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.
We were recently contacted by Omar Hossino, a MyHeritage user with Syrian roots. His story is particularly inspiring for many people around the world who are held back in their research by a lack of records and other information.
Omar's story demonstrates how MyHeritage helps people contact their family (in Omar's case, Syrian family members), build their family tree, learn about their family history and create a unique path of communication with relatives.
Omar's interview is below. We hope you find it as fascinating as we did.
Omar Hossino was born in West Virginia, but his family is originally from the small city of Salamieh in central Syria. He became interested in family tree research when he visited Syria and met many family members.
In 2011, I was happy to attend many genealogy conferences.
These events included the annual events of the National Genealogical Society (Charleston, South Carolina), Southern California Genealogical Jamboree (Burbank, California), IAJGS International Jewish Genealogy Conference (Washington, DC) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (Springfield, Illinois).
The first-ever World Festival showcasing diverse Jewish communities around the world and their unique traditions took place in the Mediterranean seaside resort city of Netanya – often called the Israeli Riviera.
Thousands of families flocked to the three-day festival from Sunday-Tuesday, 16-18 October. The timing was significant as it took place during Sukkot – the Feast of Booths – and a holiday of festivals took place throughout the country.
The festival especially attracted young families looking for a free, fun outing during the national holiday. More than 20 countries - including Canada, Ethiopia, Slovakia, Peru, Ukraine, South Africa, France, United States, Bulgaria, Argentina and Finland, among others - hosted traditional booths and displayed a hands-on approach to their individual ways of celebrating .The holiday features the common tradition of living in temporary structures during the week-long harvest holiday.
MyHeritage is all about reuniting families, so we were delighted to participate in the recent meeting of Ronald van der Voort (51) and his half-sister Anneliese (known as Anna) (70).
Ronald’s father - Cornelius Franziscus Staps – was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, although his paternal ancestors were from the Netherlands. Cornelius’ marriage to a German woman, Anna Baum, produced a daughter, Anneliese.
After the marriage dissolved, he returned to the Netherlands and left his daughter with his former wife. He hoped that Anna would visit him, although that was wishful thinking – he never saw her again. In fact, he went to Germany several times in attempts to find her, but those efforts were in vain.
Cornelius’ son Ronald, born in the Netherlands, grew up longing for his sister. Following the death of his father, Ronald began searching again. He looked for years with no success; his sister had seemingly disappeared.
Even popular TV shows couldn’t help him. The only lead during this entire time was a small piece of paper given to Ronald by a sympathetic town hall employee. The paper bore only the name of Anna’s step-father. Although searches for that name were attempted, nothing was found.
Anna grew up with her mother after her parents’ marriage ended. All she knew was her father’s name and that he was German. She lived in her hometown until her teens.
During her teens, Anna decided to study in the UK as part of a school program. When she applied for her passport, an official told her that she could not obtain a German passport because her father was, in fact, Dutch. That was quite a surprise!
In England, Anna found her true love. They married and moved to New Zealand where – nearly 50 years later – they still live. Unknown to her, Ronald lived 11,000 miles away in the Netherlands and was trying to find his sister.
When our MyHeritage team attended the recent Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) conference in Springfield, Illinois, we met Meredith Sellers of Champaign, Illinois.
Meredith is married, in her 20s and is a genealogy and Family History Center consultant. She had a nice chat with our Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz about her personal research success story and the family reunion she organized. Here is her story:
Meredith's experience with MyHeritage and charts
Meredith had read about MyHeritage on various genealogy blogs long before her family reunion, and while she had quickly and easily uploaded a GEDCOM file of her family tree, she had not explored the printing functionality at MyHeritage.
"As I brainstormed the best way to display over 300 family members in an easily understandable graphic format, I discovered MyHeritage's descendant fan chart," says Meredith.
She discovered that the chart-making interface synched directly with her existing GEDCOM data which allowed her to directly import names and dates. She was also able to change various aspects, such as background color, graphics and ornamental frame.
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.