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The Genealogue

FamilySearch Blog

Discover your personal and family heritage

FamilySearch Updates Enhance your Experience

2020. július 3., péntek 6:42:00

To keep you up to date on the latest FamilySearch experience changes, we will be listing them here chronologically. Check back often to see how your FamilySearch experience has improved!

Update: June 17, 2020—No Longer Using Labels

The label tool in the right sidebar of FamilySearch person pages will no longer be used as a way to note an ancestor was part of a well-known group or participated in a historical event, and the corresponding labels (previously shown in the top right corner of a person page) will be retired.

Example from Before Update:

After Update:

While existing labels will be removed, FamilySearch users can still add rich details about their ancestor’s involvement in these groups and events by using these different methods:

  1. Add a source showing the person’s involvement.
  2. Use the Other Information feature to add an event or fact about the person. (This feature allows you to pick from common types of events and facts or create a custom one.)
  3. Add important biographical details to the person’s Life Sketch.
  4. Create a story or attach a document sharing the details of your ancestor’s involvement.

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Update: June 4, 2020—Add a Topic Tag to More Than One Memory at a Time

Earlier this year, FamilySearch added the topic tags feature to Memories. Topic tags make it easier for users to categorize and find memories later. Now you can add a single topic tag to multiple memories at the same time.

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Recent improvements to Memories have made searching Memories easier and faster than ever before. Below are a few updates you may notice to the search experience:

  • Results now display up to 10,000 artifacts per search.
  • Boolean search strategies—such as using AND, OR, NOT, “phrase,” and wildcard*— are more effective. (Learn how to use Boolean search.)
  • Stop words (words that search engines typically ignore) are now recognized by language.

Stem searches are now supported by language. For example, a search for “fish” will turn up search results with related words such as “fishing,” “fished,” and “fisher.”

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Update: May 28th, 2020—Updates to Account Creation for Children

It is now easier than ever for children ages 8–12 to create a FamilySearch account. Parental permission is still required for children in this age group to create a FamilySearch account; however, the process has been streamlined. A new option was added to allow parents to use a text message to confirm their permission for their child’s account. Parents can also use a mobile number to give their child permission to create an account, and they can use the same mobile number to recover the account. So you and your family members can create accounts using only one mobile number.

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Update: May 15, 2020—Change Log Updates

The change log for ancestors in the FamilySearch Family Tree has been updated, making it much simpler to see changes made to an ancestor’s profile. To view the updated change log, go to an ancestor’s page, and, under the Latest Changes tab, select Show All. A page will open that shows in a simple-easy-to-digest summary every change made to that ancestor’s profile.

the latest changes tab on FamilySearch

It’s also now possible to filter changes using a button on the upper right side of the page. Select an option to see all changes related to that option—whether it is a change in a relationship, an alternate name, life events, and more.

the latest changes tab on FamilySearch

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Update: May 7, 2020—Change to Indexing Group Reports

To preserve privacy, information in indexing group reports has been updated to show only a summary of the records indexed and number of people participating. This updated report also helps indexing groups and indexing group coordinators focus more on accuracy over quantity of indexed batches.

Have you ever joined an indexing group on Or created one? An indexing group is a great way to collaborate and stay motivated while indexing. Even better, you can participate in an indexing group remotely or in person, whichever best fits your circumstances.

For some fun ideas of how to index as a group without relying on individual statistics, read this article.

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Update: May 5, 2020—Standardized Places

A systemwide update will take place for a small percentage of places listed in the FamilySearch Family Tree that are not standardized properly. FamilySearch strives to have standardized places and dates to improve record matching and other user experiences.

In cases where a place listed in the Family Tree is not a location, FamilySearch will remove the attached standard, though the original text entry will remain. When the standard is removed, the change will appear with the contributor listed as “FamilySearch” and the date the change occurred. This change will cause a data problem message to appear for vital events. Users who notice the data problem can correct the standard by editing the place data.

This update will help provide more standardized place entries, resulting in better record hints and better matching for possible duplicates. It will also help improve discovery experiences on

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Update: April 9, 2020—Additions to Record Merging Process

Merging two records into one can be an intimidating process. However, new updates to the merging process can help you make the decision. For example, when you begin reviewing possible duplicate records, you may see a merge warning at the top of the screen. This warning lets you know if the two records have previously been merged and will give you some of the details.

merging updates familysearch

Additionally, the merging process now displays the possible duplicate on the left and the current record on the right. This change means you are merging the record on the left into the record on the right. This simple adjustment matches the rest of the website and will help the process flow more smoothly.

Learn more about the merging process.

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genealogy chart - FamilySearch fan chart users now have more printing options for the fan chart display on Family Tree. Not only can they print a fan chart that shows up to seven generations, but any of the seven fan chart views can be printed. These views include Family Lines, Birth Country, Sources, Stories, Photos, Research Helps, and Ordinances.

Learn more about the Family Tree fan chart.

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Update: March 5, 2020 —Mobile App Fan Chart Update

The FamilySearch Family Tree app now has a new way to see your family story—the fan chart, which was previously available only on a laptop or desktop! To turn on this feature, go to your app settings, and select Enable Fan Chart View. You can toggle this selection on or off as desired.

With the fan chart view enabled, you will see a small button in the lower corner that allows you to customize your fan chart view. The fan chart view can show four to seven generations and can be viewed from several perspectives—family lines, birth country, number of sources, stories or photos attached to profiles, and which ancestors have research recommendations. Latter-day Saint users are also able to view which ancestors have ordinances available.

Download the FamilySearch Family Tree app, and give this update a try!

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Update: February 20, 2020—Sharing and Liking Albums, Album Slideshows on Memories

Albums on Memories can now be shared easily to Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest via the Share menu in an album.

Share option on Album memories

FamilySearch users can also now “Like” an album. Liking an album is a way to bookmark an album that belongs to another user. To like an album, click the blue heart Like icon located below the album title. All liked albums display in the user’s My Likes list in the gallery.

Additionally, you can view your album’s photos in a slideshow. To play a slideshow, click on the Slideshow icon below the album title. A window will pop up and give you the options to loop the slideshow or include audio (if the images have audio).

slidshow screenshot

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Update: February 18, 2020—Explore Historical Images Unlocks Data in Digital Records

Have you ever tried searching for your ancestor’s name in online records? FamilySearch, FamilySearch partners, and volunteers worldwide have worked to make over 3 billion records easily findable online with a very simple name search. But did you know that these indexed records represent only 20 percent of the historical records FamilySearch has available online?

Well ahead of any formal indexing or cataloging, the new FamilySearch Explore Historical Images tool can help you find records about your ancestors more easily, even when their information is not text-searchable and seems to be locked inside a digital image. Learn more here.

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Update: February 6, 2020—Topic Tags Added to Memories

FamilySearch Memories released a new feature, “Topic Tags,” that makes it easier than ever before to categorize and find memories.

