29    Sep 201560 comments

Extinct Crafts: Shoemaking

People used to keep a pair of shoes for a lifetime. They were a cherished and expensive possession. People would bring them to shoemakers in the hope that they could restore their shine and luster and bring them back to life.

Today, although traditional shoemakers still exist and we are able to visit their shops, they are fewer and more difficult to find. Like many artisans, many are closing their doors. Shoes have been mass-produced for many years and are easily replaceable at low cost.

The smell of real leather and quality craftsmanship evoke memories and take us back to a different time. A time where attention to detail, uniqueness, and quality were tantamount. It is possible that real shoemakers will soon be extinct!

(Image credit: Soletopia.com)

Thousands of years ago, man first tied animal skin around his feet to protect them, and the concept of footwear materialized. Not only would shoes protect people from rugged terrain and long journeys, they would help them deal with extreme temperatures of heat or cold, and allow them to move freely. Continue reading "Extinct Crafts: Shoemaking" »

20    Sep 201510 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" »

17    Sep 20150 comments

Fashion Styles: 100 years in two minutes

Everything changes over time, including relationships, memories and, of course, fashion. Clothing trends constantly evolve. Sometimes it's difficult for us to realize just how much styles have changed over the years, and over our own lifetimes.

In the past, we've written about photographing styles and fashion of times gone by.

Website Mode.com has taken a long hard look in the mirror and presented fashion styles for women over the past century  in a two-minute video! It is fascinating, and can be watched over and over.

The video has over 6 million views, so take a look!

Which decade over the past century has had the most interesting styles?

29    Aug 20150 comments

Then and Now: Seven ways summer vacation has changed

During summer vacations, many parents scramble to find fun and enjoyable things for their children to do and keep them occupied. For many children, the beginning of September means the sad end to their summers.

While it's still summer, we wanted to travel back in time tand take a look at some summer activities, then and now. Continue reading "Then and Now: Seven ways summer vacation has changed" »

4    Aug 20153 comments

Remembering Louis Armstrong

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

This month marks the birthday of musical icon Louis Armstrong, known by his nicknames Satchmo or Pops. As an American jazz trumpeter and singer, he was one of the most influential jazz musicians in history.

Renowned for his stage presence and throaty voice as much as for his trumpet-playing, Armstrong's influence extended well beyond jazz music, and his charismatic and heartfelt performances.

"He left an undying testimony to the human condition in the America of his time" - Wynton Marsalis

Armstrong was born August 4, 1901, in  New Orleans, Louisiana, to Mary Albert Armstrong (1886–1942) and William Armstrong (1881–1922). He was the grandson of slaves raised on plantations. They spoke English rather than French and, like most slaves, had little idea of their origins. Louis himself grew up in a poverty-stricken rough neighborhood in New Orleans, known as “Back of Town.” When he was only a baby, his father left the family. From then until he was 5, he and his sister Beatrice were taken care of by their grandmother, Josephine Armstrong. At 5, he moved back to live with his mother, and only very rarely saw his father. Continue reading "Remembering Louis Armstrong" »

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" »

4    Jul 20151 comment

July 4th: 9 things you never knew

Happy 239th birthday, America!

Also known as Independence Day, Americans come together on July 4 to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence and the country’s birthday.

A great time to celebrate American heritage, it is also fun to share the holiday with families at  barbecues, picnics, parades, fairs, firework displays and other family activities.

In honor of July 4, here are some fun facts for the day: Continue reading "July 4th: 9 things you never knew" »

30    Apr 201518 comments

Names: What’s in the middle?

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. Continue reading "Names: What’s in the middle?" »

25    Apr 20154 comments

ANZAC Day: 100 Years

ANZAC Day is one of Australia and New Zealand’s most important commemorative occasions marking the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), during World War 1, at Gallipoli, Turkey.

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers set out as part of an Allies expedition to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula and open the way to the Black Sea. Continue reading "ANZAC Day: 100 Years" »

23    Feb 20155 comments

World War II: New photos discovered

It's always exciting when we find heirlooms or photos providing more detail into the lives of our ancestors, but this can also happen to historical events.

After some 70 years, 31 rolls of film taken by an American soldier during WWII were found. Last year, the photos were developed as part of a project entitled The Rescued Film Project.

This was the first time the public had access to this incredible historical material depicting the lives of soldiers during the war, as they offer a glimpse into our ancestors' past.

Watch the video below to learn more about the project and the photos.

Have you found any previously unknown photos revealing more detail about your ancestors' lives? Let us know in the comments below.

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