Who’s who at the Christmas table? Ancestry reveals how little we know about our festive families

Research conducted for Ancestry.ie shines a light on how Irish families celebrate Christmas.

 

  • Almost 30% of people don’t know their cousins’ surnames.
  • Nearly 15% of people don’t know how they are linked to some of their relatives around the dinner table
  • Over 70% of people wish they knew more about their family.
  • Combat those awkward conversations with an Ancestry DNA kit, the ultimate Christmas gift that gets everyone talking.

 

Who’s who at the Christmas table? Ancestry reveals how little we know about our festive families

Christmas dinner
Photos credited to Ancestry.co.uk and Getty Images Archive.

With the Christmas countdown underway, Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, has revealed that, whilst most of us still enjoy a family-filled festive period, we don’t actually know much about the relatives we spend Christmas with.

 

Over 14% of us admit we don’t know how we’re connected to some of our relatives around the dinner table, with 1 in 10 of us (11%) not knowing the surname of at least one person sitting down to share the turkey this year.

 

The research also reveals our relationships with our family are not as strong as they once were. In Munster 1 in 10 people see their mother just once a year, while in Leinster 1 in 10 people see their father only once every few months.

 

It’s our relationships with cousins that have been revealed to be the most strained with 28% of us admitting to seeing our cousins just once a year. Another 28% of us admit to not knowing their surnames.

 

Unsurprisingly, 70% of people wished they knew more about their family.

Who’s who at the Christmas table? Ancestry reveals how little we know about our festive families

Christmas party, a sing song after dinner
Photos credited to Ancestry.co.uk and Getty Images Archive.

Ancestry spokesperson Russell James said:

 

“Here at Ancestry.ie we wanted to discover if Irish families are as close knit as people think or are they a collection of strangers who only meet once a year to put up with over turkey and mince pies?

 

It’s fascinating to see how little we truly know about those sitting at our dinner table this Christmas. It seems that far from being tight knit, a lot of Irish families know less about each other than we thought.

 

Christmas is a perfect time for families to learn more about each other and how they are related through their family tree.”

 

The research also looks at popular traditions Irish families enjoy over the holiday period.

 

A traditional family Christmas is still favoured by Irish people with more than half (61%) following the same traditions every year. We also don’t stray far over the Christmas period with half of us (49%) of us deciding to stay local or at home throughout the festivities.

 

Despite being surrounded by family, 38% of people admitted to running out of things to talk about. The most common time for conversation to lag, is between 4pm and 10pm on Christmas day, with 1 in 10 of us finding this the most awkward time of the festivities. Most people turn to talking about what’s on the TV this Christmas (49%) or reliving old family stories (44%) to get conversation going again.

 

We also tend to have the odd disagreement over Christmas with 32% of people admitted to getting into a family argument. Unsurprisingly, these arguments tend to be about who does the cooking and the washing up.

 

When it comes to the gifts we will be giving this Christmas, the research revealed most people will spend between €116 and €230 (20%). Ulster was found to the province of the big spenders, with 40% of people spending upwards of €460.

 

The most popular gift to give this Christmas is something personalised with 36% of people desiring a personal present. With almost 10% more women revealing they prefer a more personalised present (39% compared to 30% of men).

 

With the majority of us wanting a personalised gift and 70% of us wanting to learn more about our family tree, an Ancestry DNA kit is the ideal choice this Christmas and is the ideal gift to help them find out more about their genetic origins.

 

Ancestry spokesperson Russell James said:

 

“Christmas is the perfect time to get to know each other better and share family anecdotes. The Ancestry DNA kit, paired with Family History subscription offers people the chance to combat any festive silences and begin their family history journey.”

 

 

Key Findings:

 

How often to you see the following family members?

 

Cousins

Choice %
Every day 0.60%
Most days 3.50%
Once a week 4.90%
Once every few weeks 12.71%
Once a month 7.61%
Once every few months 24.72%
Once a year 28.13%
Never 11.81%
N/A 6.01%

 

How much do you agree or disagree with the following statement? ‘I wish I knew more about my family’

 

Choice %
Strong agree 32.00&
Somewhat agree 38.40%
Neither agree nor disagree 20.50%
Somewhat disagree 5.60%
Strong disagree 3.50%

 

Is there anyone that you’ll be spending the Christmas period with this coming Christmas (2018) that you’re not entirely sure how you’re related to?

 

Choice %
Yes 14.86%
No 79.52%
N/A – I don’t know/no plans yet 5.61%

 

How many people do you think you will be spending this Christmas period with this coming Christmas (2018) that you’re not entirely sure how you’re related to?

 

Choice %
1 – 2 14.69%
3 – 4 20.28%
5 -6 27.27%
7 – 8 16.78%
9 – 10 6.99%
11+ 7.69%
I don’t know 6.29%
Average 5.55

 

 

Is there anyone that you’ll be spending the coming Christmas period (2018) with that you don’t know the surname of?

 

Choice %
Yes 11.02%
No 84.62%
N/A – I don’t know/no plans yet 4.37%

 

How many people do you think you will be spending the coming Christmas period (2018) with that you don’t know the surname of?

 

Choice %
1 – 2 20.75%
3 – 4 20.75%
5 -6 26.42%
7 – 8 15.09%
9 – 10 6.60%
11+ 6.60%
I don’t know 3.77%
Average 5.17

 

Who will you be spending the Christmas period with, that you don’t know the surname of? (Tick all that apply).

 

Choice %
Cousins 28.43%
Aunts 21.57%
Uncles 21.57%
Family friends 47.06%
Other people 35.29%
N/A I don’t know 3.92%

 

Methodology

 

The research was conducted through online and mobile polling by OnePoll.com on behalf of Ancestry.ie. They surveyed 1,000 adults from the Republic of Ireland who celebrate Christmas.

 

About Ancestry

Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 3 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and 10 million people in the AncestryDNA network. Since 1996, more than 20 billion records have been added to Ancestry’s databases, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, AncestryProGenealogists, Newspapers.com and Fold3. AncestryDNA is owned and operated by Ancestry.com DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of Ancestry.com, LLC.

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