28    Feb 20110 comments

Mystery Love Letter from World War II

In our special online gallery featuring love letters throughout the last 500 years is a romantic note from an unknown airman, named Jonny, to his sweetheart Elise during World War II. Can you help solve the mystery of the unknown identity of Jonny or Elise?

Love Letter from Unknown Airman during World War II (click to enlarge). Courtesy of the Imperial War Museum.

From the address, it can be established that Johnny was situated at the RAF base in Melbourne, Yorkshire, which was open from 1940 – 45. It is believed that the letters were written at some point during this time frame. No other information is known about the writer of these letters, or the recipient.

24    Feb 20114 comments

Come Say Hi at the Who Do You Think You Are Conference

As we mentioned previously, this weekend we're going to be at the Who Do You Think You Are: Live event at Kensington Olympia, London. This is one of the biggest genealogy events worldwide, and one that's accessible to genealogy beginners and enthusiasts alike.

If you are going to the conference, this is your chance to meet us and ask any questions you have about the site or family history in general. We'll also be running a couple of prize draws, giving specialist talks and seminars on aspects of family history, and a whole lot more.
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22    Feb 20110 comments

Celebrating Presidents Day

Although today is George Washington's birthday, yesterday we celebrated Presidents Day - a Federal holiday first put into effect by an act of Congress in 1880 to pay tribute to George Washington, the first President of the United States.

And while the spelling differs, whether it's Presidents' Day or Presidents Day, the current observance is now meant to honor all US presidents. To celebrate, we've put together a few fun facts about the history of the holiday.

• Presidents Day was the first federal holiday to honor an American citizen and originally was celebrated on George Washington's birthday, on February 22.

•  In 1951, the first attempt to create a Presidents Day took place when the "President's Day National Committee" was formed in Compton, California. The committee sought to change the meaning of the holiday—not to celebrate any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency.

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21    Feb 20111 comment

MyHeritage.com Named 2nd Most Popular Genealogy Website for 2011

It's that time of year again and ProGenealogists has published its "50 Most Popular" site rankings, a careful review of the top 50 genealogy websites as measured by web site analytics data and the top four metric services.

We are thrilled to have placed second in the rankings, after working many years to create the ideal place for families to connect to each other – mixing family history and social networking to provide a private place for families to build their family tree, share photos, celebrate and preserve special family moments.

We sincerely thank our members for their support over the years and look forward to an exciting year ahead!

Best wishes,
The MyHeritage.com Team

21    Feb 20110 comments

Celebrating Family Day in Canada

Today families in the provinces of Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, Canada are celebrating Family Day – a holiday that pays tribute to the importance of family and family life. With many families snowed-in or simply staying indoors, this holiday is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and preserve your family history. Below we have put together a few suggestions for activities that will bring the whole family together.

When you begin to explore how your family story fits into a larger picture, you embark on a special journey. The following tips will help you and your family get started:

Share stories and talk to close family. Start by asking around for names, birth dates, and marriages of your close family, and be sure to find out if anyone has already started a family tree. Sharing stories passed down over the years is a great way to inspire children to learn more about their ancestors. Find an interesting twist, and tie it into your story - whether it be your grandfather's hilarious childhood antics or your great uncle's perilous journey across the country - children love to hear fun and interesting family stories.
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21    Feb 20110 comments

Families Around the World – Feb 21, 2011

In this series we look at some of the more interesting family stories from around the world over the past 7 days.

Included in this week's list are stories from Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Panama and Mauritius

Enjoy!

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18    Feb 20110 comments

A Love Letter from the 1920s

Since we've been looking for the best UK love letters this week, we thought we'd showcase a nice letter we had sent in.

This letter was sent in by Ann Jameson, and was originally written by her father in 1928. Her parents originally met at Oxford in the 1920s, where Ann's father would leave anonymous notes in her mother's bicycle-basket, or cough-lozenges or bicycle lamps if he saw she needed them. They eventually started having tea together, and after continuing to see each other after university later got married. Thanks to Ann for sending this in, and we hope you enjoy the letter as much as we did!

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18    Feb 20111 comment

Journey Back in Time: Photos of past and present

This week's journey back in time was inspired by Argentine photographer, Irina Wernings's "Back to the Future" photographic reenactment project. Irina, like many of us, loves old photos, and wanted to find a new way to explore photographic memories. She starts with an old photo, and creates in its likeness, a completely new photo. Seeing these photos side by side, nicely links memories of the past with the present and the future.

Have you tried to touch up new photos, to give them a vintage look or likeness to one of your old family photos? Share links to your photos in the comments, or on our Facebook page. And if you have any questions regarding making your own photo reenactments, please feel free to ask!

17    Feb 20110 comments

Smart Match Improvements: Daniel Horowitz Interviewed at Rootstech

Last weekend at the Rootstech Conference, our very own Daniel Horowitz was interviewed by veteran genealogist and blogger Dear Myrtle. The conference was dedicated to the interaction between genealogy and technology, and as a result Daniel spent some time talking about some of our own website developments, and in particular our improved Smart Match facility.

Thanks to Dear Myrtle for conducting this interview. We hope you enjoy the results!

15    Feb 20114 comments

User Story: Finding a Mysterious Murder in the Family

Many of us find skeletons in the family history closet, and John Hancock from London is no exception. In his family, the name ‘Jane’ had been passed down for generations along with rumors of a murder, but nobody knew anything for sure. While doing his research, John discovered the murder of a Jane Maria Clouson from the 19th Century, confirming the truth of these claims. The crime, originally believed to be an early Ripper murder, is still shrouded in mystery. Here John shares in his own words the story of the event and what he’s found out about it.

Jane Maria Clouson, daughter of James and Jane Clouson (formerly Hancock) was born in April 1854 in Deptford. She had one older sister called Sarah who died of consumption in 1863, a younger brother called Charles, who died young and one younger sister called Maria. Jane’s mother died when she was 13.

At the age of 14, Jane began working as a servant/maid for Ebenezer Pook, who owned a printing business with connections to The Times of London. Pook had a number of children, one being only 3 years older than Jane. His name was Edmund Walter Pook. He said that he suffered from ‘fits’ and could not be left alone. He also claimed to be a music hall entertainer.
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