On the website, the topic tags option is found to the right of images and documents that you are viewing in Memories. Just click the link Add Topic Tags to add tags such as “Recipes,” “World War II,” “Wedding,” and other descriptive terms. Once you start typing, a drop-down menu will give you ideas.

topic tags screenshot

Later, when you want to find memories with a specific topic, you can click the Find tab, select the Search Topic Tags option, and search all of FamilySearch Memories for photos tagged with the topic you are looking for. You can limit your searches to close relatives only by clicking the option Search Only My Close Relatives, found on the search results page.

Find Memories screenshot

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Update: February 5, 2020—Header Redesign on

The FamilySearch website has a new, streamlined header that is more readable and takes up less space. The Help menu is now more visible and easier for users to find. 

Also—exciting news!—the new Activities page, created early in 2019, has a prominent position in the main header. To discover more about yourself and your family, simply click Activities at the top of the page on

Screenshot of new header.

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Update: January 15, 2020—Free 2020 Calendar

FamilySearch has made it possible to print out a free 2020 Calendar that gives you dates that would have been important to your ancestors. This calendar includes birth dates, death dates, and wedding anniversaries. Additionally, it is now possible to get calendar reminders in your FamilySearch notifications. These reminders will notify you on the date of your ancestor’s event, and tell you how many years it has been since that day. Click here to view your own personalized calendar and download a free copy.

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All about the FamilySearch Family Tree

New: Online Genealogy Consultations with Family History Library Experts

2020. július 1., szerda 0:10:15

Humans have an innate need to know their identities—who their ancestors are and where they come from. Finding that past sometimes requires individualized expert assistance.

Now such assistance is available worldwide—for free—through, regardless of location or research question. Anyone can share the vast resources and expert services of the Family History Library by scheduling one-on-one online consultations. Genealogical specialists talk with guests in English and Spanish and will soon be available in other languages as well.

Family History Library—A Wealth of Genealogical Information

The Family History Library is the world’s largest repository of genealogical records, and it is staffed with experts in area-specific genealogical research. The library is extending access to that expertise and their resources so people throughout the world can succeed in their family history research regardless of their ability to travel to the library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Online Genealogy Help for Several Countries

A pilot program focused on Nordic assistance, but it has now been expanded to include Brazil, the British Isles, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Latin America, Norway, Portugal, the area comprising the historical Russian empire, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. Other areas will be added soon.

The pool of experts features specialists from the Family History Library but will be expanded to involve more specialists, including some from partner organizations worldwide, to provide expert help around the clock.

Help Navigating Online Resources

 Staff and guests alike are finding the consultations to be very useful, especially when it comes to navigating the many online resources and records that are available. For example, Russian and Slavic research specialist Ellie Vance was able to connect a man from Israel—who had previously never heard of FamilySearch—with a variety of resources and records.

“He had already done research on and, but we were able to locate a few other websites he can use to further his research,” Vance said.

The two were able to find a Yizkor book, a memorial book documenting Jewish life before World War II, that contained the man’s family name. In the last few minutes of the consultation, the man from Israel asked what the “Microfilm” column was in the indexes on both JewishGen and JRI-Poland.

“Imagine his surprise when I told him those were Family History Library microfilms that are now digital images that he can view from home! He was thrilled,” Vance said. “This is a great example of how we are expanding our global outreach to those who could never imagine coming to the library in Salt Lake City.”

Breaking through Brick Walls

Online consultations can also help patrons break through genealogical brick walls. For example, Nordic consultant Geoffrey Morris helped a woman named Patti find the parents of her immigrant great-grandfather in Finland.

The woman had done a lot of research already, but Geoffrey helped her identify good next steps and to join the Nordic research group in FamilySearch Communities. Communities are interactive groups of individuals around the world who share common research interests.

Help Getting Started

Age or inexperience need not discourage anyone from attempting family history research. United States and Canada specialist Vicki Standing spoke with a 70-year-old woman named Mollie who was just starting her quest.

Standing helped Mollie through the process of using FamilySearch historical records and narrowing the search to a specific collection. Mollie was delighted to receive images of a draft card, baptismal record, and marriage record, providing names of parents for both sides of the family. She was able to attach memories from funeral cards to her ancestors’ profiles on

How to Sign-up for Online Consultation

Using the FamilySearch Research Wiki, guests can schedule specific time slots in English or Spanish for their 20-minute online consultation. The booking app provides time schedule information in the guest’s own local time to simplify making the connection across time zones.

Participants are asked to fill out a short survey following their experience to help improve the technological and personal aspects of online consultations. These improvements will allow further expansion. The one-on-one consultations are expected eventually to reach throughout the world in many languages. 

French Traditions and Culture

2020. június 29., hétfő 18:50:00

Since the 17th century, France has been regarded as a “center of high culture.” As such, French culture has played a vital role in shaping world arts, cultures, and sciences. In particular, France is internationally recognized for its fashion, cuisine, art, and cinema.

Understanding French culture and traditions can help you better understand your family heritage if you have French ancestors. Discover where you’re from and more about your ancestors with the help of FamilySearch Discoveries

Cultural Variety in France

French culture was historically shaped by Celtic, Roman, and Germanic cultures. As these influences evolved, France became a patchwork of local communities and customs. What’s true for one community may not be true for another. Despite the growing global culture today, France has made an effort to preserve the cultures of its smaller communities.

If you’re interested in learning more about the intricacies of French culture and communities, try exploring books from this list or this list. Or if you’re lucky enough, traveling the French countryside will give you firsthand experience.

An illustration of France showing elements of French culture.


As the official language of France, French is the first language of 88% of the population. Even then, most others speak French as a second language.

However, minority languages flourish in specific regions. For example, eastern provinces speak German while Flemish is spoken in the northeast and Italian is spoken in the southeast. Other communities within France speak several other languages.


The family has served as the founding unit of French society for generations. Traditionally, the family structure could include either extended families or nuclear families. In recent years, that structure has shifted to primarily reflect nuclear families as well as variations such as single-parent households or civil unions known as PACS

A couple riding bicycles in France.

If you have French ancestors, they may have lived together as an extended unit. Find or share stories about your French family with FamilySearch Memories to explore the lives they led.

Religion in France

Most French citizens consider themselves to be Christian (primarily Catholic). Historically, Catholicism played a significant role in shaping French culture and was the state religion until 1789. In French tradition, kings were even crowned within the Notre-Dame de Reims cathedral until 1825. 

Notre-Dame de Reims, the Reims Cathedral.

Most of the remaining population today identifies as agnostic or atheist. However, there are also significant groups of Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist residents in modern France.

French Values

The French motto “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” reflects the values of French society. Equality and unity are important to the French. The French also value style and sophistication, and they take pride in the beauty and artistry of their country. 

Family is also highly valued in French culture. Mealtimes are often shared with family, and extended-family gatherings and meals are common over the weekend.

