30    Oct 20144 comments

Baby Names: Rules around the world

Did you know that the name Harriet is banned in Iceland or, that in Denmark and Hungary, parents have to choose from a pre-approved list of childrens' names? In the past, we have written about baby names banned in New Zealand.

Around the world there are rules and customs for allowed names for children.

Here are some of the most interesting baby-naming laws from 10 countries: Continue reading "Baby Names: Rules around the world" »

23    Oct 20145 comments

Millions of historical records added to MyHeritage!

We're happy to announce that we've just added millions of new records to SuperSearch.

The new collections include birth and death records, church records, electoral rolls and more from around the globe to help families everywhere explore their past.

Search Now

The new records come from the United Kingdom, the United States, South Africa, Germany, Russia and other countries to help discover more about your ancestors from around the globe.

The collections include: Continue reading "Millions of historical records added to MyHeritage!" »

18    Oct 20144 comments

Our Stories: Reunite family, create stronger bonds

MyHeritage member Dayne Skolmen, 24, of South Africa, has been working on his family history since he was 14, when a family tree school assignment caught his interest. His ancestors come from Norway, Germany and the Netherlands.

Dayne's ancestor, Kristian Skolmen, working on one of his Norwegian landscape paintings

Dayne lives in Port Elizabeth, and is currently completing his Master of Technology (MTech) in Information Technology Research at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

His grandfather, Thorbjorn Christian Synnestvedt Skolmen, died at 81 when Dayne was only 3.

I was the last grandchild born and the youngest of my generation. Therefore I had the least knowledge about the family and grew up not knowing much of my heritage or surname origins. Continue reading "Our Stories: Reunite family, create stronger bonds" »

2    Oct 20148 comments

Surname Secrets: What’s in a name?

A surname passes through many generations connecting family members with that common surname. Many people are also named after deceased relatives to honor those who came before.

Surnames first appeared in the Middle Ages as a way to record and document people and for tax purposes. Details included given names, nicknames, parents’ names, occupation and residence. This personal information later became an important part of the history of surnames.

Women brewsters in the early 1900s in Seattle. Image credit: THE SEATTLE TIMES ARCHIVE

We recently wrote about jobs that no longer exist, and it was common for our ancestors to have surnames based on their occupation such as Cook, Carpenter or Smith. By looking at their surnames, it often leads us to learn more about our relatives’ lives. Yet there are many occupational surnames with hidden meanings. Here are a few of our favorites: Continue reading "Surname Secrets: What’s in a name?" »

29    Sep 20142 comments

A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero

This year marks a century since the beginning of World War I. To commemorate, we share the touching story of Italian soldier Cesare Mele, from Sezze, south of Rome.

A view of ancient Sezze, in southern Italy

While the Central Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary and Germany, Italy decided to remain neutral in 1914, and eventually joined the Allies (France, UK and Russia) in May 1915. Once they entered the conflict, 650,000 Italian soldiers died, 947,000 were wounded, and 600,000 disappeared or were captured as prisoners of war.

MyHeritage user Lucia Fusco shared the story of Cesare Mele, her courageous great-uncle , who, through his self-sacrifice, was able to save his own family. Continue reading "A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero" »

27    Sep 20143 comments

Accidental Discoveries: Penicillin, corn flakes and more!

This September marks 86 years since scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928.

Unlike many inventions that come about from years of research and hard work, penicillin was an unexpected discovery. When Fleming, a professor of bacteriology, returned home from his two-week vacation, he began sorting through his petri dishes. He noticed mold had formed on his staphylococcus samples. This mold was actually a strain of Penicillium notatum which inhibited bacterial growth. The modern era of medicine hasn't been the same since.

Over the course of history, Fleming's discovery wasn't the only "accidental" invention.  Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” You'll never know when an error may turn into a life-saving treatment or a Nobel Prize-winning invention.

Here are examples of other "accidental" discoveries: Continue reading "Accidental Discoveries: Penicillin, corn flakes and more!" »

20    Sep 20144 comments

Old Photographs: Restored and Re-imagined

Australian photographer Jane Long is changing the way we look at old photos. In her series Dancing with Costica, she transforms photographs from the past, into dazzling imaginative images.

Her series is based on the work of Romanian photographer Costica Acsinte, who was born  in a small village called Perieți, Ialomița county, Romania, on July 4, 1897. He fought in WWI and, although he trained as a pilot, was an official war photographer until June 15, 1920. After the war, he opened a studio in the town of Slobozia. Continue reading "Old Photographs: Restored and Re-imagined" »

9    Sep 20144 comments

Thank you to our volunteers: MyHeritage supports 40 languages

MyHeritage is proud to be a worldwide family network available in 40 languages.

Since our first day, we have been committed to providing our tools and features in the native languages of our users. This effort has been made possible thanks to our many volunteers.

This dedicated group of users are always willing to donate their time and we are so very thankful to them.

However, some of our language translations are still incomplete. More volunteers are always needed and welcome.

We encourage others to volunteer and help with this important task. If you would like to volunteer, send an email to translate@myheritage.com.

Continue reading "Thank you to our volunteers: MyHeritage supports 40 languages" »

7    Sep 20141 comment

MyHeritage featured on prime time news

This weekend, MyHeritage Founder & CEO Gilad Japhet was interviewed on Israel's leading prime time TV news show to discuss MyHeritage and some of its pro bono projects. These include discovering heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated in WWII, returning looted art to its rightful owners and our global crowdsourcing project with BillionGraves to digitally preserve the world's cemeteries.

Our technologies are helping millions of families around the world discover more about their history. We're happy to take our mission several steps further by proactively initiating and executing important projects that have the potential to make the world a better place. Watch the video clip with English subtitles below:

We're proud of our motto to not only do well, but also do good, and we will strive to continue in this direction in the years ahead.

3    Sep 20142 comments

MyHeritage and BillionGraves honored for global crowdsourcing project

We work hard to provide greater access to family history information and so were thrilled to be awarded the Presidential Citation at the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference this past weekend, along with BillionGraves, for our partnership in promoting the preservation of international burial locations.

The Federation of Genealogical Societies was established in 1976 and represents more than 500 member genealogy and history societies, including over a half-million individual members. You can learn more about FGS in our genealogy society spotlight blog post.

Gravestones are a great resource for family history investigation and a useful tool to learn more about your ancestors. They provide detailed information such as names, dates of birth and death and often describe personality. However, natural wear and tear means that these important family history sources need to be preserved before it’s too late. Together, MyHeritage and BillionGraves launched a global initiative to digitize cemeteries and gravestones to preserve these gravestones by making them accessible for free online to millions to aid in their family history research.

Watch the video below to hear MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet explain the tremendous importance of this project and the value of gravestones for genealogy.

Continue reading "MyHeritage and BillionGraves honored for global crowdsourcing project" »

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