10    Sep 20156 comments

Names: How do you say that?

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

If your family name is Smith or Green, you won't relate to this post. However, if your family name is something more exotic - welcome to the club!

They look at your name, stammer and ask "how do you say that?" What do you do? Do you patiently spell it several times? Will you, as I often do, spell it out as in "D as in David, A as in Apple, R as in Robert" .... Do you break the name down into syllables for the other person? Do you give up and say, "Call me by my first name!" Continue reading "Names: How do you say that?" »

7    Sep 201533 comments

Privacy Issues for Family Historians

This article is a guest post by Dick Eastman, one of the most recognized names in the genealogy world. A pioneer geneablogger, he uses technology to improve your family history experience.

Genealogists often face conflicting requirements. We want to publish our own family information online in hopes that others will see it and recognize connections to their own family. Those other genealogists then can contact us, and we can collaborate to expand the known family trees of each of us. The problem is that today's news is full of alarming articles about identity theft, fraud, and similar illegal acts. While some of the news articles describe real threats, others are published as "scare tactics" that magnify smaller issues to sound as if there are imminent dangers for all of us. Alarmist articles often strike unnecessary fear into the hearts of those who do not understand the difference between major and minor threats.

Fears of identity theft from public genealogical information often are irrational. Identity thieves obtain personal information about living people and rarely, if ever, get that information from ancestral data published online. The most common way thieves lift your personal information is by stealing your wallet, not from a website. (Reference: The Most Common Causes of Identity Theft and How to Protect Yourself.) Continue reading "Privacy Issues for Family Historians" »

13    Jun 20153 comments

Our Stories: From Sweden to Australia Part 2

We recently wrote about the start of Anna’s journey to meet her relatives in Australia. A journey that really began 125 years ago, Anna crossed oceans to meet relatives related to their common ancestor, Oskar. Here is Part 2.

In late December 2012, several relatives in Gotland, Sweden received a call from a man speaking English. Many hung up the phone and thought it was a hoax. They didn’t understand why an English-speaking man was calling them.

After many disconnected calls, the same person called my cellphone on December 30, 2012. David Michel said he was calling from Sydney, Australia.

Anna Lindblom and David Michel

He said he was Oskar’s grandson. The mystery of our family story about what happened to Oskar in Australia was beginning to be solved. Continue reading "Our Stories: From Sweden to Australia Part 2" »

12    Jan 201535 comments

Understanding Dates: Five common mistakes to avoid

This post was written by Laurence Harris, Head of Genealogy UK at MyHeritage.

It is important to record key events of our ancestors, including the date when each event occurred.

Usually several sources indicate an event's date. For example, for a death: the date may be indicated on a death certificate, a headstone, a newspaper obituary and in a Grant of Probate (which authorizes distribution of a deceased person's estate). However, those dates would have been documented using the calendar and recording conventions of the geographical location and time when the event originally took place, rather than the calendar and conventions with which today's researcher would be familiar. Failure to take into account the original context of an event or document often results in mistakes in understanding when an event actually happened.

Here are five of the most common mistakes that can occur in interpreting dates, together with suggestions as to how these mistakes can be avoided or corrected. Continue reading "Understanding Dates: Five common mistakes to avoid" »

6    Oct 201416 comments

Death Records: Vital to Your Research

This guest post has been written by expert genealogist Miriam J. Robbins. Miriam has been instructing and lecturing in the United States since 2005. She has been interested in her family history since she was a young girl, living in Southeast Alaska. She began her genealogy research in 1987, and ten years later was successful in reuniting her grandmother with her biological family. Miriam writes an award-winning genealogy blog, AnceStories: The Stories of My Ancestors, and keeps busy adding links to her Online Historical Directories and Online Historical Newspapers websites.

The month of October is known for Family History Month as well as the holiday of Halloween. What better combination of the two than to learn about death records in genealogical research? Death records are one of the first and best types of records used in beginning genealogical research because of the variety of formats in which they appear, the basic facts which they contain, and the immense details that many list about both the decedent's life and death.

It’s important to learn a little about the history of death records in your ancestor’s location, as it will help you understand how the facts were gathered and recorded, what information the records may contain or omit, why the records themselves may be missing or difficult to find, and where to locate the death records currently. Continue reading "Death Records: Vital to Your Research" »

2    Sep 20130 comments

Ty’s Journey: Part Three

This week, Ty travels from Dublin, Ireland to Paris, France and recounts his continuing adventures and travel tips.

