Dutch-born Marianne Melcherts has been working with the customer support team at MyHeritage since 2010. The way she describes it, it feels both like forever and like no time at all.
As a child, Marianne was already quite interested in discovering her roots. She grew up in a small village in the Netherlands, located between Amsterdam and Utrecht. She was interested in history and archaeology. Marianne’s family is very well read, and reading was a big part of her upbringing. From an early age, she would often read books that had to do with historical research.
Photos of the family's ancestors were hung on the walls in the living room of her parents' house. They depicted her grandparents, great-grandparents, and there was even one of her great-great-grandfather. As a child, Marianne was mesmerized by the people in these photos and was curious to know more.
My paternal ancestors came from Friesland, the most northern province of the Netherlands and, in some photos, the women wore the traditional costume. I remember my father and grandparents speaking Frisian. I am very proud of my Dutch heritage.
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.
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.