Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com
How good is your memory?
Many years ago, when I was very new at the genealogy game, I really believed I could accurately remember where I had discovered every bit of family data. And - for awhile - I actually could do that.
However, as the years went by, the numbers of people in my trees increased - while my brain cells seemed to decrease - it became impossible. Sometimes, I would write the information on a scrap of paper. We all know what happens to a scrap of paper stuck in a bag or pocket.
At one point, I had to stop all new research and backtrack, almost to the beginning of my quest, to fill in all those blanks.
Fortunately, I had even saved some of those scraps of paper on which I had scribbled information while visiting archives and libraries. To preserve them, I had taped them onto regular sheets of white paper. Eventually, I transferred that data to the family tree software I used, but the scraps didn't cover all my research.
There are times when it seems we are looking into a mirror when we look at an ancestor’s photo. Remember hearing from your family that you look like your grandfather?
Take two photos side-by-side. They were taken 60 years apart, one is in color the other an old black-and-white photo. Yet, the two photos are eerily similar as if it's the same person.
Do you have any photos that make you do a double take? We want to see the uncanny resemblances you and your ancestors have, and we're offering one lucky winner the chance to win a family photo shoot.
Send in your family photos, and details about who are in the photos to email@example.com by June 15, 2015 for a chance to win. We'll post our favorite photos on the blog.
Looking forward to see your photos.
Please note that entering this competition means you agree to the terms and conditions.
Contributing writer Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com
Wouldn't it be great to get your far-flung family together and meet them in person? E-mail and Skype only go so far.
Some families plan reunions every year or two, while some have been meeting annually for decades. Others have never organized a formal get-together.
We've been talking about this for our Dardashti family - there are so many relatives that we'll need a football stadium. Several years ago, we had a mini-reunion with descendants of six Talalay branches. It was probably the first time in more than 100 years that that these branches had been together since the late 1890s, when many cousins began leaving Belarus and Russia for the US. We were all stunned by the familial and personality resemblance within the group, which included those who had remained in the ancestral towns until only very recently.
Don't forget that your family website at MyHeritage is a great way to communicate with reunion attendees. Share pre-event planning and programs. Then provide - after the event - photos and videos for the whole family to see. It will encourage those who didn't attend to show up next time.
Imagine going on a journey back 125 years and across continents. That's what Anna, from Sweden, will be doing as she flies across the world to Australia to travel to her ancestors' towns and learn about them.
Anna will be documenting her genealogical trip to learn more about her roots on her blog. Here is her first post, originally published on our Swedish blog.
I'm nervous, excited, tingly and happy, and a bit fearful to be going on this journey. However, there is a huge difference in traveling now than in 1890 when Oskar decided to go on his journey. He left his job, family and friends for an adventure filled with uncertainty in search for something new. Today, that level of fear isn't as necessary with all our technologies that connect us to our family no matter where we live. It's easy to stay in touch with our loved ones, unlike 125 years ago.
Her post continues:
Whether you are a family historian or just someone interested in learning about their family’s heritage, there are certain things only a genealogist will understand.
You’ve been hit with the genealogy bug if…
- When introducing someone you say, “this is my sister’s grandmother’s father’s son.”
- You are more interested in what happened in 1815 than in 2015.
Debating whether to explore your roots? Trying to persuade a relative or friend to start their family history research?
Here are nine reasons why family history is important to persuade you - or others - to begin learning about your heritage.
1. The Queen? Elvis? Who knows, they may be your distant cousins. You may find you're related to someone famous or be linked to royalty!
2. Leave a legacy for future generations. Do you want to leave something important to your children and grandchildren? Don't leave it to someone else, start preserving family memories and stories for them.
3. Document your life as a piece of living history.
Imagine a boy named Emma or a girl named Joshua. Sounds strange? Sounds normal? In Finland, these gender-switching names may become a reality.
The current Finish naming law, dating from 1985, is about to be obsolete. Until now, the law banned giving a female child a male name, and a male child a female name, but a new proposal may change that.
The law, considered controversial by some, would allow parents to give their children names regardless of the gender to which they might be associated. However, chosen names may not be offensive, inappropriate or incite harm to children.
Last month, we announced that Instant Discoveries™ are now available to all MyHeritage users, allowing our users to add entire branches to their family tree in just a few clicks. Many of our users have already been enjoying these Discoveries every day, and you can see this in near real-time using our exciting Discovery World Map.
Today we are introducing a useful new feature that lets you see the Discoveries available for you right in your family tree, in their exact context. For example, if a branch connected to your great-grandmother, which includes her father or mother, is missing in your family tree, but found by MyHeritage in another tree, you’ll see a special yellow card above your great-grandmother’s profile labeled “Discovery!”
Hover over the Discovery card to learn more about it: a tooltip will open describing the Discovery and specifying how many missing relatives it can add to your tree and the source of the information.
When it comes to family, the more time spent together, the better the chance to bond over quality experiences. Traditionally, mothers stayed at home and fathers were the family breadwinners -often rarely seeing their children.
In the past few decades, however, things have changed, and fathers spend seven times more with their children than in the 1970s. While the time is still much lower than that of mothers, there is an awareness for more equal family roles.
Interestingly, last week also marked the UN’s International Day of Families, celebrated each May 15 for over 20 years. The day is also meant to reflect on the importance of family, as well as to increase knowledge and awareness on social, economic and demographic issues that affect families around the world. Each year has a theme; this year it is gender equality in the contemporary family.
We’re excited to be at NGS 2015, taking place May 13-16 in St. Charles, Missouri.
The National Genealogical Society (NGS) was established in 1903 in Washington, DC to serve and grow the genealogical community through education, training, promoting access to and preserving genealogical records.