6    Oct 20150 comments

Something Borrowed: Bride wears 120-year-old gown

A wedding is a momentous occasion that warrants special family traditions. Each family has its unique way of making the event unforgettable. Many find a way to link the event to the past, to honor and recognize their ancestors who made them who they are. Some pass down jewelry from generation to generation to be worn by the bride. Others pass down meaningful heirlooms.

In my family, we have a prayer book that has been passed down to each bride since the early 1900s. It has weathered well over the years - considering how old it is - and how far it has traveled. Although worn and, in some places, unreadable, it doesn't matter. Many brides on my mother's side of the family have written their names and wedding date on the front page, just moments before walking down the aisle and beginning a new stage of life.

I remember the unbelievable feeling of belonging as I looked over the signatures of my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and aunts from their wedding days, and then added my own name. To realize that I was part of a tradition established so many generations ago to commemorate this important life event eased my pre-wedding jitters. I felt honored to be included in the lineage of those women who came before me. They may have lived their lives in different generations, but they each had similar hopes and dreams on the day of their weddings. I hope to have my children sign the same book and to continue the tradition for future generations.

Abigail Kingston, a young woman from Pennsylvania, was recently in the news for deciding to wear a family wedding gown handed down for 120 years! Her great-great-grandmother Mary was the first bride to wear the Victorian-era satin gown in 1895, and it has been worn a total of 10 times to date.

(Image credit: Leslie Kingston)

Continue reading "Something Borrowed: Bride wears 120-year-old gown" »

29    Sep 20154 comments

Extinct Crafts: Shoemaking

People used to keep a pair of shoes for a lifetime. They were a cherished and expensive possession. People would bring them to shoemakers in the hope that they could restore their shine and luster and bring them back to life.

Today, although traditional shoemakers still exist and we are able to visit their shops, they are fewer and more difficult to find. Like many artisans, many are closing their doors. Shoes have been mass-produced for many years and are easily replaceable at low cost.

The smell of real leather and quality craftsmanship evoke memories and take us back to a different time. A time where attention to detail, uniqueness, and quality were tantamount. It is possible that real shoemakers will soon be extinct!

(Image credit: Soletopia.com)

Thousands of years ago, man first first tied animal skin around his feet to protect them, and the concept of footwear materialized. Not only would shoes protect people from rugged terrain and long journeys, they would help them deal with extreme temperatures of heat or cold, and allow them to move freely. Continue reading "Extinct Crafts: Shoemaking" »

21    Sep 201510 comments

Top 9 Family Heirlooms

Family heirlooms are artifacts that provide comfort and a sense of connection to our heritage. They illustrate our family histories and provide memories of our loved ones.

Passed down from generation to generation, often with a background story, they help preserve our heritage for future generations. We recently wrote about bizarre places to find family heirlooms.

I grew up in a home where many pieces of furniture once belonged to my great-grandmother. I thought that it was strange to have such antique furniture in our modern home but, as I grew older, I came to appreciate their value and the importance of safeguarding pieces that once belonged to the matriarch of our large family. Little did I know that my family was not unique and that furniture is commonly passed down in families and cherished for generations.

Here are nine of the top family heirlooms: Continue reading "Top 9 Family Heirlooms" »

20    Sep 20158 comments

Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile

We remember our ancestors by their photos, which provide small glimpses into their world, and bring them to life once again. If preserved properly, photos offer lasting impressions for future generations.

When looking at old photos of our ancestors, it's easy to wonder what they were thinking at that moment. Their ambiguous expressions leave us questioning. Were they happy? Were they sad?

It's extremely rare to find 19th-century photos where people are smiling or showing any emotion. What's the story behind their stony and serious stares? Continue reading "Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile" »

10    Sep 20156 comments

Names: How do you say that?

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

If your family name is Smith or Green, you won't relate to this post. However, if your family name is something more exotic - welcome to the club!

They look at your name, stammer and ask "how do you say that?" What do you do? Do you patiently spell it several times? Will you, as I often do, spell it out as in "D as in David, A as in Apple, R as in Robert" .... Do you break the name down into syllables for the other person? Do you give up and say, "Call me by my first name!" Continue reading "Names: How do you say that?" »

6    Sep 20151 comment

Discovering Your Family History: 7 unique technologies

MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet recently presented a keynote address to hundreds of attendees of the  IAJGS 2015 conference in Israel. He discussed "Seven Unique Technologies for Discovering Your Family History."

His talk is a great introduction to understanding MyHeritage technologies, Smart Matches, Record Matches, Newspaper Matches and Instant Discoveries. Gilad described new technologies that MyHeritage has recently released, such as Global Name Translation, as well as new technologies that we are about to release.

Click on the video below to watch the full talk:

24    Aug 20151 comment

Make Summer Work For You: 9 ways to a family history win!

Most people find they have more time for hobbies and interests during the summer than the rest of the year. Perhaps it's the long days and nice weather that give us more energy to broaden our horizons and inspire our creativity.

Whatever the reason, summer is a great time to focus on family history research and unlock new clues into your family's past.

Here are nine ways to ramp up your family history research and make the most of those long summer days:

1. Spend quality time with family: Close or far, it's important to strengthen family bonds. Encourage sharing memories, photos and family heirlooms. Use the MyHeritage Mobile App to add photos while you're on-the-go. Continue reading "Make Summer Work For You: 9 ways to a family history win!" »

20    Aug 20156 comments

Do You Have Progonoplexia?

Have you ever heard of progonoplexia?

According to Wikipedia, progonoplexia, from the Greek word Προγονοπληξια is roughly translated as "ancestoritis," or a deep obsession with one's ancestry.

Learning about one's roots was a huge part of Greek identity; being able to brag about ancestors and their past glories. The word was coined to describe the modern Greek people’s preoccupation with discovering their ancient past.

It's an obsession that has lasted over time.

In today's world, the genealogy "bug" has taken over. It is now the second most common pastime in the United States. We are questioning, curious beings. Continue reading "Do You Have Progonoplexia?" »

18    Aug 20150 comments

5 Tips for Preserving and Storing Old Documents

It’s easy to forget about those precious documents scattered around your home. Photo albums are collecting dust, birth certificates and records are stuffed in boxes. All of them may well be lost, if they are not properly stored and preserved.

Image credit: Hollinger Metal Edge

We’ve written before about the importance of organizing family history research and scanning documents online, but it’s also important to make sure those documents are still intact as primary history resources. They are valuable family heirlooms that should be passed down through the generations, not destroyed.

Here are five easy  tips to help preserve and store those old documents and to make sure your family legacy lives on: Continue reading "5 Tips for Preserving and Storing Old Documents" »

15    Aug 20150 comments

Cousins: A special connection

A cousin is a relative with whom you share common ancestors. First cousins share grandparents, but all cousins share a family history bond that goes far beyond that.

If you have a really close cousin, you know that the relationship can be very special.

(Credit: Etsy)

The relationship between cousins is often a powerful cross between that of family and friends. Continue reading "Cousins: A special connection" »

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