We don't get to choose who our ancestors were. But imagine if you could pick your family tree? What kind of people would you like as your descendants? Kings and queens, great explorers, movie stars? In a soon-to-be-released study from Ancestry.com, the family history company reveals the ancestors that Americans most covet.
Ancestry.com found, ( not surprisingly), the most enviable ancestors are:
• Doctors or medics
• Mayflower descendants
• Veterans of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars
How did they arrive at their findings? In a research study they interviewed more than 6,000 adults 18 or older in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Sweden. To have a good sample of the population by age and gender, those interviewed represented a broad range of ages and income levels.
Of course, the study is purely aspirational. "While it's fun to imagine being a descendant of royalty, Americans should feel pride in the common historical threads we share in World War II, immigration and entrepreneurship," says Michelle Ercanbrack, family historian at Ancestry.com. "Whether your ancestors were blue-blooded or blue-collared, there's a story in every family tree--you just have to start looking."
According to the study, the ancestors people least likely to wanted to be related to were:
• Murderers or violent criminals
But as Ercanbrack explains, there's something to be gleaned just knowing your roots. "While digging through your family's past, don't be surprised if you uncover something unexpected, or even unsavory," says Ercanbrack. "For better or worse, family is family, and ultimately there is always something to learn. The most beautiful stories to me are those where individuals overcome challenging circumstances to do good and be great, even if that redemption takes years or generations."
So which celebrities have desired ancestry? To whom can George Clooney, Johnny Depp, Sarah Jessica Parker and others trace their roots? Click on this Parade.com story to find out more!