Ancestry’s Surprising Heritage Survey

Family History
7 January 2019
by Ancestry® Team

Family. It’s a core American value. But Americans actually know little about their heritage, according to the surprising results of an Ancestry® survey*.

Mysterious Origins

Many Americans are uncertain about their families’ origins:

40 percent of Americans polled are not certain what country their last name comes from.
25 percent don’t know what countries their families came to the U.S. from.

With Ancestry’s surname tool below, you can learn about the origins of your family and your last name.

Losing Touch with Grandparents

Americans are not just out of touch with their families’ origins. They’re also losing touch with their grandparents:

– About 21 percent don’t know which city any of their grandparents were born in.
– And 14 percent don’t know what any of their grandparents do (or did) for work.
– Just over 20 percent can’t name a single grandparent’s parent.

Librarian reviewing card catalog.

And it’s not just with older generations that there are gaps: about 33 percent don’t know where both of their parents grew up.

Heritage Is Important

The lack of knowledge doesn’t mean Americans don’t value their heritage. In fact, it’s the opposite:

– The survey found that eight in ten respondents reported caring about their heritage.
– And 84 percent said it was important to know about their heritage.

Well-dressed couple posing in front of wall.

Top 5 Grandparent Questions

More specifically, here are the top 5 things Americans want to know about their grandparents:

1 Stories of when they were young 72%
2 Childhood memories 62%
3 Where your family came from 62%
4 Their heritage 62%
5 Life advice 51%

Reconnect with Ancestry

Ancestry can help you reconnect with your rich family heritage.

Start with an Ancestry free trial today.

*In a survey of 2,000 people in the U.S., commissioned by Ancestry and conducted by OnePoll.