20    Aug 20112 comments

Facebook competition results: ‘I love genealogy because…’

Don't say we never give anything away at MyHeritage.com as this week's Facebook competition has seen three of the best entries win a free premium account subscription.

We know everyone is keen to be part of the lucky three - who will now be enjoying fantastic features including enhanced Smart Matches™ and Timeline features - so we ought now to reveal the winners, judged by the MyHeritage team.

We asked all our Facebook fans to tell us just why they loved genealogy in the form, "I love genealogy because...", we then waited and watched the entries flood in until we lost count completely.

We had entries that were both inspiring and heart-warming and others that were a little strange, even disturbing. After much careful deliberation though, we can reveal that the winning entries* from over 120 are as follows (Author in bold):

Linda Pentland
"I love genealogy because...I can put meat on the bones of the skeletons that are rattling about our cupboards!!"

Continue reading "Facebook competition results: ‘I love genealogy because…’" »

19    Aug 20111 comment

News from MyHeritage Australia – 19 August 2011

Lots going on as usual this week in Australia including the temporary closing of the State Library of NSW, a great Family History Fair and the commemoration of an important date for the descendants of Australian service men and women from World War 2.


The State Library of NSW has closed some of its doors for a major renovation that will last until September 18th.

Included in the closure is the State Reference Library, which means the Family History section will be inaccessible.

Fortunately the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG) has stepped up with a special offer to give people access to their many genealogical records and services. They also have volunteers on hand to help you out if you’re struggling to make breakthroughs.

Continue reading "News from MyHeritage Australia – 19 August 2011" »

18    Aug 20111 comment

MyHeritage.com Welcomes Sara, our Swedish Community Manager!

Sara, our new Swedish Community Manager

Sara has just joined the MyHeritage team and has been given the task of engaging with our 300,000 Swedish users. In addition, she now has her very own MyHeritage Swedish blog to post daily about all the genealogical happenings in Sweden.

Sara, in her first post, talks about her fascinating family history and how she tracked down her uncle in an otherwise baffling situation. Below is a summary of her story, translated from Swedish.

Her maternal line originates from the East coast of Sweden going as far back as the 1700s. However, her paternal heritage is really rather fascinating. Following the Second World War, both of her grandparents emigrated to Sweden.

Her Grandfather Fransesco came from Taranto in Southern Italy and he met Grandma Marietta when she emigrated from Finland. They lived in Sweden together and bore Sara’s father in 1958. A few years later, her grandfather died leaving her father to be raised without a father or siblings.  Continue reading "MyHeritage.com Welcomes Sara, our Swedish Community Manager!" »

17    Aug 20110 comments

Video: Military Research at the US National Archives

In this very informative video, John Deeben, Archives Specialist at The National Archives in Washington DC, describes how compiled military service records can be used for genealogical research. Using some great examples of past genealogical research, John shows how even the most amateur genealogist can benefit from microfilm, textual and digital records.

This video is part of the National Archives' Know Your Records program.

16    Aug 20111 comment

News from MyHeritage UK – 16 August 2011

Well, it’s definitely been a busy few weeks for UK genealogy. As I’m sure most UK-based people will relate to, we tend to keep many things for the summer months- and genealogy and family history interests tend to subscribe to that notion.

On the 10th August series 8 of the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ kicked-off with June Brown, otherwise known as Dot Cotton from Eastenders. The programme is often lauded with sparking a genealogical revolution in the UK and definitely hasn’t lost its edge over the last 7 series. The first installment didn’t disappoint with a bare-knuckle fighter, persecution and the Spanish Inquisition all components of June’s fascinating family history.

I’m told that the next episode (showing tomorrow on BBC1 at 9pm) charts the family history of JK Rowling and her French roots, including a ‘shocking’ revelation about her great grandfather - definitely one to watch.

Another bit of excellent news is that The Society of Genealogists’ Summer Membership Special Offer is now on. They are offering to completely waive the joining administration fee, which should make membership more accessible for many.

And finally, as if we didn’t need reminding about how popular genealogy is at the moment, the West Glamorgan Archive Service has just released figures that show that they’ve had their busiest year ever. According to Archive staff, the rise in popularity has in part been due to the popular BBC Wales series ‘Come Home’, on which celebrities trace their Welsh heritage for all to see.

Blimey, this genealogy stuff is getting more popular by the minute.

15    Aug 20114 comments

Spanish Naming Conventions Part 2: The Etymology of Spanish ‘ez’ Last Names

NB: This is a follow on to Spanish Naming Conventions Part 1: The Basics

Many of you will instantly recognize the most popular Spanish surnames as those ending in ‘ez.

Examples are Martinez, Rodriguez, Hernandez etc.

This is not something unique to Spain alone. The trend has continued into the Spanish speaking world of Central and South America.

The reason for the popularity of these surnames is because they are “patronymic”.

For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to surnames that are based on the first name of a male ancestor.

In this case, the names are formed by using the father’s name and appending ‘ez to the end to represent “Son of”

Continue reading "Spanish Naming Conventions Part 2: The Etymology of Spanish ‘ez’ Last Names" »

14    Aug 20113 comments

Cooking: Keep it in the Family

Cooking has always been a family affair and one activity that your immediate family (should) always help out with. We may think that our seemingly weekly menu rotation is due to laziness however, those choices are likely to be heavily influenced by our upbringing, and indeed the upbringing of your parents. We all know the old adage ‘Variety is the Spice of Life’ however, when it comes to food, I’d venture that the real ‘spice’ comes from indulging in recipes past and the culinary delights of your ancestors.

Take this weekend for example. Whilst my brother was cooking an olive bread loaf to accompany a lasagne, I asked him where he'd found the recipe from- being a university student I knew that his culinary skills usually extended to pasta- so this was something really special. Continue reading "Cooking: Keep it in the Family" »

12    Aug 20111 comment

Video: Different Family Perspectives, Similar Immigrant Histories

Since today is Friday, we thought you would appreciate an inspirational video. This is the first in a three part series on the 'Genealogy Gems' podcast about John Paul Godges' fascinating family history. He discusses how the perspectives of children from the same family are often so different, yet how the immigrant experience of today is quite similar to that of a century ago. Enjoy.

10    Aug 20110 comments

News from MyHeritage Australia – 11 August 2011

It's been a huge week in Australian genealogy as the once-every-5-years census was distributed and completed on Tuesday night.

The key thing for the genealogy community was spreading the word about the importance of saying "yes" to Question 60 on the census, which asked Australians if they'd like their physical census records to be retained in the national archives for 99 years.

For the uninitiated, Australia has a default position of destroying census records once the statistical data is removed, which is something the genealogy community as a whole has been trying to change.

To read more about the background to this you should read the recent blog post we ran on the topic.

Continue reading "News from MyHeritage Australia – 11 August 2011" »

10    Aug 201112 comments

Poll: How Do You Backup Your Family Tree?

This week's poll is about how we protect the precious data in our family trees. Let us know how you go about backing up your data - that is, of course, if you have an approach!

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