French Cuisine

Meals in France are meant to be enjoyed. Food is made with great care, and mealtimes are a prime time for socializing. While French cooking is recognized around the world, there are many varieties in cooking styles, ingredients, and dishes from region to region. For example, Normandy cuisine is known for seafood and cheeses while Burgundy is known for beef.

That being said, traditional French cuisine is characterized by its cheeses, wines, breads, and sauces. Recently, French cuisine has shifted to reflect lighter fare rather than the more traditional heavy sauces and complicated preparations.

French food at a family table.

Breakfast in French culture is typically light: a French pastry or bread served with a hot beverage. Lunch and dinner, on the other hand, are considered to be the main meals of the day. Formal meals will have four courses: a starter, a salad, a main course, and a cheese or dessert course.

French Fashion

Paris is often regarded as the fashion capital of the world. It is home to several worldwide brands such as Louis Vuitton and Chanel. France became a major influencer in fashion beginning with the reign of Louis XIV in the 1600s. During that time, France became known for its luxury goods throughout Europe.

Today, French style can be described as sophisticated and fashionable. A typical outfit may include dresses or suits with long coats and scarves.

French Art and Media

The arts are deeply appreciated in French traditions. Hobbies and professions are historically shown deep respect for the craftsmanship that goes into them. French literature, painting, and cinema are all historically significant around the world. Works such as Les Misérables or artists such as Monet are some of the most recognizable in the world.

A statue outside of the Louvre museum.

Today, art is still highly regarded in France. The Louvre, housed in Paris, is the largest art museum in the world. If you visit France, you’ll also likely see artists in the streets painting.

French Traditions and Tips for Traveling

If you travel to France, understanding these French traditions might help you prepare:


  • Kissing on the left cheek and then the right cheek is a common greeting for informal woman-to-man, woman-to-woman, or man-to-woman interactions
  • Handshakes are a common greeting for man-to-man interactions or formal settings
  • When getting someone’s attention, start by saying “Bonjour Madame/Monsieur

Public Behavior

  • Patrons bag their own food at grocery stores
  • If you speak English, ask someone if they speak English before speaking to them in English
  • It is polite to be formal and reserved, particularly with strangers or acquaintances
  • Quiet tones are expected in public
  • “Dressing down” is not common in France
Visitor at a French bakery.


  • Beverages are served at room temperature rather than cold or with ice
  • If invited into a French home, it’s customary to bring a small gift such as chocolates, flowers, or candies
  • Appetizers are served with most meals, so don’t fill up before the main dish is served
  • To know when to start eating or how to eat certain foods, observe what the host does
  • Keep both hands at the table while eating, but keep your elbows off the table

If you’re ever uncertain how to behave while in France, observe what locals do. Mimicking the behaviors of French locals will help you remain polite and respectful to their culture and traditions.

French traditions and culture reflect the French values of unity, beauty, respect, and family. If you have French family, which French traditions does your family have? 

Fiji Culture: Traditional Food, Art, and More

2020. június 27., szombat 0:26:34

Bula! This oft-used greeting in Fiji translates to “life,” with its longer use ni sa bula vinaka translating to “wishing you happiness and good health.”This warm well-wishing lies at the heart of Fiji culture, which is just as vibrant and inviting as Fiji’s white-sand beaches, tropical scents, and lush green forests.

Below we’ve highlighted just a few of the island’s traditions that make Fiji culture so inviting and full of life!

Fijian Art

Masi (Tapa Cloth)


A popular art form in Fiji is the creation of the Fijian masi, also known as tapa cloth. Masi is made from inner white bark of the paper mulberry. To create masi, Fijians strip the bark, soak it in water, and then beat and felt the cloth for hours.

Once the cloth is prepared, designs are added using red, brown, or black vegetable dyes. Masi patterns commonly include repeated geometric motifs, created either by freehand or with stencils. Traditionally, these stencils were made from banana leaves or other large-leaved plants.

Masi can be used as a ceremonial dress or wall décor or as a table mat or blanket.

Mat and Basket Weaving

The traditional Fijian art of mat and basket weaving is alive and well on the islands. It is not uncommon to see people weaving hats, mats, and other materials from durable coconut palm fronds.

weaving basket with coconut palm fronds

Voi voi (known also as pandanus leaves) is another popular weaving material—though preparing the leaves can take longer than the actual weaving! The voi voi leaves must be stripped of their thorns, boiled, and then dried in the sun. Sometimes, the material is blackened through a process of burying the leaves in mud for several days and then reboiling them.

Similar to masi, these woven projects can be a form of décor, or they can work more practically as baskets, floor coverings, or sleeping mats. But more often than not, the weavings have both artistic and practical purposes—an everyday reminder of Fijian heritage.


Traditionally, weaving and creating masi were done by women. The men’s crafts centered more on wood carving, especially in crafting canoes.

fijian wood carving

One of the most recognizable and impressive traditional Fijian canoes was the drua, sometimes referred to as the sacred canoe. Drua in Fijian means “double,” and the canoe gets its name from the double-hulled, twin-like construction. The drua functioned mainly as a war canoe and was known for its impressive size and speed—reaching up to 25 knots and varying from 100 to 118 feet in length.

Unfortunately, the arts of canoe crafting and wood carving are declining arts. However, some Fijians seek to revive these arts, embracing their past heritage.

Traditional Fijian Dancing

Dancing is an important part of Fiji culture. The most popular performance, called a meke, involves both dancers and singers or percussionists.

meke dancers. Meke is a traditional dance in Fiji

These storytelling musical displays preserve the legends and tales passed down over the years. The performances capture aspects of traditional Fijian life, from elegant fan performances to rousing war dances. Typically, men wear the clothes of a warrior while the women wear dresses with traditional ornate patterns.

When performed in villages, meke dancers are afterwards given gifts of appreciation from the audience.

Fijian Food

Fijian food is an important part to Fiji’s culture because it’s an important part of the island itself—much of the authentic, traditional dishes prepared in Fiji are based on natural, local resources. This means that most traditional meals are made with seafood, vegetables, roots, and tropical fruit like coconut.

The traditional way of cooking Fijian food includes wrapping the meals in banana leaves and palm fronds and then cooking them in an underground, earth oven heated by hot stones. This earth oven is called a lovo.


Traditional Fijian food includes the following:

  • Kokoda. Similar to sushi, this dish consists mainly of raw fish. It’s mixed with coconut milk broth and raw vegetables.
  • Cooked Cassava and Taro Root. These roots are cooked and eaten as a side dish. The cooked roots are similar to potatoes in texture and are a staple in many Pacific island cultures.
  • Palusami. Palusami, which is also common in Samoa, is made up of crushed taro leaves. There are no spices involved. This simple dish is served with coconut cream or pieces of meat, commonly lamb or corned beef. The taste is comparable to cooked spinach. 
  • Cooked fish. The Fiji cuisine wouldn’t be complete without this important island staple. You can find a variety of fish cooked in all sorts of ways, including smoked, grilled, and steamed. 

