16    Dec 20131 comment

Family Christmas Traditions: Through the Years

(Credit: Dwellingsbydevore)

Did you know that Christmas trees were originally hung upside down from ceilings in some countries? Or that up until 100 years ago, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in parts of the United States?

Many Christmas traditions still common today date back thousands of years in some form or another. Some customs, such as the 12 days of Christmas, gift-giving, and caroling, have been traced back to as early as Mesopotamian times.

When did we start celebrating Christmas as we know it today?

In 1647, the English Parliament passed a law making it illegal to celebrate Christmas. The ban was lifted in 1660. During Queen Victoria's reign, Christmas was a time for gift giving, and became a special season for children. In Colonial America, Christmas was not celebrated as we know it today. Even in the US, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas until about 100 years ago.

As customs developed in different countries, we celebrate many of the same holiday traditions.

Where do some of our favorite Christmas traditions come from? Continue reading "Family Christmas Traditions: Through the Years" »

8    Dec 20138 comments

Dear Santa: Then and now

"Dear Santa..."

As Christmas nears, millions of children around the world are using these two words to begin their letters to Santa , with the hope he will bring what they want.

These letters are often sent by obliging parents to Santa's home at the North Pole. However, back in time, it was popular to send "Dear Santa" letters to a local newspaper, which published them.

Our newspaper collection includes over 120 million pages dating back to 1609, and a quick search using the keywords "Dear Santa" brings really interesting results... Continue reading "Dear Santa: Then and now" »

26    Nov 201324 comments

Thanksgiving: Holiday tips and competition!

On Thursday, Americans around the world will celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a holiday that we take seriously, and not only in the US.

American ex-pats will celebrate wherever they live. In some countries, it's hard to find the necessary foods, such as cranberry sauce, and even whole turkeys. But no matter where we live, we try our best to reproduce the menu and good feelings of this favorite holiday.

It is a family holiday and we like to involve family members who attend. It's a time when we create special family memories.

We invite you to share your favorite family Thanksgiving memories for the chance to win a Kindle for the holidays. Simply leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post, for a chance to enter. We will choose one winner, and in honor of thanksgiving, we'll post a selection of our favorite entries. The winning story will be announced on Sunday, December 1.

Here are some tips for working family history into your turkey festival this year. Continue reading "Thanksgiving: Holiday tips and competition!" »

11    Nov 20133 comments

Remembrance Day: Honoring our heroes

Sergent Charles Lavaissière, great-grandfather of user Yann Sujet

Today is Veterans Day in the US and Remembrance Day in Britain, Canada and Australia.

It is a somber day that many countries celebrate to honor those who fought for their countries. We remember those who have protected us and kept us safe throughout the years.

In many countries, Veterans Day and Remembrance Day are commemorated publicly, so that everyone can pay their respects to those who lost their lives. Heroes are remembered  through public memorial ceremonies, programs at military cemeteries and parades. The Commonwealth tradition of one or two minutes of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month marks the time in the United Kingdom when the Armistice was declared. Wreaths are laid at monuments and gravestones. Continue reading "Remembrance Day: Honoring our heroes" »

30    Oct 20130 comments

Millions of gravestone records and obituaries added to SuperSearch

As Halloween approaches we’re excited to bring you new tricks and treats to help you find out more about your ancestors. We’re happy to announce that we've added millions of gravestone records and obituaries to SuperSearch, our online search engine for billions of historical records.

This new addition includes 5.5 million gravestone records from BillionGraves and 3.5 million obituaries from Tributes.com.

Search the BillionGraves and Tributes collections now

Continue reading "Millions of gravestone records and obituaries added to SuperSearch" »

14    Oct 20130 comments

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving: A Family Celebration

Today marks Canadian Thanksgiving, a time for families to get together.

Did you know that Canadian Thanksgiving is widely recognized as the first celebration of its kind in North America?

Its history dates to 1578, when Englishman Martin Frobisher set out in search of the Northwest Passage, along the northern coast of North America.

On his third voyage to the bay area of Baffin Island (now the Canadian territory of Nunavut), the 15 ships were filled with men and materials to begin a small settlement.

Frobisher's journey was harrowing as the fleet traveled in bad weather and harsh storms. They lost a ship and most of the building materials. Making it through the storm and reuniting with the rest of the fleet, they gave thanks for a miraculous deliverance from the dangers. Continue reading "Happy Canadian Thanksgiving: A Family Celebration" »

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" »

8    Jul 20130 comments

Family History: Summer plans?

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) blog - The Weekly Genealogist - posts an interesting survey each week.

A recent post focused on the genealogy summer plans of its readers.

MyHeritage would also like to know about your summer plans. Will you visit your family's ancestral homes? Interview senior relatives? Attend a gen conference?

Share your plans with us in the comments below, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.


4    Jul 20130 comments

Happy Fourth of July: How are you celebrating?

Happy Fourth of July! Get out your barbecue grills, fireworks and gather your families to celebrate the birth of America and the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress.

Independence Day marks a weekend of celebrations including parades, picnics, fireworks and other family fun-filled activities.

As America turns 237, here are some fun facts for the day. Continue reading "Happy Fourth of July: How are you celebrating?" »

27    Jun 20131 comment

Competition: Discover your American roots this Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is one week away, and we’re ready to celebrate!

Also known as Independence Day, Americans come together 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.

Continue reading "Competition: Discover your American roots this Fourth of July" »

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