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.
There are many reasons why people become interested in their family history. It may be because of an inherited condition or the discovery of a previously unknown relative.
MyHeritage member Thelma (known as Thel) Brooks’ story includes both!
Born in Sydney, Australia, Thel’s interests were dancing, swimming and tennis. These days, it’s family history.
Now in her 70s and retired, she was a hospital office manager for most of her working life.
Married at 22, she and her husband, William John Brooks, were together for nearly 50 years. She has a daughter and a son, and four grandchildren. For 27 years, Thel was her husband John’s caregiver until his death in 2010.
Today, her life is devoted to her little dog, family and friends and she lives in Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Thel first became interested in family history when her husband was diagnosed with an inherited incurable disease and she wanted to find out more where it came from. She then discovered, at 56, a previously unknown half-sister in Scotland:
This post appeared last week in our German blog. We've translated it to help Gudrun Giesemann find her father.
We're now hoping to help Gudrun, who's been searching for her biological father for over 30 years. She's tried everything, without success. Now we're asking our readers for help. Each bit of information could be vitally important for Gudrun.
Here's her story:
For over 30 years, I've been searching for my biological father whom I've never met. When my mother died in 1989, she told me that his name was SIDNEY or SYDNEY SMITH. Unfortunately, there are a lot of spellings of this common name.
Our post on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking produced a breakthrough for a South African member of MyHeritage.
Christopher Brian Jennings (known as Brian), 44, of Johannesburg, South Africa became interested in family history as his elders aged. He realized that their wealth of information would disappear if he did not document the family.
Brian lives with his wife Adri, 44, and children Natasha, 19, and Michael, 15. He is an insurance industry director.
Now a Melbourne, Australia resident, Nghia (Neil) Huynh was born in Saigon, Vietnam.
The youngest of eight children, he is 54. His parents – from Bien Hoa and Di An – had lived in Saigon since the early 1940s. His father was a civil servant in the old South Vietnam government, and his mother took care of their large family.
We wish all of you celebrating it today, a Happy Mother's Day! May those mothers enjoy a day filled with fun, surrounded by family.
We asked you to share with us via our blog, Facebook page or Twitter, what makes your Mom special. We received some very moving responses from all over the world and selected our favorite ones for publication:
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.
As we approach Mother's Day, we focus our thoughts towards our mothers and think of ways to show our appreciation for all they do for us.
Mother’s Day is about reflecting on the special connection we have with our mothers and recalling the happy memories we share.
People say you learn to be parents from your parents. Does your mother share her mother’s characteristics or mannerisms? Do you?
On Sunday, May 13, (Mother's Day in the US), we'll be writing a special post, a tribute to all the mothers out there.
We'd like to hear from you as to what makes your mother special. Tell us in the comments below and we'll share some of your stories on the blog. If your story is published, send your mother the link. It's one of the many ways you could show her how much you care.
This is open to all, so please send us your story even if Mother's Day is celebrated on a different day in your country.
As my mother say's, every day should be Mother's day.
Searching for family involves using every tool available. Sometimes, there’s also a bit of divine intervention.
In Texas, Christy Landry and her family were going through a difficult period in March. Her husband, John, went to church and asked for a prayer for his family. The pastor told him that God would heal their family. They didn’t know how soon!
Christy shared their family story with MyHeritage.
She’ll never forget Monday, March 19. She was at the computer beginning the long process of doing their family tree (again), this time on MyHeritage.com.
I was going to redo the entire thing - this time with resources, evidence, and total assurance that I had it right. I began, like anyone else, by adding my name first, then my husband’s, our son and my husband’s father. I was about to add my parents when I saw the first SmartMatch. ’What’s this?’ I thought, as I clicked on it.
John (she calls him JJ) and Christy married in 2011 after being together for eight years. Born in Texas, she was raised near her entire extended family. A very tight-knit family, her parents’ home was the center for holidays and often some 30-60 people gathered there.
A fifth-generation New Zealander and MyHeritage user, Carol Marriott is working on a few mysteries of history involving her family, which arrived in 1842.
The Martha Ridgway was the sixth immigrant ship sent by the New Zealand Company.
Its second voyage left Liverpool on November 6, 1841, and arrived behind Boulder Bank in Nelson Haven on April 7, 1842.
Among the steerage class married couples were Charles, 30, and Sarah Inkersell, 32, who had registered with a New Zealand company agent in Burton-on-Trent, and Eli and Ellen Cropper, with their 3-month-old daughter Mary Ann, who had registered in Halifax.
In the overcrowded shared deck space surrounded by deaths, births, terrible storms and extreme temperatures, the two couples would have come to know each other well.