14    Dec 201545 comments

Holiday Competition: Win a tablet!

What was the most significant holiday gift you have ever received? Are there special family memories associated with it?

This is a guest post by Karen, MyHeritage's country manager for Germany.

Everyone knows that feeling of really wanting something with all your heart. For some, it may have been a first bike, a soccer ball, or maybe a special book. The gift that I dreamed of and wished for was a puppy. I remember the many months trying to convince my parents that I would be responsible and take care of a dog with love and affection. My parents kept trying to dissuade me of the idea. They told me the dog would mess up the house, eat our shoes, scratch the door, shed hair everywhere and that we would never again be able to take a vacation. Continue reading "Holiday Competition: Win a tablet!" »

11    Dec 20153 comments

FTM Users: Join MyHeritage and get Family Tree Builder with an Unlimited Size Family Site for Free

As you may have heard, Ancestry® has recently announced that it will no longer sell its Family Tree Maker® (FTM) software as of the end of this month, with further plans to discontinue support for the program.

At MyHeritage, we believe there is still a place in the world for genealogy software, and there is value in the ability to work offline, and enjoy more powerful functionality that many websites cannot offer. We also believe that people should be able to discover and preserve their family history on whatever platform they are comfortable with. That's why we are constantly innovating new technologies and enhancing our website, mobile apps and our Family Tree Builder genealogy software.

MyHeritage Family Tree Builder

So for all disappointed FTM users looking for alternative genealogy software, look no further! MyHeritage Family Tree Builder is the ideal tool to continue growing your family tree, and open new frontiers of research. You'll enjoy its innovative technologies and easy-to-use features.

Family Tree Builder is FREE and you can use it to build a tree of up to 100,000 individuals on your computer. This is not an imposed size limit, but rather a technical limitation, but if you have a larger tree, you can use our new version that's in beta.

Download Family Tree Builder now

Continue reading "FTM Users: Join MyHeritage and get Family Tree Builder with an Unlimited Size Family Site for Free" »

7    Dec 20150 comments

Huge Free Collection of Digitized Books Now Available on MyHeritage!

We've just added an exciting new collection to MyHeritage SuperSearch™, containing over 37 million pages in 150,000 books relevant to family history!

Search Compilation of Published Sources now

The new collection includes tens of thousands of digitized historical books, with actual images of the books' pages, and all their text extracted using Optical Character Recognition. The books span the last four centuries and include family, local and military histories, city and county directories, school and university yearbooks, church and congregational minutes and much more. A vast amount of rich data from diverse publications makes this collection a fantastic source of rare genealogical gems, providing insight into the lives of our ancestors and relatives.

We've added this collection using a new process that adds approximately 250 million pages to SuperSearch™ per year, utilizing a team of 40 curators. The curators examine each digitized book for relevance to family history research, and enhance its meta data if they decide to include it. The collection is sourced from various published texts that are copyright-free, and will be updated from now on several times each year.

The Compilation of Published Sources collection is located in SuperSearch™ under Books & Publications and is free to access. Easily search the collection by any of the following: first name, last name, publication title, publication date, publication place, or keywords. Continue reading "Huge Free Collection of Digitized Books Now Available on MyHeritage!" »

6    Dec 201522 comments

Guess Who?

It can be quite difficult to recognize someone from their childhood photo. Although some years have passed since this picture was taken, see if you can guess who this celebrity is:

Here are some clues to help out:

3    Dec 20150 comments

Maxima Chan Zuckerberg: Promise of the next generation

How will your family remember you in 100 years? What are your hopes and dreams for the next generation? We recently wrote about the importance of recording family history and making an effort to leave your children and grandchildren with lasting memories.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan welcomed their new baby girl, Max, into the world last week. Judging by what they've already accomplished in the short time that they've been parents, they're leaving her quite the legacy.

Continue reading "Maxima Chan Zuckerberg: Promise of the next generation" »

29    Nov 201522 comments

The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours

This is a guest post by genealogy professional Thomas MacEntee. He specializes in the use of technology and social media to improve genealogical research and as a means of interacting with others in the family history community. His latest endeavor is Genealogy Bargains, a way to save money on genealogy and family history products and services.

