3    Dec 20121 comment

Poland, Lithuania: From the heart

Heather Alexander

Heather Alexander

“I can actually recall the moment when I became interested in my family history,” writes MyHeritage member Heather Alexander in Massachusetts.

My sister was helping my then-young niece with a school project. Our entire family was on vacation in historic Newport, Rhode Island, when she was going over all sorts of records in a binder she had for my niece to go through to figure out how to do her assignment.

I recall thinking "What is all this? I know I'm Irish and English on our mother's side, Lithuanian and Polish on our father's side but I've never actually seen the evidence. I've never heard names. I only know that's what I was told...Irish/English Lithuanian/Polish.

Heather, 37, was born in and lives in Massachusetts. Married with a daughter, 9, she was educated in public and private schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is a former credit analyst.

Heather put off her questions for a while, but became curious to find out about those few stories she had heard as a child but didn’t pay much attention to. Her sister, the eldest child, is highly intelligent and would explain things in such complex terms that only another person with an advanced degree in history could understand.

I didn't have that. I would question her a lot, but I grew frustrated with not understanding her answers to my questions and the same held true for our middle sister when she would ask - she got confused.

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16    Nov 20121 comment

Cousins Connect: Lithuania to the UK and US

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.

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11    Oct 20121 comment

MyHeritage: From town history to family history

Gary at the Great Wall of China

Gary at the Great Wall of China

“Genealogy is not only the search for one’s ancestors, but the sharing of information with others," according to MyHeritage member Gary L. Roberts of Plano, Texas.

Born in Pennsylvania, Gary, 62, attended computer school and served in the US Army as a Morse Code Intercept Operator. Before his 2012 retirement, he spent 30 years working for Verizon Communications as a technical trainer.

Although an only child, he had many cousins on both sides of his family. He’s always been interested in his family history, but travel and work prevented him from working on it. Today, however, he has created a family website, and his travels have taken him around the world to China, Wales, Egypt, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Zaire, Singapore, Switzerland, all over Europe and to the Philippines.

His interest in family history began following the Catawissa (Pennsylvania) Bicentennial in 1974.

My second cousin wrote much of the book on the history of Catawissa. My Roberts family had a large number of family members (aunts, uncles, cousins) in the area and some history related to them. It was wonderful to read about the area and its history.

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23    Aug 20127 comments

MyHeritage: Cherokees and more!

It sounds like a genealogical cliché, but Kerry Elkins’ family story that they were part Cherokee Indian appears to be correct - through the England family line.

Kerry, 67, lives in Redmond, Oregon, with his wife Joyce and children Aaron and Amber, both college students. Born in Neodesha, Kansas, he received his biology BS and MS from Pittsburg State University (Kansas).

Kerry with his wife Joyce and children Aaron and Amber

Kerry with his wife Joyce and children Aaron and Amber

Now retired, his career has included a stint as a sonarman on the destroyer USS Brownson, as an FDA investigator, a radiation safety officer, a health officer and the owner of a computer store.

He caught the gen bug from his mother, who worked on her family’s history.

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15    Aug 20121 comment

MyHeritage: Michael O’Toole’s genea-journey

Michael O'Toole

Michael O'Toole

Our genealogical journeys begin in varied ways.

MyHeritage member Michael O’Toole’s interest began with a box of family photos and pages torn from a family Bible.

Michael, 59, was born in New Zealand and lives today in Sydney, Australia, with his partner Dianne and daughter Grace; his mother, Enid, and sister, Susan, live in Queensland, Australia.

Active in the apparel and textile industry for most of his life, including Levi Strauss New Zealand, he’s had his own product development and importing businesses.

In addition to family history, his wide-ranging interests include rugby, motorcycle racing, cricket and big game fishing. He enjoys international travel and is looking forward to a UK trip to visit his ancestors’ towns and villages in Nottingham and Leistershire.

