This post was written by Elisabeth Zetland, researcher at MyHeritage. It was originally posted on our French blog.
I have long hoped to reconnect with the German family that had such a great impact on my grandfather’s life. I never met my maternal grandfather, Roger Dubuc. He passed away when I was only four months old. I don’t remember when I first heard his story but it quickly became a mystery that intrigued me, and I decided that I had to solve it.
Roger’s story began like that of many other French soldiers, but it suddenly took an abrupt turn. At the age of 20, on June 22, 1940, he was captured in Vannes without ever having fought in the war. When he left French soil, he didn't imagine that it would be five long years before he would return home again. His father Léon had also been a prisoner of war in Germany at the end of WWI, but had returned home after seven months.
Nata Gattegno, a Holocaust survivor from Corfu, Greece could never have children of her own as a result of what she endured in Auschwitz during WWII. Although she thought she was alone in the world, research done by the MyHeritage team uncovered cousins, that Nata either never knew existed, or with whom she had lost touch many years ago.
Watch the emotional reunion that took place recently when we introduced Nata to her new-found relatives in this video, in Hebrew with English subtitles:
Today, it's easier than ever to conduct family history interviews with family. The Audio Recordings feature in the MyHeritage mobile app makes it quick and painless to have a relative sit down and document their story, allowing it to be preserved for the future.
How do you make sure that you're documenting the complete story? How do you get those juicy bits of family history that you're looking for?
Happy Father's Day!
This year for Father's Day, we hosted Israel Kristal, the world's oldest living man, who live-tweeted fatherly advice from the @MyHeritage Twitter account.
Israel, who will be 113 in September, currently holds the title of the world's oldest man, making him also the world's oldest father. We couldn't have chosen a more experienced person to dispense sage wisdom.
Here are the top 10 pearls of wisdom he shared with us:
1."Set aside special time for your kids weekly, with no distractions. You won't regret it! When I was younger, I would work very long days at my confectionary business. I always made sure to keep the weekends free for my children."
The "selfie" is a casual self-portrait photograph, usually taken with a front-facing camera on a smartphone or a digital camera. They are most often shared through social networks and have become so common that it is rare to have not heard of them.
Although the term "selfie" is relatively new — it was only added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013 — the idea of taking a photograph of yourself by holding the camera in front of you is most certainly not new.
The first known selfie was produced by Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer in photography. He created a daguerreotype of himself in 1839. Not only is it the first known selfie, but it's also one of the first photographs taken of a person...ever.
Because the process was slow, Robert was able to uncover the lens, run into the shot for a minute or more, and then replace the lens cap. The photo is labeled on the back as "The first light Picture ever taken. 1839."
We're hitting the road this week to head to four family history conferences in four corners of the world! We hope you will come along and say hello to us in person at our booths and learn more about MyHeritage from our classes and demos. We'd love to see you there!
1) Ontario Genealogy Society Conference, Toronto, Canada, June 3-5
The OGS Conference of 2016 is promising to be even larger than expected. Members of all 34 branches and special interest groups of the Ontario Genealogical Society and other family historians from across North America and around the world will meet in Toronto for three days of inspiring lectures, workshops, displays, and other learning opportunities.
MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz will give a mini-lecture on Saturday morning on "Why Build Your Family Tree on MyHeritage?" On Sunday, he will speak on "Discovering Your Family History with Seven Unique Technologies" and "Mobile Applications for Genealogy Research and Family Photo and Data Sharing." On Sunday, Esther Shuman will give a mini-lecture on "How to Use MyHeritage’s Cutting-Edge Matching Technologies."
We've just added 11.4 million pages of Australian newspaper records to our collections. The records are now available for free at MyHeritage SuperSearch.
Including over 700 Australian newspapers, this phenomenal collection, digitized by the Trove (The National Library of Australia), covers newspapers from 1803 to the mid-20th century. Each Australian state and territory are represented, although the bulk of the collection consists of newspapers from New South Wales and Victoria.
This collection is a treasure trove of information for all Australian researchers — or those with Australian heritage — looking to add to the rich fabric of their family history and fill in missing details. Newspapers are fantastic sources of genealogical and family history information. Birth, marriage and death announcements, and obituaries found in newspapers are commonly used resources for genealogy. However, your ancestors may also be mentioned in articles on local news and events (i.e. social, community, school, sport, or business related events).
In the next few months, we will add 5 million new pages to this collection. This collection will also soon be matched with all family trees on MyHeritage.
Is there a long direct line of one gender in your family? How many men versus women are in your family tree?
The statistics section on your MyHeritage family site will provide the answer. Among other interesting facts, see which gender is more prevalent in your family. In my family tree, it's split pretty evenly. Of 304 people, 156 are male.
If the Underdahl family of Idaho would check their family tree statistics, they would probably see that the men in their tree reigned and are the majority. In their family, there hadn't been a baby girl born in the direct line for over 100 years. That just changed.
We have some good news for the genealogy community.
We are constantly developing new ways to advance genealogy through the latest technological innovations. One of the most exciting frontiers in family history research is DNA and today's announcement reflects a major step by MyHeritage in this important area.
DNA and traditional genealogy methods, such as family trees and historical records, go hand in hand. DNA can sometimes help where traditional research encounters a dead end, while traditional genealogy is often required to pinpoint an exact relationship path discovered by DNA.
While we have been offering DNA test kits for a few years — through partnerships — and will continue to do so, we are now developing a new DNA Matching service. This service will enable people who have already tested their DNA through DNA testing services (such as 23andMe, Family Tree DNA, and AncestryDNA) to enjoy MyHeritage’s exceptional matching capabilities for their family history research, and get more value from the DNA test they already took. We invite such users to export their raw DNA data from the service they tested on (which is straightforward) and import this data to MyHeritage now, so that when our DNA Matching service is released soon, they will receive matches immediately, and at no cost. Later on, DNA Matching may become a premium feature, but it will remain free for users who upload their DNA data now.
MyHeritage is excited to announce the launch of a new global initiative — Tribal Quest — to record the family histories of tribal people living in remote locations and to preserve their stories for future generations.
Here’s a short video that introduces the Tribal Quest project, and shows highlights from our first destination, Namibia:
One of our driving forces as a company is to do good, and we place particular emphasis on initiating pro bono projects that increase people's engagement with genealogy — wherever they may live. We recognize that, across a diverse range of cultural practices and geographic locations, every family has its own stories waiting to be told and shared. Tribal Quest is one of our most exciting initiatives, and its impact is already proving very positive.