18    Feb 20130 comments

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Washington's Birthday Image credit: Wikipedia

Washington's Birthday. Image credit: Wikipedia

Today is, in the United States, “President's Day.” Did you know that this was originally celebrated as “Washington’s Birthday"?

Established in 1885 as a Federal holiday, it was first celebrated on February 22, Washington’s real birthday. It was also the first Federal holiday honoring an American citizen.

In 1971, the date changed to the third Monday in February, after the creation of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

The Act also combined Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in some states. The combining of these two days gave equal recognition to two of America's most famous men.

Since then the day has become known as President's Day and also honors other presidents born during February, including Ronald Reagan and William Henry Harrison. It is popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all US Presidents.

Continue reading "Happy Presidents’ Day!" »

15    Feb 20130 comments

Valentine’s Day: 1 billion cards

A card by Esther Rowland Courtesy Mount Holyoke College

How many valentines did you receive this year? How many did you send?

Some 190 million valentines are sent each year, according to the US Greeting Card Association. If you count the cards made by schoolchildren, it goes up to 1 billion. And, in 2010, some 15 million e-valentines were sent!

The American tradition of sending valentines was the idea of Esther Rowland (1828-1904), a young graduate of Mount Holyoke College (Massachusetts).

Holyoke's archives and special collections has an impressive collection of historic valentines, many created by Esther. She is credited with having established the commercial valentine industry in the US.

The school’s original name was the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and Esther graduated in 1847. She was inspired by an ornate English valentine - sent by a family friend – to create her elaborate versions of the greeting card.

Continue reading "Valentine’s Day: 1 billion cards" »

14    Feb 20131 comment

Valentine’s Day: Your Stories

Millions around the world will send flowers, write love letters and say "I love you" to their families, significant others and spouses to mark Valentine's Day today.

We each have our own romantic stories. Whether a first love, a first kiss or discovering a secret admirer, these stories are memorable moments.

At MyHeritage, we know how important  family and love are in our lives. Last week, we asked you to send in romantic stories of proposals, marriage and love from your unique family history.

Here we share a few of our favorites on this special day:

Continue reading "Valentine’s Day: Your Stories" »

12    Feb 20130 comments

Mardi Gras: Happy Pancake Day!

Olney Pancake Day Race

Olney Pancake Day Race Image credit: Olneyonline

Today is a most delicious day of the year, Pancake Day.

Pancake Day is also known as  Shrove Tuesday. The meaning of shrove derives from “confess.” The day marks the last day of celebration before 40 days of “shriving” - or absolution for one’s sins - during the Christian festival of Lent.

It was common to host a family feast beginning with luxurious or “fatty” foods not eaten during the weeks of Lent. Sugar, milk and eggs were good ingredients and - combined - formed yummy pancakes.

Worldwide family traditions include:

Continue reading "Mardi Gras: Happy Pancake Day!" »

7    Feb 20133 comments

Valentine’s Day: Love stories to share?

Antique Valentine's Day Card

Antique Valentine's Card Image credit: Wikipedia

For thousands of years, lovers have expressed their admiration in a variety of mediums, but nothing compares to the classic love letter.

The greatest love story is not from the movies or a book, but our own lives! MyHeritage would like to hear your personal and family tales of romance.

Love stories are not necessarily a typical Cinderella tale or a Romeo-and-Juliet romantic tragedy. We hear words of endearment in movies, and read them in passionate stories in our favorite novels, yet our own stories are the ones that are timeless pieces of history. They are the ones that are closest to our hearts.

How did you or your ancestors meet? Is there a unique proposal story in your family, or a tale of finding a lost love? Share your story with us, and we will share some of the best in our Valentine’s Day special. Email us at stories@myheritage.com, or leave a comment below, via Facebook, Twitter or Google +.

Continue reading "Valentine’s Day: Love stories to share?" »

25    Jan 20132 comments

Australia Day: Do you celebrate?

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

January 26 marks Australia's national holiday, Australia Day.

Australia Day celebrates the establishment of the first settlement in Port Jackson (which is now Sydney Harbour), in 1788.

What's known as the "First Fleet", consisted of 11 ships that set sail from Great Britain and landed on this day at the Port. By 1808, January 26 was celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day”.

In 1818, the Governor of Australia gave all government employees a day off, and in the years that followed, bank employees, and other employees, were also given a holiday day.

Continue reading "Australia Day: Do you celebrate?" »

21    Jan 20130 comments

Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Martin Luther KingToday, the US observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, a Federal holiday.

Dr. King was world-renowned for his work for the civil rights movement in America, leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was born Michael King, Jr. in 1924 in Atlanta, Georgia. His name was changed 10 years later, after his family visited Eisleben, Germany, the birthplace of Martin Luther, who founded Protestantism. His father, Michael King Sr., changed both his name and his son's name to Martin Luther in honor of him.

Continue reading "Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day" »

3    Jan 20133 comments

Holiday Competition: And the winner is…

Before the holidays we offered you the chance to win a digital camera by sharing with us your favorite holiday memory or photo.

We received many beautiful photos and touching stories and it's been really difficult choosing a winner.

We decided to divide the competition into two categories - pictures and stories - and choose a winner from each.

So, without further ado, the winning photo is: Continue reading "Holiday Competition: And the winner is…" »

1    Jan 20130 comments

Resolutions: Here’s some help!

Some people may have been holding off their resolutions for 2013 because of the Mayans. However, now that we are still here and 2013 has started, it's time put those resolutions into action.

Washington University (St. Louis, Mo.) researchers have released some great tips (13, actually!) for the New Year.

- Learn something new

Learning never ends, so commit to continuing on this path. Explore new interests, and uncover something great!

- Walk in the park

Decrease stress and increase focus by visiting a park. Research has show that visiting parks improves mood, concentration and positive feelings. Seeing nature produces reduced feelings of depression, anxiety, anger and tension. Make 2013 a healthy green year.

Continue reading "Resolutions: Here’s some help!" »

31    Dec 20120 comments

2012: A MyHeritage year in review

Now's the time when we look at what we've accomplished over the past 12 months, and plan for the year ahead. It's time for reflection, introspection and preparation.

2012 has been an incredibly exciting year at MyHeritage and, as we stand on the cusp of 2013, here's a quick look at some of the highlights.

We kicked off the year by partnering with Family Tree DNA to introduce DNA testing for genealogy. DNA genetic genealogy testing can help you discover more relatives by comparing your results to a growing database of hundreds of thousands of people.

The results may match you to a living relative with whom you share a common ancestor who may have lived hundreds of years ago.

The results can also reveal ethnic backgrounds, providing more insight into where your ancestors may have lived and thus more clues as to where to search. Continue reading "2012: A MyHeritage year in review" »

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