Year after year, Americans gather around the table on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many recognize its origins as connected to the 1621 Pilgrim feast and thanksgiving prompted by a good harvest, but few know the woman responsible for making the celebration official. Sarah Josepha Hale, author and poet, fought to institutionalize Thanksgiving. Through her efforts, it was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.
This Thanksgiving is 152 years since the proclamation by President Lincoln, making it a national holiday. MyHeritage decided to locate the descendants of Sarah Hale and to look deeper into the legacy passed down through the generations of her family.
Sarah Josepha Buell was born October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. She married lawyer David Hale in 1813, and the couple had five children. A writer and influential editor, she wrote letters to politicians for 27 years advocating for Thanksgiving to become an official holiday. Until then, Thanksgiving was celebrated mainly in New England, and on different dates in each state.
Hale wrote letters to five different US presidents: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Although her initial letters failed to yield results, her letter to Lincoln convinced him to support 1863 legislation to establish the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
As a leading place for families around the world to discover their family histories, it’s thanks to our many hardworking volunteers that all of MyHeritage's products and features are available in 42 languages.
Last month, we featured Yana's story. This month we spotlight another volunteer who makes it easier for families worldwide to build, preserve and share their family heritage.
Kaarina May is one of our Finnish volunteer translators. Born in Finland of Karelian heritage, Kaarina completed her folk school education in Helsinki and began work in an advertising agency. Before starting her apprenticeship as a layout artist, she received six months' leave to go traveling.
She went to England to improve her language skills and immediately met her future husband, Terry, and never returned to Finland or her apprenticeship. Kaarina began work in a London travel agency and qualified as an agency manager, trainer and internal verifier. She eventually moved into education, and earned a Cambridge University Certificate for Teaching English to Adults.
What if you could travel back to a specific time and place and get a real look at what life was like then? For 17th-century Europe, thousands of pieces of correspondence are now being unveiled, making time travel seem possible!
A recent article in The Guardian reports that a treasure trove of unopened letters from the 17th-century are now being studied after having been hidden away for many centuries in the Netherlands.
We recently hosted a webinar with expert genealogist Schelly Talalay Dardashti about discovering more about our ancestor's daily lives.
Schelly covered an extensive array of aspects of our ancestors' lives that we can research to get a better idea of their lifestyle and the times that they lived in.
Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click the video below to watch the full webinar.
In searching for ancestors, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the stones still unturned and research yet to be done. As genealogists know, family history research is truly never-ending. With every door that opens, so do many more avenues of research. Many of us have long to-do lists of names to be researched, relatives to interview, places to visit, and more. There are so many reasons why it is important to seize the moment and tackle your long list.
Many of us are lucky to have close friends, who feel like family, in our lives. In recent years, genetic research has supported the theory that friends are more likely to share certain similarities in their genetic makeup.
When I was growing up, Uncle Max was always hanging around our house, chatting with my parents. He helped steer my father right with his do-it-yourself home projects, he told jokes at the dinner table, and he always came bearing little treats for my siblings and me. He visited so often that he was considered a member of the family.
I had always assumed that he was a second cousin or somehow distantly related to us. It was only when I was a teenager that I discovered that "Uncle" Max was not my uncle, but a very close friend of my parents. He had shared several stages of life with them and had essentially become family. Growing up, we were closer with Max than we were to many of our other aunts and uncles.
October marks the 210th anniversary of the death of the great British military hero, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was mortally wounded during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
We recently spoke with MyHeritage user David Bullock - from Bath, England - after he discovered an unexpected connection with Nelson that blew him away.
We are happy to announce that we've added over 46 million Swedish records to MyHeritage SuperSearch. The high quality parish register records, spanning 1880 to 1920, are now available, indexed and searchable online for the first time. These records include information about births, deaths, marriages, addresses and changes in household composition. They provide a unique view into the lives of Swedish people living at that time, making this collection a fantastic family history resource for anyone with Swedish heritage.
Swedish Household Examination Books are the primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the Parishes of Sweden, from the late 1600s to modern times. The books were created and kept by the Swedish Lutheran Church, which was tasked with keeping the official records of the Swedish population until 1991.
It's never too early to start thinking about gifts for the holidays. Now is the perfect time to start planning, to reduce unwanted stress and chaos in December, making your life easier. Early planning also allows you to fully enjoy the holiday season, leaving you free to spend time with your family, and revel in your favorite activities, yearly traditions and celebrations.
A poster of your family tree, can be a very special gift for just about anyone on your list. A poster can be created very easily, with just a few clicks on your family site. Personalizing a poster can make it a one-of-a-kind and unique gift. It can be ordered on your family site, from the comfort of your own home, and sent anywhere in the world!
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.