15    Aug 20121 comment

MyHeritage: Michael O’Toole’s genea-journey

Michael O'Toole

Michael O'Toole

Our genealogical journeys begin in varied ways.

MyHeritage member Michael O’Toole’s interest began with a box of family photos and pages torn from a family Bible.

Michael, 59, was born in New Zealand and lives today in Sydney, Australia, with his partner Dianne and daughter Grace; his mother, Enid, and sister, Susan, live in Queensland, Australia.

Active in the apparel and textile industry for most of his life, including Levi Strauss New Zealand, he’s had his own product development and importing businesses.

In addition to family history, his wide-ranging interests include rugby, motorcycle racing, cricket and big game fishing. He enjoys international travel and is looking forward to a UK trip to visit his ancestors’ towns and villages in Nottingham and Leistershire.

Michael wanted to trace the history of his New Zealand O’Tooles.

I had very little knowledge of them. My step-grandmother- just before she died about 10 years ago - sent me a box of photos and family pages torn from a bible, so I had something to start from.

He began by Googling “O’Toole, Invercargill New Zealand.”

Continue reading "MyHeritage: Michael O’Toole’s genea-journey" »

14    Aug 20122 comments

Lego’s Birthday: 80 years and an inspiring family history

Whenever a celebrity - with an interesting family history - celebrates a birthday, we try and share it with you.

Today's post isn't about a person, but a product - one we all know and love - Lego.

This past weekend marked the 80th birthday of the famous family toy enjoyed for generations.

Very much a family business, Lego was founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen in 1932. He built the company, with his bare hands, along with his son Godtfred, who became the company's second owner, and the designer of the important inter-locking brick system. The company is today run by Kjeld, Godtfred's son.

Three generations of the Christiansen family: Ole, Godtfred and Kjeld (Credit: http://www.brickfetish.com/timeline/1891.html)

Continue reading "Lego’s Birthday: 80 years and an inspiring family history" »

10    Aug 20121 comment

Poll: Is your family superstitious?

Never walk under a ladder or open an umbrella indoors. A broken mirror brings seven years of bad luck.

These are just some popular supersititions shared in many of our families.

What is a superstition?

The Wikipedia definition for Superstition is "a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any physical process linking the two events".

The examples above are common superstitions. But we want to know whether superstition runs in your family?

Are you superstitious? Were yourancestors?

Let us know in the poll below.


If the answer is yes, share your family's superstition in the comments below.

9    Aug 20120 comments

MyHeritage: A Basque connection

Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu

Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu

Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu, 68, has always been interested in his Basque ancestors.

Born in Argentina, he received a PhD (Physics) at the University of La Plata (Argentina) and did post-doctorate studies at the University of Nottingham (UK). He has worked in Argentina, UK, Canada and the US, but spends a fair amount of time in Argentina.

Now retired, he lives in the US with his wife. He has three children.

He’s been interested in his ancestors since he was a youngster.

However, I became really interested in doing some research in my family genealogy only a few years ago. The help of a friend – with a lot more experience - has been instrumental.

He’s become intrigued by the Basque people, in general.

Some say that they were the first inhabitants of Europe, with a language that seemingly has no relation to any other Indo-European languages. Their history is fascinating.

Continue reading "MyHeritage: A Basque connection" »

8    Aug 20121 comment

Family: Dealing with sibling rivalry

Since Cain and Abel, sibling rivalry has been an age-old problem.

The term "sibling rivalry" was coined by David Levy in 1937 in relation to the common aggressive response of an older sibling to a new baby in the family. It is also used to describe competition or antagonism between children of the same parents.

It has various causes. Freud thought it was connected to the Oedipus complex whereby sibling brothers would compete for their mother's love, or between sisters for their father's attention.

Kyla Boyse from the University of Michigan suggests it stems from a child's need to define himself or herself as an individual and to separate from a sibling.

Alfred Adler proposes that sibling rivalry is based on siblings "striving for significance" within their family.

Most psychologists believe that it stems from an innate desire to attain parental attention achieved through competing with the sibling.

Whatever the cause, the manifestation can be ugly.

