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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
While many men went out to fight, it’s important to also remember the little known heroes who fought for their countries during the war.
Many brave women - doctors, nurses and soldiers - served on the battlefront, risking their lives to save others.
In honor of Australian National Family History Month, we invite you to discover your Australian heritage with FREE access to many of our Australian record collections from August 15-22, 2014.
Join Australian family history expert and geneablogger Shauna Hicks for an interactive webinar for tips and tricks to jump start your family history research.
She’ll highlight the golden rules of genealogy for discovering more about your ancestors, building your family tree and learning more about your family heritage. Sign up now.