Past Articles

Explore “Cogsworth” Actor Ian McKellen’s Family History of Watch Makers

Posted by Ancestry Team on March 17, 2017 in Entertainment

Ian McKellen, an Oscar nominated actor known for his roles in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchise, portrays Cogsworth in Disney’s new live-action film Beauty and the Beast. Similar to his time-keeping character, McKellen’s grand-uncle, Samuel Dunseith McKellen was a watch manufacturer. Samuel McKellen started his own watch manufacturing business in 1861. Read More

How to Save Grandma’s Love Letters

Posted by Denise May Levenick on March 1, 2017 in Guest Bloggers

“Dearest Anne,” the letter began. “Hi honey! I’ll start this one off with ‘I miss you more than I could ever imagine.’” A small bundle of handwritten letters exchanged between a homesick young soldier and his sweetheart are a family treasure to be cherished. Letters give a personal glimpse into the everyday lives of our Read More

Strike it Rich with Freedman’s Bank Records

Posted by Linda Barnickel on February 24, 2017 in Collections, Guest Bloggers

By now, many researchers may be familiar with the massive collection of federal records produced by the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands (BRFAL), more commonly known as the “Freedmen’s Bureau.” But a frequently overlooked source, with a very similar name, holds a wealth of detail as well. Records from the Freedman’s Savings and Read More

The Family Tree: Author Karen Branan’s Search for Truth

Posted by Kelly Kautz on February 23, 2017 in Guest Bloggers

Investigative reporter Karen Branan has spent her entire career solving mysteries. She never expected to find the mystery of a lifetime in her own family tree. But while recording her ninety-year-old grandmother’s oral history, Branan learned about a lynching that her great-grandfather sanctioned in 1912. Further research showed that one of the victims, a black Read More

Does Distance Make the Heart Grow Fonder?

Posted by Ancestry Team on February 14, 2017 in News

With modern technology like dating apps, quick cross-country flights, FaceTime and more, it’s easy for us to find our soulmate across the country, or even across the world.  For Valentine’s Day, the team at Ancestry did a little digging into the history of international –or even just inter-county– couples to discover that over time, couples’ Read More