17    Jul 20126 comments

MyHeritage: Introducing Karen, our new German Country Manager

 Karen, MyHeritage's new German country manager

Karen, MyHeritage's new German country manager

We're delighted to welcome Karen Hägele to our German team. She replaces Silvia da Silva, who recently went on maternity leave. We wish Silvia much health and happiness and look forward to her return next year. Karen now shares her family story, to which many of us can relate.

Back to my roots: from Brazil to Germany

As a small child, I remember using certain words that my friends didn’t know. For example I called my grandmother Oma and my grandfather Opa. I could count from eins to zehn and my favorite nursery rhyme was Backe, backe Kuchen. At night, I wished my parents Gute Nacht, and at Christmas we ate Stollen (a kind of fruit cake), baked, of course, by my grandmother.

We were the only ones in our neighborhood to have a real Christmas tree with real candles instead of "blinking stuff," as my Granddaddy used to say.

All of that would have been quite normal had I not been born in Brazil.

I have now been living in Germany for many years, and I still remember, how great it was to finally see what I previously knew only from stories. I was in the land of my grandparents, who left Germany shortly before World War II, because of the difficult economic situation.

Wedding, 1954

Wedding, 1954

But as in many similar cases, I felt I was becoming alienated from my own identity. What I thought of as "my roots," was quite different from the reality. In Brazil, I was German; in Germany, I was Brazilian. However, I soon adjusted to my new home.

In Cologne, I studied linguistics, which helped me learn more about the theory behind the language, sociology, language use and acquisition. It was also great to meet other students with similar backgrounds. This helped me to learn a lot about myself, and helped overcome the initial sense of not fitting in.

Following my studies, I began working, got married, moved to Hamburg and gave birth to my first daughter, Sophia.

And this is where MyHeritage comes in.

Sophia received a wonderful gift from her paternal great-aunt: a family tree. I thought it would be nice if she also had something from my family, and I began to write my history for her. I called my mother, asking for help, and I got started. My tree isn't very big. I never met my father’s father and I don't know much about that side of the family. But it was enough so that Sophia knew a little bit about her origin - our Brazilian roots.

My grandparents (I'm the one in the red dress)

Me with my grandparents (I'm the one in the cute red dress!)

Although sometimes it is difficult to belong to two cultures, it is a crucial part of who I am. I'm flattered and honored to be a citizen of the world.

Now, I'm here to replace my colleague, Silvia da Silva. Silvia and I worked together at Verwandt.de, acquired by MyHeritage in 2010. I remained within the parent company, but unfortunately genealogy was no longer a part of my job anymore. That’s why I’m even happier to be part of MyHeritage!

We wish Karen the best of luck in her new role.

Do you have a similar story in your family of someone moving to the land of their ancestors?

Search for your ancestors:

Comments (6) Trackbacks (0)
  1. *Welcome to MyHeritage.de, Karen*

    Good luck!

    * felizitas *
  2. Very interesting family story, Karen, and thanks for sharing. Yes, I know how it feels to be a citizen of the world because my ancestors are also from different parts of the world, i.e. Africa, Germany and Scotland.

    I am extremely excited about MyHeritage software that is helping me to compile my family tree. It is frustrating sometimes, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel when it seems I have reached a dead end in my research efforts.

    Right now I am battling to download the latest version of my Family Tree from the MyHeritage web site, and that is adding to my frustration. I lost my PCs and laptops with all the latest information of my family tree, but the info is luckily still kept in the database of MyHeritage.com. But how do I get that info back into my newly downloaded MyHeritage software?

    Perhaps you can assist me, or ask somebody to describe the steps to me.

    Thanks again for your kindness.
  3. Hi Ferdinand and Felizitas, thank you so much for your kind words!
    I'm really happy to know you can relate to my story and that MyHeritage is helping you to learn more about your own family.

    @Ferdinand, I'm sorry that you're having some issues with your family tree. Have you tried contacting our help desk? http://www.myheritage.com/help/en/

    Good luck!
  4. my ancestors came from germany back in the 1700, the surname changed over the years -----the first man to come to Canada---Bernhard William Wildt , in 1752 from Grunstadt Germany, born 1729, he was 23 when he arrived on the ship [SALLY ] after arriving and getting married the surnamed had some changes over the years, maybe because of poor schooling --Wild--Wilt--Whilt, do you know of any--please let me know, i'm still researching
  5. Can some help me to trace my ancestors from my father side. My great-great father was Johann Carl Christian Thomas Binneman (Binnemann) (Bindemann) and was born in Germany in 1789. He died in South Africa in 1837.
    It has been recorded that he was from Halle.
  6. Johann Carl Christian Thomas Binneman (Binnemann) (Bindemann) and was born in Germany in 1789. He died in South Africa in 1837.
    It has been recorded that he was from Halle.Is there someone that could help me to trace his ancestors?

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