Genealogists teamed with geneticists and archaeologists in 2012 to confirm the skeleton found under a car park in Leicester, England was that of King Richard III. Unlike his image in portraits, DNA reveals he was probably blonde and blue eyed.
Maintained for over 2500 years, the family tree of Confucius is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest extant family tree.
In India, the Helavas of Karnataka maintain a centuries old tradition, singing family genealogies from household to household. The tradition began with Basavanna, a 12th century reformer who rebelled against caste hierarchy.
Alex Haley, the author of "Roots: The Saga of an American Family" traveled to Juffure in Africa to learn his ancestry from a tribal leader. He has stated that the most emotional moment of his life occurred on September 29, 1967, when he stood at the site in Annapolis, Maryland, where his ancestor had arrived from Africa in chains exactly 200 years before.
In 1903, the remains of a prehistoric man were discovered in Cheddar Gorge in Somerset, England. In 1997, a 42 year old teacher living in Cheddar was confirmed to be a descendant by comparing their mitochondrial DNA, one sample extracted from the prehistoric man's molar.
Compiled in 1826, Burke's Peerage was a book devoted to the ancestry and heraldry of the peerage, knightage and landed gentry of the United Kingdom. It has grown to include royal and distinguished families of Latin America, Africa, the United States and more. The volumes consist of several versions and though not without criticism, are still used today.
Y DNA paternal studies have conclusively linked living men to their direct ancestors who fought at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314, Scotland. Some men descending from Walter, 6th High Steward of Scotland, a battle participant and the father of King Robert II of Scotland.
In 1086 King William the Conqueror ordered a survey of England and Wales known as the Domesday Book in an effort to raise taxes to pay for his army. Considered a pre-cursor of sorts to a modern census, it recorded land owners and their assets. It is housed in the National Archives in Kew.
Millions of original records including the names of more than two billion deceased people are held at the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the largest genealogical library in the world.