Past Articles

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

New London records – Freemen of the City

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Family History

When it comes to family history, London is definitely a special case. To have a realistic chance of finding ancestors in most other parts of the UK, you need to have some sort of local connection. With the capital, though, it’s worth anybody searching the records – because so many people owned businesses or second… Read more

1911 Census – Start Searching!

Posted on July 3, 2014 in Census Records

  Good news this week for everyone in Wales, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, plus the millions all over the UK with roots in those areas. We’ve completed the first part of our 1911 Census transcriptions – and you’re the ones to benefit. Right now, everyone can search for ancestors in Wales and the… Read more