Survey Shows Half Of Us Don't Know Our Great-Grandparents' Names

By Graham Spicer | 04 September 2007
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photo of a castle covered with red coloured ivy

Penrhyn Castle, one of the Trust's properties which will be hosting an oral history day. © NTPL/Matthew Antrobus

A survey commissioned by the National Trust has revealed that more than half of us don’t know the names of any of our great-grandparents.

The Ipsos MORI poll showed that 57 per cent of adults aged over 15 couldn’t name their great-grandparents and a further 14 per cent could only name one great-grandparent. Findings were similar among all age groups.

The National Trust revealed the results as it gears up for Heritage Open Days 2007 on September 8, when it opens many of its properties to the public for free.

This year it will be encouraging people to discover more about their family history with many of its venues staging special oral history events or having professional genealogists on hand to help visitors uncover their past.

Dr Nick Barratt, historian and one of the experts behind BBC TV's Who Do You Think You Are? is taking part in a presentation at Attingham Park, Shrewsbury.

"In one respect I'm really quite shocked by how few of us know about our not-too-distant relatives, given the incredible interest in family history at the moment, and the wealth of resources online," he said.

"However, in our hectic lives we tend to forget about the past and concentrate on the present. Perhaps these statistics will make us slow down a bit and think about talking to our relatives before we lose these vital links forever."

The events are part of the Trust’s Your History Matters campaign, and as well as the events has launched a ‘surname profiler’ on its website and a ‘memory map’ on which to upload and share memories.

For more details and to find out what events are happening visit the National Trust’s Your History Matters website.

For more information about Heritage Open Days and to access a user-friendly online directory listing all the events taking place in England, see

More on the venues and organisations we've mentioned:
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