Indian-Fijian food is also an important aspect to Fiji’s food heritage. For this reason, curry is a common staple of Fijian meals, including the popular to-go chicken curry roti.

Family in Fiji praying

Religion in Fiji

The Fiji culture is renowned for being warm and welcoming, so it’s no surprise that the islands are home to people of many different religions, from Christianity to Sikh.

Fijians with Asian ancestry, such as Fijian Indians, tend toward Islam, Hinduism, and Sikh, whereas many indigenous Fijians identify as Christian. This is because during the 19th century, when Britain colonized Fiji, many Fijian village chiefs were converted to Christianity. Prior to conversion, shamanism and animism were the predominant religious beliefs of indigenous Fijians.

Fijian Community

Perhaps the biggest hallmark of Fiji culture is the sense of community. It’s not unusual for strangers to wave and smile as you pass by.

If there was a word to describe the Fijian people, it would be family. In this beautiful culture, it takes a village to raise a child. Communities are made up of close friends and family members and the islands even report a low crime rate.

Fijian family - father, mother, and daughter

If you have Fijian heritage, it’s something to be proud of. The culture and lifestyle of your ancestors or current family members continue to lift communities worldwide. Continue the legacy by sharing what your heritage means to you in FamilySearch Memories.

Fijian children playing outside

Want to learn more about your islander ancestors? Visit and see what you can find!

Radio and Music in the 1920s United States

2020. június 26., péntek 1:59:51

The radio as a form of entertainment grew in popularity in the 1920s United States. This inexpensive form of enjoyment for the whole family included radio shows, music, and more. The decade started off in 1921 with just 5 radio stations in the country but ended with 606 stations. That is some serious growth!

Let’s take a look at 1920s radio and music in the United States.

Interested in knowing what music was popular when you were born? Find out here.

1920s Radio

What made the radio important in the 1920s?

In the 1920s, radio was able to bridge the divide in American culture from coast to coast. It was more effective than print media at sharing thoughts, culture, language, style, and more. For this reason, the importance of radio was more than just entertainment. It was a tool to communicate, interact, and bring the nation together.

The 1920s introduced an era of more innovation than what had been seen in the past. The economy was doing well and income increased. With that prosperity, families had more leisure time, and a favorite pastime became listening to the radio.

family listening to a radio in the 1920s

The first radio stations focused on broadcast news, serial stories, and political speeches, but they later included music, weather, and sports.

What radio shows were popular in the 1920s?

The most popular 1920s radio show was a situation comedy titled Amos ‘n’ Andy. The show was based around the taxicab business of Amos Jones, his friend Andrew Hogg Brown, and George “Kingfish” Stevens. It lasted more than 30 years.

Though popular in the 1920s, Amos ‘n’ Andy, which was performed by white artists, encouraged negative Black stereotypes. Many radio shows of this decade emulated this minstrel-style comedy. However, in 1929, Chicago’s WSBC introduced The All-Negro Hour, the first variety show with all African American entertainers. The show helped pave the way for better representation of African Americans in radio and entertainment.

Radio in the 1920s also introduced sports programs into the home, which quickly became popular. Play-by-play descriptions were broadcast on the radio and helped popularize athletes such as Jim Thorpe, Gertrude Ederle, Helen Wills, and Babe Ruth.

1920s Music

What was the most popular music in the 1920s?

Music in the 1920s in the United States had variety, to say the least! Jazz, blues, swing, dance band, and ragtime were just a few of the most popular music genres of the decade. Almost all of these genres originated from the creative work of African Americans influenced by their culture and heritage.

1920s musicians in a jazz band

Prior to the radio, music could be shared only through sheet music, piano rolls, or live performances. With the use of the radio waves, music of all kinds could easily be introduced to homes across the United States.

Jazz Music of the 1920s

Jazz music was created from the fusion of Anglo-American, African, and Creole influences, born in the melting pot of New Orleans, Louisiana. The 1920s are often called the Jazz Age because Jazz music became very popular during that time. With lots of improvising and syncopated rhythms, jazz music influenced dances, fashion, and culture. The upbeat sounds of jazz became a favorite on the radio. The most popular jazz musicians of the 1920s were Louis Armstrong and Duke Wellington.

Some of Armstrong’s most famous hits were “Heebie Jeebies” (1926), “West End Blues” (1928), and “Ain’t Misbehavin” (1929). Some of Duke Ellington’s 1920s hits included “Creole Love Call” and “Black and Tan Fantasy.”

crazy blues ad

Blues Music of the 1920s

Blues music used repetitive chords and a 12-bar structure. Often associated with personal trials, blues music frequently shared the stories of a prejudiced and segregated South. In fact, blues music was heavily influenced by the African spirituals sung by those who were enslaved. The singing of spirituals was a form of retaining resiliency and reprieve amidst oppressive circumstances.  Sometimes, a blues tune could be considered comical or even witty.

Mamie Smith, a popular blues singer, was credited with being the first to record a blues vocal. The song she sang was titled “Crazy Blues.” Other famous blues singers were Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Ma Rainey’s most famous 1920s music included “See See Rider” (1924) and “Black Bottom” (1927). Bessie Smith had several hits during the 1920s as well, which included “Downhearted Blues” (1923) and “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-Ness If I Do” (1923).

Dance Music of the 1920s

The most famous dance of the 1920s was the Charleston. This fun dance was set to music we might consider big band music of today, though it did have elements of ragtime. The Charleston made its debut in the 1923 Broadway show Runnin’ Wild and quickly became a favorite in dance halls across the states.

Music in the 1920s also influenced dances such as the fox-trot, tango, and lindy hop. Big band orchestras would create music to the movements of the dancers.

two women and a man dance in wthe 1920s

What were the most popular songs of the 1920s?

The most popular songs of the 1920s covered a wide variety of genres. Here’s a look at some of the top songs of the decade:

  • “Ain’t Misbehavin’”—Fats Waller
  • “Dark Was the Night”—Blind Willie Johnson
  • “Downhearted Blues”—Bessie Smith
  • “In the Jailhouse Now”—Jimmie Rodgers
  • “My Man”—Fanny Brice
  • “Swanee”—Al Johnson
  • “West End Blues”—Louis Armstrong

Discover the Popular Songs and Shows of Your Childhood

You can also discover what songs and shows were popular when you were a child—or even when your parents or grandparents were! Enter your name and birthday into FamilySearch’s All about Me experience (or sign in to your FamilySearch account—it’s free!), and discover all sorts of fun facts about your birthday.

Spiffy Slang Words and Phrases from the 1920s

2020. június 22., hétfő 20:00:00

Wouldn’t it be swell to travel back in time to the 1920s America? Maybe you could grill an ancestor and get them to sing (that means “talk” in 1920s lingo!). But be sure you know your onions! We can help you with that. Read ahead to learn some popular 1920s slang and sayings so you don’t sound like a sap.

