Thank you to everyone who entered our competition to share their stories.
We received so many amazing entries - tales of intrigue, mystery and discovery - with exciting twists and turns.
In genealogy, discoveries are not an end, but rather a beginning. Each door opened may lead to many more discoveries over time.
We hope to showcase the stories individually, although we are sharing excerpts from the winners below:
Barbara Chase (USA)
-- Finding ancestors on my father's side of the family was pretty easy - there has been a lot of family record keeping. But I felt I hit a block wall on my mother's side, particularly on her mother's side. I couldn't get past my maternal grandmother. Using a My Heritage SmartMatch, I found a second cousin I never knew existed! My mother's mother died when my mother was only 10, and growing up I never heard stories about that side of her family. I discovered through this SmartMatch that my grandmother had a brother, and a half-brother. My mother never mentioned that she had an uncle, or that her mother had siblings. My grandmother, her brother, and half-brother were all very good letter writers, and being located in different areas of the country, corresponded pretty regularly. My newly discovered second cousin, who is a grandson of my grandmother's brother, and I connected and started our own correspondence. Incredibly, he had photos of my grandmother and letters she had written in his possession! He sent me copies of all, and I have enjoyed reading about my mother as a baby and young girl. What a priceless and precious treasure I have received because of this connection.
Svetlana Us (Ukraine)
-- Hi! I live in Ukraine and my story is truly amazing. I began to research my family history in 2008, after my mother had died. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about her parents. My grandmother was from Siberia, she died when I was 15 and since that time the connection with her relatives has been lost for more than 30 years. The old photo album was the only thing that I had. I had examined it, analyzed the titles and signatures, trying to recognize the people, which captured in photos, defined the year and I wondered what could I do to find my lost relatives. And the miracle happened. It was a miracle indeed, because it happened on Christmas Eve 2013. I was on MyHeritage.com and used SuperSearch. I was trying to find familiar names. Many times my searches were fruitless, but not this time. I saw the familiar photo almost immediately. These were the photos, which I saw in my grandmother’s old album. This was amazing – a photo, which never was published, familiar names and faces! In such way I found my sister. She lives in Russia and explores family history and she had published her family tree on MyHeritage.com just like me. I learned that my grandmother's two sisters were still alive, I have many second cousins, nephews and nieces. Now we communicate, my uncle even visited us. Whole branches of my family tree were restored. This inspired further investigation. Other relatives were joining to my searches, some of them created their own pages on this wonderful site. I wish all success to your research. Believe in miracles, they do happen!
Brian S. Campbell (Canada)-- I'm from Canada. Our daughter asked me to trace my family, when she had our grandchildren, so she could tell them where they came from. I was born in Edinburgh, during WWll. So I started, and it was a tremendous journey, with help from complete strangers along the way. We discovered that, prior to Queen Victoria’s reign, people (of all classes) had HUGE families, eight or more children were quite normal (one of my ancestors had 13 children). The percentage of female and infant deaths was high, and quite a shock, in today’s world. I concentrated on the male side, because many men had multiple marriages (due to mortality). I was thrilled to find that great-grandfather number nine was in fact The Duke of Argyll! It was awesome! I am now back to 690 AD (confirmed) and 490 AD (not confirmed). It's pretty amazing, and wonderful for my daughter to pass on to our grandchildren. Thank you MyHeritage!
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