27    May 20093 comments

User Story: Family’s research across borders discovers grandfather’s history

Guido Cole is located in Mexico, while his family members are in Belgium, but if anything it has motivated him to research and re-establish family connections. And there was also the mystery surrounding his grandparents which needed solving.... read Guido's story below.

Guido's father, second on the rightI started building my family tree at the beginning of this year but I already have 1590 people in my tree, about a tenth of them have been found through the internet. We've got 61 family members on the site.

I have lived in Mexico for the past 30 years and have lost many connections from my youth, even family connections. When I retired in 2006, I was interested in reviving those. Also, my Mexican wife has a very elaborate family which I never fully understood. To make sense of it I had the idea to build a family tree for it, an idea that than transferred to my other family too.

When I was building my tree I ended up at two family members with who I had contact sporadically in the past;
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25    May 20093 comments

United States Memorial Day

Memorial DayEvery last Monday in May, Americans celebrate the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have died in wars. Memorial Day might very well be America's holiday that has the most interesting histories, and one of the least well-known origins: it began as a way for freed black slaves to say "Thank you" to the killed Union soldiers who had liberated them.

"There were few eyes among those who knew the meaning of the ceremony that were not dim with tears of joy."
The story begins at the Washington Race Course in Charleston, South Carolina, which had been converted into a Confederate prison during the Civil War. 257 Union troops had died from the horrible conditions at the prison, and they were buried without coffins in unmarked graves behind the old judge's stand.

On May 1, 1865, less than a month after Lee's surrender, about 10,000 people, most of them freed slaves, observed what is called the first "Decoration Day" ceremony. The day began at 9am, with 3,000 black children, newly-enrolled in school, marching around the Race Course; followed by 300 black women who brought crosses, wreaths, and flowers for the graves; and finally the members of the Mutual Aid Society, a benevolent association of black men. The day included a dedication that was given by the ministers from all the black churches in Charleston; 30 speeches by Union officers, local black ministers, and abolitionists; laying flowers at the graves; a parade of Union infantry; and picnics on the grounds. A newspaper reporter recorded the event:
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24    May 20091 comment

A tool to help writers organize their characters and plot their story

thanks to juiced-on-writingMichelle of 'Juiced on Writing' introduced us to a whole new and exciting way of using the Family Tree Builder software (or FTB as we like to call it): as a means to map and understand the relationships between fictional characters when writing a book.

A writer herself, Michelle knows that when writing a novel writers often like to get an overview of their characters and their development over time. And, where the ages and dates are important, or where there is a complexity in the character relationships, a process-orientated program such as Family Tree Builder allows you to do just that.

She points out that not all software programs can be used for fiction, as some send error messages, if you try to put in a future date, or a setting which a linked database doesn'd recognise as an actual place on earth. However,
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22    May 20092 comments

Discovering MyHeritage: How to create a Family Site

A while ago in this series we gave you an overview of Family Sites and Family Trees on MyHeritage, what they represent and how they work. They are the common ground on which members of the family can connect, share and collaborate.

Now we want to focus on how to set up Family Sites, which is really easy.

Family Sites help you manage and organize the different groups you belong to. For example, you can create one related to your immediate family and a few others related to your extended family, to your in-law's family and to a certain community you are part of. Learn more about the advantages of creating a Family Site here.

If you are new to MyHeritage and sign up for an account, you will automatically be creating a Family Site.

MyHeritage Family SiteTo create another Family Site if you are already a member you have to go to the "My Sites" drop down menu on the right hand corner of any MyHeritage page you visit. Click on "Manage my family sites".
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20    May 20090 comments

MyHeritage at Australian CEBIT

MyHeritage at CEBIT

What do you get when you couple the latest in IT and mobile technology with the best view of the Sydney Harbour bridge? CEBIT, Australia's biggest ICT and web conference, or as one of the visitors there told me, you take the London tech scene of three years ago, that's CEBIT Australia.

Click to view photo in full sizeYet, that is not what I found when I attended the conference. With 30,000 visitors and exhibitors there were plenty of interesting Australian start-ups, such as insider travel tips website Travellr or digital smartcode company QMcodes, a vibrant, if small, 2.0 scene and no lack of original promotions; including some much discussed
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17    May 20092 comments

Looking for my Tango spirited family past

MyHeritage Family TangoJoining MyHeritage's team as a Community Manager for the Spanish speaking countries was a nice opportunity, as my job gave me the ability to get in touch with and discover the history of my own family. This was something I took the opportunity to explore when I recently visited my home town, Buenos Aires, Argentina, after two years of living in London.
It turned out to be a trip full of emotion and happiness, as I got the chance to see my loved ones after such a long time. I didn't have a free second left as I met family and more family, and friends and more friends.

