Ancestry wants to help people connect virtually this holiday season

The family history company is offering free access to family stories through Cyber Monday in holiday campaign

This holiday season will certainly be different, as many families forgo in-person gatherings in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Genealogy company Ancestry hopes it can help families find other ways to connect.

As part of its holiday campaign, Ancestry wants to give people the tools to feel a sense of togetherness — virtually. From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, the company is offering free access to its StoryScout school, which taps into Ancestry’s database to tell stories about people’s ancestors. 

Thanksgiving dinners can be awkward, but families never tire of talking about their history, said Ancestry chief revenue officer Mike Linton.

“Thanksgiving conversations aren’t always the easiest, especially in an election year,” he said. “But it’s safe to talk about family history—everyone can join in and stay interested.”

As part of the campaign, Ancestry partnered with actor Rob Lowe to inspire others to check out their own family history. In heartfelt three and-a-half-minute film, Lowe and his sons discover new parts of their family history, and even connect virtually with a cousin they didn’t previously know.

Ancestry is also running an open letter in The New York Times on Wednesday, penned by its CEO Margo Georgiadis, that highlights how its platform can bring families together even if they’re not physically around the same dinner table this year. 

“We can actually help this holiday with what we do. We can help families discover ways of feeling closer together and connecting,” Linton says. “Ancestry brings a lot of joy and energy to the people who use it.”

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