Today families across the world will be celebrating the festival of Holi; the arrival of spring and the festival of colours. In this blogpost, we share a little on what the holiday is all about.
Originally a festival to celebrate good harvests and land fertility, it also remembers events in Hindu mythology. Today, it brings together Indians, Nepalese and others who celebrate with eating, singing, dancing, colourful games and bonfires.
Holi is especially known as a ‘colourful celebration’, named thus as it is people mark the day by colouring themselves and throwing colours at each other. Friends and family cover each other’s faces, hair and clothing with colourful powders; painting even faces and hair. People go out spreading colours throughout the streets.
This week a dark chapter of the Australian and British history came to a close when UK premier Brown apologised to the ‘forgotten Australians’, British children that forcibly migrated to Australia between 1920 and 1967.
Not much has been known about this chapter but in recent years attention was drawn to the thousands of children that were moved and their subsequent plight.
These children -often without even a passport or other documentation- were sent abroad with the promise of a better life. Sadly, many of the children suffered abuse and other hardship in the families and orphanages that they ended up in. Tragically also, many of them were removed from Britain without their parents' consent and some of them have grown up never even knowing their real parents were still alive.
Last year we paid attention to the enormous Israeli Krishevsky family, who reportedly had 1400 descendants, but this week we’ve found out they’ve been beaten to the 'large family' punch by the Schwartz family.
Yitta Schwartz died last month at the age of 93, leaving behind 15 children, more than 200 grandchildren and an estimated 2000 great- and great-great-grandchildren.
Her descendants range in age from her 75-year-old daughter to her great-great-grandson born a few days ago on Feb. 15. The family includes rabbis, teachers, merchants, plumbers and truck drivers.
Who Do You Think You Are: Live is the most important UK genealogy event on the 2010 calendar. Coming this weekend – 26-28 February – the show will feature workshops from genealogy experts (like MyHeritage's genealogy manager Daniel Horowitz and UK genealogy advisor Laurence Harris), stalls and exhibitions from the country’s leading genealogy societies and organizations, and talks from celebrities including Kate Humble, Esther Rantzen, and Rory Bremner.
|Example Coat of Arms|
One of the great new features available from our recent merger is the ability for users to create their own Family Crest! Now you can showoff your heraldic display.
Click on your family tree and find the new tab that leads you to the build your family crest page. This fun new flash feature has 6 customizable elements of the coat of arms, each including loads of prefabricated design and hundreds of color options. Just as in a traditional Coat of Arms, here you can choose your shield, the helm or coronet, two supporters and a motto. As well, you can add charges for each field in the shield.
Last week we announced some big news about joining forces with German family site network OSN - news that has spread around the world by now.
This week we're announcing a smaller yet important development, which is that we are now also welcoming all users of the Dutch family network ZOOOF.com.
Zooof.com is an Amsterdam-based international family network which has the vision to ultimately unite everyone in one family. Co-founder Jean-Paul Busker came up with the idea for Zooof.com in 2004 as a project to investigate the concept of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ for families in the world. Partnering with co-founder and computer science expert Stefan Leenen, he launched ZOOOF.com later that year. And now they'll be joining their network with MyHeritage.com, so users can benefit from the technologies and features that our site has to offer.
Zooof is a great community with users from all over the world, even if their is a large part of Dutch users. The network has a really friendly spirit that impressed us and which we’ll do our best to carry over to MyHeritage.com.
Important for you is that as the site has a large contingent of Dutch users, which is strengthening the Dutch part of our Family Graph. That means that it will become easier for you to discover your Dutch ancestors and relatives through our Smart Matches™ because we have more data about Dutch genealogy now. After all, the history of the Dutch as explorers and merchants means there are people around the world with Dutch roots, so you may be amongst them!
Not long ago Charles Darwin ‘celebrated’ his 200th birthday, and one of his gifts has been a journey into his ancestry. Scientists used DNA from Charles Darwin's great-great grandson to map the historical movements of the famous scientist and made some nice discoveries!
Scientists have found out that the father of evolutionary theory, who put forward the idea that all humans descend from one common ancestor, has his roots in Africa. Tests on Mr Darwin's DNA have shows that his forbears were among the first wave of modern humans to leave Africa for the Middle East about 45,000 years ago. From there, they moved into Europe, surviving the Ice Age in Spain, before traveling to England about 12,000 years ago.
The discoveries have been made as part of the Genealogy Project, an initiative by National Geographic and IBM using new technology to examine DNA, allowing scientists to see back to the very earliest days of humans and map how and when they moved around the globe.
|Obama's Celebrity Collage|
Early last week Facebook was frenzied by members eager to find their celebrity doppelganger. MyHeritage’s Celebrity Look-alike application helped many find their celebrity double. Our web application has a unique ability to survey the human face and compare it to a database of thousands of celebrities, helping you find the perfect virtual match!
Finding your alternate has long held a special place in the heart of mankind. Psychologists tend to pin it to the evolution of self-awareness, which trends back into early human history. This enormous history arc was formed in part by Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection cast on a pond. And Krishna, whose outlandish self-admiration set him to search for his qualities manifest in his mates. Or simply take a look at art commissioned by royalty or nobles dating to early civilization, where you will find figureheads that are painted or sculpted according to their projected demeanor; at once similar in formal features as dissimilar in their portrayal of desired self.
|The OSN team celebrating the merger|
Today we're announcing some very special news...We're branching out! We're going where we haven't gone before; we're growing and sowing the seeds to connect families in every single country around the world.
We're delighted to let you know that we've now joined up with German family networking group OSN (Online Social Networking GmbH). It's great news for everybody as we will be integrating both platforms to offer new features to everyone and the combined database becomes even better in connecting you with relatives or ancestors. We'll now have a whopping 47 million users worldwide.
|The MyHeritage.com team|
It's a great combination really, as not only will we join up with ten market-leading family sites, we'll also be getting some new colleagues from OSN who will bring us the creative and innovative spirit that characterises the group. Together, we can better help you bridge gaps of geography, language and time and make your online family life easier and more enjoyable!
The really good news for you is that with this formidable user base get more Smart Matches that help you find long lost relatives. With 530 million genealogical profiles you’ll be able to further your research conclusively and connect with more relatives online. And it's important to us to mention again that you can do so privately and securely.