20    May 20140 comments

Levis: From a quick fix to the world’s best-selling jeans

Levi's jeans are well known throughout the world for their quality and durablility, but do you know the history of how the jeans were were originally created by Levi Strauss for gold miners in the 1800s' California Gold Rush?

In 1853, Levi Strauss, a German Jewish immigrant, moved to San Francisco to open a branch of his brother's wholesale dry goods store. He began selling clothing, blankets, fabrics and other items to small stores throughout the region.

One of his customers, Jacob Davis, was a Latvian Jewish immigrant, in Reno, Nevada. As a tailor, Jacob frequently purchased bolts of denim cloth from Levi Strauss & Co.'s wholesale house. Davis found himself repeatedly reinfocing torn pants, and had an idea to to use copper rivets to reinforce the pants at stress points. He added rivets to the button fly and pocket corners.

Davis knew that the idea would take off, but he didn't have the money required to obtain a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they go into business together.
Continue reading "Levis: From a quick fix to the world’s best-selling jeans" »

19    May 20142 comments

Nostalgia: Smells of the past

Nostalgia is defined as sentimentality about the past, typically for a time or place remembered with happy personal associations.

The word nostalgia comes from a combination of two Greek words, νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming," and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache."

It is attributed to a 17th-century medical student to describe anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.

It can be brought on by many different associations. Memories can be stirred when looking at old photos of people and places, listening to a song that takes you back to when you first heard it, or tasting something familiar from your childhood.

Sensory expert Professor Barry Smith says that "Smell, more than any other sense, can evoke powerful, emotional memories. Whole scenes of people, places and things can be brought back to life by the hint of a long forgotten scent." Continue reading "Nostalgia: Smells of the past" »

9    May 201413 comments

Hidden Treasure: Family heirlooms

Family heirlooms are precious to family members and often teach us about our heritage. They provide clues about our ancestors and how they lived.

Sometimes ancestral treasures are hidden and are only discovered years after they have been stashed away or hidden. When uncovered, they can reveal a wealth of information!

Such is the case in the story of this grandson, who recently discovered hidden treasure when cleaning out his grandparents' garage. What his family discovered was unbelievable!

Continue reading "Hidden Treasure: Family heirlooms" »

8    May 201414 comments

Mother’s Day: Then and Now

As Mother's Day approaches, our research team took a look at what life was like for mothers a century ago and compared our findings to what life is like for mothers today.

Times were very different 100 years ago. In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, the first US bus line began and, on May 7, 1914, Mother's Day was officially recognized as a national holiday in the United States!

Here are some interesting facts:

  • In 1914, pacifiers, wooden carriages and baby bottles were around, but mothers didn't have the conveniences of disposable diapers or wipes.
  • One hundred years ago, over 95% of all US births took place at home. Today, home births account for less than 1% of all births. Continue reading "Mother’s Day: Then and Now" »
3    Apr 20140 comments

Uncovering Family History: Live on Fox News

When author Yvette Corporon wrote her recently released novel, When the Cypress Whispers, she delved deep into her family history. She uncovered the tale of her grandparents, who lived on a small Greek island -- and how they, along with their neighbors, hid a Jewish family on the island during the Second World War.

MyHeritage helped Yvette connect with people who know the family that was hidden and she hopes to reunite with them soon.

Yesterday, Yvette was on Fox News Channel's weekday morning show, Fox and Friends, to discuss her new book.

Watch Yvette talk about using MyHeritage for her family research:

Continue reading "Uncovering Family History: Live on Fox News" »

27    Mar 20142 comments

Family History: What we leave for our children

We often think of family history in one direction- what we are learning or "taking from" our ancestors. We rarely take the time to think about give and take in the other direction.

What's the legacy that you would like to leave for your children and for future generations? How are you making sure that it will be passed on?

There are many practices for ensuring that your family history survives into future generations. Perhaps the most crucial is including your children and descendants in your family history research.

By encouraging interest in the family tree from your children, grandchildren and other relatives, they will want to preserve the records for generations to come. Continue reading "Family History: What we leave for our children" »

20    Mar 20141 comment

Family History: Movies and documentaries

Genealogy continually gains popularity around the world, and is increasingly becoming a favorite activity and hobby. More and more people want to research their family history and discover their past.

As the trend grows, there has also been an increase in family history and genealogy-related films and documentaries.

Here are some  films - some still in progress - having to do with family history:

Children of the Inquisition

Filmmaker Joseph Lovett of New York is currently working on a movie focusing on the stories of descendants of Jews who fled Iberia beginning in 1492. Children of the Inquisition follows a group of descendants of those persecuted during the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions. It accompanies them as they unravel their complex and often hidden identities. Each of them is on a quest to determine and embrace their ancestral roots. Continue reading "Family History: Movies and documentaries" »

14    Mar 20143 comments

St. Patrick’s Day: Free access to Irish record collection

A map of Ireland, c1790

St. Patrick's Day, commemorating the life and work of Ireland's patron saint, is a day full of wonderful and joyous celebrations. This year it is celebrated on Monday, March 17.

In honor of the day, we are happy to give you free access - through March 17 - to a special collection of passengers arriving in New York from Ireland from 1846-1851.

Search now

Continue reading "St. Patrick’s Day: Free access to Irish record collection" »

11    Mar 201464 comments

MyHeritage Employees Digitize an Entire Cemetery to Kick-Start Global Initiative

Eighty MyHeritage employees from our headquarters in Israel arrived in full force early Sunday morning to the Segula Cemetery in Petah Tikva, Israel, to digitize gravestones using the BillionGraves mobile application. We felt it was important to practice this ourselves, before we call upon others to join us in this initiative. By gaining hands-on experience, we aimed to create best practices, improve the product and fine-tune methodologies for digitizing cemeteries all around the world in the most efficient manner.

The MyHeritage team at Segula Cemetery (click to zoom).

So what brings a large group of young folks with smartphones to a cemetery? We recently announced a global initiative, together with BillionGraves, to digitally preserve the world’s cemeteries. It is important to digitize cemeteries because of the key role that gravestones play in family history and in society in general. Most of the world's cemeteries have never been systematically documented nor has their information made available online. In addition, age and exposure to the elements are rendering gravestones illegible, making this project even more urgent.

It was a cloudy morning, with occasional drizzles. Continue reading "MyHeritage Employees Digitize an Entire Cemetery to Kick-Start Global Initiative" »

5    Mar 20140 comments

Webinar Video: Finding ancestors in US and UK records

We recently hosted a webinar - "How to find ancestors in US and UK records" - featuring two of MyHeritage's experts: director of content production Mike Mansfield and chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz.

The webinar included a comprehensive overview of our matching technologies to advance your family history research, and the US and UK records available in MyHeritage SuperSearch.

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 even more genealogy tips to help make family history research easier.

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

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