16    Oct 20145 comments

Just like our ancestors: Shared personalities

Has anyone ever said that you speak exactly like your grandfather?

We often talk about resemblances and physical similarities between ourselves and our ancestors - perhaps it's the same smile as a cousin, or the identical eyes of a grandparent.

However, our physical appearance may not be the only connection passed through generations. Not only can we look like our ancestors, but we can act like them as well.

Continue reading "Just like our ancestors: Shared personalities" »

14    Oct 20141 comment

Genealogy Tip: Virtual Cemetery

Have you tried out the Virtual Cemetery feature in Family Tree Builder?

The Virtual Cemetery is a place to memorialize your ancestors. It is automatically created whenever an uploaded media file is associated to an individual's burial fact.

Gravestones contain important information of relatives such as birth and death dates, names, spouses' information and more. The Virtual Cemetery feature is a great way to enrich your family tree with a wealth of information such as gravestone images linked to family tree profiles.

The Virtual Cemetery compiles all burial-related media, making it easy to access information from these important sources, without crowding other photo albums in Family Tree Builder. It is kept separate from regular photo albums, as it is just associated with burial facts. This way, you will not see cemetery photos when looking at your images of living people.

Accessing the feature is easy. The Virtual Cemetery for all relatives can be listed together, or you can view by individual. Continue reading "Genealogy Tip: Virtual Cemetery" »

11    Oct 20141 comment

Journals: A source for family history discoveries

Journals and diaries are where we write our memories, secrets and daily thoughts. As such, when we find an ancestor’s journal, it can provide a wealth of rich information about his or her personal life and is a great source for discovering even more.

I recently stumbled upon my great-grandmother’s journal while helping my grandmother organize her house. It was incredible to see how intact the journal was despite many years of being stored in a box filled with other family treasures such as photos and documents. Continue reading "Journals: A source for family history discoveries" »

6    Oct 201416 comments

Death Records: Vital to Your Research

This guest post has been written by expert genealogist Miriam J. Robbins. Miriam has been instructing and lecturing in the United States since 2005. She has been interested in her family history since she was a young girl, living in Southeast Alaska. She began her genealogy research in 1987, and ten years later was successful in reuniting her grandmother with her biological family. Miriam writes an award-winning genealogy blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, and keeps busy adding links to her Online Historical Directories and Online Historical Newspapers websites.

The month of October is known for Family History Month as well as the holiday of Halloween. What better combination of the two than to learn about death records in genealogical research? Death records are one of the first and best types of records used in beginning genealogical research because of the variety of formats in which they appear, the basic facts which they contain, and the immense details that many list about both the decedent's life and death.

It’s important to learn a little about the history of death records in your ancestor’s location, as it will help you understand how the facts were gathered and recorded, what information the records may contain or omit, why the records themselves may be missing or difficult to find, and where to locate the death records currently. Continue reading "Death Records: Vital to Your Research" »

4    Oct 20143 comments

Our Ancestors: Sleep patterns

How much do you know about the lives that your ancestors lived?

Many of us know their names and, if we are lucky, we have dates, professions and stories about our distant ancestors. However, many questions still remain. There are some essential day-to-day activities of our ancestors that we may know little or nothing about.

Take sleep, for example. We can assume that our grandparents sleeping patterns were similar to ours. But what about our grandparents’ grandparents, and our grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents? Continue reading "Our Ancestors: Sleep patterns" »

29    Sep 20143 comments

A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero

This year marks a century since the beginning of World War I. To commemorate, we share the touching story of Italian soldier Cesare Mele, from Sezze, south of Rome.

A view of ancient Sezze, in southern Italy

While the Central Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary and Germany, Italy decided to remain neutral in 1914, and eventually joined the Allies (France, UK and Russia) in May 1915. Once they entered the conflict, 650,000 Italian soldiers died, 947,000 were wounded, and 600,000 disappeared or were captured as prisoners of war.

MyHeritage user Lucia Fusco shared the story of Cesare Mele, her courageous great-uncle , who, through his self-sacrifice, was able to save his own family. Continue reading "A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero" »

24    Sep 20140 comments

New Collection Spotlight: New York State Deaths, 1957-1964

The New York State Death Index contains information on deaths recorded in New York State besides those in New York City.

This collection will help everyone interested in locating New York State death records from 1957 to 1964. The Index contains information on decedents, place and date of death, gender, age at death and the State file number.

Death certificates are a primary source for family information. They are typically issued within days of a death and contain many details about a person's  life.

Certificates often include age, birthplace, parents' names and birthplaces and the cause of death.

This specific database of New York State Deaths compliments the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  While SSDI does contain some records for deaths as far back as the 1930s, it has very little coverage (as a percentage of the population) until the mid-1960s.

22    Sep 20140 comments

Enriching Your Family Tree: Photos, records and more!

Last week, we held a webinar on ways to enrich your family tree.

Adding information, photos and more are great ways to update and preserve your family history.

Our webinar demonstrated how to add multimedia, save and extract information from records and SmartMatches, personalizing your family site, adding sources and more!

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

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

Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below. We hope to see you next time!

16    Sep 201445 comments

Discovering ancestry: Through our toes?

Some say that the eyes are a mirror into soul, but many experts will argue that it's the feet that can tell you much about a person.

While family trees and historical records are the more common tools leading to family history discoveries, our own bodies can teach us about our family heritage.

Reflexologists often claim that they are able to interpret a lot about a person's personality just from their feet. In Imre Somogyi's book, "The Language of the Feet," he writes how ancestry can be determined just by the shape of our feet.

Other people have turned to interpreting their heritage through zodiac signs, and even palm reading, to provide clues about their past and future.

Have you found any unique ways to learn more about your heritage? Does the above picture reflect your ancestry? Let us know in the comments below.

11    Sep 201411 comments

Tools of the Trade: Newspaper research

Local notes from the Spanish American newspaper (pg 12; February 6, 1905, Roy, Mora County, New Mexico)

MyHeritage's US genealogy advisor, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, describes how historic newspapers add life to our family trees.

Old newspapers are treasure troves of family information. If your family lived for a long time in one location, then local papers likely hold information about your relatives.

Such details include birth, marriage and death announcements. If your ancestors owned businesses, there may be legal records or advertisements. Social announcements, real estate records, school graduations, athletic events and even the costs of consumer goods at the time can provide a glimpse into your family and also provide a backdrop as to what life was like for them at a certain point in history.

In the Spanish American (published in Roy, Mora County, New Mexico) page 12 of the February 6, 1906 edition offers local notes such as these (see left). We learn who went where and why, business announcements and who was sick. If your family is one of those mentioned, here’s a very personal look into what happened around that time.

No matter where you live around the world, local historic newspapers provide fascinating information available nowhere else.

Although current events and major historic events are of great interest, it is the personal and cultural reporting that may be of more interest to family historians. Consumer goods are only one area of life detailed in historic newspapers, and those published in major ports (such as San Francisco and New York City) published ship arrivals, the cargo carried, as well as passengers. Continue reading "Tools of the Trade: Newspaper research" »

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