A to Z Challenge: 7 popular QUESTIONS answered about researching ancestry!

The Joyous Living: 7 Popular Questions Answered about Researching your Ancestry #atozchallenge

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

sharing is caring

It’s another week of the Covid-19 lockdown for most of us and the 4th week of the 2020 A to Z Challenge. I hope you’ve been enjoying the series. Do you have a favorite post so far?

For today’s post – I am going to be answering 7 popular questions novice researchers, including myself at one time!, ask. If you have an additional question, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!


#1. What is the best platform for researching my family’s ancestry?

Family Tree Maker is a computer software that’s been around for 30 years. Currently it is available to purchase for MAC and PC for a one time price c/o MacKiev. I remember my mother using this software on our computer when dial up was the thing.

It does offer a FamilySync with Ancestry.com® allowing:

  • Syncing your trees in Family Tree Maker to your Ancestry trees
  • Searching Ancestry’s databases and merging data into your tree
  • Viewing Ancestry Hints®
  • Uploading and downloading a trees
  • Web dashboard Information
  • The interactive map
  • Viewing sources on Ancestry

The two most popular ONLINE sites where you can build your family tree are – Ancestry and Family Search (powered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints). As cliche as it may seem — the answer for what platform is better for you is the one that you find most convenient and easy to use. I personally prefer Ancestry.com despite the price tag because I find Family Search a tad bit more difficult to add/delete sources and family members to your tree.

#2. Is that my family coat of arms?

One of the more confusing things when you start out is figuring out which of the family coat of arms belongs to your ancestors. You’ll see in the hints on Ancestry.com, different family coat of arms that people have added to their own family trees. But why are they different? And which one is the right one?

Contrary to popular belief, coats of arms are NOT associated with surnames. In fact, they are inherited through the MALE line. Some eldest daughters in England inherited the coat of arms if there were no male brothers to carry on the line. However, you cannot just assume that because the father had one coat of arms that his son would have the exact same.

For example look at the coat of arms for William Longespée and his 2nd son, Stephen Longespée:

William Longespée Coat of Arms
William Longespée Coat of Arms (c) Wikipedia
Stephen Longespée Coat of Arms (c) Wikipedia
Stephen Longespée Coat of Arms (c) Wikipedia

So while you might want to show off your family coat of arms on your family tree or buy a family coat of arms on any of the websites offering such souvenirs and trinkets, beware. Unless you are 100% sure of your ancestors’ coat of arms, it becomes a guessing game.

#3. Where Can I Find The Book on My Family?

The likelihood is that if your family can be traced back to the Founding Families of America, you will be able to find a genealogical book about your family (either official or non-official).

Some popular American family books include:

The Brewster Family

The Manning Family

The Winslow Family

Just remember to be very careful about your research because many of these books can include inaccuracies. If you add a connection found in one of these books to your family tree, it’s best to look for a second resource to back it up.

#4. How are Cousins Related?

When researching your family tree, you’ll found plenty of cousins, aunts and uncles that are your 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.

The degree of relationship is based on the most recent direct ancestor that two people have in common.

Example: 2nd cousins have two great-great-grandparents in common.

#5. What is a Double Cousin?

Double cousins occur when two or more siblings marry two or more siblings from another family.

Example: My paternal great-grandmother Dee had two sisters who married two brothers in the early 1900s. Children of these two great-aunts are double cousins because they share all four grandparents (or great-grandparents) in common.

#6. Am I Related to Anyone Famous?

Want to see if you are related to someone famous? There are two ways to go about it.

First, if you already know you are related to someone famous such as a Mayflower voyager (eg. William Brewster), you can look up his/her famous descendants on famouskin.com.

Or, if you are more interested in a celebrity’s ancestry, you can painstakingly look up their family tree on famouskin.com too.

#7. What Questions Should I Ask My Ancestors?

It is very crucial to your family tree that you write down or record your ancestors’ stories and histories for future. But what questions should you ask your ancestors?

Here are just 10 of my favorite questions to ask your ancestors.

10 Questions to ask your ancestors #ancestry #genealogy #family #thejoyousliving


Popular Questions about Researching Ancestry #atozchallenge #ancestry #genealogy #familysearch #thejoyousliving

I hope these answers have been helpful! How is your ancestry research going? Any fun finds?


sharing is caring


  1. That is so fascinating. I’ve always been interested in family heritage and tracking ancestry. It’s like the world’s biggest scavenger hunt.

  2. This is so cool! I always wanted to research my family history. I think that this is a great place to start. Thanks for the info!

  3. That is really neat! I’ve been thinking about doing some family tree research. Who knows what kind of amazing discoveries I might make!

  4. Thank you so much for this information I would love to do so ancestry test I’ve always been fascinated with my family history.

  5. Oh I loved reading your post, this is definitely something that’s dear to my heart 🙂 I would love to know more about where I come from!

  6. Family history is such a fascinating thing. I love looking at my family tree fan chart and looking at all my relatives. My mom has done a ton of it. It is neat to see the names of famous ancestors.

  7. This information is super helpful. I tried doing my family tree on Ancestry a few years ago and hit a wall once I needed to go back to the motherland. We apparently have a family seal on my grandmother’s side, but I also have seen the same seal used for other people’s families so I know it can get confusing. I remember going down the Wikipedia rabbit hole on the Brewster family at 2 in the morning once lol! So many famous people there.

  8. Family tree maker is really intriguing! Knowing the family history is an interesting activity. I might find time to check this one out again… 🙂

  9. These are great tips; I will have to try out the family tree maker. I have taken DNA tests at both Ancestry and 23 and Me so I do have some useful information to get started.

  10. I have always thought this would be pretty fun to do. There are so many things I would love to ask about my ancestors.

  11. Useful information. It is a good thing finding out who are our ancestors or relatives . It helps to strengthen our blood and form close relationships toward one another.

  12. An interesting challenge and that’s great to learn about your own family tree. Congratulations on completing another challenge and thanks for sharing some good insights. – Knycx Journeying

  13. This looks both interesting and fascinating. I have always been staying in a nuclear and therefore, I don’t know much about my family history. I think now is the time to dig deeper and know my family history well.

  14. I have a friend who was adopted and just traced her ancestry to find her blood family. Thanks for informing everyone of this! -Nathaniel from Operation Awesome

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.