Do you know your grandmother's maiden name? One in four Canadians have no idea, according to survey

    Canadians lack awareness about their family history, but want to learn

    TORONTO, Nov. 28 /CNW/ -, Canada's largest online resource
for family history, revealed the results of a national genealogy survey
involving more than 1,000 respondents. The results show that a staggering
39 per cent of Canadians cannot trace their roots back more than 100 years,
and 20 per cent don't know where their families came from before moving to
    The survey, conducted by MarketTools, also reveals that a surprising
24 per cent of Canadians don't know the maiden name of any of their
grandmothers and 22 per cent have no idea what any of their grandfathers did
for a living.
    "The survey results point to the fact that many Canadians are in the dark
when it comes to essential questions about their past. Many people have come
to this country for a new beginning, but they have left a lot of information
behind, information that can go a long way in teaching them about who they
are," says Megan Smolenyak, chief family historian,
    According to the results, 73 per cent of Canadians are interested in
learning more about their family history. Women are more interested in family
history than men - 76 per cent compared to 70 per cent, and 70 per cent of
women agree that knowing one's family history is important, compared to
64 per cent of males. The data also reveals intriguing regional and
demographic differences.

    -   New Brunswickers, despite being the most interested in family history
        (85 per cent), surprisingly know the least about their past. One in
        three don't know the maiden names of any of their grandmothers, the
        lowest percentage in the country, and 31 per cent don't know what any
        of their grandfathers did for a living

    -   The Canadians least interested in family history are people in
        Saskatchewan, where only 61 per cent said they were interested in
        learning more

    -   Fewer people in Quebec feel it is important to know about their
        family history (59 per cent) than people in any other province

    -   Canadians living in Alberta and British Columbia are among the most
        interested in their family history (82 and 81 per cent, respectively)
        and are also among those Canadians that feel family history is
        important (81 and 74 per cent)

    -   Seventy-four per cent of Ontarians are interested in learning more
        about their family history and more than two-thirds feel it is
        important, but only 38 per cent know what all their grandfathers did
        for a living, the lowest percentage in Canada

    Despite an appetite to learn more about their past and a shared sense
that it is important, most Canadians have done little investigation into the
subject. In fact, almost a quarter of Canadians have never tried to research
their family roots.
    "It's human nature to want to learn about the past, however there are a
number of factors that could contribute to an individual not exploring their
family history further, including not knowing where to start, lack of
resources and time constraints," says Smolenyak. "Online records, such as
those found at, can really take away a lot of the work and open
the doors to a world of discovery."
    For Canadians interested in learning more about their family history, the
upcoming holiday season could prove to be the catalyst. The survey results
indicate that almost half of Canadians will spend this holiday season with at
least three generations of their family (46 per cent). The survey also
reveals, surprisingly, that Canadians aged 18-34 are just as interested in
family history as Canadians 50 years and older.
    "The holidays are the perfect opportunity for everyone to learn a little
more and start building their family trees. Talking to relatives is usually
the best place to start before taking your exploration to the next stage,"
added Smolenyak.
    Canadians can learn more about their family history at


    With more than 24,000 databases and titles, is the No. 1
online source for Canadian family history information. is the
premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for
millions of Canadians by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and
resources to build their own unique family trees. is part of The
Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive
properties, including,,, and Family Tree Maker. In
total, The Generations Network properties receive 8.5 million worldwide unique
visitors and 423 million page views per month ((C) comScore Media Metrix,
September 2007). For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Erin O'Reilly or Jeannie Tsang, Media Profile,
(416) 504-8464,,

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