29    Apr 20110 comments

Royal Weddings on Film: Footage of Windsor Marriages from the 20th Century

Today marks the long-awaited wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, in an event that will be broadcast around the world for millions (perhaps even billions) to watch.

Even if the marriage is not broadcast in your area, you can watch it online here.

We thought we’d celebrate this by showing some footage from a selection of Royal weddings of the past century – some recent, and some going back to the 1920s. Most of these were held at Westminster Abbey, where today’s ceremony will also take place.
Continue reading "Royal Weddings on Film: Footage of Windsor Marriages from the 20th Century" »

28    Apr 20110 comments

Is Australia’s Gift to the Royal NewlyWeds a Sign of the Changing Times?

Australia has announced that it’s (i.e. the country’s) present to Will and Kate for their Royal Wedding will be a $25,000 donation, in their name, to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). (That's a picture of Will boarding a RFDS plane on the left)

Personally, I would have gotten the future boss something slightly bigger for his wedding but asking people to donate to charity in lieu of buying presents is a touching gesture by the soon to be newly-weds.

It should be said, this not something new and reflects a changing trend that I’ve noticed at Australian weddings, funerals and other poignant occasions.

Continue reading "Is Australia’s Gift to the Royal NewlyWeds a Sign of the Changing Times?" »

28    Apr 20110 comments

Video of the Week: Richard Dawkins on Genetic Genealogy

This week we've got a short clip on genetic genealogy, featuring Richard Dawkins.

It was originally broadcast in the show Bang Goes the Theory, and shows Richard and Dr Yan Wong discussing how genetics can be used in genealogy, what challenges there are in doing so, and why a lot of us might have Genghis Khan as an ancestor!

28    Apr 201122 comments

Who was your great-great-great grandma? ….One user’s discovery.

Little did MyHeritage.com user Jeff Ausmus know, that by answering this question he’d be reuniting family ties lost through fate and time. Jeff has lived all his life in the small town of Erie in Monroe County, Michigan.

During Thanksgiving 2008 he decided to begin tracing his family history – after a discussion with his grandma, in which she knew very little about even her grandparents.

With family trees numbering over 6000 people, Jeff has not only traced his family roots as far back as 8 generations to Germany and Poland – but discovered that two people he grew up with in the same grade in High School were in fact his cousins! Jeff’s tale includes finding letters in Germany written by his great-great grandma in the late 1890s – and a reunion with descendants of his great-great-great grandmother’s brother – ironically who also live nearby. Read on to find out more about Jeff’s fascinating family history discoveries, from Barack Obama to nearby neighbors…

Continue reading "Who was your great-great-great grandma? ….One user’s discovery." »

26    Apr 2011135 comments

Not Smith and Jones – Rare British Surnames On The Cusp Of Extinction

Do you have a rare surname? Could your family be amongst the final bearers of near extinct British surnames? If your surname is Miracle, Villan, Relish or Tumbler for example, then you're a dying breed in Britain. If your surname is Bread or Spinster...then we will be surprised as you're presumed extinct! Read more to find out!

To mark the completion of the 2011 UK census – when every person in the land is required to enter their personal details for posterity, we've identified the rarest British surnames: unusual last names that have lingered for centuries but are on the cusp of extinction (with just a handful of bearers), endangered (with under 200 bearers), or now missing, presumed extinct in 2011. Here we reveal these names and the origins and history of each.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

We're also seeking the general public’s help to confirm whether surnames thought to be extinct have truly disappeared and, if so, just who the last bearers were. So if your surname is amongst the rare or presumed extinct names listed below - we'd love to hear from you!

Continue reading "Not Smith and Jones – Rare British Surnames On The Cusp Of Extinction" »

25    Apr 20112 comments

About Anzac Day – A National Day of Remembrance for Australia and New Zealand

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand, and is commemorated by both countries on 25 April every year to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War One.

It now more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for their countries.

Many people outside of Australia and New Zealand may not have heard of Anzac day. Even those who have heard of it may not understand the cultural and historical significance of the day, particularly in Australia, where the events of April 25th, 1915 are often said to have been the real birth of the nation.
Continue reading "About Anzac Day – A National Day of Remembrance for Australia and New Zealand" »

25    Apr 20110 comments

Dyngus Day: A Polish Easter Tradition in Buffalo, N.Y.

For over 45 years now, the Monday after Easter has been known as Dyngus Day in Buffalo, N.Y. It's a post-Lent day of polka dancing, beer, Polish sausages and yes, love -- with a few unusual courting rituals that make the day an ideal occasion to meet your soul mate.

Dyngus Day likely began in Poland, though it is said to be celebrated in neighboring countries, such as Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, so it's unclear exactly where the custom or name originates. The story goes something like this: men or boys carried water from house to house to sprinkle - or in some cases drench - the girl(s) they fancied. The girls smack the boys with pussy-willow branches if they share their affections. And while this exchange doesn't seem like it would lead to love and marriage, there are many stories of true love found on this day.
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23    Apr 20114 comments

Poll: How Often Do You Talk With Your Mom?

With Mother's Day in the US soon approaching, most of us will be making a call home to get back in touch. We thought we'd take this opportunity, though, to ask how often you talk to your Mom in your day-to-day life.

For some of us, we're still in daily contact with our mothers, and keep them up-to-date with everything that we're doing. For others among us, it's harder to stay in touch so frequently, and weekly, monthly, or even less frequent calls are the norm.

What's the situation in your family? It'd be great to know where you fall in the categories below!

22    Apr 20111 comment

Supercentenarians: Some of the World’s Oldest Family Members

For those of us researching our ancestry back to nearly a century ago, it’s easy to forget that there are still some who remember these times first-hand.

When Walter Breuning, then the world’s oldest man, died last week at the age of 114, it was a timely reminder of this. He could tell stories about times before the First World War, such as when he lied about his age to get a job on the Great Northern Railway at 16, working seven days a week and earning $90 a month – “a lot of money at that time.”
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22    Apr 20110 comments

Celebrating Easter Around the World

Just in time for this year's Easter weekend, we're rounding up fun Easter facts and traditions from around the world. Ever wonder where the first chocolate eggs were made? Or the history of the Easter Bunny? Or why Australians have campaigned to replace the traditional bunny with a bilby?

Here are a few fun Easter facts:

• Over 90 million chocolate Easter bunnies are made each year.
• 76% percent of people eat the ears on chocolate bunnies first.
• According to the Guinness Book of World Records the largest Easter egg ever made was just over 25-feet high and made of chocolate and marshmallow. The egg weighed 8,968 lbs. and was supported by an internal steel frame.
• Americans buy more than 700 million Peeps - making Peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy.
• 16 billion jelly beans are made specifically for Easter - enough to fill a plastic egg the size of a 9-story building.
• An estimated 80% of parents carry on the tradition of the Easter Bunny by preparing a surprise Easter basket filled with goodies for their children and around 90% of adults hope for their own Easter treat.


Continue reading "Celebrating Easter Around the World" »

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