your ancestors there’s only one way to count down to the festive season, and that’s by having some family history fun with the Ancestry Advent Calendar. Visit the Calendar every day until 24th December for a series of exciting treats. Each window… Read more

Guest Blog: What’s in a name? Cavers

Posted by Emma on 19 November 2012 in General, Guest Bloggers, What's in a name?

Authored by Vivienne Dunstan.  Vivienne is an independent academic historian, a long-time genealogist since the age of twelve too many decades ago, and a former computer scientist. She comes originally from Hawick, near where Cavers originates, and is a Cavers descendant. CAVERS Cavers is a surname that originates historically from Cavers parish near the town of Hawick in… Read more

Guest Blog: What’s in a Name? Hardisty: a persistent surname

Posted by Emma on 12 November 2012 in General, What's in a name?

Authored by Howard Mathieson. Howard is a member of the Guild of One-Name Studies and maintains the mapping website. He can be reached at Hardisty: a persistent surname The Hardisty surname is derived from an English place name. From A Dictionary of Surnames (Hanks and Hodges), we learn that Hardisty “is a habitation name… Read more