28    Feb 20130 comments

Family History: What do we do with our ’stuff’?

One of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress. A hot topic there centers on personal digital archiving, and much of that relates to family history and genealogy.

The LOC’s Mike Ashenfelder, who writes online articles about personal digital archiving, digital preservation leaders and developments in digital preservation, writes on preserving personal genealogical collections in a digital age.

The popularity of genealogy websites and TV shows is rapidly growing, mainly because the Internet has made it so convenient to access family history information. Almost everything can be done through the computer now. Before the digital age, genealogical research was not only  laborious and time consuming, it also resulted in boxes of documents: photos, charts, letters, copies of records and more. Online genealogy has  replaced all that paper with digital files. But the trade-off for the ease of finding and gathering the stuff is the challenge of preserving it.

About genealogical databases, Ashenfelder writes:

that relational databases are the engines that drive digital genealogy. Databases make it possible to quickly search through enormous quantities of records, find the person you’re looking for and discover related people and events. And when institutions collaborate and share databases, statistical information becomes enriched.

And, considering some demographics of family history aficionados, digital estate planning now a popular topic. What happens to our digital possessions after we die? And what can we do to preserve them? Getting your digital affairs in order offers much practical information.

Continue reading "Family History: What do we do with our ’stuff’?" »

27    Feb 20133 comments

New section: Surname of the week

MyHeritage welcomes you to a new weekly blog post, "Surname of the week." We'll discuss the origin, history and other information of one surname in each post.

Surnames first appeared in the Middle Ages as a way to record and document people and for tax purposes. Details included given names, nicknames, parents’ names, occupation and residence. This personal information later became an important part of the history of surnames.

English surnames, as we know them today, began in England as early as the 11th century. However, it was not until the late-17th-century that many families adopted permanent surnames.

Generally speaking, family names fall into the following categories with some examples given:

  • Occupation: Smith, Taylor or Miller
  • Personal characteristics: Young, Black or White
  • Geographic or locations: Hamilton, Bush, Hill,  Windsor or Murray
  • Patronymics, Matronymics or Ancestral:  Stephenson, Richardson or Harris

In honor of American-British Actress Elizabeth Taylor's birthday, we look at TAYLOR this week:

Continue reading "New section: Surname of the week" »

26    Feb 20130 comments

Family History: Our children, their ancestors

When the genealogy “bug” hits us, we just can't help ourselves. We want to search deeper into our heritage.

It's disappointing when some family members don't share our ancestor interest. We want them to ask questions and learn about our shared family history.

A great way to start is with our children and grandchildren.

Children are curious about black-and-white photos, strange names, and seeing a family tree filled with images of people they may or may not know. Most importantly, they ask questions - lots of questions!

Children love listening to stories, so reading to them about the family is a great way to grab their interest and demonstrate that they are part of a grander history. Sharing family moments creates a stronger family bond, as well as a chance to share ancestral information.

Do you share family stories with your children and grandchildren? How do you pass on your unique heritage to the younger generations? Let us know in the comments below.

25    Feb 20130 comments

WDYTYA Live 2013: MyHeritage highlights

The MyHeritage team returned from three intensive days at the Who Do You Think You Are Live 2013 show in London’s Olympia. We enjoyed greeting so many visitors at our booth.

Our team included Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz, Head of Genealogy (UK) Laurence Harris, Chief Content Officer Russ Wilding, Netherlands Community Manager Denie Kasan, Scandinavian Community Manager Sara Silander, German Community Manager Karen Brandel Hägele and Marketing Manager Aaron Godfrey.

The MyHeritage Team

The MyHeritage Team at WDYTYA Live! 2013

Both old friends and new shared fascinating stories of their ancestors and their own family history research experiences.

Continue reading "WDYTYA Live 2013: MyHeritage highlights" »

22    Feb 20130 comments

WDYTYA Live 2013: MyHeritage day 1 highlights

The MyHeritage Team

The MyHeritage Team

The MyHeritage team are coming to the end of an exciting first day at the 2013 Who Do You Think You Are Live! at London’s Olympia.

