Past Articles

Titanic Captain Is One of a Million Historic Liverpool Sailors on Newly Digitized Crew Lists

Posted on December 9, 2014 in Family History

We are all familiar with the ill-fated maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. On the night of the 14th of April 1912, 1,500 people lost their lives after the liner hit an iceberg and sank to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean. The captain on that tragic voyage was Edward Smith. Smith joined the White Star… Read more

Five Mistakes to Avoid When Researching Your Family History

Posted on December 3, 2014 in Family History

We all make mistakes! The key to success in family history research, as in life, is to learn from them. In an effort to guide you through your genealogical journey, we have created this list containing the top five mistakes to avoid when researching your family tree. 1. Assuming a family name is only spelled… Read more

10 Rare English Surnames About to Go Extinct

Posted on November 14, 2014 in Surname Meanings

Did you know that surnames can go extinct just like species do? Think about it: do you know anyone these days named Chaucer? One historical reason for surnames becoming extinct was World War I. Often, men who were friends and neighbors served together; when there were mass casualties, a village or town might lose a… Read more

4 Types of French Surnames: Which One Is Yours?

Posted on September 8, 2014 in Surname Meanings

Is your last name French? Did you ever wonder where it came from and how your family got it? The most common French surnames for people born between 1891 and 1990 were: Martin (patronymic; after the most popular French saint, Saint Martin of Tours) Bernard (patronymic; from the given name, which is of Germanic origin)… Read more

Down the Mine at 89: Working Life of Elderly Victorians Revealed

Posted on September 2, 2014 in Family History

Analysis of historic census records reveals the majority of over-65s in Victorian England worked full-time – Ancestry Victorian census reveals farmers, miners, servants and cleaners in their eighties or nineties More than half (57 per cent) of people had to work beyond the age of 65 compared to just 10 per cent today Records also show how so-called… Read more

It’s All His Fault! Traditions Behind Your Family’s Weird Names

Posted on August 18, 2014 in Surname Meanings

“That’s so unusual – is it a family name?” Anyone with an out-of-the-ordinary moniker hears this question often. However, a little research may reveal a family tree peppered with even more unusual names and the reasons behind them. Here are some common naming traditions that may help unlock the mystery behind your family’s weird names.… Read more

There Are 7 Types of English Surnames — Which One Is Yours?

Posted on August 18, 2014 in Surname Meanings

Many of us have surnames passed down to us from ancestors in England. Last names weren’t widely used until after the Norman conquest in 1066, but as the country’s population grew, people found it necessary to be more specific when they were talking about somebody else. Thus arose descriptions like Thomas the Baker, Norman son… Read more

Titanic Mystery Solved with DNA Testing

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

DNA solved a 70-year-old question of whether Loraine Allison survived the Titanic crash. Many have wondered what happened to the two-year-old little girl who disappeared from the crash more than 100 years ago. The story begins with Hudson and Bess taking their two kids, Trevor, seven months, and Loraine, two years of age, across the… Read more

New Warwickshire Parish Records

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Wherever you are in the old county of Warwickshire, you’re surrounded by history – from the Cathedral in Coventry, to Rugby School, to Warwick’s Tudor houses. The region has played host to some of our most important figures – William Shakespeare was born in Stratford, while it’s said that the Gunpowder Plot was hatched in… Read more

New Dorset Records – Are You Descended from Pirates?

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

Abandon all hope, ye who enter Ancestry today. There be pirates about, and they be thirsty for your blood. Actually, strictly speaking, we’re hoping that our pirates already share your blood. These scurvy dogs – who appear as part of nine new Dorset record collections we’re launching today – are real historical people who could… Read more