11    Aug 20150 comments

New Collections Spotlight: UK Military collections

We’re happy to announce that over 1.8 million new records have been added to SuperSearch. The new collections include various UK Military collections.

These new records are valuable resources which provide insight into the lives of those who served in the UK Military, and their families. These records reveal more about our family heritage and the way our ancestors lived their lives.

Search now.

Excerpt from The London Gazette, 7 August 1917, announcing the appointment of Thomas Edward Laurence, Laurence of Arabia, as a Member of the Honourable Order of the Bath.

The collections include: Continue reading "New Collections Spotlight: UK Military collections" »

8    Aug 20153 comments

Family Size: The bigger the better?

Does family size impact how happy we are?

Our ancestors often came from larger families, with at least three siblings. Today, however, the number of couples who are having more than two children is small.

A recent happiness study found that two-thirds of couples with three or more children consider themselves happy most of the time. Also, they are more satisfied with their lives and build stronger personal relationships with others. Continue reading "Family Size: The bigger the better?" »

6    Aug 20152 comments

Names: Why can’t I find my name?

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

Your family name has evolved since it was adopted. It may represent your family's sojourns in different countries; its spelling and pronunciation may have changed, and it may have been changed following a recent immigration (although not at Ellis Island).

Other factors are easy to understand. Spelling wasn't engraved in stone, people were illiterate or not literate in the language of a specific area. Our ancestors didn't know how to spell their names and government officials were responsible for recording the names in registers or in important documents.


The official wrote the name the way he heard it. Perhaps the official was elderly and deaf in one ear, or your ancestor had a speech impediment or an accent. When your ancestor's cousin came in to record a later birth, however, a new younger official sat behind the desk, one whose hearing was excellent and the cousin spoke clearly.

When immigrants moved to a new country, they often changed their names. They wanted to make it easier for themselves, their neighbors and employers to spell or pronounce their names, and for official documents. If the original names were written in other alphabets - such as Cyrillic (Russian, Bulgarian etc.) - they were phonetically transliterated into English, providing many new spelling possibilities. Accents or dialects further complicated the choices. Continue reading "Names: Why can’t I find my name?" »

1    Aug 20153 comments

7 Bizarre Places to Find Family Heirlooms

My grandmother was recently searching for some old jewelry of her mother's that she had misplaced. She wanted to give it to me for my birthday to ensure it gets passed down to the next generation.

She opened all the closets, searched through kitchen pots, and even behind light switches! Where did she finally find it? In the pocket of a jacket she hadn’t worn in years.

Photos, jewelry, furniture or documents can all tell us a bit of our family history and are a link to our past. Continue reading "7 Bizarre Places to Find Family Heirlooms" »

26    Jul 20152 comments

Our Volunteers: A young genealogist’s Norwegian family history

Continuing our spotlight on volunteer translators, we introduce Torbjorn Wolden, a MyHeritage member from Norway, who has been helping to translate MyHeritage products into Norwegian for the five years.

A young genealogist, Torbjorn became interested in his family history in elementary school.

We did a project where we would make our own family tree (which I still have) and show it to the rest of the class. My grandparents also had a bygdebok (a local history book) for the parish, where all the farms and everyone who had lived there are listed, and I used to look at this and see how long my family had owned the farm and how long they had lived in the area.

Torbjorn has traced back his family history to the mid-1500s to the Trøndelag and Nordmøre regions in Norway. While most of his close family still lives in these regions, he has discovered distant relatives in Sweden; the US; Rotuma, Australia; Denmark and Switzerland. Continue reading "Our Volunteers: A young genealogist’s Norwegian family history" »

23    Jul 20154 comments

Our Stories: From Sweden to Australia, Part 3

Anna’s family journey to meet relatives in Australia continues. In this post, she discusses Oskar’s life, and looks at his decision to suddenly move to Australia.

The other day, David and I spoke about Oskar and his initial trip to Australia, the decisions that caused him to leave Sweden and what he may have encountered on the journey. There were still unanswered pieces that we can only speculate about. We have no information on his voyage, who he met or about his first journey.

What we do know, however, is that a significant event influenced Oskar’s decision to leave Sweden. An event that changed everything and added an entire branch to the family tree that would not otherwise have existed today.

Oskar's childhood home

Continue reading "Our Stories: From Sweden to Australia, Part 3" »

20    Jul 201541 comments

The Secret of Ereikoussa: The reunion

We recently wrote about the fascinating Secret of Ereikoussa, where the residents of a small Greek island risked their lives to save a Jewish tailor’s family from the Nazis during WWII.

In November 2013, Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and author Yvette Manessis Corporon contacted MyHeritage to ask for help in finding the descendants of the Jewish tailor - Savvas from Corfu, Greece - who had been hidden on Ereikoussa during the war. She had written a book inspired by her grandmother’s memories of the island, and the story of Savvas was an important part. For Yvette, the story was incomplete and she wanted to discover what happened to the family after the war.

Savvas Israel was saved by Ereikoussa's residents

MyHeritage accepted the challenge and embarked on a genealogical journey to uncover the mysteries of this long-kept secret. Starting with just five first names (Savvas, his three daughters Spera, Julia and Nina, and another child - Rosa) we were successful in locating descendants of the family in the U.S. and in Israel. Last month - at an official island ceremony - the families reunited to honor the island's residents for their courageous efforts. Continue reading "The Secret of Ereikoussa: The reunion" »

13    Jul 201528 comments

New Feature: Global Name Translation™ Technology

We’re delighted to announce the launch of Global Name Translation™, a new technology unique to MyHeritage, to help break through those language barriers in the quest to uncover your past.

Global Name Translation™ (Click to Zoom)

This innovation now makes it even easier to discover your global roots. The technology automatically translates names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, at very high accuracy, generating all plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search on MyHeritage's SuperSearch, will return results in other languages, automatically translated into the language of the query.

How can this benefit you? For example, perhaps your American family has Russian roots. Previously, you would have needed to search also in Russian to find all information available about your ancestors. Now you can search in English, and receive results in Russian, translated back into English for your convenience.

A search for Tatiana brings results in Russian with English translation (Click to Zoom)

The technology covers given names and surnames and can tackle names previously encountered in the past, in addition to new names not seen before. It also utilizes extensive dictionaries built by MyHeritage to cover synonyms and nicknames.

Continue reading "New Feature: Global Name Translation™ Technology" »

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?" »

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