We're enjoying seeing all the new faces and meeting old friends at our booth, and hearing everyone's family history stories.

Visitors took advantage of our free workshop presentations to make genealogy - and their unique family search - easier. MyHeritage genealogy experts assisted users to begin a digital family tree, photo tagging, FTB, SmartMatches and more. Come visit us at booth #842 in the next two days for more workshops!
21    Feb 20134 comments

Childhood: Your first memory?

In my Florida childhood days

Recently someone asked about my first childhood memory. I began to think about some of my “first” moments. My first steps, the first taste of candy, or my first word.

But were these really my own memories or just stories about these events told to me by my parents?

We all have memories of growing up, but it's difficult to distinguish between those we really remember and those our families repeated throughout our childhoods.

Scientists believe that, from age 3, a child begins to retain images and events from his or her life. These often relate to our family - especially our parents - and animals.

One of my first memories was of water.

Continue reading "Childhood: Your first memory?" »

20    Feb 20133 comments

Family: Conformists or not?

Some families have numerous rebels, who purposely choose unusual or unique behaviors, as well as conformists, who choose to follow what the family considers good behavior.

Many genealogists love to find the rebels among their ancestors. These may be those truly adventurous souls who were the only people in their immediate family to immigrate to another country or continent. They may have been artists, musicians or political activists, whose interests were very different from their siblings and parents.

Does social pressure play a part in this? Is it nature or nurture? Do we love a movie because our friends and family do, which means we want to be part of that group? Or do we want to be different from everyone else?

Continue reading "Family: Conformists or not?" »

19    Feb 20137 comments

WDYTYA Live!: MyHeritage heads to London

MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet demonstrating the MyHeritage iPhone app at WDYTYA 2012

MyHeritage CEO Gilad Japhet demonstrating the MyHeritage app at WDYTYA 2012

MyHeritage heads to London this week for the leading family history show, Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE, from February 22-24.

The event, at the Olympia Exhibition Halls, features genealogy workshops, expert speakers, vendors and more to help with your family history research.

Come visit the MyHeritage team at booth #842 and participate in some of our exciting activities: Continue reading "WDYTYA Live!: MyHeritage heads to London" »

18    Feb 20130 comments

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Washington's Birthday Image credit: Wikipedia

Washington's Birthday. Image credit: Wikipedia

Today is, in the United States, “President's Day.” Did you know that this was originally celebrated as “Washington’s Birthday"?

Established in 1885 as a Federal holiday, it was first celebrated on February 22, Washington’s real birthday. It was also the first Federal holiday honoring an American citizen.

In 1971, the date changed to the third Monday in February, after the creation of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

The Act also combined Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in some states. The combining of these two days gave equal recognition to two of America's most famous men.

Since then the day has become known as President's Day and also honors other presidents born during February, including Ronald Reagan and William Henry Harrison. It is popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all US Presidents.

Continue reading "Happy Presidents’ Day!" »

15    Feb 20130 comments

Valentine’s Day: 1 billion cards

A card by Esther Rowland Courtesy Mount Holyoke College

How many valentines did you receive this year? How many did you send?

Some 190 million valentines are sent each year, according to the US Greeting Card Association. If you count the cards made by schoolchildren, it goes up to 1 billion. And, in 2010, some 15 million e-valentines were sent!

The American tradition of sending valentines was the idea of Esther Rowland (1828-1904), a young graduate of Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts).

Holyoke's archives and special collections has an impressive collection of historic valentines, many created by Esther. She is credited with having established the commercial valentine industry in the US.

The school’s original name was the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and Esther graduated in 1847. She was inspired by an ornate English valentine - sent by a family friend – to create her elaborate versions of the greeting card.

Continue reading "Valentine’s Day: 1 billion cards" »

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