In this edition of my post for MyHeritage on my travels, I went from Dublin, Ireland to Paris, France for a few nights, and then moved on to Villedieu Poeles, about 2 hours west of Paris.  The area is known for copper mining and craftsmanship, with roots to King Henry I (son of William the Conqueror), the Knights Hospitaller, Knights Templar and Knights of Malta.

On my first full day in Paris, I visited the Eiffel Tower twice, once in the early afternoon and again after sunset.  Another travel writer had asked me for some photos of the Tower at night, so I decided to give it a shot (pardon the pun).

Eiffel Tower at night during light show

When traveling for ancestral reasons, remember that almost every location – particularly in large, historic cities like Paris – offers two sides for your interests.  That which your ancestors knew: Their churches, houses or neighborhoods, places of work, and the culture of the city in general.

I've heard rumors that I might have some French ancestry, but have not yet been able to discover it. If I do, it would have been before the Eiffel Tower was built (1887-89). Yet, because my ancestors would never have seen the tower, I visited it because it's part of the city’s culture and history. Continue reading "Ty’s Journey: Part Three" »

27    Jul 20133 comments

Ty’s Journey: Part 2

When you travel abroad, you have an opportunity to visit your ancestral home, as well as the important buildings and locations that might have been relevant to your ancestor’s life. These include houses of worship, schools, businesses, beaches, parks and other locations your ancestors may have frequented.

Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury England (near Stonehenge)

In addition, you may be able to visit repositories holding documents for your family, including libraries, archives and record offices. However, just showing up at a location won’t always do much good. It’s important to pre-plan and do prep work before you visit, or you may just be frustrated and come away with little of real value.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit. Continue reading "Ty’s Journey: Part 2" »

24    Jun 20138 comments

Guest Post: Ty’s World Trek

We're delighted to introduce a new guest contributor to our blog - Tyrell "Ty" Rettke. After battling ulcerative colitis and a series of corrective surgeries, Ty is on a round-the-world adventure and will help people he meets in various countries to trace their family histories.

From a small town (Ketchikan) in Alaska, Ty, 28, is interested in history and in tracing his own family heritage. In the first of his monthly posts, he heads to Ireland to see his roots.

Ty, 28, from Ketchikan, Alaska, is on a trip around the world

There are many reasons people travel. One trend is people visiting their ancestral homes. For me, this includes Ireland. So when I made my way across the Atlantic on my mission to circumnavigate the globe, I decided that Ireland was a must for my journey around the world.

Continue reading "Guest Post: Ty’s World Trek" »

9    Jul 20121 comment

What is in Michelle Obama’s past? The eclectic, multi-racial ancestry of the First Lady

Rachel L. Swarns

Rachel L. Swarns © 2011 Scott Robinson

This is a guest post from Rachel L. Swarns, a correspondent who has written for the New York Times since 1995. Rachel has published a book called: “American Tapestry: The Story of the Black, White and Multiracial Ancestors of Michelle Obama” in which she describes the many multicolored strands that make up the first lady’s family tree. In this guest post Rachel shares with us some of her discoveries about Michelle Obama’s lineage.

When Michelle Obama first moved into the White House in 2009, people knew her as a Harvard-educated lawyer, a mother of two and the nation’s first African-American first lady. But very little was known about her family origins. No one – not even Mrs. Obama -- had any idea how fascinating her family story was.

Continue reading "What is in Michelle Obama’s past? The eclectic, multi-racial ancestry of the First Lady" »

29    May 20123 comments

Mystery Soldier: His identity expands a family tree

Tuck Studio male soldier, Gloversville, NY

Tuck Studio male soldier, Gloversville, NY

This is a guest post by Ava Cohn - known as Sherlock Cohn, The Photo Genealogist - who writes The Photo Genealogist blog*

Sometimes it takes more than the proverbial village to solve a mystery.

This is the tale of three cities, of a mystery photograph and of how an intricate web of relationships helped a family researcher learn more about a lost branch. Perhaps it can serve as an example of how similar mysteries can be solved in your family.

This story starts in Hampshire, Illinois, where I met Michele Halt after one of my talks on old photographs. She showed me a photo of a proud and distinguished soldier in full regalia.  Who was he? The photo came from a family album passed down to the females in Michele’s Radley family for over 100 years.  Each time the album changed owners, new photos were added.

Michele’s grandmother’s great-aunt, Maggie Radley Mole, started the meticulous family photo album. There was only one problem - Maggie knew everyone in the photos so she never labeled or identified them - nor did any of the album inheritors label their photos. Only one person was identified and he wasn’t the soldier.

Continue reading "Mystery Soldier: His identity expands a family tree" »

About us  |  Privacy  |  Tell a friend  |  Support  |  Site map
Copyright © 2015 MyHeritage Ltd., All rights reserved