When you’re finished learning 1920s slang, test your family friends on these slang words (and discover any fun family sayings!) and audio record their reactions!

Doll: 1920s Slang for Woman

The term “doll” was used to describe a pretty young woman in the 1920s, but it had been a term used as early as the 1550s when it began as a shortened form of “Dorothy.”

Cool Cat: 1920s Slang for a Hip Man

My Uncle John was one cool cat! The American 1920s slang phrase “cool cat” likely got its origin in the Jazz community. The Jazz Age of the 1920s greatly influenced American slang with other words and phrases such as an “Oliver Twist.” An Oliver Twist was an extremely good dancer that could really cut a rug (hey look, more 1920s lingo!).

jazz band from the 1920s

Cutting a rug derives its meaning from when couples would dance the jitterbug. When the dance was performed in one area for a long period of time, it would make the carpet appear as though it was cut, hence the 1920s slang cut a rug.

Bathtub Gin: 1920s Lingo for Homemade Liquor

The American prohibition lasted throughout the 1920s, making people a little more creative in making and distributing liquor. That’s where terms like bathtub gin, speakeasies, and bootleggers became popular 1920s terms.

prohibition agents destroying alcohol

Bathtub gin was slang for homemade liquor that could be made in the bathtub. Bootleggers, the transporters of the alcohol, would stock the illegal establishments, called speakeasies, with all sorts of homemade drinks, including this famous bathtub gin.

A speakeasy, also sometimes called a blind pig or blind tiger, was a place to sell illegal alcoholic beverages. In the U.S., the term speakeasy emerged in the 1880s. These illegal places of business were called speakeasies because people would need to speak quietly about such a place so that authorities wouldn’t be tipped off.

Other similar phrases were the cat’s meow, the cat’s whiskers, the tiger’s spots, and the elephant’s adenoids! These silly animal pairings seem to have been quite popular in 1920s slang.

Gold Digger: 1920s Lingo for a Woman Who Marries a Man for His Money

young woman and man in room together

Gold-digger is the perfect example of an idiom, which is a group of words that has a figurative meaning instead of a literal one. The 1920s slang phrase “gold digger” was made popular by the 1929 Broadway show titled The Gold Diggers of Broadway in which three chorus girls seek rich husbands.

Gams and Dogs: 1920s Slang for Legs and Feet

“Will you look at the gams on that doll,” said Howard to Dean. Howard was obviously referring to a woman’s nice-looking legs! But, where in the world did that 1920s saying come from? There are two lines of thought about the origin of the word “gams” referring to legs. One traces it to the Italian word “gamba,” meaning leg. Another theory believes the word comes from “gamb,” meaning the representation of a leg on a coat of arms.

Speaking of legs, are your dogs barking? Maybe after a hard day at work on the factory floor? “Dogs” was a 1920s slang word for feet. When people said their dogs were barking, they were referring to the fact that their feet were hurting. This 1920s phrase actually appeared in print in 1913 when a journalist for the New York Evening, T. A. Dorgan, used the term “dog” to represent his foot. He was well known for his rhyming slang, and this little diddy stuck.

The Bee’s Knees: 1920s Saying for Outstanding

This funny phrase was actually first recorded in the 1700s. It was used to refer to something small and insignificant. But by the 1920s, the bee’s knees referred to something thought to be outstanding!

Young girl from 1920s

1920s Slang Challenge

Now that you are the Big Cheese with 1920s slang and lingo, don’t lollygag around all day. Challenge your family—especially your parents and grandparents—to see if they recognize any of these phrases or have any fun family sayings of their own.

To participate in the challenge, download the FamilySearch Memories app, and sign in to your FamilySearch account (or create a free account if you don’t have one). Once in the Memories app, click the microphone icon, and then click the plus icon in the bottom right corner to record audio. When you’re finished recording, don’t forget to tag the memory under “1920s Slang.”

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1920s Clothing: Fashions from 1920–1929

2020. június 18., csütörtök 20:00:00

When you think of Western fashions in the 1920s, glamorous flapper dresses may come to mind. But there was much more to 1920s clothing than the “Roaring 20s” style of the flappers.

The 1920s brought prosperity and opportunity to many, though not all. More people purchased consumer goods such as automobiles and ready-to-wear clothing. They went on more outings. They wanted everyday wardrobes that were more simple, casual, and practical than the previous decade. Women’s styles changed the most, as they enjoyed newfound freedoms and greater participation in public life.

The simpler styles of the 1920s meant that even those who sewed their own clothes could copy the day’s fashions. Here’s what you may see people wearing in pictures from the 1920s.

Girl wearing 1920s dress outside
Three fashionable women walking down a street
Woman posing with 1920s clothing, which includes an embroidered butterfly
Drawing of 1920s clothing and women's fashion

What Did Women Wear in the 1920s?

The classic 1920s female silhouette reflected the era’s new sense of freedom. It was loose, straight, and slender, with dropped waists and shorter hemlines.

Women’s Dresses: They Weren’t All Flappers

Everyday dress for most women was a casual cotton housedress, sometimes homemade. Housedresses were loose pullover styles in colorful gingham, plaid, vertical stripes, or solids. The use of aprons and labor-saving appliances at home—and the enlargement of women’s life outside the home—meant that by the end of the 1920s, women were wearing more sophisticated day dresses all day long.

Women donned fancier dresses for special occasions. For warm-weather parties, ladies wore elegant afternoon or tea dresses of sheer, layered fabrics in white or pastel colors. The iconic flapper dress—sleeveless, knee-length, and often beaded, embroidered, or sequined—was a more flamboyant choice for a night on the town, especially for those who lived the lifestyle of the Lost Generation.

Women’s Casual 1920s Clothing for Sports and Leisure

An active lifestyle became more popular for women. A sun-tanned appearance for those with pale skin became more popular. Some women wore sleeveless tennis dresses both on and off the court. Toward the end of the decade, sailor-inspired “middy” style and menswear-inspired button-down blouses were popular. Women wore these with pleated skirts or—more daringly—wide-legged chiffon trousers.

Woman with 1920s hairstyle

Women’s Hats and Hairstyles

Women wore hats in public. Straw hats with wide brims, trimmed with ribbon and flowers, were popular for outdoor life. Turbans, berets, and Tam O’Shanter hats were also perched confidently on many women’s heads. The close-fitting, narrow-brimmed cloche hat is the most iconic women’s hat of the decade. Cloche hats were often banded with large ribbons or decorated with bows or embroidery.

Women’s hairstyles had to accommodate these tight-fitting hats. In the early 1920s, many women still wore their hair long, but styled it to look short, with curls on the side and the rest in a bun. The decade’s most famous women’s hairstyle was the daring bob cut, with earlobe-length locks styled straight or curly.