Michael wanted to trace the history of his New Zealand O’Tooles.

I had very little knowledge of them. My step-grandmother- just before she died about 10 years ago - sent me a box of photos and family pages torn from a bible, so I had something to start from.

He began by Googling “O’Toole, Invercargill New Zealand.”

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9    Aug 20120 comments

MyHeritage: A Basque connection

Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu

Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu

Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu, 68, has always been interested in his Basque ancestors.

Born in Argentina, he received a PhD (Physics) at the University of La Plata (Argentina) and did post-doctorate studies at the University of Nottingham (UK). He has worked in Argentina, UK, Canada and the US, but spends a fair amount of time in Argentina.

Now retired, he lives in the US with his wife. He has three children.

He’s been interested in his ancestors since he was a youngster.

However, I became really interested in doing some research in my family genealogy only a few years ago. The help of a friend – with a lot more experience - has been instrumental.

He’s become intrigued by the Basque people, in general.

Some say that they were the first inhabitants of Europe, with a language that seemingly has no relation to any other Indo-European languages. Their history is fascinating.

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31    Jul 20128 comments

MyHeritage: Family history with challenges

Sylvia Baker

Sylvia Baker

People look into their family history for all sorts of reasons. Australian Sylvia Baker, 62, had some special reasons for asking questions.

Born Wilhelmina Cornelia Steeneveld in Delft, Netherlands, Sylvia immigrated to Australia in 1957; lived in Matraville, NSW for five years; and later in Montrose, Victoria. Now retired, she lives in Manjimup, Western Australia and previously worked as a bookkeeper.

She was married to Lambertus Tip, and had two sons, Angus (born Wayne) and Jeffrey (now deceased).

Sylvia attended three years of primary school, began working and then married. At 37, she returned to school and began learning from the beginning!

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19    Jul 20126 comments

MyHeritage: A young German genealogist’s story

David Krüger

David Krüger

At an age when most young men tend to look at the world outside instead of their own family roots, David Krueger, 15, from Germany, is already working on his family history at MyHeritage. He began his research at age 13.

In 2010, he “Googled” his own name, just for fun. He looked at the results and saw a family tree with many branches.

Under the picture was written: "My ancestors, determined by a genealogist." "It looks interesting," I thought, and clicked on it. I discovered more and more fascinating information about genealogy.

David went to his mother and asked about his grandparents, writing down their birth and death dates. When he asked about his great-grandparents, there was no room on the paper.

I quickly turned on my computer and looked for a way to represent this piece of information online, so that I had a clear view in a way I could understand (I was then 13).

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3    Jul 20120 comments

MyHeritage: An African diplomat’s story

We were delighted to learn of Lesotho diplomat Paramente Phamotse’s heritage story.

Born and raised in a rural African village, Paramente, 45, attended a Christian mission school, attended secondary education and received an undergraduate degree (1989) in mathematics and education, and an MA.

Since then Paramente has worked as a teacher, school inspector and education administrator in Lesotho and South Africa. He studied international education in the UK in 2003, and was appointed a Lesotho diplomat – and posted to Dublin – in 2011.

My interest and research in family genealogy is one of my hobbies.

Paramente writes:

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28    Jun 20121 comment

MyHeritage: From notebooks to an online tree

Marcia Hanson in Zermatt, Switzerland, June 2011

Marcia Hanson in Zermatt, Switzerland, June 2011

Thirty years ago, MyHeritage member Marcia K. Hanson, now 64, began gathering family information:

I talked to all the old family I could find (I began this when I was in my late 30s) and wrote down their stories. The stories were priceless, many were funny. It gave me an appreciation of who they were and the sacrifices they made to give their family a better life.

Marcia describes herself as a retired introvert who likes history, loves puzzles and is good with details. She enjoys having family stay in touch and loves to share family stories gathered during her research. Also an active volunteer, an avid reader and an average golfer, Marcia is certainly a busy woman.

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