31    Jan 20130 comments

Super Bowl: Family parties, rivalry

I remember my family’s Super Bowl parties.

I can still taste the delicious chicken wings my dad would make and I have fond memories of our family coming together to watch the game.

This Sunday - the 47th Super Bowl - sees the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.

Whether we're watching the game for the Super Bowl commercials or rooting for our favorite team, it’s a great opportunity for family to enjoy the game together.

Families are often divided in their loyalties to different teams; my family was the same. My cousin would root for one team and my uncle would support the other. Friendly rivalry, of course, although I do remember my team winning quite often!

This Sunday’s Super Bowl is making history with its own sibling rivalry.

Continue reading "Super Bowl: Family parties, rivalry" »

30    Jan 20130 comments

Innovation: What’s next?

When was the last time you used a typewriter?

Technology crept into my life when I switched from my beloved black portable manual Remington typewriter to an IBM electric.

Just a few years ago - relatively speaking - personal computers were just appearing on the scene. We researched the old-fashioned way - handwriting letters, loading rolls of film in our cameras, visiting dusty archives and winding through endless rolls of microfilm in resource centers. It took hours of effort to search for family information.

Today we connect in ways we couldn't imagine only a short time ago. We communicate almost instantaneously with email and messaging, and we access ever-expanding Internet resources for family history. Everyone is connected by computer, by smartphone, by technology.

Once upon a time, my tech arsenal consisted of an electric typewriter. Period.

Continue reading "Innovation: What’s next?" »

29    Jan 20133 comments

Technology: Staying in touch through the years

There are many ways to stay connected with our family, no matter the distance.

We write e-mails, send letters or speak on the phone. Even with Skype on our computers, many of us still have a land line phone at home to connect with our families locally and worldwide.

Hearing our families’ voices brings us closer together, but how were we able to keep in touch before all these technological advances showed up in our homes?

Construction of the first regular phone line was completed in 1877. By the end of 1880, there were 47,900 telephones in the US. Since the first Bell telephone company was established in 1878, phones have evolved from the “candlestick” telephone to rotary-dial and to today’s cordless handsets.

Continue reading "Technology: Staying in touch through the years" »

28    Jan 20130 comments

Poll: Who were you named after?

Choosing a name for a child is certainly not easy.

Some families have names that recur every other generation, passing from grandparent to child.

Others parents choose to use an original name, or one that has a special meaning.

Do you know where your name comes from? Let us know in the poll below:


25    Jan 20132 comments

Australia Day: Do you celebrate?

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

January 26 marks Australia's national holiday, Australia Day.

Australia Day celebrates the establishment of the first settlement in Port Jackson (which is now Sydney Harbour), in 1788.

What's known as the "First Fleet", consisted of 11 ships that set sail from Great Britain and landed on this day at the Port. By 1808, January 26 was celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day”.

In 1818, the Governor of Australia gave all government employees a day off, and in the years that followed, bank employees, and other employees, were also given a holiday day.

Continue reading "Australia Day: Do you celebrate?" »

24    Jan 20134 comments

Looking at history: Images 101

Your grandmother had one.
So did your mother.
I'll bet you also have one.

In the back of a high closet shelf, in the basement, in your attic, you have some kind of a container.

It may be an old metal box that held cookies a lifetime ago, an old shoebox or hatbox, a modern plastic container with a snap-on lid, or even a handy-dandy sealed plastic bag stuck in a drawer.

The contents may include dried flowers, holiday and life-cycle event cards, and many old photographs. If this is your personal collection, you'll likely know who the people were and when the image was taken. That's good.

However, these treasured possessions may have belonged to your great-grandmother. She, if you are very fortunate, may have written lightly in pencil on the back. The lady in the strange hat is Cousin Helen, you learn, but you've never heard of anyone with that name.

If you are even luckier, the inscription may indicate that it's a holiday gift from "your dear brother in London." You've never heard of anyone who had a brother in London.

If your relative was somewhat obsessive, he or she may have recorded the names, dates and places on each photograph. In this case, your genealogy colleagues around the world will congratulate you on your good fortune!

Continue reading "Looking at history: Images 101" »

23    Jan 20135 comments

Weddings: Celebrating the present, remembering the past

At family celebrations, and especially at weddings, we tend to think about those relatives who are no longer with us.

My colleague Javier showed me an article in the Spanish magazine Zankyou, which discusses marriage as the merging of two family trees, and therefore the perfect occasion to honor our ancestors.

The article suggests some very original ways to not only think about those relatives who have passed on, but actually incorporate genealogy in our wedding celebrations.

One way is with jewelry. Some people choose to wear a special family heirloom, like a brooch, others use their ancestors' rings as their own wedding bands.

Artist Ashley Gilreath takes it one step further. Ashley specializes in creating pieces that fuse heirlooms with their story, and like the necklace below, with genealogy. Continue reading "Weddings: Celebrating the present, remembering the past" »

21    Jan 20130 comments

Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther KingToday, the US observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a Federal holiday.

Dr. King was world-renowned for his work for the civil rights movement in America, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King, Jr. in 1924 in Atlanta, Georgia. His name was changed 10 years later, after his family visited Eisleben, Germany, the birthplace of Martin Luther, who founded Protestantism. His father, Michael King Sr., changed both his name and his son's name to Martin Luther in honor of him.

Continue reading "Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day" »

18    Jan 20133 comments

Poll: Family history in the genes?

Family history is important to us and, as a reader of this blog, it's probably important to you, too!

While family history is a fascinating subject, with more and more people getting involved than ever before, sometimes the desire to research our family history also runs in the family!

Some of us have family trees that have been passed down through the generations. Others are inspired to find out more via the stories our relatives share with us.

We want to know if researching family history runs in your family? Did your parents and grandparents research their family history? Were you inspired by their research? Alternatively, are you the first of your relatives to catch the genea-bug?

Let us know in the poll (or comments) below:

17    Jan 20134 comments

Family History: What’s in your attic?

Aren't attics - and cellars - magical places to explore?

When I was a young girl, we spent our summers in upstate New York, with our grandparents. I often went with my grandmother to visit her friend Fanny, who lived a few miles away.

I remember the old country farm house set amid large surrounding fields. While Grandma and Fanny were talking downstairs, I was given permission to go up to the attic and scrounge around.

Continue reading "Family History: What’s in your attic?" »

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