20    Aug 20155 comments

Do You Have Progonoplexia?

Have you ever heard of progonoplexia?

According to Wikipedia, progonoplexia, from the Greek word Προγονοπληξια is roughly translated as "ancestoritis," or a deep obsession with one's ancestry.

Learning about one's roots was a huge part of Greek identity; being able to brag about ancestors and their past glories. The word was coined to describe the modern Greek people’s preoccupation with discovering their ancient past.

It's an obsession that has lasted over time.

In today's world, the genealogy "bug" has taken over. It is now the second most common pastime in the United States. We are questioning, curious beings. Continue reading "Do You Have Progonoplexia?" »

18    Aug 20150 comments

5 Tips for Preserving and Storing Old Documents

It’s easy to forget about those precious documents scattered around your home. Photo albums are collecting dust, birth certificates and records are stuffed in boxes. All of them may well be lost, if they are not properly stored and preserved.

Image credit: Hollinger Metal Edge

We’ve written before about the importance of organizing family history research and scanning documents online, but it’s also important to make sure those documents are still intact as primary history resources. They are valuable family heirlooms that should be passed down through the generations, not destroyed.

Here are five easy  tips to help preserve and store those old documents and to make sure your family legacy lives on: Continue reading "5 Tips for Preserving and Storing Old Documents" »

11    Aug 20150 comments

New Collections Spotlight: UK Military collections

We’re happy to announce that over 1.8 million new records have been added to SuperSearch. The new collections include various UK Military collections.

These new records are valuable resources which provide insight into the lives of those who served in the UK Military, and their families. These records reveal more about our family heritage and the way our ancestors lived their lives.

Search now.

Excerpt from The London Gazette, 7 August 1917, announcing the appointment of Thomas Edward Laurence, Laurence of Arabia, as a Member of the Honourable Order of the Bath.

The collections include: Continue reading "New Collections Spotlight: UK Military collections" »

6    Aug 20152 comments

Names: Why can’t I find my name?

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

Your family name has evolved since it was adopted. It may represent your family's sojourns in different countries; its spelling and pronunciation may have changed, and it may have been changed following a recent immigration (although not at Ellis Island).

Other factors are easy to understand. Spelling wasn't engraved in stone, people were illiterate or not literate in the language of a specific area. Our ancestors didn't know how to spell their names and government officials were responsible for recording the names in registers or in important documents.

WHY IS IT SO HARD?

The official wrote the name the way he heard it. Perhaps the official was elderly and deaf in one ear, or your ancestor had a speech impediment or an accent. When your ancestor's cousin came in to record a later birth, however, a new younger official sat behind the desk, one whose hearing was excellent and the cousin spoke clearly.

When immigrants moved to a new country, they often changed their names. They wanted to make it easier for themselves, their neighbors and employers to spell or pronounce their names, and for official documents. If the original names were written in other alphabets - such as Cyrillic (Russian, Bulgarian etc.) - they were phonetically transliterated into English, providing many new spelling possibilities. Accents or dialects further complicated the choices. Continue reading "Names: Why can’t I find my name?" »

26    Jul 20152 comments

Our Volunteers: A young genealogist’s Norwegian family history

Continuing our spotlight on volunteer translators, we introduce Torbjorn Wolden, a MyHeritage member from Norway, who has been helping to translate MyHeritage products into Norwegian for the five years.

A young genealogist, Torbjorn became interested in his family history in elementary school.

We did a project where we would make our own family tree (which I still have) and show it to the rest of the class. My grandparents also had a bygdebok (a local history book) for the parish, where all the farms and everyone who had lived there are listed, and I used to look at this and see how long my family had owned the farm and how long they had lived in the area.

Torbjorn has traced back his family history to the mid-1500s to the Trøndelag and Nordmøre regions in Norway. While most of his close family still lives in these regions, he has discovered distant relatives in Sweden; the US; Rotuma, Australia; Denmark and Switzerland. Continue reading "Our Volunteers: A young genealogist’s Norwegian family history" »

20    Jul 201541 comments

The Secret of Ereikoussa: The reunion

We recently wrote about the fascinating Secret of Ereikoussa, where the residents of a small Greek island risked their lives to save a Jewish tailor’s family from the Nazis during WWII.

