Since Ancestry was founded in 1983, we’ve helped more than 2 million people to find out more about their family’s history, filling in the ‘whos’, ‘wheres’ and ‘whys’ behind who they are today.
At the time of writing this, we have digitised more than 15 billion historic records from 67 countries, containing everything from war medal recipients to criminal trials, censuses to passenger lists, and even a pub ‘blacklist’ from Victorian England. Our members have used these records to populate more than 60 million family trees, and it’s these that help demonstrate how family history can not only unearth things from our past, but also the present. Of those who have conducted genealogical research, almost half have found living relatives they didn’t know about, with a significant number actually meeting them face-to-face. This is evidence of how online genealogy – and technology as a whole – is helping connect and shape the modern family, evolving it into something we haven’t seen before.
The aim of this report is to show how knowledge of the past has impacted the present, and how a greater sense of ‘connectivity’ has changed the concept of the modern family within the six countries in which we conducted the study.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank The Future Foundation, who carried out the research on our behalf and uncovered some truly fascinating trends. This document forms the first part of a multi-chapter report, the full findings of which will be published over the coming year.
- In 2014, more than one in three (36%) online adults used the internet to learn more about their family history – double those in 2008 and forecast to double again by 2025.
- 67% feel knowing their family history has made them a wiser person
- 72% say it has helped them to be closer to older relatives
- 52% discovered ancestors they hadn’t known about