What Did Men Wear in the 1920s?

Men’s fashions didn’t change so dramatically. Overall, their dressed-up, buttoned-down look became more casual.

Drawing of popular men's 1920s clothing

Men’s Suits

Unless working or playing, men wore suits in public. Slim-fitting “jazz suits” complemented the trim physiques of Great War veterans at the outset of the 1920s. As the decade progressed, suits became looser and wider. British menswear, which set Western trends, was well tailored; the typical lounge suit was wide in the shoulder, with a loose-fitting, double-breasted jacket, matching vest, and high-waisted trousers, worn with a white shirt.

In the United States, suits were generally looser and longer, with flashier ties and stripes in both the shirt and suit fabric. Suit colors were fairly conservative; African American men sometimes wore bolder colors.

The 1920s saw several menswear fads. College students popularized the “Ivy League” look, with a slimmer fit, and longer, single-breasted jacket. Jazz Age culture produced the super-baggy “zoot suit.” Traditional suspenders generally gave way to belts, but some young men preferred flashy suspenders. Toward the end of the decade, mismatched vests were trendy.

Boy in 1920s fashion, wearing hat and suit

Men’s Casual 1920s Clothing and Sportswear

Men appeared more frequently in public in sportswear. The popularity of golf fueled a fad for wearing knickerbockers, longer plus-fours, and wide-legged oxford bag pants. Sweaters and sweater vests, especially in Argyle patterns, became a sporty, casual alternative to wearing a suit jacket. Men sometimes donned white or light-colored flannel suits during the summer. 

Men’s Hats and Hairstyles

Men with straight hair often wore it longer on the top and shorter on the sides. Whether slicked straight back or parted on the side, it was often combed into place with a greasy hair product. A variety of hats topped their look. Formal occasions called for bowler hats or similar-looking Homburgs. Banded fedoras were a popular everyday choice; the wide brim could be shaped to the owner’s preference.

What Did Children Wear in the 1920s?

Until toddlerhood, both boys and girls wore white gowns, which shortened to knee-length once they could walk. Young girls’ dress styles included baby doll, drop-waist, and sailor-style dresses. Older girls more closely copied women’s styles, with the straight, drop-waist dress a popular choice. Little boys wore short pants with matching jackets or short overalls and shirts. Older boys’ clothing more closely matched that of men: knickers, long pants, and button-down shirts.

Fashion in Your Family History

men and women in 1920s clothing and fashion

What did your family wear during the 1920s? Look for photos of them in FamilySearch Memories. Or upload your own family photos to share these treasures with others.

Celebrate Juneteenth by searching Freedmen’s Bureau Records

2020. június 18., csütörtök 18:00:00

Juneteenth is an important historical and joyous holiday that celebrates the abolition of slavery. It begins June 19 and lasts at least that day, a week, or an entire month.

What is Juneteenth?

The Juneteenth celebration commemorates June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger and 2,000 troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to enforce the freeing of slaves. The celebration of Juneteenth (Emancipation Day) began in the streets of Galveston by the former slaves. Today, Juneteenth is celebrated by millions of people throughout the nation.

General Gordon Granger enforced the freeing of slaves which led to Juneteenth.
General Gordon Granger (right).

What are the Freedmen’s Bureau Records?

In March of 1865, the Federal Government created the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, later renamed the Freedmen’s Bureau. The goal of the Bureau was to help 4 million slaves make the transition to freedom.

The Freedmen’s Bureau had vast responsibilities. It provided needful services including rations, medical care, employment assistance, and support for education. Two hundred hospitals were built and 4,000 schools were established.

And of course, where such orchestrated government support services were offered, and abundance of records were required. This can be a great resource for those researching their African American roots during this time period.

The Freedmen’s Bureau records include:

  • Documentation of the legalization of marriages entered during slavery
  • Labor contracts (the beginning of share cropping)
  • Military payment registers
  • Hospital logs
  • Former slave owners
  • The number of children an enslaved person had

5th Anniversary of the Freedmen’s Bureau Project

Many of these records were brought to light thanks to the work of volunteers in their participation of the Freedmen’s Bureau project. Five years ago today, FamilySearch made the announcement to begin a national wide effort to index these works.

Over 25,000 volunteers participated in the project coast to coast in the United States and Canada. Out of the four million people who were enslaved, participants uncovered the names of nearly 1.8 million of them.

Searching the Freedmen’s Bureau Records

An example of freedman's bureau records.

Robin Foster, a National Genealogy Examiner and a member of the South Carolina Genealogical Society suggests the Freedman Bureau records are crucial to tracing your African American genealogy back past 1870.

Records from the Slave Era in the U.S. are so valuable because they create the bridge from before the Civil War—when few records existed that mention identifying information about individual slaves—to the 1870s where former slaves began appearing. Records give names, dates of birth, marriage, and death. Additionally, records provide clues to past slave owners and locations.

The value of a single Bureau record to your family tree can be very exciting. Janis Forté, a lecturer, author, and publisher, and Recording Secretary of the Afro-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Chicago, was able to trace back three generations from one record. It even mentioned his slave ancestor’s daughters’ names and their married names. He discovered a great-great uncle had two marriages, one he didn’t know about.

Their records can bridge the genealogical gap from slavery to freedom.

20 Meaningful Ways to Celebrate Father’s Day

2020. június 18., csütörtök 2:30:00

Father’s Day is that one special day every year to celebrate the fathers in your life. It can look different for everyone, whether you’re celebrating your father, spouse, step-father, brother, or a role model. 

Finding things to do for Father’s Day can be difficult. If you’re having a hard time thinking of something, try some of the ideas below. Or, use them to get started as you look for ways to honor and celebrate the men in your life!

A grandfather shows images to his grandkids.

1. Learn about his family tree.

Tracing your father’s family tree can help you learn more about his family’s past and cultural heritage. It can be a meaningful way to feel more connected to your family, past and present.

2.  Prepare a scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts can be a fun family activity, and it’s a great way to hide gifts as well. Try this father’s day scavenger hunt to get you started.

a grandpa and granddaughter do a puzzle together.

3. Do a puzzle together.

Combine a gift with an activity, and get a new puzzle as a gift for Father’s Day. To make it extra special, order a custom puzzle made with family photos.

4. Share your favorite memories of your father.

Sharing and saving your favorite memories of your dad or a father-figure in your life will keep your favorite memories fresh in your mind. It can also help him feel loved and appreciated.

a family, including a father, mother, and two children, play together.

5. Host a friendly family competition.

Come up with a series of games to compete as a whole family. You could play minute-to-win-it games or look for easy festival games. Bonus if there are prizes involved!

6. Make a home-made gift.

Taking the time to come up with a thoughtful gift you can make at a home will make the gift all the more meaningful. Or, if he enjoys doing crafts, make it a family activity.