In November 2013, Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and author Yvette Manessis Corporon contacted MyHeritage to ask for help in finding the descendants of the Jewish tailor - Savvas from Corfu, Greece - who had been hidden on Ereikoussa during the war. She had written a book inspired by her grandmother’s memories of the island, and the story of Savvas was an important part. For Yvette, the story was incomplete and she wanted to discover what happened to the family after the war.

Savvas Israel was saved by Ereikoussa's residents

MyHeritage accepted the challenge and embarked on a genealogical journey to uncover the mysteries of this long-kept secret. Starting with just five first names (Savvas, his three daughters Spera, Julia and Nina, and another child - Rosa) we were successful in locating descendants of the family in the U.S. and in Israel. Last month - at an official island ceremony - the families reunited to honor the island's residents for their courageous efforts. Continue reading "The Secret of Ereikoussa: The reunion" »

13    Jul 201526 comments

New Feature: Global Name Translation™ Technology

We’re delighted to announce the launch of Global Name Translation™, a new technology unique to MyHeritage, to help break through those language barriers in the quest to uncover your past.

Global Name Translation™ (Click to Zoom)

This innovation now makes it even easier to discover your global roots. The technology automatically translates names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, at very high accuracy, generating all plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search on MyHeritage's SuperSearch, will return results in other languages, automatically translated into the language of the query.

How can this benefit you? For example, perhaps your American family has Russian roots. Previously, you would have needed to search also in Russian to find all information available about your ancestors. Now you can search in English, and receive results in Russian, translated back into English for your convenience.

A search for Tatiana brings results in Russian with English translation (Click to Zoom)

The technology covers given names and surnames and can tackle names previously encountered in the past, in addition to new names not seen before. It also utilizes extensive dictionaries built by MyHeritage to cover synonyms and nicknames.

Continue reading "New Feature: Global Name Translation™ Technology" »

23    Jun 20150 comments

5 mistakes to avoid with event dates: Webinar

We recently hosted a webinar - "5 mistakes to avoid with event dates” - featuring one of our expert genealogist Laurence Harris.

Deciphering dates can be confusing in records, especially with uncommon date formats. Laurence provided tips for interpreting those difficult dates to help uncover more about your family history.

Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click on the video below to watch the full webinar.

Don’t forget to check our other webinars for many more genealogy tips to help make family history research easier.

Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below.

18    Jun 20156 comments

Family: Planning a roots trip?

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

Are you planning a family roots trip in the future? If so, it's time to make plans.

Whether you stay at home or plan an international trip, the basics are the same: Decide where you are going and what information you would like to find. Contact local historic or genealogical societies in the area for more information, and see below for even more suggestions.

Make a list of your names of interest and the towns your ancestors lived in. Try to group the towns regionally, by a particular geographic area. If this is an ambitious trip, you may want to make several groupings of towns.

A good way to put everything into perspective is to get a big map of the region you are planning to explore. Go to your local office supply store and pick up a few packages of colored transparent removable adhesive dots - they come in all sizes. Using the transparent ones mean you won't cover up important information.

Color-code your map. For example, put a red dot for the town, a blue dot for the cemetery, a yellow dot for archives, courthouses or libraries, and a green dot for possible accommodations. Use other colors for restaurants or other landmarks.

And, if your family is coming with you, mark sites they would like to visit with you or on their own, while you are digging through archives and cemeteries. Pay attention to fun places like water parks, amusement parks, a beach, music festivals or childrens' museums. Remember that cemeteries are not high on other people's must-see lists. Continue reading "Family: Planning a roots trip?" »

10    Jun 20150 comments

Webinar: 5 mistakes to avoid with event dates

Have you come across any obstacles with understanding event dates? Deciphering dates can be confusing in records, especially with uncommon date formats.

Join expert genealogist Laurence Harris for a free webinar on Wednesday, June 17. He'll provide tips for interpreting difficult dates to help uncover more about your family history.

Register for free here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1831742758010374145

Continue reading "Webinar: 5 mistakes to avoid with event dates" »

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