31    Jul 20128 comments

MyHeritage: Family history with challenges

Sylvia Baker

Sylvia Baker

People look into their family history for all sorts of reasons. Australian Sylvia Baker, 62, had some special reasons for asking questions.

Born Wilhelmina Cornelia Steeneveld in Delft, Netherlands, Sylvia immigrated to Australia in 1957; lived in Matraville, NSW for five years; and later in Montrose, Victoria. Now retired, she lives in Manjimup, Western Australia and previously worked as a bookkeeper.

She was married to Lambertus Tip, and had two sons, Angus (born Wayne) and Jeffrey (now deceased).

Sylvia attended three years of primary school, began working and then married. At 37, she returned to school and began learning from the beginning!

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30    Jul 20121 comment

Family: Do you have your own dialect?

According to Teri Harman, author of the article "Does your family have their own dialect?", families tend to have their own unique way of speaking to each other.

Ranging from made-up words to accents, family communication is something developed by and used by families. Other manifestations are nicknames, quotes or private jokes.

Coming into any family, whether as a close family friend or in-law, requires diligent study to keep up with the conversation and understand the private references.

Only when you understand what's flying around the dinner table, are you considered a full member of the inner circle.

What it boils down to is that the family unit tends to be a close-knit social group, and like any other social group, it adopts its own rites and customs, and "how to speak'" is one of them.

These nicknames and private jokes are unique, special and often bizarre. However, they are an essential part of what makes a family a family.

Does your family have its own family "dialect"? What family nicknames do you have? Do you use different words? Did your secret language pass through the generations? Let us know in the comments below.

27    Jul 20122 comments

Olympics: An historic look at a modern event

The opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics - the Games of the XXX Olympiad - begin tonight in London.

The largest international sporting event in the world takes place every four years; it is the third time that it has been held in London. The last time was in 1948.

The first modern edition of the games was organized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Athens in 1896. The original Olympics - with nude athletes - took place in ancient Olympia, Greece, from the 8th century BC to the 4th century AD.

The Olympics is an historical event enjoyed for generations. Participating - as a competitor or spectator - connects you to your ancestors who also lived through the moment.

We've trawled the Internet to find weird and wonderful historic Olympic facts. Here are some of them:

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26    Jul 20120 comments

Poll: Athletes in your family?

Following our series of polls on characteristics that run in the family, and with the Olympics now underway, we wanted to ask your thoughts on whether athletic ability runs in your family.

Some families love going on hikes, swimming, bike rides and pursuing other outdoor activities together. But do athletic parents produce athletic kids? Do you have athletes in your family?

Let us know via the poll below:


25    Jul 20120 comments

Summertime Tips: Kids and family history

Looking for ways to entertain your children this summer?

The long school vacation provides perfect opportunities to encourage the younger generations to develop an interest in family history.

Here are our top seven tips for encouraging them:

  1. Visit close family. Encourage the kids to learn a bit more about their nearest and dearest.
  2. Take them to meet more distant family members, and explain how they are all related. Encourage them to ask questions about the family history.
  3. Take family trips to ancestral towns. Walk around the area. Show them where the relatives lived, went to school and more.
  4. Visit history museums. Explain why history is important and try to make a personal connection to specific periods, such as when your family immigrated to a new country and why.
  5. Look through the old family photos. Demonstrate the connections between the people and the places where the photos were made. Do they look like any of the relatives? Point that out to make a connection.
  6. Introduce the younger generations to online research. Set challenges to find relatives using available resources.
  7. Learn from and be inspired by others - here are posts about David Krueger and Jeff Zeitlin, teenage genealogists from different countries, who shared their family research and amazing discoveries with our readers.

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24    Jul 20122 comments

Amelia Earhart: American aviation pioneer

Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart

American aviator Amelia Earhart, born 115 years ago today, disappeared on July 2, 193, over the central Pacific Ocean near Howland Island.

Amelia was attempting to complete a round-the-world tour on a twin-engine Lockheed Electra with navigator Fred Noonan, when they lost radio contact. A dozen ships and 50 aircraft, from the US government, searched for them for several months. Nothing of significance has ever been discovered about their whereabouts and Amelia, then 41, was officially declared dead on January 5, 1939.

Amelia, a pioneer of American aviation, was born July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas. In 1922, she broke the women's altitude record for flying above 14,000 feet. In 1928, she became the first woman to be flown across the Atlantic Ocean and in 1932 she became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and the first person to cross it twice. That same year, she received the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society.

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23    Jul 20120 comments

Technology: Now meets then

We often hear people say that kids "get" technology easier than adults.

I remember the old computers we had at home, the tapes we used to load programs, the floppy disks that were really floppy. I'm sure my grandparents were probably amazed at the speed with which I could load and play Frogger.

Kids today are described as super-advanced when it comes to understanding new gadgets, so it's interesting to see how they relate to the gadgets that were around before they were born.

In this video, young people were challenged to see if they could figure out how to use some classic gadgets from the 80s.

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20    Jul 20120 comments

Poll: Does ’sense of humor’ run in the family?

Last week we asked whether sense of direction ran in your family.

Many people enjoy finding out information about their ancestors in terms of the facts and figures about their lives.

But what some enjoy most is learning about how they lived and what kind of people they were.

There are certain character traits that appear to run in the family and when you see a family member exhibiting the mannerisms or characteristics that their parents, or grandparents possessed, you feel a sense of familiarity or continuation.

So to carry on this theme, we’re now interested in the lighter side of life - humor.

We’ve all got those relatives that have a fantastic sense of humor, the ones who always have a joke or anecdote to share at every family get together.

Have you noticed a trend in your family? Do you think sense of humor is inherited? We'd love to hear your view in the poll, or comments section below.


19    Jul 20126 comments

MyHeritage: A young German genealogist’s story

David Krüger

David Krüger

At an age when most young men tend to look at the world outside instead of their own family roots, David Krueger, 15, from Germany, is already working on his family history at MyHeritage. He began his research at age 13.

In 2010, he “Googled” his own name, just for fun. He looked at the results and saw a family tree with many branches.

Under the picture was written: "My ancestors, determined by a genealogist." "It looks interesting," I thought, and clicked on it. I discovered more and more fascinating information about genealogy.

David went to his mother and asked about his grandparents, writing down their birth and death dates. When he asked about his great-grandparents, there was no room on the paper.

I quickly turned on my computer and looked for a way to represent this piece of information online, so that I had a clear view in a way I could understand (I was then 13).

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18    Jul 20121 comment

Marissa Mayer: From Finland to Yahoo!

Marissa Mayer, as a child

Marissa Mayer, as a child (taken from MilwaukeeMag.com)

A lot of media attention was devoted to Marissa Mayer yesterday, a former Google executive, who has just been appointed CEO of Yahoo!.

Marissa, all of 37 years old(!), was one of the first 20 employees - and the first female engineer - at Google. She has been listed by Forbes on four occasions as one of America's 50 most powerful women in business.

In addition to her professional achievements, Marissa holds two degrees from Stanford, is a keen dancer and runner and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Her appointment came as a shock to some, as on the same day it was announced, Marissa announced that she is six months pregnant.

Marissa is clearly a remarkable woman, having achieved so much professionally while still being young and family-oriented. She married Zach Bogue in 2009 and they are expecting a baby boy in October.

An article from 2004 about Google quoting Marissa - as found on SuperSearch (click to search)

An article from 2004 about Google quoting Marissa - as found on SuperSearch (click to search)

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