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Find the answers to 7 popular ancestry questions.

Below are 7 popular ancestry questions that novice researchers might ask. If you have an additional question, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below!

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

Family Tree Maker is 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® 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 despite the price tag because I find Family Search a tad bit more difficult to add/delete sources and family members to your tree.

Ancestry Questions 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, 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.

Ancestry Questions 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.

Ancestry Questions 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.

Ancestry Questions 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.

Ancestry Questions 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

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

Ancestry Questions 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 the 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

More Ancestry Research Posts


Have a question about your ancestry research? Want to know how to put together your family tree? Have a question about genealogy? #genealogy #ancestry #familytree #thejoyousliving

How are you related to your cousins? Research your family tree and discover your cousins. what is a second cousin? #ancestry #genealogy #familyresearch #thejoyousliving #cousins
Popular Questions about Researching Ancestry #atozchallenge #ancestry #genealogy #familysearch #thejoyousliving

I hope these answers have been helpful!

Continue the Conversation

How is your ancestry research going? Does anyone have any fun finds?

(This post was originally part of an A to Z Challenge on Family History)