31    Mar 20117 comments

Name Changes and Spelling Issues in Family History Research

In What's in a Name? Spelling Issues in Genealogy we are advised to assume "furious and crazy phonetic spelling, pre-1850," something which may or may not put a glitch in your family history research as you discover misspellings and incorrect census records. The author notes one example of such a case with her own great-great-grandfather, Francis William Pettygrove, who is listed on several annals as Frances, Francis W., F.W., Pettigrove, Pettigrew, Pettygrew, and Petigrow.

As troublesome as this might be that a mere letter could cause you to miss a critical record, keen researchers have grown family tree websites or family associations, collecting all possible spellings, hoping not miss vital information.

With MyHeritage.com's collaborative online family tree, family members can easily be invited to add and suggest name spellings, making your family tree more accurate. To create your basic family tree online for free, visit MyHeritage.com.

Has a name change or spelling mistake been uncovered in your family tree? How did you discover it? Please share your story below or here on our Facebook page.

30    Mar 20110 comments

Families Around the World – Mar 30, 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, India, Lebanon, Mexico and Malta.


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29    Mar 20110 comments

Family Superstitions, Part 1: Ancient Beliefs

Most families have a few superstitions flowing through them, even if it’s only the older members who still hold to them diligently. And if there’s one feature most of these superstitions have in common, it’s that they’re totally, utterly inexplicable. Like a chocolate kettle paired with a paper teapot, they make no sense whatsoever.

Unlike the above, though, they do tend to have their own backstory. Some superstitions derive from half-forgotten religious practices, but others have origins in the practical wisdom of their times.

In this series we’re going to look at some of the more common family superstitions, and find out where the heck they originally came from. Some of them, you might find, are not quite so ridiculous after all. (Although most of them definitely are.)

In this first part we’re going to look at some very old superstitions, those thought to have originated several centuries ago or even in pre-Christian times.
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25    Mar 20110 comments

Friday Family History Roundup

Wondering what's going in the family history world? Here's a selection of genealogy events, family history project ideas, and resources we've gathered.

That trip down memory lane you've been meaning to take? Dig out those old boxes and revisit the charm of vintage home movies. Here's a project that will inspire you: tiny video installations that combine home movies and found footage with little mock-ups to create intimate memory souvenirs.
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23    Mar 20110 comments

Images of the Past: Native Americans

We've posted some varied sets of historical photos before (such as here and here), but this time we've got some focusing on a specific social group: Native Americans.

In 1906, photographer Edward S. Curtis was offered $75,000 to document the lives of Native Americans.

The benefactor, JP Morgan, would later receive nearly 1,500 pictures in a collection entitled The North American Indian. Curtis had been looking to photograph the Indians of North America at a time when they were dispossessed of their land and their rights.
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21    Mar 20111 comment

Families Around the World – Mar 21, 2011

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

This week we're taking a slightly different approach. Rather than just look at specific families around the world, we're looking at a few tools that can help us understand a little more about all families around the world more generally.

That includes a great photo essay on what families around the world eat in an average week and how much they spend on that food, some interesting facts about families in all regions of the world and also some tools to help teach children how other families live.


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18    Mar 20117 comments

Whose Tree Goes Back the Furthest?

Many people claim to have distant family trees, going back to Charlemagne, Charles Martel, or even Adam and Eve. But while many of these may have some truth - and, statistically, most of us probably are related to Charlemagne in one way or another - many long trees ultimately rely on leaps of faith. Many old records are far more vague than birth certificates, and many of our high-climbing ancestors even falsified such links to try and prove their worth.

So how long is the longest tree that has a chance of standing up to scrutiny? It's hard to say for sure, and there doesn't seem to be agreement on a single case, but here are three of suggestions we've come up with. If you know of any other examples, drop us a message in the comments down below.
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17    Mar 20111 comment

Celebrate Everything Irish this St. Patrick’s Day

We're starting the St. Patty's Day celebrations with a few fun facts and family history resources to bring you a bit closer to the old country. Erin go braugh!

According to the US Census, the number of US residents who claimed Irish heritage in 2009 is 36.9 million -- more than eight times the population of Ireland!

In Ireland, March 17 was mostly a family day -- church, perhaps a parade, lunch with family at a local pub or home. You would see Irish neighbors display their heritage by pinning a live shamrock to their coats.
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16    Mar 20110 comments

Wednesday’s Five Family History Happenings

Catherine Middleton - family photographsThis Wednesday, we're spotlighting five family history things that inspired us -- whether it be to dig a little deeper into our roots, reach out to a distant relative, or take on a new family history project.

The Royal Wedding website. Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton's wedding site is complete with a blog, real-time updates, exclusive content, videos, and links.  Click here to visit the Royal Wedding website.

Sartorial Heirlooms. Now here's a great idea for making family history a part of your special day: this Memphis bride wore a 1960s wedding dress worn by both her mother and her aunt as well as a 12-foot train worn by her great-grandmother in 1916. Read the the story here: Dressed by Dawn: Couturière stitches family history into special-occasion garments.

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16    Mar 20112 comments

Families and Friends in America: Are We Still Connected?

Today we're looking back at Americans' personal ties since the 1970s and wondering if the digital age has helped to make families and friends more connected or less so?

Americans are fascinated by the quality of their relationships with family and friends and whether these ties have declined or remained stable over the years. With this in mind, Berkeley sociologist, Claude Fischer has examined American social history in his book Still Connected, and in analyzing 40 years of surveys -- ranging from family involvement, the number of friends, the amount of practical and emotional support they are able to count on, to how emotionally tied they feel to these relationships -- has found what may be a surprise to many: Americans' personal ties remain strong.
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