7. Take a minivacation.

You could take a weekend road trip somewhere new or even just explore new sites in your own city. Have you ever considered heritage tourism? Whatever you do, it’ll be a great way to experience new things together. Or, if you can’t get out of the house, try one of these virtual tours.

A family plays a game together.

8. Play games.

Playing board games, card games, or even video games is the perfect way to bond as a family. Find a favorite game, and play it together to get in some good quality time.

9. Explore ancestral locations.

If you’re connected to the FamilySearch Family Tree, Map My Ancestors allows you to find sites that are significant to your father’s family. It could help you find birth and burial sites, hometowns, and more places to visit.

10. Put on a show.

Put on a show just for your dad. It could be a skit, song, stand-up comedy, or talent show. This is especially fun if you have kids.

A family bakes together for father's day.

11. Bake a Father’s Day treat or dinner.

Making something delicious that you can enjoy as a family is a wonderful way to show your love for someone. For an extra special treat, try new recipes from around the world, particularly if you can find recipes that reflect your cultural heritage

12. Participate in his favorite hobby.

If your dad loves cooking, working with his hands, or gardening, dedicate time during the day to doing it with him. He’ll enjoy doing what he loves, and he’ll love it even more because you’re doing it with him.

A father helps his son with a scence experiment.

13. Do some crazy science experiments.

If there’s something everyone loves, it’s watching fascinating chemical reactions. Try making a baking-soda volcano, dropping mentos in coke, or doing other fun and easy science experiments at home.

14. Play in the water.

Father’s Day just happens to be in June, the prime time to play in the water! Swimming, kayaking, rafting, and tubing are just some of the ways you can take advantage of that.

a boy takes photos of his family photos.

15. Discover memories.

Reading family memories can help foster a sense of nostalgia or a feeling of belonging. Discover memories that can help you feel closer as a family. 

a family at the park together.

16. Enjoy an outing to the park.

Take the whole family to the park to enjoy some quality time together. Here are a few ideas to make your time at the park memorable:

  • Have a picnic.
  • Fly a kite.
  • Play tag.
  • Play hide-and-go-seek.
  • Play catch.
  • Hold a relay race.
  • Ride your bikes.
  • Barbecue.

17. Watch a movie.

Make popcorn, turn out the lights, and settle in for a favorite movie. Alternatively, make it a night out to the movie theater or drive-in theater.

A family goes camping for Father's Day.

18. Enjoy the great outdoors.

What does your dad enjoy doing outdoors? Hiking? Fishing? Camping? Boating? Whatever it is, get the whole family to join in for a memorable day together.

A man serves his father on father's day.

19. Do an act of service.

Service is one of the 5 love languages. If your father really appreciates acts of service, then there’s no better way to show him that you care. Try finishing that one project he never gets around to, or maybe clean out his car.

20. Learn about your family name.

Your last name can say a lot about your family’s story. Try learning about your name and the meaning behind it to see what you can find.

In the end, you’re the one who knows your dad best. You’ll know what he will appreciate more than anyone. Whether or not this list of things to do for Father’s Day provided you with a plan to celebrate, we hope it gave you the needed inspiration to get you started!

7 Genealogy TV Shows That Will Inspire You to Do More Family History

2020. június 16., kedd 22:28:00

You don’t have to be a professional genealogist to have an interest in your family’s history. Family connection has become an increasingly popular topic in entertainment and media, making it the theme of multiple successful genealogy tv show series.

Feeling stuck in a rut trying to disentangle your family lines? Here are some genealogy TV shows to help you find a little boost of inspiration.

Who Do You Think You Are?

In this show, you can follow your favorite well-known celebrities as they work alongside professional genealogists and historians to uncover their family’s story. Each journey is tailored to the individual, and you get to see your favorite artists or actors in a different light.

Learn more.

Genealogy Roadshow

Maybe you have an entire tackle box of fish stories that have been passed down in your family. If so, Genealogy Roadshow is for you. In this three-season series, a team of professionals visits cities throughout the United States to prove—or disprove—far-fetched genealogical claims and stories of everyday families.

Learn more.


Ancestors genealogy tv show screenshot

Ancestors is a 23-episode series produced by BYUtv. Rather than following a single individual through family discoveries, this show highlights family history records from different parts of the world. The show weaves together personal stories with the more technical side of doing family history, so you can be entertained while picking up on some more know-how for your own research.

Learn more.

The Generations Project

The Generations Project focuses on discovering some of the hidden secrets that have been woven into the family lines of the show’s participants. But don’t be mistaken. This show isn’t about uncovering the skeletons in the closet, it’s about uncovering the strength and resilience that come with knowing your background.

Learn more.

Long Lost Family

Long Lost Family explores the life and journey of family members who have been separated for years by the challenges and realities of life. Like many of us, participants in the show feel the drive to discover the missing pieces of their family puzzle.

To apply to be a participant, email You can also follow the Long Lost Family Casting Page on social media to watch for new opportunities.

Learn more.

Relative Race

Genealogy research can sometimes be slow-going, but not in Relative Race. In this show, teams of family members race to see who can meet all their unknown relatives first. The producers of the show use DNA testing to research the family beforehand to provide them with the locations of these relatives—and some epic game-changers.

A family on Relative Race, a popular genealogy tv show, hugging eachother

To apply to be one of the teams on the show, fill out an online application. Be sure to get your application in before June 1 to be considered for the upcoming season!

Learn more.

Roots Less Traveled

Roots Less Traveled is one of the newer genealogy TV shows. It follows pairs of family members on a long road trip to discover more about their ancestors—and each other. Each team works together to play detective and solve some of the mysteries and tall tales in their family tree.

Learn more.

While this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the genealogy TV shows out there—and those that are still coming—it’s a good place to start. But you don’t have to wait until you’re a big TV star to enjoy genealogy. Check out our online records today and start building your family tree to embark on your own journey of self-discovery.

The Greatest Generation: Birth Years, Characteristics, and History

2020. június 13., szombat 22:00:00

“The Greatest Generation” refers to the generation in the United States that came of age during the Great Depression and later fought in World War II. They are sometimes called the G.I. Generation or the World War II Generation. Did you have family who fought in World War II? Search for their name in FamilySearch military records below.

As a group, this generation persevered through the difficult times brought on by economic stress and war. The result was a generation that knew how to withstand hardship and built a better world because of it. 

What Are the Birth Years of the Greatest Generation?

Members of the Greatest Generation were born in the 1900s to the 1920s. There’s no universal cut-off date, but some sources have defined the Greatest Generation as people born from 1901 to 1927 or 1901 to 1924. 

Their parents were likely part of the Lost Generation. Many also had children in the Baby Boomer generation.

woman in ww2 working on aircraft

Why Are They Called the Greatest Generation?

“The Greatest Generation” got its name from a book by the same name. The book The Greatest Generation was written by Tom Brokaw, a journalist for NBC. In his book, Brokaw explores the stories and characteristics of this generation. The book expresses the belief that this generation is the greatest ever produced by society. In particular, Brokaw admired their desire to do the right thing. 

