This is a guest post by George G. Morgan, president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., and an internationally-recognized genealogy lecturer. He is the prolific award-winning author of hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, newsletters, in genealogical publications, and at online sites internationally. His 12th book, the fourth edition "How to Do Everything: Genealogy," was released in 2015. He is also co-host of "The Genealogy Guys" podcast, the longest-running genealogical podcast, with thousands of listeners around the globe.
Placing your ancestors into geographical, historical, and social context is one of the most important means of understanding them better. Like you, your ancestors and their families did not live in a vacuum. They were attentive to the news and events of their times. Information they received influenced their opinions and attitudes and helped them make important decisions.
The announcement about a new tax was liable to cause them to worry about how they would make financial ends meet. News of political or religious unrest or about the approach of a foreign army might cause tremendous stress and fear. Economic downturns, drought, famine, and disease all meant potential disaster for the people. Such news could also cause your ancestors to make the crucial decision to migrate elsewhere or immigrate to another country.
["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.
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.
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.
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.
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.