A third of Americans are unable to name all four of their grandparents, according to new research.
From knowing names of family members, tracing their family tree or knowing when their family came to America, the survey of 2,000 Americans found that many are clueless when it comes to their heritage.
The results suggest those with living elderly relatives may do well to take heed of the results and carve out time for a call or visit over the holidays -to learn about their family while they still can.
The results revealed that 34 percent can’t presently trace their family tree past their grandparents, but even then, many respondents were missing some key information.
Twenty-one percent don’t know which city a single one of their grandparents were born in, and 14 percent don’t know what any of their grandparents did for work.
Conducted by OnePoll and commissioned by Ancestry, the survey examined which aspects of their heritage people know, and which leave them confused.
The survey also found that a fifth of Americans (21 percent) are unable to name even one of their great-grandparents.
But while respondents may be lacking in information, results show that they want – and are willing – to learn.
“In recent decades, we’ve seen a major upswing in interest when it comes to researching family history, and this is largely due to the accessibility of historical information,” said Jennifer Utley, Director of Research at Ancestry. “This valuable historical data is helping people paint a picture of their past, and the holidays are a great time to start investigating our own family history.”
From learning their grandparents fought together in WWII, to finding Ellis Island records and learning their ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence, half of respondents have researched their heritage, either through family tree books, examining records or searching through a website.
Eight in 10 respondents report caring about their heritage, and 84 percent say it’s important to know about their heritage.
And some Americans are already well-informed. Six in 10 know what country their last name comes from, and 65 percent know which country or countries their family came to America from.
“Most family history research starts with oral history, listening to the stories passed down from generation to generation,” said Utley. “Conversations during holiday gatherings can help us discover more than just what country our relatives migrated from, but also who they were as individuals – their stories, their dreams and lessons learned.”
Utley continued, “As the world’s largest online family history resource, Ancestry brings together science and self-discovery, allowing users access to billions of historical records, millions of family trees and millions of enthusiastic family researchers.”
AMERICANS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW THE FOLLOWING ABOUT THEIR GRANDPARENTS
1.Stories of them when they were young 72 percent
2. Childhood memories 63 percent
3. Where your family came from 62 percent
4. Their heritage 62 percent
5. Life advice 51 percent
6. About their personal beliefs 48 percent
7. Health issues common to your family 47 percent
8. General medical history 40 percent
9. What kind of work they did 37 percent
10. Best trips/places they’ve been 36 percent