Wouldn't it be exciting to read the diary of an ancestor who recorded his or her daily activities?
Matt Unger, a 40-ish software executive in New York, was handed his grandfather Harry Scheurman’s 1924 diary, written when he was 29 and had been in the US for 11 years. Matt has transcribed each journal entry at his website http://papasdiary.blogspot.com. Scheurman had immigrated from Sniatyn, then in Austro-Hungary.
Matt’s project received coverage in The New York Times.
As we hear more frequently these days, family history researchers are getting bitten by the genealogy bug at ever younger ages. Although Matt was given the pocket-sized diary for a fifth-grade family history project, it wasn't until Thanksgiving 2007 that he examined it closely and decided to transcribe it.
MyHeritage interviewed Matt via email and is happy to offer his comments on this wonderful and very personal project.
One of the oldest genealogical societies in the US is the California Genealogical Society, established in 1898, 115 years ago!
CGS is located at 2201 Broadway, LL2, Oakland, California 94612, close to San Francisco. Jeffrey Vaillant, current CGS president, responded to MyHeritage's questions via email.
Genealogical societies are essential to family history researchers. They provide resources, programs, conferences, and other important assistance.
MyHeritage is spotlighting these societies in a new series over the year.
Today, we look at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), based in Austin, Texas, and established in 1976.Headed by D. Joshua Taylor, FGS represents other genealogical and historical societies. More than 500 member societies represent over a half-million individual members in those societies.
We love bringing member success stories to our readers. They provide encouragement, offer tips, and show what can be accomplished. We especially like the stories of our younger members, which often spotlight social media.
Joe Tarsh of Manchester (UK) is only 21 and became interested in his family when he was 13.
I came to the realization that I wanted to know where I came from and a little voice at the back of my head told me that if I don’t ask now, then all the people who can answer may not be around to answer those questions much longer.
Born in London in 1991, his family moved to Hertfordshire, where he lived until 18. He then took a gap year, returned to the UK in 2010 and is now in his third year at university, studying for a degree in youth and community work.
He joined MyHeritage in March 2010 because he liked the site’s easy accessibility, found it simple to use and it had an incredible amount of data.
Family history attracts people of all ages.
Recently, MyHeritage was happy to hear from member Jeff Zeitlin of Connecticut, who sent an email on behalf of his son Jared, 11. He explained that Jared was very interested in genealogy and asked if it was possible to get a MyHeritage souvenir.
Our marketing department wrote to Jeff and discovered that Jared had made remarkable family history discoveries.
We asked the family's permission to share their story and they were happy to do so. Of course, we sent Jared a MyHeritage fleece (see photo left).
Here’s Jared's story:
A fifth-grade student, Jared’s parents are Alyson and Jeffrey Zeitlin and he has an older sister, Mikayla. He also enjoys spending time with his grandparents in Connecticut and Florida.
Growing up in a Jewish family, Jared found great interest in religion and genealogy. These interests spurred his focus in researching his family history, which resulted in building the family tree on MyHeritage.com.
One day a few summers ago, Jared’s father’s first cousins visited them in Connecticut – the first time Jared had met them.
During the day we discussed how we were related. Cousin Arthur mentioned that another distant cousin had created a family tree on another website. That got me interested in looking at my family.
Australia’s world peace bell is housed in Cowra, an honour normally bestowed upon a nation’s capital. The town was also the location of the infamous Cowra Breakout where over 500 prisoners of war attempted to break out of the POW camp there.
Olwyn, how did you get into family history research? Why are you so involved with it now?
I have been a member of Cowra Family History Group since its inception in 1983. I was on the steering committee and was the first treasurer. I got into family history in 1981 when my maternal grandmother died and I received many personal possessions, jewellery, photos and more. Stories relayed to me by my aunts encouraged my sister - and then me - to begin researching the family.
This week we talk to Jeanette Finlayson from the Central Queensland Family History Association. Queensland is a large state in Australia’s northeast.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Jeanette. How did you get into family history research and why are you so heavily involved with it now?
I am a retired teacher. Many years ago, I was having a conversation with one of my cousins from my Mother’s side. He was saying how fortunate we were that our ancestors had the foresight to migrate to this country. Of course, I agreed with him, and then thought how little I actually knew about their story, so I decided that as soon as I retired I would find out as much as I could about my maternal German ancestors and my Irish paternal ancestors. I have now been researching for 14 years, and have been richly rewarded by what I have found, and the people I have met. The story of my ancestors was one of hardship and sacrifices, and required great courage in their fight for survival in their new country. I am greatly indebted to them for the comfortable life I have today.
Cairns is a city in the far northeast of Australia. This week we talk to Cynthia Edwards from the Cairns and District Family History Society.
Tell us a bit about yourself . How you got into family history research? Why you are so heavily involved with it now?
I started thinking about recording our family history about 11 years ago when our grandchildren started coming along. As my parents had passed away some years before I realised, it was up to me to tell their stories, as well as mine to this new generation. My mother became interested back in the seventies when she watched Janet Reakes on the Mike Walsh Show. Sadly her researach was not recorded, including photo captions.
That was about 12 years ago however, I have only been seriously researching for the past seven or so years. The information I started finding out about my grandparents and their siblings encouraged me to keep researching as these were the stories I never knew. To discover so many of the people that myself, my sister and brother thought were friends of our parents, but were actually relations has been a lovely surprise. I often sidetrack to see if I can answer questions like " How did my great-grandfather receive training when he began his teaching career in 1872?"