Mind the Generation Gap

By Diane Haddad Premium

A recent survey by the British family history Web site Genes Reunited <> suggests that although they like the idea of understanding their family history, most people actually know little about their ancestors.

Of 1,800 British adults who participated in last December’s survey on Genes Reunited and its sister site, Friends Reunited <>, 96 percent said that knowing about their ancestors was important to them. But only 1.5 percent of the survey respondents could name all eight of their great-grandparents, 17 percent could name only one, and more than a third couldn’t name any. About 60 percent of participants couldn’t say what their great-grandparents did for a living, and a third didn’t know where any of them lived.

“The responses are remarkably consistent throughout the age ranges,” says Anthony Adolph, one of Genes Reunited’s resident genealogists. “People over 65, who you’d think would be more knowledgeable, don’t appear to know significantly more than 18-year-olds about their respective great-grandparents.”

What to do? Adolph encourages families to place a higher priority on reminiscing with elderly relatives.

From the June 2005 Family Tree Magazine