Posted by Ancestry Team on June 29, 2009 in News

Today we are excited to announce the launch of our new “My Story” advertising campaign, which highlights five of our customers and their incredible family history discoveries. The campaign will run for at least the next 12 months, and features five 15, 30 and 60-second television ads. You can see the ads on cable networks such as AMC, CNN, Fox News, History Channel, Lifetime Movie Network, and Hallmark.

The new television spots feature the following heartwarming stories:

A New Yorker Finds Answers about His Father – Alton Woodman (White Plains, N.Y.) never knew much about his dad, who passed away when Alton was just 14 years old. Turning to, Alton found his father in a 1920 census record as a 14 year old himself, and discovered that he was attending an orphanage. To help connect the dots, Alton got in touch with a representative from the orphanage and received a package that offered a more complete picture of his father’s childhood.


Above: 1920 Census Record for Alton’s Father.

One Man Discovers His Great Grandfather was a War Hero – Cary Christopher (Pittsburgh and San Diego) always wondered about his German great grandfather, who disappeared after a short-lived marriage to Cary’s great grandmother ended in divorce. After 40 years of futile searching, Cary discovered his great grandfather in a World War I draft registration card on It turned out his great grandfather had immigrated to the United States before World War I, became a U.S. citizen and rose to the rank of Captain in the U.S. Merchant Marines, where he was killed by a torpedo fired by a German submarine during World War II.

South Florida Man Connects Father to His Own Mother – Jim Lane’s (Key Biscayne, Fla.) father never knew his mother, who died when he was an infant. Through historical records and member connection services on, Jim discovered relatives who sent him pictures of his grandmother, and for the first time, Jim’s father was able to see a photograph of his mother.


Above: A picture of Jim’s Grandmother Donna.

Chicago Cook Meets Like-Minded Cousin – When caterer Peggy McDowell (Chicago) began researching the cooking talent in her family tree, she had no idea she would end up going into business with a long-lost cousin. Through searching records on, she connected with her cousin, who also shares her passion for cooking. Together, they’re opening up a soul food restaurant in Chicago’s Hyde Park.

Here is an example of one of the spots, featuring Peggy:


Washington Woman Confirms Father’s Passing – Cathryn Darling (Olympia, Wash.) had many unanswered questions about her father, who had disappeared when she was eight years old after her parent’s divorce. After searching’s obituary records, Cathryn learned her father died as a fisherman while at sea in Oregon in 1970, and she recently held a memorial service in his honor.

We hope you enjoy these stories as much as we do! Take a minute and check out the rest of the television spots, or read the press release.


  1. Mike

    “The new television spots feature the following heartwarming stories”

    In the advert are you going to tell the viewers the stories are heartwarming so that they will know in case they don’t feel it on their own?

    I notice a commonality among those “heartwarming” stories. Which is that they all concern research in the 20th century.

    Show me instead some stories about customers solving difficult problems in the typical timeframe when brickwalls occur for American researchers, i.e. the War of 1812 back to before the Revolution. Those are the kind of success stories I will think are “heartwarming”. But of course Ancestry has to provide the original records to facilitate such research (or even be honest and direct customers where to find them in B&M repositories). Unsourced trees and member connects will solve very few such frontier brickwalls.


  2. Sodindo Banana

    Regardless of that yucky first comment, I like the idea… an ad like those is what introduced me to (and genealogy in general) in the first place. 🙂

    I didn’t even know who three of my four grandparents were when I started, so an ad emphasizing “brick walls” wouldn’t have done anything at all for me as a beginner… I just wanted to piece together some basics!

  3. Pat Secord

    Just a comment on #1 – I’ve often been critical of some of the changes, etc. at However, these ads are meant to target the newcomers to genealogy-which is exactly what I was when I started out. Those “brick walls” come later-some of us simply have no idea where to start. I’ve said this in other blogs – is a wonderful tool, and I would never have gotten as far as I have without it, in spite of the glitches we all write about so often.

  4. Mike


    On your #7, my sarcasm was really directed not at Ancestry enticing new customers to join, as any business has to do, but rather their giving primary emphasis in record acquisition and the research of others (trees/connects) to 20th century research. Which gets you your grandparents and great-grandparents. But after that it takes early original records.

    I too actually love Ancestry and it is invaluable. But as the saying goes, the enemy of the best is often the good. However the shortcomings of Ancestry are primarily in their mindset rather than execution.

  5. James

    I could not find any information on my Maternal Grandmother from 1901 to 1919. Then, I found a marriage record for a person whose name was identical to her name in the marriage record. Her parents were also mentioned in the record that was a match. Searching the 1910 US Census under the husband’s name, I found her 1910 residence record. This was a complete mystery (to me) that she was married previously.

    The Military and Census images have allowed me to obtain more accurate information about males (Military records) and family members (Census records.)


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