13    Mar 20131 comment

Surname of the Week: Dennis

Welcome back to our weekly edition of the history of English surnames.

Today we look at DENNIS, in honor of the debut of the "Dennis the Menace" comic strip on March 12, 1951.

DENNIS comes from the medieval personal name Den(n)is (Latin Dionysius, Greek Dionysios’  - follower) in reference to an early Eastern god believed to be the protector of the vine.

St. Denis, the 3rd-century martyred Bishop of Paris, was one of the first mentions. However, the modern popularity of the name in England came in the 12th-century, via a French influence. The first recording of the name was believed to be Walter Denys in 1272. Throughout the centuries, the surname developed with DENNIS being a variant.

Continue reading "Surname of the Week: Dennis" »

12    Mar 20131 comment

Childhood Memories: MyHeritage’s family party

The MyHeritage family came together to relive childhood memories at our annual costume party.

This year’s theme was “Childhood Comeback,” dressing up in costumes from our childhood. People dressed as their favorite superhero, nostalgic cartoon characters, role models and as historic figures.

The winning costumes of the night were Shrek and Fiona. What do you think of their costume?

Continue reading "Childhood Memories: MyHeritage’s family party" »

11    Mar 20130 comments

Ethnic Foods: Eating around the world

The US is a nation of immigrants. Each group has added its cultural traditions – including delicious food – to the shared multi-ethnic experience. Every family has its favorite dishes from its own unique heritage or a combination of ancestries!

What I really enjoy is how different groups have incorporated their unique dishes into the celebration of US holidays. To use the Thanksgiving holiday as an example, most people feature the golden roasted turkey as a centerpiece, but the stuffing and side dishes will change! Mexican-Americans will add tamales and serve Spanish rice. Persian-Americans will use a rice, nut and fruit stuffing, while side dishes include stews, such as walnut-and-pomegranate, along with rice dishes featuring many green herbs. Italian-Americans will add pasta dishes like lasagna.

March is National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) offers ways to “eat right, your way, every day,” with foods from  everywhere.

Dietary guidelines, according to a registered dietician in this story, should accommodate food preferences, cultural, ethnic, traditional and personal preferences the many diverse groups in the US. The story lists yummy healthy dishes from many cuisines:

Continue reading "Ethnic Foods: Eating around the world" »

8    Mar 20131 comment

International Women’s Day: Your stories

International Women’s Day has its roots in the North American and European Labor movements.

It was first observed in the US on February 28, 1909, in honor of the 1908 worker’s strike when women protested against poor working conditions. A year later, The Socialist International met in Copenhagen and established a Women’s Day to honor the women’s rights movement.

The first International Women’s Day, in 1911, took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women rallied for worker’s rights, the right to vote and to hold public office, among other issues.

Today, International Women’s Day is observed worldwide: Continue reading "International Women’s Day: Your stories" »

7    Mar 20130 comments

Poll: Unusual sources for family research?

Historical records are essential to help us learn more about our families.

MyHeritage has recently added millions of historical records to our data collections, with access to over 4 billion historical records, millions of public family trees and newspaper articles in our online digital archive - SuperSearch. These include grave stones, military records, yearbooks, posters and even mugshots!

We want to know now what are some of the strangest places you have found information about your family members? What are some unusual sources you've used to locate information? The more unusual, the better! Let us know via the poll below and your comments.


6    Mar 20130 comments

Surname of the Week: Churchill

Welcome back to our weekly edition of the history of English surnames.

Today we look at CHURCHILL, in honor of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous Iron Curtain speech made on March 5, 1956.

Churchill, an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman conquest of 1066, derives from the town Curcelle, which became confused with the English name “Churchill.”

This geographical surname comes from various towns named Churchill (in Oxfordshire, Somerset and Worcestershire).  The name goes back to pre-7th century Old English for cyrice (church) and hyll (hill). The surname means “the church on the hill.”

There is one known case where the name's translation is different.

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5    Mar 20130 comments

Family: Fathers, daughters

A new study on the relationships of fathers and daughters shines a light on important family experiences.

We see – and say – such descriptions as “she’s definitely a daddy’s girl.” But what does it really mean? Are there differences in the relationships between sons or daughters and their fathers?

According to a study at Baylor University, 43 fathers and 43 daughters, not related to each other, were asked to write about a crucial moment of change in their own father-daughter relationships. The daughters were at least age 22, and the fathers were ages 45-70. Also included were adoptive and step-family relationships.

Most often mentioned by daughters were activities with their fathers, their marriages and physical distance from their fathers. Fathers most often mentioned joint activities, a daughter’s marriage and her beginning to date.

Continue reading "Family: Fathers, daughters" »

4    Mar 201377 comments

Photo of the Week: Guess who?

Are you recognizable in your childhood photos?

At MyHeritage, we want to challenge you. Can you guess the identity of famous celebrities from their childhood photos?

On a weekly basis, we'll share a celebrity photo, offer a few clues, and see if you can identify the person.

Can you guess who this is?

Here are a few clues:

  • This person has been an actor, businessman and politician.
  • This person chose bodybuilding as a career at age 14.
  • This person made their American TV debut alongside Lucille Ball.

Think you know the answer? Leave a comment below. You can also ask for more clues that have yes or no answers.

Good luck!

1    Mar 20132 comments

Celebrating: National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s Month in the United States. It has been observed annually since 1987 to honor women’s contributions to society, history and culture.

American women have achieved many firsts; here are a few:

  • The first convention held to advocate women’s rights was at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.
  • In 1869, Wyoming Territory was the first US territory to grant women the right to vote.
  • The first woman elected to an American political office was Susanna Salter, mayor of Argonia, Kansas in April 1887.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell was the first accredited American female doctor and founded the first medical school for women.
  • Edith Wharton became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her novel - The Age of Innocence - in 1921.
  • In 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to successfully fly more than 20 hours across the Atlantic.

"We Can Do It" poster, J. Howard Miller. Image credit: Wikipedia

This year’s theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination,” which recognizes the contributions and achievements of women in the fields of science, mathematics, technology and engineering.

In honor of International Women's Day next week, we will publish some of our favorite inspirational stories of women in your family tree.

Do you have women in your family who were pioneer inventors? Do you have any stories of women ancestors' contribution to society, culture and innovation? We'd like to hear your stories. Share them in the comments below, or email them to stories@myheritage.com.

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