3 Crazy Things Real People Have Found in Their Family Trees

Family History
10 November 2015
by Ancestry Team

Are there any surprises in your family tree? You’ll never know until you start looking. While every discovery of a new ancestor is a surprise, some are simply amazing and stand out from your typical genealogical find.


We all have so many ancestors who may have led extraordinary lives or maybe were even famous. Using the wide array of genealogical records available to you at Ancestry, as well as DNA analysis, you may discover some surprising ancestors of your own.

Here are three stories of real Ancestry users who made crazy discoveries in their own family trees.

A Witch in the Family

The Salem witch trials are among the most infamous events in American history. The witch hunt resulted in the deaths of 20 innocent people, 19 through hanging and one through pressing. There are memorials to each of them in the town square of Salem today, and all but one have been officially pardoned by the town.

One Ancestry user traced a family line right back to one of those witch victims. It turns out she is the 9x great-granddaughter of John Proctor, who was hanged as a witch in 1692. What adds to the already interesting story is that John Proctor later became the main character in Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible, making him famous for generations to come.

An Unknown Birth Father Revealed

Another user’s paternal grandfather’s biological father was unknown. He was not named on the grandfather’s birth certificate, and her grandfather’s mother never revealed his name. Using DNA from her father, she found an exact match with a family from the town where her grandfather was born. After exchanging photos that proved a striking family resemblance, and then sharing stories with this match, the identity of the mysterious birth father came to light. She now has a whole new branch of her family to explore.

Descent from Royalty

Yet another Ancestry user discovered a knight in her family tree. Noble families have typically kept excellent genealogical records. Following this trail, she was able to go back several centuries and discovered she is a 26x great-granddaughter of King Edward III of England and all the royalty who came before him.

Would you like to discover the surprises hidden in your own family tree? Sign up for a free 14-day trial on Ancestry and start searching. Your own family secrets are waiting.