2    Jul 20150 comments

Languages: More are better!

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

Genealogists often lament the fact that immigrant ancestors did not pass on their native languages to their descendants.

While the children of immigrants were mostly fluent in those languages - the first generation - those children only rarely passed down those languages to their own children or grandchildren - thus losing them forever.

Years ago, as I sat struggling through Cyrillic to understand records from Belarus, I often wished my great-grandparents had passed down Russian and Yiddish. Russian seemed to have disappeared the day the family hit the streets of New York, while Yiddish was transmitted to their children. Their grandchildren knew only some phrases or could understand some of it but not speak it - only rarely could they read it. The next generation knew nothing about those languages.

How much easier it would have been if I had learned both languages fluently from my parents and grandparents! However, I did learn Farsi fluently when we lived in Iran. Our daughter studied it, used to read and write it, understands it almost fluently, but refuses to speak it.

Now, through one scientist's research, we learn that there are two major reasons that people should pass their heritage language to their children.

One reason is obvious to family history researchers:

  • It connects children to their ancestors.
  • The research indicates that bilingualism is good for you. It makes brains stronger, as it is brain exercise.

Continue reading "Languages: More are better!" »

29    Jun 20150 comments

Can a friend help with your family history research?

One rule that genealogists hold true is that it never hurts to ask others for help. Often family members are the first we turn to learn more about another ancestor or a story behind a photo.

The more we can learn from our relatives, the greater chance we’ll have in advancing our family history research and expanding our family tree.

However, sometimes we forget that non-family members can be just as helpful in telling the stories of our ancestors. We spend countless days with our neighbors, best friends and colleagues without realizing how much they impact our lives and those of our family. Continue reading "Can a friend help with your family history research?" »

23    Jun 20150 comments

5 mistakes to avoid with event dates: Webinar

We recently hosted a webinar - "5 mistakes to avoid with event dates” - featuring one of our expert genealogist Laurence Harris.

Deciphering dates can be confusing in records, especially with uncommon date formats. Laurence provided tips for interpreting those difficult dates to help uncover more about your family history.

Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click on the video below to watch the full webinar.

Don’t forget to check our other webinars for many more genealogy tips to help make family history research easier.

Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below.

18    Jun 20156 comments

Family: Planning a roots trip?

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

Are you planning a family roots trip in the future? If so, it's time to make plans.

Whether you stay at home or plan an international trip, the basics are the same: Decide where you are going and what information you would like to find. Contact local historic or genealogical societies in the area for more information, and see below for even more suggestions.

Make a list of your names of interest and the towns your ancestors lived in. Try to group the towns regionally, by a particular geographic area. If this is an ambitious trip, you may want to make several groupings of towns.

A good way to put everything into perspective is to get a big map of the region you are planning to explore. Go to your local office supply store and pick up a few packages of colored transparent removable adhesive dots - they come in all sizes. Using the transparent ones mean you won't cover up important information.

Color-code your map. For example, put a red dot for the town, a blue dot for the cemetery, a yellow dot for archives, courthouses or libraries, and a green dot for possible accommodations. Use other colors for restaurants or other landmarks.

And, if your family is coming with you, mark sites they would like to visit with you or on their own, while you are digging through archives and cemeteries. Pay attention to fun places like water parks, amusement parks, a beach, music festivals or childrens' museums. Remember that cemeteries are not high on other people's must-see lists. Continue reading "Family: Planning a roots trip?" »

7    Jun 20154 comments

Sources: Where did I find that?

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

How good is your memory?

Many years ago, when I was very new at the genealogy game, I really believed I could accurately remember where I had discovered every bit of family data. And - for awhile - I actually could do that.

However, as the years went by, the numbers of people in my trees increased - while my brain cells seemed to decrease - it became impossible. Sometimes, I would write the information on a scrap of paper. We all know what happens to a scrap of paper stuck in a bag or pocket.

