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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Passed down from generation to generation, often with a background story, they help preserve our heritage for future generations. We recently wrote about bizarre places to find family heirlooms.
I grew up in a home where many pieces of furniture once belonged to my great-grandmother. I thought that it was strange to have such antique furniture in our modern home but, as I grew older, I came to appreciate their value and the importance of safeguarding pieces that once belonged to the matriarch of our large family. Little did I know that my family was not unique and that furniture is commonly passed down in families and cherished for generations.
We remember our ancestors by their photos, which provide small glimpses into their world, and bring them to life once again. If preserved properly, photos offer lasting impressions for future generations.
When looking at old photos of our ancestors, it's easy to wonder what they were thinking at that moment. Their ambiguous expressions leave us questioning. Were they happy? Were they sad?