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Vita Brevis

A Resource for Family History

There's something new to discover every week on our blog Vita Brevis. From expert research advice to jaw-dropping family connections, celebrity genealogies, and more, you'll discover stories about families of every kind—and learn why family history matters to everybody.

The Weekly Genealogist

News, Tips, and More Straight to Your Inbox

Subscribe for weekly updates featuring news from the world of genealogy, expert research advice, and new databases, programs, and services from American Ancestors.

Ask a Genealogist—Live Chat!

Service Available Monday–Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET

Our expert family historians are here to answer your questions about genealogy and local history! Just enter your question in the chat box in the lower right-hand corner, and one of our genealogists will respond.

Upcoming Events

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Free Webinar | An Introduction to California Research
July 11, 2024
Immigrants landing at Castle Garden
Online Course | Researching Immigrant Ancestors to America
Wednesdays in July
Connecticut State Library
Day Trip to the Connecticut State Library and Archives
July 30, 2024

10 Million Names is a new initiative to recover the names and stories of the estimated 10 million men, women, and children of African descent who were enslaved in America between the 1500s and 1865.

Together with a collaborative network of genealogists, cultural organizations, and community-based family historians, we will amplify centuries of family stories, connect researchers and data partners with people seeking answers to family history questions, and expand access to information about enslaved African Americans.

Discover More

10 Million Names in the News

10 Million Names

Register Now for the International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences 2024

Join us for the 36th ICGHS at the American Ancestors Research Center in Boston on September 24-28. This will be the first year the conference is held in the United States!

36th International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences | Boston | 2024

Shop the American Ancestors Bookstore

The American Ancestors Bookstore is your one-stop shop for reference books, published genealogies, portable guides, charts, and much more. Whether you're building your own genealogical library or finding a gift for the family historian in your life, American Ancestors has what you need!

Two women stand in front of a bookshelf. One pages through a book.
I can't tell you how great it feels to be so supported by American Ancestors and those of you who bring together such quality programming and make sure it goes as planned.  The online courses, the website, the databases, the "chat with a genealogist" opportunities, the list goes on . . . it all is simply a treasure.  For years my mom was a member of American Ancestors and found it so helpful; I just wish she were still alive to attend and enjoy with me the courses now offered.  She would be delighted to know that I'm following in her footsteps.
Barbara Owens