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.)
Most people find they have more time for hobbies and interests during the summer than the rest of the year. Perhaps it's the long days and nice weather that give us more energy to broaden our horizons and inspire our creativity.
Whatever the reason, summer is a great time to focus on family history research and unlock new clues into your family's past.
Here are nine ways to ramp up your family history research and make the most of those long summer days:
1. Spend quality time with family: Close or far, it's important to strengthen family bonds. Encourage sharing memories, photos and family heirlooms. Use the MyHeritage Mobile App to add photos while you're on-the-go.
One rule that genealogists hold true is that it never hurts to ask others for help. Often family members are the first we turn to learn more about another ancestor or a story behind a photo.
The more we can learn from our relatives, the greater chance we’ll have in advancing our family history research and expanding our family tree.
However, sometimes we forget that non-family members can be just as helpful in telling the stories of our ancestors. We spend countless days with our neighbors, best friends and colleagues without realizing how much they impact our lives and those of our family.
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.
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
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.
Contributing writer Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com
Wouldn't it be great to get your far-flung family together and meet them in person? E-mail and Skype only go so far.
Some families plan reunions every year or two, while some have been meeting annually for decades. Others have never organized a formal get-together.
We've been talking about this for our Dardashti family - there are so many relatives that we'll need a football stadium. Several years ago, we had a mini-reunion with descendants of six Talalay branches. It was probably the first time in more than 100 years that that these branches had been together since the late 1890s, when many cousins began leaving Belarus and Russia for the US. We were all stunned by the familial and personality resemblance within the group, which included those who had remained in the ancestral towns until only very recently.
Don't forget that your family website at MyHeritage is a great way to communicate with reunion attendees. Share pre-event planning and programs. Then provide - after the event - photos and videos for the whole family to see. It will encourage those who didn't attend to show up next time.
Middle names. Some people have them; others don’t. The three-name structure we use today (given, middle and last name) began in the Middle Ages when Europeans wanted to give a child a saint’s name and a traditional family name, but middle name use goes back even further.
In ancient Rome, it was an honor given to important people to have multiple names. Later - in the 1700s - aristocrats began to give their children long names to indicate his or her place in society. For example, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
Do you have Scandinavian roots? Interested to learn how to find out about those ancestors?
Join Mike Mansfield, MyHeritage Director of Content Production and Jason Oler, MyHeritage Senior Program Manager, as they provide research tips and tools to help navigate these new records to help you explore your family history and make new discoveries.
2015 is here! Have you thought about what you'd like to accomplish this year in your family history research?