In this paper, we trace back the genesis of Aitken’s Δ2 process and Shanks’ sequence transformation. These methods, which are extrapolation methods, are used for accelerating the convergence of sequences of scalars, vectors, matrices, and tensors. They had, and still have, many important applications in numerical analysis and in applied mathematics. They are related to continued fractions and Padé approximants. We go back to the roots of these methods and analyze the original contributions. New and detailed explanations on the building and properties of Shanks’ transformation and its kernel are provided. We then review their historical algebraic and algorithmic developments. We also analyze how they were involved in the solution of systems of linear and nonlinear equations, in particular in the methods of Steffensen, Pulay, and Anderson. Testimonies by various actors of the domain are given. The paper can also serve as an introduction to this domain of numerical analysis.