“Mommy? Where are you?”

At age four, I almost drowned in a lake at my father’s hunting camp in upstate New York. It is one of my earliest memories that remain with me to this day. I remember looking up from the water and seeing my mother reach down for me. I could see her, almost clearly, yet she could not see me. And time stood still.

My mother saved me that day after I had wandered away from the rest of the family and slipped on the wet grass along the bank of the lake. Luckily, it was only a few seconds after I fell in that she realized something had happened. While on her hands and knees at the water’s edge, she frantically reached around the murky bottom until she was able to grab the waist of my pants and pull me out.

I was saved that day. It was one of several times when this gentle yet strong woman would agitate the waters of my life, to save me and then soothe me to make those waters calm. Continue reading "The Power of Story: Yours, Mine and Ours" »

26    Nov 20151 comment

Thanksgiving: The holiday of travel

Thanksgiving is one of the year's busiest travel times in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Transportation, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by 54 percent around Thanksgiving.

Visiting friends and family is the single biggest reason Americans travel during the holidays. The visits account for 53 percent of all Thanksgiving trips. The average Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles. In 2012, AAA estimated that nearly 44 million people traveled during the holiday weekend - 90 percent traveled by car; the rest traveled by air, train or bus. Continue reading "Thanksgiving: The holiday of travel" »

24    Nov 201515 comments

The Woman Who Made Thanksgiving Happen

Year after year, Americans gather around the table on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many recognize its origins as connected to the 1621 Pilgrim feast and thanksgiving prompted by a good harvest, but few know the woman responsible for making the celebration official. Sarah Josepha Hale, author and poet, fought to institutionalize Thanksgiving. Through her efforts, it was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.

1863 letter from Hale to Lincoln discussing Thanksgiving. (Credit: Library of Congress)

This Thanksgiving is 152 years since the proclamation by President Lincoln, making it a national holiday. MyHeritage decided to locate the descendants of Sarah Hale and to look deeper into the legacy passed down through the generations of her family.

Sarah Josepha Buell was born October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. She married lawyer David Hale in 1813, and the couple had five children. A writer and influential editor, she wrote letters to politicians for 27 years advocating for Thanksgiving to become an official holiday. Until then, Thanksgiving was celebrated mainly in New England, and on different dates in each state.

Hale wrote letters to five different US presidents: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Although her initial letters failed to yield results, her letter to Lincoln convinced him to support 1863 legislation to establish the national holiday of Thanksgiving. Continue reading "The Woman Who Made Thanksgiving Happen" »

19    Nov 20150 comments

Our Volunteers: From Finland to England

As a leading place for families around the world to discover their family histories, it’s thanks to our many hardworking volunteers that all of MyHeritage's products and features are available in 42 languages.

Last month, we featured Yana's story. This month we spotlight another volunteer who makes it easier for families worldwide to build, preserve and share their family heritage.

Kaarina May is one of our Finnish volunteer translators. Born in Finland of Karelian heritage, Kaarina completed her folk school education in Helsinki and began work in an advertising agency. Before starting her apprenticeship as a layout artist, she received six months' leave to go traveling.

She went to England to improve her language skills and immediately met her future husband, Terry, and never returned to Finland or her apprenticeship. Kaarina began work in a London travel agency and qualified as an agency manager, trainer and internal verifier. She eventually moved into education, and earned a Cambridge University Certificate for Teaching English to Adults. Continue reading "Our Volunteers: From Finland to England" »

18    Nov 20150 comments

Lost Letters: A rare glimpse into the past

What if you could travel back to a specific time and place and get a real look at what life was like then? For 17th-century Europe, thousands of pieces of correspondence are now being unveiled, making time travel seem possible!

The trunk in which the letters were kept (Image credit: Hague Museum for Communication)

A recent article in The Guardian reports that a treasure trove of unopened letters from the 17th-century are now being studied after having been hidden away for many centuries in the Netherlands. Continue reading "Lost Letters: A rare glimpse into the past" »

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