Continue reading "Family: Dealing with sibling rivalry" »

7    Aug 20122 comments

Genealogy: Why women are hard to find

According to this article in News OK, it's more difficult to find female ancestors.

Some reasons are that women had no voting rights, no land ownership rights, and their names changed after marriage.

Thus, there were fewer documents containing relevant information, or it was hard to find the connections between existing documents and a later marriage, with a new surname.

This makes it hard to locate our female ancestors as well as their extended families.

Today, in most countries, women are equal citizens in every way, and enjoy full property ownership and voting rights. Many women either retain their maiden names or the new couple creates a double-barreled surname.  These social changes could arguably make researching our female ancestors a bit easier - at least in the future.

People like genealogy because of the challenge of finding new family members.

Have you had problems locating female ancestors? Are there those you have not yet identified? Were you able to find them? What resources did you use to overcome a specific challenge?

We'd like to learn about your experiences via the comments below.

5    Aug 20127 comments

Bringing memories to life

Do you have a photo of your grandfather playing with a toy car, or your great-grandmother wearing a brooch that has now been lost? What if you could recreate those items?

As genealogists, we're always fascinated when we discover artifacts that belonged to our ancestors, whether it is the actual heirloom, or an image of it.

Sometimes the artifacts have been passed down through the generations; sometimes, we see them only in photographs.

Until now, this concept has been something in the realm of science fiction. However, industrial designer Tanya Damm Bokobza, the founder of morphe.us.com, is developing a web platform that will allow the use of 3D modeling and printing processes to help people put the pieces of family history back together - literally.

She shared with us an example of what can be done.

Continue reading "Bringing memories to life" »

3    Aug 20123 comments

Marilyn Monroe: Model, actress, singer and legend

Marilyn Monroe as a child. Taken from http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/marilyn-monroe-early-life.htm

Marilyn Monroe as a child. (Credit: www.howstuffworks.com)

Marilyn Monroe died 50 years ago on Sunday, August 5. In her short 36-year life, she achieved international stardom both on and off the big screen.

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926, her surname was later changed to Baker, the family name of her mother's first husband.

Marilyn's birth certificate (below) lists Martin Edward Mortensen as her father.

Marilyn did not believe Martin was her father. She was once shown a photo of her father, whom she thought resembled Clark Gable. As a child, she pretended that Gable was her father.

Marilyn Monroe's birth certificate. Source: Wikipedia (click to zoom).

Marilyn Monroe's birth certificate. (Source: Wikipedia.org) (click to zoom).

She adopted the stage name of Marilyn Monroe - Monroe was her mother's maiden name.

Continue reading "Marilyn Monroe: Model, actress, singer and legend" »

2    Aug 20120 comments

Poll: Is your family musical?

Does music talent run in your family? Today's poll investigates musicality - with a twist.

Do you think that musical parents encourage their children's interest and talent, from a young age, because of their own passion?

Or is it a genetic influence?  Is it nature or nurture?

Some researchers also draw the connection between math skills and music, as many talented musicians are also good at math (and science). Some say that as both skills are linear learning - one learns by going from one step to the next - so there is a connection.

What have you noticed in your own family? Does musicality - whether singing, playing an instrument or numerous instruments - run in your family? Have you noticed a connection in your family between music and math skills?

Participate in the poll and share your answers in the comments below.


1    Aug 20122 comments

Olympics: Cheering for ‘our’ teams

So many of our families have branches living in diverse countries, so our question today reflects that reality.

Which national teams - of our varied heritages - are those we roots for at major events, such as the Olympics? And, of course, why do we cheer so loudly for our national teams during the Olympics?

Experts at the University of Texas, Dallas offer several explanations of how we define ourselves via membership in a larger group, sometimes called “collective identity.”

UTD Researcher Dr. Karen Huxtable-Jester says this tendency is stronger in men than women, but everyone seems to enjoy cheering for their national team. She teaches psychology in The University of Texas at Dallas’ School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Another impetus for this is that people like to associate with successful people. Researchers call this BIRG (basking in reflected glory).

Continue reading "Olympics: Cheering for ‘our’ teams" »

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