October marks Family History Month - an excellent time for you and your family to learn about your family heritage. We’ll be celebrating throughout this month with exciting competitions, webinars and tips to enhance your family history research.
See this week's contest and read about our other activities.
Family history researchers share a common passion. South African MyHeritage member Denise Wronsky Barnard, 55, has always felt an interest in history since she was a child.
However, as an adult, she has more time to conduct research and to spend time on her other passion – riding a Harley! Denise is also a photographer, a writer and loves to travel.
Born in Pretoria, where she still lives, Denise is married and has three adult children. She holds a Diploma in Architecture.
We asked Denise what she’s discovered about her family history.
MyHeritage members come to us in various ways. Maria Keep, 63, born in the Netherlands and now living in Australia, tried a free MyHeritage CD that came in a magazine.
Maria was born in Renkum, Netherlands. She, her husband and adult daughter and son live in Forster NSW Australia. She is a full-time caregiver for her husband who is vision impaired and suffers from total memory and short term memory loss.
Maria has been collecting family history for some four decades.
I am from a very big family and have always been interested in family history and had been collecting little bits of information on bits of paper and putting them in a book with the intention of putting it all together one day into a proper family tree record. I started collecting this information about 40 years ago.
We’re delighted to launch today a new feature that allows the saving of records that you discover in SuperSearch – MyHeritage's online search engine for billions of historical records – directly to the relevant profiles in your family tree.
Our Record Matching technology already provides accurate matches of historical records to family tree profiles and when a match is confirmed, or pending confirmation, the record appears on that individual’s family tree profile. Our new “Save Records” feature takes this one step further and enables you to save any record that you find on SuperSearch, to one or more profiles in your online family tree on MyHeritage.
Have ancestors you want to learn more about? Search for them in SuperSearch, or click on the research icon on any family tree profile, and save any relevant records that you discover directly to their family tree profile.
Walkthrough: How to Save Records
By his own account, Norwood Wayne Newkirk says that reading and history were not his greatest passions as he grew up. Today that has changed, as he was the project manager for his family’s reunion held August 1-4, 2013, in New Jersey.
He holds a degree in electrical engineering and worked as a loss prevention consultant. Today he creates risk management systems as a senior account executive and computer application developer.
So what I have done over the past two years [since the 2011 reunion] in preparation for our 2013 reunion is not a far stretch from what I do vocationally. I see the issue and try to develop a solution.
However, as he went through life, he began to recognize that something was missing.
I found a church with teaching ministry that filled the void in my spiritual life and became very active in leading the Media Volunteer Ministry (it is in my genes). Yet there was an area still lacking.
I eventually recognized I had become distant from my family, not because I wanted to, but life situations and circumstances caused things to happen just that way. In fact, there was a time when I truly could not remember a large chunk of my past.
As life would have it, things changed and there was a rekindling of his family history. As family members grew older and died, it offered occasions for the family to come together more frequently than they would like.
It was on those occasions that I heard stories about family members including myself. Stories that made you laugh and stories that made you say, “Did that really happen?” At that point I began to understand what I was missing. It was family. Cousins that I grew up were now distant relatives.
At his grandmother’s funeral, a family pastor talked about thing his grandparents experienced over 92 years of their life and the legacy they left behind.
The Starling family could have written “Roots.” This revelation showed me the importance of family.
While some genealogists have been at it for only a few years, MyHeritage member Gary Fenton Kemp, 76, has been researching for decades.
Gary became interested in computers in the early 1970s. He also observed his parents, then in their 70s, trying to put together their genealogy by typing and writing everything out by hand. He knew that there had to be some way to use computers and began searching for a program that would be able to organize the data.
I found PAF and started using it. In 1987, I went to my parents’ home and spent three days entering data for 752 names.
Gary has many interests in addition to family history, such as surfing, fly fishing, geocaching, glider racing and lifting weights. He’s been an educator from kindergarten through university, and conducted teacher training programs in Fiji and elsewhere. Although now retired as a teacher, coach, high school principal and school district superintendent, he is still active, serves as a local school board member and as a Boy Scout merit badge counselor.
The San Tan Valley, Arizona resident has been married to Nancy for 54 years, has four children, 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and four more on the way.
What better way to capture your favorite family moments than with an annual photo?
That’s what American photographer Nicholas Nixon has done since 1975 when he took a picture of his wife and her three sisters, beginning an annual tradition that lasted 36 years.
Each year, the Brown sisters – Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie – all posed in the same order in for the photo.
Mimi, the youngest, was only 15 in the first picture, and the oldest, Bebe, was 61 in the last photo taken in 2010. Find the full photo collection here.
Photographs are an excellent way to bring family history to life over the years, and bring back precious memories. An annual photo documents your loved ones and becomes a timeless piece of history.
Don’t forget that preserving those family memories online is important as a way to share those images with future generations. They are an important way to capture family history and to help in your family research.
Join our global campaign to preserve your family heritage and upload your photos today.
What do you think of this idea? Would you do it with your siblings or other members of your families?
Let us know in the comments below.
Congratulations to James Colina, winner of last week’s competition for the photo with the largest number of family members. This week, we're holding another photo competition, and asking you to send in your fun family photos. Read more below.
Over 220 family members were photographed in the winning entry taken at a family reunion organized by James in August 2011. He won a photo consultation with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to learn more about his old family photos. Watch the consultation here.
Thanks to those who submitted their largest family photos. It was lovely to receive so many images from family reunions, gatherings, weddings and other celebrations, both old and new. View all the entries on our Pinterest board here.
The competition continues:
Having a large, family tree can sometimes lead to small oversights that may be difficult to identify. Some common mistakes are misspelled names, mixed-up dates or incorrect ages, while others are more difficult to detect such as a person tagged in a photo dated before they were born.
That’s where MyHeritage’s Tree Consistency Checker comes in to help fix these mistakes and improve the quality of data in your family tree.
Tree Consistency Checker is a unique, free tool that helps locate mistakes in family tree data. It automatically identifies any errors and inconsistencies in 40 categories - and shows you how to fix each of them.
Inconsistencies such as “child older than parent,” or “fact occurring after death” and “inconsistent last name spelling” will alert and enable you to make the necessary changes in your family tree.
The tool is available on our latest version of Family Tree Builder 7.0 and takes advantage of the new sync features so users with online trees can now utilize this tool as well. Users can sync their online tree to the Family Tree Builder software, and use the Tree Consistency Checker to identify any mistakes. Once you re-sync the tree back to the web, the online family tree will show all the updated information.
We hope this tool will help you make your family tree as accurate as possible!
A few years ago, my grandmother gave me a shoebox filled with some of her mother’s heirlooms and photos. I looked through it briefly, but had then forgotten about it until last month.
My grandmother had told me stories about her childhood, but these photo discoveries really brought my family history to life. I finally got to put faces to those stories I had heard over the past few years, and to see my family heritage displayed in front of me.
Last week I sat with my grandmother and together we looked through these family memories. As we viewed each photo and heirloom, she began to tell stories she hadn't mentioned before about the people and events in each picture.