The first-ever "One Family, Many Faces" festival drew throngs of families to the MyHeritage workshop with 50 computers manned by a team of 15 experts.
This overwhelmingly successful experience in interactive multi-generational family history was attended by families of all backgrounds and ages and took place at the Museum of the Jewish People, September 26-28, in Tel Aviv.
A record-breaking 1,500 family trees - adding some 32,000 individuals - were created at the three-day event. That count is now more than 40,000 because families are continuing to build their trees at full speed.
Parents brought babies, toddlers, young children and teens. Aunts and uncles arrived with nieces and nephews.
Grandparents brought their grandchildren so that they could share in the experience. Young children - to whom computers are an ordinary part of life - helped their non-technological grandparents.
Working side-by-side at computers were young couples just starting their lives together and senior couples recording details for their own parents and grandparents.
MyHeritage is all about uniting families, whether it is discovering new relatives or building a family tree together.
We spoke to several families and asked them why they were there:
-- One family with roots in Libya brought their two young sons to see their mother's family tree, with many photographs, that is already on MyHeritage. Why are they so interested in family history? The father smiled and just pointed to his boys: "We want them to know their history."
-- A grandfather with roots in Poland came back every day with a different set of grandchildren. Why did he come every day? "I want all my grandkids to have this experience!"
-- A young woman with family roots in Baghdad brought her young niece, 6. "We don't know much beyond my grandparents," she said, "but I'm trying to learn more." We asked the young girl, who was working on a computer with a team member, how she was enjoying her visit. "Fantastic!" she replied.
The enthusiastic MyHeritage team assisted and interacted with thousands of visitors over the three days.
Family history societies and researchers often lament the fact that younger generations are not interested in genealogy. This event proved the opposite. After watching three days of families creating trees, we can only say that many young people are on their way to becoming passionate family history fans.
For readers in the UK, here's a heads up on a Family History Day, sponsored by MyHeritage.com, set for the Imperial War Museum on November 6, in London. Stay tuned for a separate post on that event.
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