26    Jan 20163 comments

Valentine’s Day: Send in your ancestors’ wedding photos to win!

"For this was on seynt Volantynys day, Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make." — Geoffrey Chaucer

["For this was on St. Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]

Scholars believe that the poem Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer is the first recorded association of romantic love with Valentine's Day.

So many families have a great love story at the start: Two people who fell in love and the romance that changed their lives forever.

Growing up, we've all heard the love stories of our grandparents, great-grandparents or other ancestors, and perhaps we were lucky enough to see their photos as well.

Continue reading "Valentine’s Day: Send in your ancestors’ wedding photos to win!" »

24    Jan 20166 comments

Family Traditions: Bronzed baby shoes

For generations, parents have been bronzing their children's first pair of shoes as a family keepsake. Parents often wish to recall the sweet, tender memories of their toddler's first steps, which only happen once. The bronzed shoes can be mounted and displayed for generations.

What is it about baby shoes that elicit such sentimental emotions? Are a baby's first steps more monumental than their first bite of solid food? What about preserving a lock of hair from a child's very first haircut? There are so many firsts in a child's life, but it seems as if choosing their first pair of shoes to preserve for the future is arbitrary. Continue reading "Family Traditions: Bronzed baby shoes" »

11    Jan 20164 comments

A Space Oddity: David Bowie, the Legend

We were shocked to learn of music legend David Bowie's untimely death Sunday. He died yesterday at 69, after an 18-month battle with cancer. Bowie's music spanned four decades, impacting generations of music lovers.

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

He was born David Robert Jones on 8 January 1947, in Brixton, London. His mother, Margaret Mary "Peggy", was from Kent, and his father, Haywood Stenton "John" Jones, was from Yorkshire. As a child, Bowie quickly showed his creativity and imagination as well as true musical talent. At 15 and a guitar player, he formed his first rock-and-roll band, playing local youth gatherings and weddings. Even as a teenager, Bowie knew that he wanted to become a big star. Continue reading "A Space Oddity: David Bowie, the Legend" »

5    Jan 20165 comments

Create a Family Memory Jar for 2016

As one year ends and another begins, we look back on last year and try to remember what happened in our lives and in our family. Big things are easy to remember, but over 365 days, 8,760 hours, or 525,600 minutes, a lot happens. Let's start 2016 by making an effort to record those special moments we experience. A great way to do this is with a family memory jar!

What is a family memory jar? It's a glass jar or any container in which you can store family memories. It can be filled with short messages, everyday moments, photos or just about anything you want to preserve. Every item added has meaning for us, and is worthy of preserving and remembering.

(Image credit: Etsy/Mason Galore)

Continue reading "Create a Family Memory Jar for 2016" »

25    Dec 20153 comments

Most Memorable Holiday Gifts: Here are the winners!

We wish you Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year  from all of us at MyHeritage!

Our Holiday competition has now officially ended, and we’re ready to announce the winners. We want to take a moment to thank you all for your participation. We can't believe how many responses we received, with so many moving stories of your Christmas memories from over the years.

Without further delay, here are the winners: Continue reading "Most Memorable Holiday Gifts: Here are the winners!" »

26    Nov 20151 comment

Thanksgiving: The holiday of travel

Thanksgiving is one of the year's busiest travel times in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Transportation, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by 54 percent around Thanksgiving.

Visiting friends and family is the single biggest reason Americans travel during the holidays. The visits account for 53 percent of all Thanksgiving trips. The average Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles. In 2012, AAA estimated that nearly 44 million people traveled during the holiday weekend - 90 percent traveled by car; the rest traveled by air, train or bus. Continue reading "Thanksgiving: The holiday of travel" »

19    Nov 20150 comments

Our Volunteers: From Finland to England

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. Continue reading "Our Volunteers: From Finland to England" »

10    Nov 20150 comments

Our Ancestors: Discover more about their daily lives

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.

Continue reading "Our Ancestors: Discover more about their daily lives" »

25    Oct 20156 comments

DNA: Are our friends actually family?

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. Continue reading "DNA: Are our friends actually family?" »

13    Oct 20150 comments

5 Easy Tips to Create a Great Family Tree Poster

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!

Here are our top 5 tips for creating a perfect family poster: Continue reading "5 Easy Tips to Create a Great Family Tree Poster" »

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