2    Oct 20148 comments

Surname Secrets: What’s in a name?

A surname passes through many generations connecting family members with that common surname. Many people are also named after deceased relatives to honor those who came before.

Surnames first appeared in the Middle Ages as a way to record and document people and for tax purposes. Details included given names, nicknames, parents’ names, occupation and residence. This personal information later became an important part of the history of surnames.

Women brewsters in the early 1900s in Seattle. Image credit: THE SEATTLE TIMES ARCHIVE

We recently wrote about jobs that no longer exist, and it was common for our ancestors to have surnames based on their occupation such as Cook, Carpenter or Smith. By looking at their surnames, it often leads us to learn more about our relatives’ lives. Yet there are many occupational surnames with hidden meanings. Here are a few of our favorites: Continue reading "Surname Secrets: What’s in a name?" »

29    Sep 20142 comments

A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero

This year marks a century since the beginning of World War I. To commemorate, we share the touching story of Italian soldier Cesare Mele, from Sezze, south of Rome.

A view of ancient Sezze, in southern Italy

While the Central Powers consisted of Austria-Hungary and Germany, Italy decided to remain neutral in 1914, and eventually joined the Allies (France, UK and Russia) in May 1915. Once they entered the conflict, 650,000 Italian soldiers died, 947,000 were wounded, and 600,000 disappeared or were captured as prisoners of war.

MyHeritage user Lucia Fusco shared the story of Cesare Mele, her courageous great-uncle , who, through his self-sacrifice, was able to save his own family. Continue reading "A Sacrifice: The story of an Italian WWI hero" »

27    Sep 20143 comments

Accidental Discoveries: Penicillin, corn flakes and more!

This September marks 86 years since scientist Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928.

Unlike many inventions that come about from years of research and hard work, penicillin was an unexpected discovery. When Fleming, a professor of bacteriology, returned home from his two-week vacation, he began sorting through his petri dishes. He noticed mold had formed on his staphylococcus samples. This mold was actually a strain of Penicillium notatum which inhibited bacterial growth. The modern era of medicine hasn't been the same since.

Over the course of history, Fleming's discovery wasn't the only "accidental" invention.  Albert Einstein said, “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” You'll never know when an error may turn into a life-saving treatment or a Nobel Prize-winning invention.

Here are examples of other "accidental" discoveries: Continue reading "Accidental Discoveries: Penicillin, corn flakes and more!" »

24    Sep 20140 comments

New Collection Spotlight: New York State Deaths, 1957-1964

The New York State Death Index contains information on deaths recorded in New York State besides those in New York City.

This collection will help everyone interested in locating New York State death records from 1957 to 1964. The Index contains information on decedents, place and date of death, gender, age at death and the State file number.

Death certificates are a primary source for family information. They are typically issued within days of a death and contain many details about a person's  life.

Certificates often include age, birthplace, parents' names and birthplaces and the cause of death.

This specific database of New York State Deaths compliments the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).  While SSDI does contain some records for deaths as far back as the 1930s, it has very little coverage (as a percentage of the population) until the mid-1960s.

22    Sep 20140 comments

Enriching Your Family Tree: Photos, records and more!

Last week, we held a webinar on ways to enrich your family tree.

Adding information, photos and more are great ways to update and preserve your family history.

Our webinar demonstrated how to add multimedia, save and extract information from records and SmartMatches, personalizing your family site, adding sources and more!

Did you miss it? Don’t worry! Click the video below to watch the full webinar.

Don’t forget to check our other webinars for even more genealogy tips to help make family history research easier.

Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below. We hope to see you next time!

20    Sep 20144 comments

Old Photographs: Restored and Re-imagined

Australian photographer Jane Long is changing the way we look at old photos. In her series Dancing with Costica, she transforms photographs from the past, into dazzling imaginative images.

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. Continue reading "Old Photographs: Restored and Re-imagined" »

16    Sep 201445 comments

Discovering ancestry: Through our toes?

Some say that the eyes are a mirror into soul, but many experts will argue that it's the feet that can tell you much about a person.

While family trees and historical records are the more common tools leading to family history discoveries, our own bodies can teach us about our family heritage.

Reflexologists often claim that they are able to interpret a lot about a person's personality just from their feet. In Imre Somogyi's book, "The Language of the Feet," he writes how ancestry can be determined just by the shape of our feet.

Other people have turned to interpreting their heritage through zodiac signs, and even palm reading, to provide clues about their past and future.

Have you found any unique ways to learn more about your heritage? Does the above picture reflect your ancestry? Let us know in the comments below.

14    Sep 20143 comments

Webinar: How to enrich your family tree

MyHeritage is an excellent place to preserve and share your family memories by building your family tree and collaborating with others.

Join us for a free webinar: "Enriching your family tree: Photos, records and more!"

We’ll show you how to enhance your family tree and add more color to it. Learn how to upload your photos and videos, save records, enter notes and more.

Register for free here: https://www4.gotomeeting.com/register/335784095.

Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014.

Time:
10 AM Los Angeles
1 PM New York
6 PM London

(To find the time of the webinar at your location, use this Time Zone Converter.)

Have a question on how to enrich your family tree? Leave a comment below and we'll try to answer as many as we can during the webinar. Looking forward to see you online!

11    Sep 201411 comments

Tools of the Trade: Newspaper research

Local notes from the Spanish American newspaper (pg 12; February 6, 1905, Roy, Mora County, New Mexico)

MyHeritage's US genealogy advisor, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, describes how historic newspapers add life to our family trees.

Old newspapers are treasure troves of family information. If your family lived for a long time in one location, then local papers likely hold information about your relatives.

Such details include birth, marriage and death announcements. If your ancestors owned businesses, there may be legal records or advertisements. Social announcements, real estate records, school graduations, athletic events and even the costs of consumer goods at the time can provide a glimpse into your family and also provide a backdrop as to what life was like for them at a certain point in history.

In the Spanish American (published in Roy, Mora County, New Mexico) page 12 of the February 6, 1906 edition offers local notes such as these (see left). We learn who went where and why, business announcements and who was sick. If your family is one of those mentioned, here’s a very personal look into what happened around that time.

No matter where you live around the world, local historic newspapers provide fascinating information available nowhere else.

Although current events and major historic events are of great interest, it is the personal and cultural reporting that may be of more interest to family historians. Consumer goods are only one area of life detailed in historic newspapers, and those published in major ports (such as San Francisco and New York City) published ship arrivals, the cargo carried, as well as passengers. Continue reading "Tools of the Trade: Newspaper research" »

9    Sep 20142 comments

Thank you to our volunteers: MyHeritage supports 40 languages

MyHeritage is proud to be a worldwide family network available in 40 languages.

Since our first day, we have been committed to providing our tools and features in the native languages of our users. This effort has been made possible thanks to our many volunteers.

This dedicated group of users are always willing to donate their time and we are so very thankful to them.

However, some of our language translations are still incomplete. More volunteers are always needed and welcome.

We encourage others to volunteer and help with this important task. If you would like to volunteer, send an email to translate@myheritage.com.

Continue reading "Thank you to our volunteers: MyHeritage supports 40 languages" »

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