1    Oct 2013313 comments

Family History Month: Competitions, Tips and More

October marks Family History Month - an excellent time for you and your family to learn about your family heritage. We’ll be celebrating throughout this month with exciting competitions, webinars and tips to enhance your family history research.

See this week's contest and read about our other activities.

From historical records, to building family trees, we're here to help you learn, collect and share your family history.

Continue reading "Family History Month: Competitions, Tips and More" »

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" »

29    Aug 201311 comments

Labor Day: Free access to all US census records

Labor Day weekend is here - a time to celebrate the contributions made by workers from the labor movement. It's also time for families to get together and enjoy the last bit of summer with barbecues, parades and reunions.

In honor of the holiday, we’re providing free access – from August 31 through September 2 – to all US Census records.

Search Now

Continue reading "Labor Day: Free access to all US census records" »

26    Aug 201317 comments

1932: A most famous photograph

As part of our Treasure Family Photos initiative, to preserve old family photos and to encourage people to learn more about their family history from them, we've seen some beautiful family photos and learnt about their history. There are also many other famous photos with a great history behind them. One of the world's most iconic photos is of a group of men sitting on a 69th floor construction beam high above Manhattan.

This iconic 1932 photo of construction workers having lunch on the 69th floor of the Rockefeller Center is the subject of MEN AT LUNCH, a film by Sean O Cualain.

MyHeritage was delighted to be able to interview (via email) Seán Ó Cualáin – director of the documentary Men at Lunch – on his project. Continue reading "1932: A most famous photograph" »

1    Aug 20132 comments

1790: First US Census Day

The US Census is the nation’s largest and most important set of records. They are invaluable to everyone interested in discovering their family history.

This week marks the original Census Day, which took place on the first Monday in August in 1790.

The 1790 Census was the first census conducted, numbering the then-population at  3,929,214.

Thomas Jefferson in the 1790 U.S. Census. Note occupation listed as 'Sec of State to the US' (click to zoom)

Census records provide a snapshot into the lives of our ancestors by documenting names, addresses, birthplace, members of household and more. Continue reading "1790: First US Census Day" »

21    Jul 20133 comments

Old postcards: A family history resource

Cards with messages have been mailed since the creation of the postal service. Many of us have sent postcards to our loved ones from vacations or just a quick note to say hello.

A postcard is traditionally a rectangular piece of thick paper or cardboard intended for mailing without an envelope.

The earliest known picture postcard comes from the 19th century, hand-painted by writer Theodore Hook in 1840. In the US, John P. Carlton patented the postal card and produced the first commercial cards in 1861.

The earliest known picture postcard, posted in London to writer Theodore Hook in 1840

Over the course of the 19th century, postcards gained additional popularity among all social classes. They were a convenient, inexpensive and attractive means of correspondence.

Continue reading "Old postcards: A family history resource" »

6    Jul 20138 comments

Photos from the Past: Hidden Mothers

Photography is a great way to document our ancestors and to learn more about who they are, even just from their portraits.

Since the late-19th century, photography has become much more accessible and affordable for middle class families, yet taking a photo back then was a very different experience from today's.

A 19th-century photographer

Two centuries ago, there were no “instant” photos. Those posing for photographs had to remain in position - patiently - for five minutes to get the perfect image.

Continue reading "Photos from the Past: Hidden Mothers" »

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" »

28    May 20130 comments

Memorial Day: How did you celebrate?

Yesterday, the US celebrated Memorial Day to honor fallen soldiers who served in the Armed Forces.

Memorial Day has many traditions, including spending time with family at a barbeque and sharing memories of relatives who served in the military.

To help you learn more about your family heritage and your relatives and ancestors who served in service, we offered last week free access to our most popular US military record collections. Continue reading "Memorial Day: How did you celebrate?" »

10    May 20132 comments

Ghosts of War: Bringing historic legacies to the present

What's the relationship between our history and our daily reality?

Each day we walk by our local store, our neighbor's place or the park, without realizing the stories from the past that existed in those same places many years before.

While we often think of history as antique, irrelevant and something out of the past, it  can just as easily be intertwined with the present.

Imagine what it would look like if the ghosts of World War II came back to the streets today. That’s what Dutch historian Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse shows through her Ghosts of War photo series.

Ghosts of war - France; taken prisoner (Courtesy of Jo Hedwig Teeuwise)

Continue reading "Ghosts of War: Bringing historic legacies to the present" »

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