26    Jul 20151 comment

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 201540 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 201524 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" »

7    Jun 20154 comments

Sources: Where did I find that?

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

How good is your memory?

Many years ago, when I was very new at the genealogy game, I really believed I could accurately remember where I had discovered every bit of family data. And - for awhile - I actually could do that.

However, as the years went by, the numbers of people in my trees increased - while my brain cells seemed to decrease - it became impossible. Sometimes, I would write the information on a scrap of paper. We all know what happens to a scrap of paper stuck in a bag or pocket.

At one point, I had to stop all new research and backtrack, almost to the beginning of my quest, to fill in all those blanks.

Fortunately, I had even saved some of those scraps of paper on which I had scribbled information while visiting archives and libraries. To preserve them, I had taped them onto regular sheets of white paper. Eventually, I transferred that data to the family tree software I used, but the scraps didn't cover all my research. Continue reading "Sources: Where did I find that?" »

26    May 201558 comments

13 ways to know you’re a genealogist

Whether you are a family historian or just someone interested in learning about their family’s heritage, there are certain things only a genealogist will understand.

You’ve been hit with the genealogy bug if…

  1. When introducing someone you say, “this is my sister’s grandmother’s father’s son.”
  2. You are more interested in what happened in 1815 than in 2015. Continue reading "13 ways to know you’re a genealogist" »
24    May 20155 comments

9 reasons to start your family tree

Debating whether to explore your roots? Trying to persuade a relative or friend to start their family history research?

Here are nine reasons why family history is important to persuade you - or others - to begin learning about your heritage.

1. The Queen? Elvis? Who knows, they may be your distant cousins. You may find you're related to someone famous or be linked to royalty!

2. Leave a legacy for future generations. Do you want to leave something important to your children and grandchildren? Don't leave it to someone else, start preserving family memories and stories for them.

3. Document your life as a piece of living history.

4. Knowledge is power. Learning more about where you came from and your heritage can give you purpose and meaning. Continue reading "9 reasons to start your family tree" »

21    May 20154 comments

A boy called Emma?: Proposed Finnish naming law

Imagine a boy named Emma or a girl named Joshua. Sounds strange? Sounds normal? In Finland, these gender-switching names may become a reality.

The current Finish naming law, dating from 1985, is about to be obsolete. Until now, the law banned giving a female child a male name, and a male child a female name, but a new proposal may change that.

The law, considered controversial by some, would allow parents to give their children names regardless of  the gender  to which they might be associated. However, chosen names may not be offensive, inappropriate or incite harm to children. Continue reading "A boy called Emma?: Proposed Finnish naming law" »

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