At one point, I had to stop all new research and backtrack, almost to the beginning of my quest, to fill in all those blanks.

Fortunately, I had even saved some of those scraps of paper on which I had scribbled information while visiting archives and libraries. To preserve them, I had taped them onto regular sheets of white paper. Eventually, I transferred that data to the family tree software I used, but the scraps didn't cover all my research. Continue reading "Sources: Where did I find that?" »

29    May 201512 comments

Our Stories: From Sweden to Australia

Imagine going on a journey back 125 years and across continents. That's what Anna, from Sweden, will be doing as she flies across the world to Australia to travel to her ancestors' towns and learn about them.

Anna will be documenting her genealogical trip to learn more about her roots on her blog. Here is her first post, originally published on our Swedish blog.

I'm nervous, excited, tingly and happy, and a bit fearful to be going on this journey. However, there is a huge difference in traveling now than in 1890 when Oskar decided to go on his journey. He left his job, family and friends for an adventure filled with uncertainty in search for something new. Today, that level of fear isn't as necessary with all our technologies that connect us to our family no matter where we live. It's easy to stay in touch with our loved ones, unlike 125 years ago.

Her post continues:

Oskar never had that convenience of 24-hour technology. When he stepped off the boat from Gotland, Sweden, he knew that it was unlikely he would see his family again. Continue reading "Our Stories: From Sweden to Australia" »

26    May 201514 comments

13 ways to know you’re a genealogist

Whether you are a family historian or just someone interested in learning about their family’s heritage, there are certain things only a genealogist will understand.

You’ve been hit with the genealogy bug if…

  1. When introducing someone you say, “this is my sister’s grandmother’s father’s son.”
  2. You are more interested in what happened in 1815 than in 2015. Continue reading "13 ways to know you’re a genealogist" »
24    May 20155 comments

9 reasons to start your family tree

Debating whether to explore your roots? Trying to persuade a relative or friend to start their family history research?

Here are nine reasons why family history is important to persuade you - or others - to begin learning about your heritage.

1. The Queen? Elvis? Who knows, they may be your distant cousins. You may find you're related to someone famous or be linked to royalty!

2. Leave a legacy for future generations. Do you want to leave something important to your children and grandchildren? Don't leave it to someone else, start preserving family memories and stories for them.

3. Document your life as a piece of living history.

4. Knowledge is power. Learning more about where you came from and your heritage can give you purpose and meaning. Continue reading "9 reasons to start your family tree" »

18    May 201545 comments

New Feature: Instant Discovery Tree Cards

Last month, we announced that Instant Discoveries™ are now available to all MyHeritage users, allowing our users to add entire branches to their family tree in just a few clicks. Many of our users have already been enjoying these Discoveries every day, and you can see this in near real-time using our exciting Discovery World Map.

Today we are introducing a useful new feature that lets you see the Discoveries available for you right in your family tree, in their exact context. For example, if a branch connected to your great-grandmother, which includes her father or mother, is missing in your family tree, but found by MyHeritage in another tree, you’ll see a special yellow card above your great-grandmother’s profile labeled “Discovery!”

New Discovery Cards

Hover over the Discovery card to learn more about it: a tooltip will open describing the Discovery and specifying how many missing relatives it can add to your tree and the source of the information.

Hover over Discovery Card to display relatives found

Click on the yellow card to review the Discovery. Discoveries are always based on a match, so you will first be asked to confirm whether you think the match is correct. Continue reading "New Feature: Instant Discovery Tree Cards" »

14    May 20150 comments

MyHeritage heads to NGS 2015

We’re excited to be at NGS 2015, taking place May 13-16 in St. Charles, Missouri.

The National Genealogical Society (NGS) was established in 1903 in Washington, DC to serve and grow the genealogical community through education, training, promoting access to and preserving genealogical records.

The annual conference is a great opportunity for those interested in family history to meet and share ideas and tips for advancing family history research. Continue reading "MyHeritage heads to NGS 2015" »

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