29    Nov 20150 comments

The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours

This is a guest post by genealogy professional Thomas MacEntee. He specializes in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. His latest endeavor is Genealogy Bargains, a way to save money on genealogy and family history products and services.

“Mommy? Where are you?”

At age four, I almost drowned in a lake at my father’s hunting camp in upstate New York. It is one of my earliest memories that remain with me to this day. I remember looking up from the water and seeing my mother reach down for me. I could see her, almost clearly, yet she could not see me. And time stood still.

My mother saved me that day after I had wandered away from the rest of the family and slipped on the wet grass along the bank of the lake. Luckily, it was only a few seconds after I fell in that she realized something had happened. While on her hands and knees at the water’s edge, she frantically reached around the murky bottom until she was able to grab the waist of my pants and pull me out.

I was saved that day. It was one of several times when this gentle yet strong woman would agitate the waters of my life, to save me and then soothe me to make those waters calm. Continue reading "The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours" »

24    Nov 20154 comments

The Woman Who Made Thanksgiving Happen

Year after year, Americans gather around the table on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many recognize its origins as connected to the 1621 Pilgrim feast and thanksgiving prompted by a good harvest, but few know the woman responsible for making the celebration official. Sarah Josepha Hale, author and poet, fought to institutionalize Thanksgiving. Through her efforts, it was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.

1863 letter from Hale to Lincoln discussing Thanksgiving. (Credit: Library of Congress)

This Thanksgiving is 152 years since the proclamation by President Lincoln, making it a national holiday. MyHeritage decided to locate the descendants of Sarah Hale and to look deeper into the legacy passed down through the generations of her family.

Sarah Josepha Buell was born October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. She married lawyer David Hale in 1813, and the couple had five children. A writer and influential editor, she wrote letters to politicians for 27 years advocating for Thanksgiving to become an official holiday. Until then, Thanksgiving was celebrated mainly in New England, and on different dates in each state.

Hale wrote letters to five different US presidents: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Although her initial letters failed to yield results, her letter to Lincoln convinced him to support 1863 legislation to establish the national holiday of Thanksgiving. Continue reading "The Woman Who Made Thanksgiving Happen" »

18    Nov 20150 comments

Lost Letters: A rare glimpse into the past

What if you could travel back to a specific time and place and get a real look at what life was like then? For 17th-century Europe, thousands of pieces of correspondence are now being unveiled, making time travel seem possible!

The trunk in which the letters were kept (Image credit: Hague Museum for Communication)

A recent article in The Guardian reports that a treasure trove of unopened letters from the 17th-century are now being studied after having been hidden away for many centuries in the Netherlands. Continue reading "Lost Letters: A rare glimpse into the past" »

1    Nov 20152 comments

Tackle Your Research: Carpe Diem!

In searching for ancestors, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the stones still unturned and research yet to be done. As genealogists know, family history research is truly never-ending. With every door that opens, so do  many more avenues of research.  Many of us have long to-do lists of names to be researched, relatives to interview, places to visit, and more.  There are so many reasons why it is important to seize the moment and tackle your long list.

Here are 5 reasons to get to your research, today, and not to delay!
Continue reading "Tackle Your Research: Carpe Diem!" »

21    Oct 201524 comments

Our Stories: A past he never imagined

October marks the 210th anniversary of the death of the great British military hero, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was mortally wounded during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

We recently spoke with MyHeritage user David Bullock - from Bath, England - after he discovered an unexpected connection with Nelson that blew him away.

David Bullock and Horatio Nelson

When he began tracing his roots in February 2014, David, a graphic designer, never imagined the roller coaster of emotions his journey would become. Continue reading "Our Stories: A past he never imagined" »

15    Oct 20150 comments

46 Million Swedish Household Records Now Available

We are happy to announce that we've added over 46 million Swedish records to MyHeritage SuperSearch. The high quality parish register records, spanning 1880 to 1920, are now available, indexed and searchable online for the first time. These records include information about births, deaths, marriages, addresses and changes in household composition. They provide a unique view into the lives of Swedish people living at that time, making this collection a fantastic family history resource for anyone with Swedish heritage.

Search Sweden Household Examination Books Now

Swedish Household Examination Books are the primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the Parishes of Sweden, from the late 1600s to modern times. The books were created and kept by the Swedish Lutheran Church, which was tasked with keeping the official records of the Swedish population until 1991. Continue reading "46 Million Swedish Household Records Now Available" »

13    Oct 20150 comments

5 Easy Tips to Create a Great Family Tree Poster

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!

Here are our top 5 tips for creating a perfect family poster: Continue reading "5 Easy Tips to Create a Great Family Tree Poster" »

11    Oct 20154 comments

How to Find Your Norwegian Relatives

The Kingdom of Norway is quite small - just a narrow strip of land with barely 5 million inhabitants. But, despite its size, there are Norwegians and those of Norwegian heritage spread all around the world.

Some famous people such as Richard Ayoade, Sophie Dahl, and the British Royal Family all have Norwegian relatives. If you do too, here are some helpful tips on how to find them!

Norwegian emigration in a nutshell
Over the centuries, Norwegians have settled all over the world. It started with the Vikings, who settled mainly in the UK, Ireland and France, but also populated areas as far as Sicily, Turkey, Russia and the USA. Continue reading "How to Find Your Norwegian Relatives" »

8    Oct 20150 comments

Our Volunteers: A special visit

Here at MyHeritage, we are privileged to receive the help of many volunteer translators, who help make our site accessible to our users in their native languages. We were recently delighted to meet one of our Russian translators - Yana Gourenko - when she visited our offices.

Yana, 29, and her husband live in Moscow, Russia. She studied translation at university, graduated as a translator in English and German, and also speaks a little French. She works for a forensic company doing technical support. Her interests include traveling and meeting new people. She is also an amateur photographer and loves the sea!

We asked Yana a few questions about her own family history, and how she came to translate for MyHeritage:

Where did your love for languages come from?

My love for languages started at school where I began learning English from the second grade. Three years later, I chose to learn French and fell completely in love with learning languages. Without any hesitation, I entered university aiming to become a translator in English and German. Continue reading "Our Volunteers: A special visit" »

20    Sep 20159 comments

Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile

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?

It's extremely rare to find 19th-century photos where people are smiling or showing any emotion. What's the story behind their stony and serious stares? Continue reading "Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile" »

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