One of the best things about genealogy conferences is that we get to catch up with our friends.
This year's RootsTech is expected to attract some 5,000 attendees, some 25% more than last year's event. In addition to conference-goers, speakers and exhibitors, many genealogy bloggers are already here. While many are US-based, this year includes bloggers from Australia, UK, France, Spain and elsewhere.
By 7pm Tuesday, I was at the conference hotel, affectionately known as Geneabloggers Central. I knew that many bloggers had arrived early, and had a nice dinner with Randy Seaver, Heather Wilkinson Rojo, saw Dick Eastman, Lisa Louise Cooke, Thomas MacEntee, Lisa Alzo and others.
This morning (Wednesday) was set-up day for the MyHeritage booth.
The event brings together genealogy and technology. It's a great place to share and learn from top genealogists and technologists about technology tools to help with your family history research.
MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet will give the keynote speech at 8.30am on Saturday, March 23, in Hall 1. He will unveil MyHeritage breaking news, so don’t miss out!
Gilad will speak alongside David Pogue, personal technology weekly columnist for The New York Times and a monthly columnist for Scientific American.
The US is a nation of immigrants. Each group has added its cultural traditions – including delicious food – to the shared multi-ethnic experience. Every family has its favorite dishes from its own unique heritage or a combination of ancestries!
What I really enjoy is how different groups have incorporated their unique dishes into the celebration of US holidays. To use the Thanksgiving holiday as an example, most people feature the golden roasted turkey as a centerpiece, but the stuffing and side dishes will change! Mexican-Americans will add tamales and serve Spanish rice. Persian-Americans will use a rice, nut and fruit stuffing, while side dishes include stews, such as walnut-and-pomegranate, along with rice dishes featuring many green herbs. Italian-Americans will add pasta dishes like lasagna.
March is National Nutrition Month, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) offers ways to “eat right, your way, every day,” with foods from everywhere.
Dietary guidelines, according to a registered dietician in this story, should accommodate food preferences, cultural, ethnic, traditional and personal preferences the many diverse groups in the US. The story lists yummy healthy dishes from many cuisines:
MyHeritage welcomes you to a new weekly blog post, "Surname of the week." We'll discuss the origin, history and other information of one surname in each post.
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.
English surnames, as we know them today, began in England as early as the 11th century. However, it was not until the late-17th-century that many families adopted permanent surnames.
Generally speaking, family names fall into the following categories with some examples given:
- Occupation: Smith, Taylor or Miller
- Personal characteristics: Young, Black or White
- Geographic or locations: Hamilton, Bush, Hill, Windsor or Murray
- Patronymics, Matronymics or Ancestral: Stephenson, Richardson or Harris
In honor of American-British Actress Elizabeth Taylor's birthday, we look at TAYLOR this week:
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.
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.
We've recently added millions of new records to MyHeritage's data collections.
The international collections include headstones, military records, yearbooks and even wanted posters and mugshots!
The records are searchable on MyHeritage's SuperSearch engine and are integrated with MyHeritage's Record Matching technology. This means that MyHeritage users will automatically receive notifications about records from these collections that match individuals in their family trees.
Here's some more information and links to the main collections we've added:
In honor of Black History Month, established in 1926 and celebrated in February, here’s a roundup of resources – websites, blogs, repositories and more – to help you learn more about your family. Each resource listed offers more links to additional information.
Today is also the birthday of African American baseball superstar Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, born in 1934. A major league baseball icon, Aaron is best known for breaking Babe Ruth's home run record. Read more on Aaron.
For many black families with roots in the Southern US states, research can be frustrating. Although African American genealogy research can get back to the 1880s and much earlier, it is difficult for most researchers. Researching their family trees has been almost impossible, as their ancestors' original names were literally erased. Slaves' African given names were replaced by English names and their surnames were those of their owners.
With the advent of new databases and technological tools, research has become much easier. A growing number of individuals are preparing their family stories and discovering images of their unique history.
Today, 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.
It's also a great opportunity to make family history discoveries. Ask your relatives about their lives, and the lives of their parents. Asking about past family Thanksgiving celebrations can be an enjoyable conversation for all the family where you can learn how your ancestors celebrated and discover other unknown information.
Try and use the time when the family is all together to share with them what you've discovered about your collective family history. Who knows, perhaps you'll get a piece of information that will help you break down a brick wall in your research.