This December 7th marks the 79th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and the unofficial start of World War II, the transformative global event that affected countless families and individuals. Chances are you’ve heard of a grandfather who was a fighter pilot during the war or maybe a great aunt who volunteered as a nurse — maybe you even know someone in one of the featured photos from our famous World War II wartime archive. Even if you’re not sure your family has such direct ties to the war, World War II most likely played an important role in your family’s history. Geo-political changes, economic uncertainty, and wartime destruction spurred families into diverse, unique migration patterns that are fascinating to explore. This December, pay homage to the brave pioneers and veterans in your family (and across the globe) by digging into your familial roots with AncestryDNAⓇ, the leading at-home DNA kit.

World War II refugees who arrived in New York in 1944.

WWII Refugees in New York

Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

World War II refugees who arrived in New York in 1944.

WWII Refugees in New York

Alfred Eisenstaedt The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

AncestryDNAⓇ helps people piece together their past by uncovering their unique story, and the enhanced Migrations brings that story to life. By analyzing locations where you share the most DNA, Migrations generates detailed, narrow results that help you discover your family’s movements across the globe: when they left certain countries, why, and where they were headed. Beyond learning about the countries your family hails from, you’ll also learn the exact regions they come from and important details about those regions, allowing you to delve even deeper into your unique ancestry. AncestryDNAⓇ pairs these migration facts with historical insights and imagery related to your Migration story – both photos of the regions and cultures, but also interactive visualizations of the migration patterns. You can then pair your Migration with AncestryDNAⓇ ’s other features, like your family tree, to further bring your story to life.

In addition to Migration patterns, AncestryDNAⓇ can connect you to long-lost relatives by matching your DNA to others in their database so you can learn from each other about your shared histories. Maybe your great, great aunt was the first “working female” in your family, assisting on an assembly line to help make extra money while her husband fought in the war. Maybe AncestryDNAⓇ can help you discover a cousin who lived in San Bernardino, California, and remembers going to the first ever McDonald’s, a fast-food concept born out of the idea that working-class families need cheap, quick meals. In addition to providing insight into forgotten family ties, AncestryDNAⓇ can provide you even more tools to discover your history, like  digitized WWII draft cards, casualty lists, documented graves, and rare Holocaust records to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the war.

While one of the greatest ways to pay homage to World War II veterans is to listen to their stories, AncestryDNAⓇ offers an alternative when that’s not possible. By helping you link together the forgotten pieces of your history and better understanding the cultural and personal impact World War II had on your life and your family, you can ensure their stories and the story of your ancestors live on. 


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