I became a member of MyHeritage.com in 2009 when I was undertaking my own family history research. I looked at the site after reading an article and uploaded my family tree to see what would happen. Within a short time, an e-mail arrived advising me of possible “Smart Matches” in my tree. I was able to confirm them, and from then on, I was hooked.
Through the site, I have made contact with several living relatives across the UK and we have been able to share stories and photographs of our ancestors. Imagine finding a whole new set of relatives you knew nothing about!
In addition, I am a self-employed professional genealogist and have found MyHeritage.com a huge help as I can import my clients’ trees (GEDCOM), work on them and then invite the client as a member so they can view information I have located for them. Similarly, I have also been invited by clients’ to join their trees as members. This has allowed me to export trees to my own family history program on my laptop. In turn, this allows me to access the electronic tree in my software program and update it when I visit various archives without wireless internet access. I can then export it to MyHeritage.com again so that that there is always an up-to-date tree online.
This story was written by MyHeritage user, Scott Phillips, founder of the Onward To Our Past genealogy blog and Facebook page. Here he shares with us the Cornish family history of his beloved paternal grandfather, 'Gramps' Phillips.
As is so often the case in families, I had a favorite relative. While I had wonderful folks, great sisters, cool cousins, and a bunch of fun aunts and uncles, my ‘Gramps’ Phillips holds a very special place in my heart and in my life.
I was blessed that my granddad had two things going for him. One, he loved to tell a good story; and two, he loved his town, Cornwall, located in the United Kingdom.
How I loved to hear stories of his hometown of Wadebride, of his aunts who lived in Sladesbridge, and of how he spent his days as a youth, which always sounded like a slice of heaven to me.
His stories were always funny, poignant, and incredibly vivid – and full of the love he had for Cornwall. Many times he would include even the smallest details of where he was raised, down to the color of the house and its shutters! At the time I was hearing these stories, I certainly did not realize they would be the defining moment in the development of my love of genealogy.
Whilst researching his family history, MyHeritage.com user John P (Jack) Poynter, uncovered some astonishing facts about his family’s military past. The military seems to be a recurring theme for Jack and his family. His American mother and English father fell in love whilst his father was training for the RAF in Jacksonville, Florida, during World War II.
His mother later joined the Royal Women's Auxiliary Ambulance Corps and Jack himself became a data processor in the Corps in 1966. But the military gene went much further back. By researching his great-great-grandfather’s service in the Georgia Infantry ‘Twiggs Country Guards’ in the mid-1800s, Jack had set the wheels in motion for researching a whopping 525 family histories of other servicemen.
Read on to find out, in Jack’s own words, how he discovered he’s related to more than a quarter of the American Civil War servicemen in Twiggs County, Georgia.
This week we have a story from Julian Hall, whose family history research led to him finding some extremely interesting characters in his family tree.
Some facts remain unknown, but since embarking on his family history journey Julian has made some amazing discoveries, such as:
• Finding his ancestor was the Court Photographer to the British Royals, who also became the most prolific war photographer of World War I and was awarded an OBE
• Discovering the tale of a relative who was a policeman, and who died in mysterious circumstances while on the job in London in 1908
• Tracing a great-uncle who served in World War II, who the family stories suggested died at Arnhem, but whose records indicated something else
Here Julian tells some of his stories – as well as how he originally got into family history – in his own words.
This short story comes from a UK-based MyHeritage User, Suzanne Jenkins. Although Suzanne hasn’t had an easy job tracing her husband’s ancestors (he has very common surnames in the tree!), she has found some interesting background about her family. Here she shares a short story about her ancestors' lives in the East End of London, during the Victorian era. It gives a brief glimpse into how life must have been back then.
Scott has been with MyHeritage.com now for quite a few years. In researching his family history, he has come across a number of amazing stories. His genealogy blog "Onward to Our Past" is focused on Bohemia, the Czech community of Cleveland, Cornwall in the UK, Italy and Italian immigration. He shares a few of his stories with us here.
I am Scott Phillips, an avid genealogist and family historian. I have always been interested in my family roots and ties since childhood. I have wonderful memories of gathering with my extended family and trying to understand the differences between my Cornish-rooted family and my Bohemian family members. Always wondered why I love eating pasty and Knedliky so much! Of course, living with my grandmother who often spoke Czech helped a lot to instill in me a wonder for where we all came from.
About two years ago my son came to my wife and me and informed us that we were going to be grandparents again. The icing on this cake was that if it was a boy, he and his wife had decided to name him William after my father. Since my father had passed away the year before, I decided to ‘just write a couple paragraphs’ about my new grandson’s namesake for him. Little did I know how badly the genealogy bug would grab a hold of me! As I have seen written and is certainly true of me: “I used to have a life, then I discovered genealogy”.
But first, a bit of background info…
MyHeritage has, for a long time now, provided tools for members to create fantastic family tree charts.
Late last year however, we added a range of new chart styles and also introduced a professional printing service for those who wanted their charts to come to life in high quality.
In January this year, we ran a competition, which offered a chance to win a free family tree chart to anyone who retweeted a simple message on Twitter.
This is an English translation of Interview mit Torkel S. Wächter written by Silvia.
Torkel S. Wächter was born in 1961 in Stockholm, Sweden. He studied at the universities of Lund, Melbourne and Leipzig, and at Paideia - The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden and at the Royal Academy in Stockholm. Between 1986 and 1999 he worked as a pilot for SAS. Wächter’s first novel, Roman Samson was published in 1997 by Verlag Natur och Kultur; his second novel, Roman Ciona, an autobiography that appeared in AlfabetaAnamma, was published in 2002 and was nominated for a major Swedish literary award, Augustpreis. Since 2006 he has both Swedish and German citizenship. Torkel is the founder of the website, 32postkarten.com, where you will be able to read 32 authentic postcards sent from Hamburg during 1940 and 1941.
Little did MyHeritage.com user Jeff Ausmus know, that by answering this question he’d be reuniting family ties lost through fate and time. Jeff has lived all his life in the small town of Erie in Monroe County, Michigan.
During Thanksgiving 2008 he decided to begin tracing his family history – after a discussion with his grandma, in which she knew very little about even her grandparents.
With family trees numbering over 6000 people, Jeff has not only traced his family roots as far back as 8 generations to Germany and Poland – but discovered that two people he grew up with in the same grade in High School were in fact his cousins! Jeff’s tale includes finding letters in Germany written by his great-great grandma in the late 1890s – and a reunion with descendants of his great-great-great grandmother’s brother – ironically who also live nearby. Read on to find out more about Jeff’s fascinating family history discoveries, from Barack Obama to nearby neighbors…