What Is this Generation Known For?

This generation’s childhood was marked by economic success and technological advancements such as the radio and telephone. This success was in stark contrast with their later years, which were marked by economic turmoil when the Great Depression hit as a result of the 1929 stock market crash. The depression lasted roughly a decade and resulted in a 25 percent unemployment rate. 

women working in a factory

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, millions of men enlisted to defend and fight for their country. In their absence, women rose to the occasion to support their country and their families by working in factories and elsewhere. Everyone involved is still remembered for their bravery and sacrifice.

ww2 soldiers in a tank

After facing the struggles brought on by war and a struggling economy, the veterans who returned home and their families rebuilt their communities and the economy.

Greatest Generation Characteristics

The economic turmoil of the Great Depression profoundly impacted the this generation, leaving its members with the desire to end poverty and create economic opportunities. As a result of their drive, this generation is recognized for their success in later years. 

family portrait from the 1930s, known as producing the "greatest generation"

In part a result of the Great Depression and World War II, this generation developed great resilience in surviving hardship and solving problems. Below are a few characteristics that define the Greatest Generation.

  • Personal Responsibility: The harsh reality of the Great Depression forced many to a higher standard of personal responsibility, even as children.
  • Humility: The Great Depression fostered modesty and humility in many of those who lived through scarcity.
  • Work Ethic: Hard work enabled survival during both the depression and the war. Many jobs at the time were physically demanding, with long hours.
  • Frugality: Saving every penny and every scrap helped families survive through times of shortage. “Use it up, fix it up, make it do, or do without” was a motto of their time.
  • Commitment: One job or one marriage often lasted an entire lifetime.
  • Integrity: People valued honesty and trustworthiness, values fostered by the need to rely on one another.
  • Self-Sacrifice: Millions sacrificed to defend their country or support the war effort from home.

Is Anyone from the Greatest Generation Still Alive?

Today, most surviving members of the Greatest Generation would be over 100 years old, or centenarians. Roughly 75,000–90,000 centenarians are alive in the United States and an estimated 343,000 are still living worldwide. Plus, the youngest members of the Greatest Generation would be in their 90s. 

soldiers in ww2

Many veterans of World War II were part of the Greatest Generation. In the United States, around 300,000–390,000 World War II veterans are still alive.

Long story short, this generation lives on. Keep their stories alive by preserving the memories and photos of your loved ones who lived during this time. FamilySearch Memories lets you record their stories or read the memories that others have shared. 

Writer Michael Kelley noted, “Americans knew that to survive they had to depend on their families.” Whether your family members from the Greatest Generation are still alive, their legacy lives on today in your family. Ask your parents or grandparents about them and their families.

Seven Inventions from the 1920s That We Still Use Today

2020. június 12., péntek 21:33:31

As the 1920s came roaring in, the United States was experiencing a time of economic prosperity. With that prosperity came a desire for convenience and more leisure time. For this reason, many inventions in the 1920s are related to entertainment and making domestic life easier. These inventions not only drastically shaped the 1920s but shaped the world as we know it today.

Check out these seven 1920s inventions that are still used today.

1. The Electric Automatic Traffic Signal

Early traffic signal invention and Garret Morgan, the inventor.

Garret Morgan is credited with inventing the first electric automatic traffic signal in 1923. Although other types of traffic signals were in use since 1868, Morgan’s design used a T-shaped pole and had three positions. The patented design was sold to General Electric for $40,000.

According to the United States Access Board, the United States had roughly 300,000 traffic lights in 2018. Just imagine how many are in use across the whole world!

2. Quick-Frozen Food

Can you imagine not having a pack of frozen peas in the freezer just when you need it? Or how about a frozen pizza for when a craving hits? Well, frozen veggies and food as we know them today haven’t always been a staple in every home! Clarence Birdseye invented and offered Americans the first quick-frozen foods in the 1920s after noticing how good a fish kept if it was frozen quickly rather than slowly.

Young girl wearing a band-aid. The band-aid was first created in 1920

3. The Band-Aid®

Earle Dickson, a Johnson and Johnson employee, created the first adhesive bandage for small wounds in 1920. Dickson invented the special bandage for his wife, Josephine, who seemed to cut and burn herself regularly while cooking. Now, she could easily dress a wound herself.

Johnson and Johnson mass produced machine-made Band-Aids® in 1924. Over time, these bandages have evolved to be made in a variety of shapes and sizes and in various materials. Some have added medication, and they can be a favorite decorative “sticker” to many children around the world!

Over 100 billion Band-Aids® have been made.

4. Water Skis

In 1922, Ralph Samuelson created a new sport—water skiing! It quickly became a favorite summer pastime. Samuelson first used a pair of boards as skis and a clothesline as a towrope. He tried his idea on Lake Pepin in Lake City, Minnesota, where his brother pulled him in a boat that reached 20 mph. It took him a bit of time to perfect the best position for skimming the water, but once he did, he never looked back!

A person waterskis

Samuelson spent the next 15 years performing water skiing shows and teaching other people the skill.

5. Electric Blender

Are you a fan of milk shakes? The first electric blender made its appearance in 1922.

Stephen J. Poplawski is credited for the electric blender that was first used for making milk shakes and malts. In 1932, Poplawski received patents for a blender that worked well for fruits and vegetables.

The electric blender made cool creamy treats and pureed fruits and veggies easily. It quickly became a popular kitchen appliance in most homes.

6. Television

Oh, what would we do without the greatest pastime in this day and age—and yes, I’m talking about binge-watching the television. Inventors Philo Taylor Farnsworth, John Logie Baird, and Charles Francis Jenkins are credited with the idea and creation of televisions as we know them today.

A family watches television

Before electronic television, there was mechanical television. The world’s first electronic television is credited to Philo Taylor Farnsworth in 1927. Though other mechanical television inventors such as John Logie Baird and Charles Francis Jenkins had successes in television technology, Farnsworth’s invention is considered the direct ancestor of our modern electronic television.

Early ad of a vacuum cleaner

Some estimates say there are as many as 120.6 million TVs in homes across America today!

7. Vacuum Cleaner

Though the first vacuum cleaner can be traced back to about 1860, it was in the mid-1920s that the vacuum became much more efficient and easier to use. In fact, in 1920 Air-Way Sanitizer of Toledo, Ohio, introduced a vacuum cleaner with a disposable bag. In 1926, the popular vacuum company Hoover developed a positive agitation system that greatly increased dirt removal efficiency. Cleaning household carpets became a lot easier and much faster.

Today, vacuum cleaners come in all sorts of varieties such as cordless, upright, central, wet and dry, and even robotic! What do you think was your grandmother’s favorite 1920s invention? You can learn more about your ancestors in the 1920s by finding them in the 1930 United States census records. Find them now!