Luckily, one of my cousins was getting married, so I had the chance to meet all my relatives at once. Some of them I wouldn't have met if it wasn't for that event, because part of my family lives in Rosario, the third largest city in the country.
My family has had a farm near Rosario for almost 100 years. It all begun with an Italian settler, my great-great-grandfather. A few years ago we celebrated the 100th anniversary of his wedding. To honor the event, a band played Italian music, and the wedding dress and a giant picture of the wedding were on display. We all gathered together, eating a big "Asado", an Argentine BBQ dish.
Of course, I ate as much Asado as I could when I visited this time. Even if you don't want to, it's difficult to avoid eating meat in my country as it's the core of the national diet.
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14    May 20091 comment

It’s raining awards!

MyHeritage gets awarded by onegreatfamily2009 is a good year for us, or at least for our Family Tree Builder! We got an email the other day from onegreatfamily that we've been selected by them to receive the "One Great Genealogy Site" award for the services we're providing to the genealogy community.

And that is not the only one; Chip.de, one of the biggest German computer portals reporting news on technological advances, picked the FTB 3.0 to be their featured download.
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11    May 20091 comment

Create personal events in our new event section

Click to view photo in full sizeSo this is for you: We have completely revamped our calendar pages! They are now called events; and besides showing national and cultural 'holiday events' and the birthdays and anniversaries from your family tree (called 'genealogy events') in a nice overview called 'upcoming', you now also have the possibility to create and add your 'personal events' to the calendar, and easily notify family members about them!

The new events section is a very useful tool to plan, announce and remember family events. It now shows you all the upcoming events for the near future, no matter if holiday events (with a palm tree symbol), genealogy events (with a balloon symbol for birthdays, rings for wedding anniversaries and a stone for death anniversaries) or personal events (with a yellow calendar symbol). And we added an improved search feature in case you have a huge family and want to find things easily (see the photo at the very end of this post).

Click to view photo in full sizeSo how to post an event? On the home page of your family site ("What's new") you can find a link in the list on the left saying 'post an event' and a blue button on the right, just below the calendar overview. And obviously there is also
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10    May 20090 comments

Experiences at The Family History Event in London

Click to view photo in full sizeAs we previously announced, MyHeritage was present at The Family History Event last Sunday May 3rd, at the Barbican Centre in London, and it couldn't have been better.

The show reunited the UK genealogy community, and it represented a good moment for regional associations from Cumbria to Devon to put their records at the disposal of people interested in finding out about their past. The turnout from the public was great, with several thousand attendees in total. The atmosphere was cheerful as the event engaged genealogists in a fruitful conversation.

In that context, we had the chance to talk about MyHeritage's unique research tools and our website's many functionalities Click to view photo in full size to the genealogists who turned up to our stand curious about the different ways we could help them discover and connect with their family.

Our Smart Match technology drew the most attention, with its promise of the possibility to connect with the MyHeritage community of families, followed by the MyHeritage Research pages.

One person was specifically interested in the first feature, as he had a particular need.
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9    May 20090 comments

Honor motherhood on Mother’s Day!

mothers day baby family myheritageMother's Day is around the corner and you have definitely heard or seen about it in the last two weeks - it's on the high street and all across the net. Did you know that the holiday was so commercialized at one point that even it's "creator" Anna Jarvis tried to stop it by filing a lawsuit to stop Mother's day festival. Right before her death she confessed that her effort to create Mother's day was her biggest mistake. Being a mother of a wonderful 2 year old angel, I personally think it is a great tradition.

But let's have a look at how we got here:

The celebration of motherhood goes back to Greeks and Romans, which honoured their mother goddesses. Back in the 17th century those living in the British Isles started a tradition of religious celebration of motherhood and called this day Mothering Sunday. It was held on the forth Sunday of the Lenten season. The history of the holiday goes back to the times when middle class parents had to send their children to work as house servants. The only day of the year these children were allowed to see their parents was Mothering Sunday. During the 19th century the holiday has become less popular. However, it was brought back to life in the days of the World War II when US servicemen reintroduced the sentimental as well as commercial importance of the day.

In the United States the first official celebration was held in 1858, when Ann Maria Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker,
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