10    Jun 201427 comments

The Father Behind Father’s Day

Father's Day is coming up at the end of the week. It's a special day when we honor our fathers and grandfathers and celebrate our paternal bonds.

The idea for Father's Day originated in the United States with Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington. She was inspired by Mother's Day, the special day to honor our mothers, and felt it would be right to create a day to honor fathers. She wanted to honor her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran. William had single-handedly raised his motherless children on an eastern Washington farm.

Sonora described her father as “both mother and father to us for 21 years.” He had five children with his first wife who died, six with his second wife who also died, and raised three stepchildren from his second wife's children from a previous marriage. He was a real family man! Continue reading "The Father Behind Father’s Day" »

5    Jun 20142 comments

We Are Family: Sibling bands

Today we spotlight some families that got along well with each other, and also shared the same musical talents and worked together on a daily basis. These family bands toured and performed together over the years.

Here are some of our favorite sibling bands:

Jackson 5
The Jackson siblings are possibly the best-known sibling act in history. Founded in 1964, the five brothers  -Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, Marlon and Michael - began singing in talent shows before they entered the professional scene. The Jackson 5 showcased the then tiny Michael Jackson's talents as a solo artist. Continue reading "We Are Family: Sibling bands" »

3    Jun 20140 comments

MyHeritage: Heading to Jamboree

We're getting ready for the 45th annual SCGS Jamboree conference, organized by the Southern California Genealogical Society, which will be held June 5-8.

This year's theme is “Golden Memories: Discovering Your Family History.” The focus is on our European ancestors. Class sessions are scheduled for German, Irish, English/UK, Scotland, Eastern Europe, Italian, Mennonite, Swedish, and Russian, as well as African American and Jewish classes. An entire day (Thursday, June 5)  is dedicated to learning about family history through DNA.

The conference offers speakers, exhibitors, class sessions and special events, and will be held in Burbank, California, from Thursday through Sunday, June 5-8, 2014. Continue reading "MyHeritage: Heading to Jamboree" »

2    Jun 20141 comment

Poll: Favorite family activities

Spending time with family helps strengthen our bonds with our relatives. We all have so many daily commitments that it is difficult to find ways to spend quality time with those we love. It is important to make the most of the time that we do have together.

How do you spend time with your family? Let us know in the survey below. Continue reading "Poll: Favorite family activities" »

31    May 201425 comments

Old Household Appliances: Cherished family heirlooms

Growing up in my house, we used a very old pop-up toaster to make our morning toast. When I say old, I mean very, very old. It was no longer shiny, but the metal and strong base shouted durability.

As a young child, I actually thought it was from ancient times. It turns out, it wasn't really medieval, but rather a present that my grandparents had received as a newly married couple in the 1950s.

This toaster worked perfectly every single day without fail, turning our bread a light brown color and popping out the pieces just in time. It was a no-fail piece of cookery. Continue reading "Old Household Appliances: Cherished family heirlooms" »

30    May 20140 comments

Story Competition: Our winners’ words

Thank you to everyone who entered our competition to share their stories.

We received so many amazing entries - tales of intrigue, mystery and discovery - with exciting twists and turns.

In genealogy, discoveries are not an end, but rather a beginning. Each door opened may lead to many more discoveries over time.

We hope to showcase the stories individually, although we are sharing excerpts from the winners below:

Barbara's maternal grandmother Clara, her brother James Walter, and stepbrother Frank Mann (c. early-1900s)

Barbara Chase (USA)
-- Finding ancestors on my father's side of the family was pretty easy - there has been a lot of family record keeping. Continue reading "Story Competition: Our winners’ words" »

28    May 20140 comments

Webinar Video: The largest family reunion ever with A.J. Jacobs

We recently hosted a webinar with well-known author, journalist, editor, and genealogist AJ Jacobs.

He spoke about his  journey towards discovering his family history, and about his plans for the largest family reunion ever, to be held in New York City in June!

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

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

Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below.

23    May 20141 comment

Memorial Day: Search Military Records for Free

On Memorial Day we remember the brave men and women who fought and died while serving in the US military.

On this Memorial Day, learn more about your ancestors who served their country by searching millions of military records. MyHeritage is offering free access to millions of military records all weekend, through May 26.

Search now

Continue reading "Memorial Day: Search Military Records for Free" »

20    May 20140 comments

Levis: From a quick fix to the world’s best-selling jeans

Levi's jeans are well known throughout the world for their quality and durablility, but do you know the history of how the jeans were were originally created by Levi Strauss for gold miners in the 1800s' California Gold Rush?

In 1853, Levi Strauss, a German Jewish immigrant, moved to San Francisco to open a branch of his brother's wholesale dry goods store. He began selling clothing, blankets, fabrics and other items to small stores throughout the region.

One of his customers, Jacob Davis, was a Latvian Jewish immigrant, in Reno, Nevada. As a tailor, Jacob frequently purchased bolts of denim cloth from Levi Strauss & Co.'s wholesale house. Davis found himself repeatedly reinfocing torn pants, and had an idea to to use copper rivets to reinforce the pants at stress points. He added rivets to the button fly and pocket corners.

Davis knew that the idea would take off, but he didn't have the money required to obtain a patent, so he wrote to Strauss suggesting that they go into business together.
Continue reading "Levis: From a quick fix to the world’s best-selling jeans" »

19    May 20142 comments

Nostalgia: Smells of the past

Nostalgia is defined as sentimentality about the past, typically for a time or place remembered with happy personal associations.

The word nostalgia comes from a combination of two Greek words, νόστος (nóstos), meaning "homecoming," and ἄλγος (álgos), meaning "pain, ache."

It is attributed to a 17th-century medical student to describe anxieties displayed by Swiss mercenaries fighting away from home.

It can be brought on by many different associations. Memories can be stirred when looking at old photos of people and places, listening to a song that takes you back to when you first heard it, or tasting something familiar from your childhood.

Sensory expert Professor Barry Smith says that "Smell, more than any other sense, can evoke powerful, emotional memories. Whole scenes of people, places and things can be brought back to life by the hint of a long forgotten scent." Continue reading "Nostalgia: Smells of the past" »

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