In early 2015, MyHeritage accepted a challenge by Yvette Manessis Corporon, an Emmy Award winning producer and author, to help her research the Secret of Ereikoussa, a tiny island in Greece north of Corfu. Our quest was successful. But when we concluded it in a tearful reunion on the Greek island, we realized that this was only a small part of a story that was never told, the story of the Jewish community of Corfu. We decided to continue this journey, and try to map out the family history of this ancient community, that was nearly wiped out in WW2. We realized that if we won't do it, probably no one would, and a significant piece of history would be forever forgotten.
On our genealogical journey, we encountered many emotional side stories and the family tree of the community that we were building, that began with a handful of people known only by their first name, grew into the thousands.
At one point, our research revealed an unexpected connection between the Jewish family that was saved on Ereikoussa thanks to the courage of the Greek islanders, and the Corfiot grandparents of Israeli journalist Amir Ziv. Over the years, Amir, although cognizant of his Greek past, had made little effort to look further into his Mediterranean background.
In truth, I never imagined that I would ever revisit these memories...
It was only earlier this year, when MyHeritage researchers approached Amir, that he became aware of the complex storyline linking his family history with that of the orphaned girl Rosa, who had been hidden and saved on Ereikoussa over 70 years ago.
We're hitting the road this week to head to four family history conferences in four corners of the world! We hope you will come along and say hello to us in person at our booths and learn more about MyHeritage from our classes and demos. We'd love to see you there!
1) Ontario Genealogy Society Conference, Toronto, Canada, June 3-5
The OGS Conference of 2016 is promising to be even larger than expected. Members of all 34 branches and special interest groups of the Ontario Genealogical Society and other family historians from across North America and around the world will meet in Toronto for three days of inspiring lectures, workshops, displays, and other learning opportunities.
MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz will give a mini-lecture on Saturday morning on "Why Build Your Family Tree on MyHeritage?" On Sunday, he will speak on "Discovering Your Family History with Seven Unique Technologies" and "Mobile Applications for Genealogy Research and Family Photo and Data Sharing." On Sunday, Esther Shuman will give a mini-lecture on "How to Use MyHeritage’s Cutting-Edge Matching Technologies."
MyHeritage is excited to announce the launch of a new global initiative — Tribal Quest — to record the family histories of tribal people living in remote locations and to preserve their stories for future generations.
Here’s a short video that introduces the Tribal Quest project, and shows highlights from our first destination, Namibia:
One of our driving forces as a company is to do good, and we place particular emphasis on initiating pro bono projects that increase people's engagement with genealogy — wherever they may live. We recognize that, across a diverse range of cultural practices and geographic locations, every family has its own stories waiting to be told and shared. Tribal Quest is one of our most exciting initiatives, and its impact is already proving very positive.
Happy Mother's Day!
Mother's Day is a designated time to pay tribute to all the incredible moms in your family. It is celebrated in many different ways. Some buy their mother a gift or send them flowers; others write cards — and let's not forget breakfast in bed for mom! It is an excellent opportunity to get the whole family together and to let your mother know just how much she means to you.
We recently asked you to nominate the special mothers in your family tree that made a difference in your life.
At MyHeritage, we understand the importance of connecting families around the globe, regardless of the language, and we are proud that our worldwide network is available in 42 languages.
This achievement has only been made possible with the support of our dedicated community of volunteers.
We thank each of our wonderful translators for this success. They roll up their sleeves and devote their time and skills to helping others discover, preserve and share their family history in their native languages!
The Kingdom of Norway is quite small - just a narrow strip of land with barely 5 million inhabitants. But, despite its size, there are Norwegians and those of Norwegian heritage spread all around the world.
Some famous people such as Richard Ayoade, Sophie Dahl, and the British Royal Family all have Norwegian relatives. If you do too, here are some helpful tips on how to find them!
Norwegian emigration in a nutshell
Over the centuries, Norwegians have settled all over the world. It started with the Vikings, who settled mainly in the UK, Ireland and France, but also populated areas as far as Sicily, Turkey, Russia and the USA.
Continuing our spotlight on volunteer translators, we introduce Torbjorn Wolden, a MyHeritage member from Norway, who has been helping to translate MyHeritage products into Norwegian for the five years.
A young genealogist, Torbjorn became interested in his family history in elementary school.
We did a project where we would make our own family tree (which I still have) and show it to the rest of the class. My grandparents also had a bygdebok (a local history book) for the parish, where all the farms and everyone who had lived there are listed, and I used to look at this and see how long my family had owned the farm and how long they had lived in the area.
Torbjorn has traced back his family history to the mid-1500s to the Trøndelag and Nordmøre regions in Norway. While most of his close family still lives in these regions, he has discovered distant relatives in Sweden; the US; Rotuma, Australia; Denmark and Switzerland.
Anna’s family journey to meet relatives in Australia continues. In this post, she discusses Oskar’s life, and looks at his decision to suddenly move to Australia.
The other day, David and I spoke about Oskar and his initial trip to Australia, the decisions that caused him to leave Sweden and what he may have encountered on the journey. There were still unanswered pieces that we can only speculate about. We have no information on his voyage, who he met or about his first journey.
What we do know, however, is that a significant event influenced Oskar’s decision to leave Sweden. An event that changed everything and added an entire branch to the family tree that would not otherwise have existed today.
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.
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.
A few weeks ago we asked you to send in your look-alike photos and the response has been amazing!
We want to thank all of you who submitted. It was great to see uncanny family resemblances between the generations.
With so many photos submitted from around the world, it was really difficult to choose a winner.
But without further ado, we'd like to wish congratulations to Sheila Van Zant who sent in these incredible look-alike images produced 200 years apart!