Tributes & Video Biographies
Sharing Life Stories, Connecting Generations, Preserving Legacies

Survey Reveals Americans’ Surprising Lack of Family Knowledge


Flickr photo: johnewootton

Latest Ancestry.com Survey Shows How Little Americans Know About Their Families; Holidays Perfect Time to Get to Know Family Better

PROVO, Utah, Dec. 6 /PRNewswire/ — Are you among the one-third of Americans who cannot name any of their great-grandparents? Or are you part of the four in ten Americans who know both of their grandmothers’ maiden names? While family history continues to rise in popularity as one of the nation’s favorite pastimes, a new survey conducted by Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online resource for family history, reveals Americans know surprisingly little about their own families. With the holidays just around the corner, there’s no better time to begin learning about family roots and creating lasting memories, especially
as families gather together in celebration.

Ancestry.com’s survey uncovers some surprising results, including:

  • Young Americans are looking to their roots – 83 percent of 18- to 34-years-old are interested in learning their family history. Following closely are the 35- to 54-year-olds at 77 percent and Americans ages 55+ at 73 percent.
  • Half of Americans know the name of only one or none of their great-grandparents.
  • Twenty-two percent of Americans don’t know what either of their grandfathers do or did for a living.
  • Although America is known as a nation of immigrants, 27 percent don’t know where their family lived before they came to America.
  • Seventy-eight percent of Americans say they are interested in learning more about their family history.
  • Fifty percent of American families have ever researched their roots.
  • In comparing regions, Southerners know the least about their roots. Only 38 percent know both of their grandmothers’ maiden names, compared with 50 percent of Northeasterners. Also, only 47 percent of Southerners know what both of their grandfathers do or did for a living, while 55 percent of Northeasterners know both grandfathers’ occupations.

Stefani Twyford is a personal historian and video biographer sharing life stories, connecting generations and preserving legacies. To learn more, visit her web site, find her on Twitter as @stefanitwyford, visit the Legacy Multimedia Facebook Fan Page, or send her an e-mail.

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