13    Dec 20120 comments

Genealogy: 3 ways to involve family during the holidays

HolidaysAs we approach the holiday season, the chances are that many of us will spend time with our families.

Whether you'll be visiting close relatives or meeting with distant cousins, family get-togethers are the perfect way to find out more about your family history.

Want to add more information to your family tree or inspire the younger generations to get involved? Here are three simple tips to turn your next family gathering into a genealogy opportunity!

1. Ask relatives to bring an old family object

Documenting the story of a family treasure can be an great tool to increase understanding about your family history. Whether a letter, card, ornament, jewelry or recipe, encourage relatives to bring something to show everyone. These items can bring interesting stories to life and provide new family  information. Continue reading "Genealogy: 3 ways to involve family during the holidays" »

12    Dec 20120 comments

Poll: Have you discovered a family secret?

George Bernard Shaw once said, "If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."

Family secret - two words that together to form an explosive combination. Most families have them and  - when they are revealed - they either disrupt the family balance or, more positively, put years of misunderstanding to rest.

In today's poll, we're asking whether you've uncovered a family secret during your genealogy research.

Let us know in the poll below:

10    Dec 20120 comments

Alfred Nobel: The man, the prize

The Nobel Prize awards ceremony takes place today in Sweden. Who was Alfred Nobel, and why is there a prize named after him?

Before the award became famous, Alfred Nobel was best known as the inventor of dynamite.

In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died while visiting France. A French newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred who had died and so published his obituary. Alfred was shocked to read the article especially the description of him as “the merchant of death.” One particular line: "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday," got him thinking.

Alfred realized that this wasn’t how he wanted to be remembered and so, in 1895, he amended his will to designate a large portion of his estate to fund the Nobel prizes. Continue reading "Alfred Nobel: The man, the prize" »

7    Dec 20126 comments

Photos: Do ancestors resemble living relatives?

Ever heard someone say "he looks just like his father"? What about,"he looks just like his great-great-great-grandfather"?

I recently found an old family photo of one of my ancestors and noticed a striking similarity with a living relative.

When looking at old ancestral photos, I've always had a sense of familiarity. I notice a certain family resemblance to living relatives, such as their physical features or just their facial expressions.

Photographer Ulric Collette's "genetic portraits" takes this concept to a new level. Ulric merges photos of relatives and shows how alike some family members look.

MyHeritage's look-alike meter helps people answer that age-old question as to whether they look more like their mother or father.

Have you found an old family photo and noticed a resemblance between those in the photo and your living relatives?

Let us know in the comments below.

6    Dec 20121 comment

Family: Interviewing Relatives

Planning interviews with family members include determining proper questions, equipment to use, and other aspects. Here are some suggestions you may find helpful.

EQUIPMENT

As a journalist, I know that using more than one device is a good idea. There’s no telling when one will not cooperate. I prefer to use a digital sound recorder with an external microphone, and a video camera (with sound) as well. I also take notes and work from a list of questions.

Make sure you have a digital camera to take shots of documents or old photos; bring a small tripod one along (best: those with legs that can be twisted into any angle or used against your arm or shoulder to stabilize the camera). Not expensive, they take up very little room.

A portable scanner – getting smaller and less expensive every year – is another good idea to copy unframed photos and documents; always check the backs of photos and documents for notes, inscriptions, dates, etc. Use your digital camera to shoot framed photos hanging on the wall.

Practice using your equipment ahead of time – so you won’t waste time or annoy the person with technical glitches. Remember to take the lens cap off the video camera! If using battery-operated devices, bring along spares (or chargers). The Boy Scouts have it right: “Be Prepared.”

Read on for more information about arranging an interview, how to interview, questions to ask and sharing information.
Continue reading "Family: Interviewing Relatives" »

5    Dec 20121 comment

Poll: Largest number of grandchildren in your family tree?

At this time last year, a Canadian couple celebrated the birth of their 100th grandchild.

Grandparents Viktor and Aneta Urich have so many grandchildren that they find it difficult to remember all their names. Half of them have Canadian names, half have Russian names.

The couple has 16 children. The 100th grandchild was born to their eldest son Heinrich and his wife, Tatjana. Heinrich and Tatjana have nine children, the eldest is 12.

Is there someone in your family tree with a large number of grandchildren? What's the largest number of grandchildren you've found in your family history research?

Let us know in the poll below.


4    Dec 20123 comments

British Royal Family: The Next Generation

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Image credit: www.princeofwales.gov.uk

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Image credit: www.princeofwales.gov.uk

One of the world's highest profile couples - William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) - have announced that they are expecting a child.

Due to Britain's constitutional changes, the child will become an heir to the crown, regardless of gender. The baby will be third in line to the throne, after its grandfather (Prince Charles) and father, moving Prince Harry to fourth in line.

Already buzzing are possible names for the child.

The most common names used by the British Royal Family are George and John for boys and Elizabeth, Sophie and Victoria for girls. There's a copy of the British Royal Family Tree available on MyHeritage.

What do you think the newborn's name might be?

3    Dec 20121 comment

Poland, Lithuania: From the heart

Heather Alexander

Heather Alexander

“I can actually recall the moment when I became interested in my family history,” writes MyHeritage member Heather Alexander in Massachusetts.

My sister was helping my then-young niece with a school project. Our entire family was on vacation in historic Newport, Rhode Island, when she was going over all sorts of records in a binder she had for my niece to go through to figure out how to do her assignment.

I recall thinking "What is all this? I know I'm Irish and English on our mother's side, Lithuanian and Polish on our father's side but I've never actually seen the evidence. I've never heard names. I only know that's what I was told...Irish/English Lithuanian/Polish.

Heather, 37, was born in and lives in Massachusetts. Married with a daughter, 9, she was educated in public and private schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is a former credit analyst.

Heather put off her questions for a while, but became curious to find out about those few stories she had heard as a child but didn’t pay much attention to. Her sister, the eldest child, is highly intelligent and would explain things in such complex terms that only another person with an advanced degree in history could understand.

I didn't have that. I would question her a lot, but I grew frustrated with not understanding her answers to my questions and the same held true for our middle sister when she would ask - she got confused.

Continue reading "Poland, Lithuania: From the heart" »

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