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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Although 60 years may separate two photos, the face is the same. The smile is the same. The ears, the eyes. Although two generations have passed, it’s as if the two photos captured the same person at different moments in time.
Genetics play a role in the similarities between us, regardless of being a blood relative. For example, a man in Australia could be genetically identical by 99.9% to a person on another continent who is not his relative. Yet, that 0.1% makes all the difference.
We recently held a look-alike photo competition for which we asked users to send in look-alike photos of family members from different generations. The results were incredible. Here is one example below:
Today we commemorate the brave men and women in your families who fought for their countries. Earlier this week, we asked you to send in stories and photographs of your family's war heroes. By paying tribute to them and to their sacrifices, we hope to remember them and to preserve their legacies. Lest we forget.
We recently hosted a webinar with expert genealogist Schelly Talalay Dardashti about discovering more about our ancestor's daily lives.
Schelly covered an extensive array of aspects of our ancestors' lives that we can research to get a better idea of their lifestyle and the times that they lived in.
Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click the video below to watch the full webinar.
Across generations and around the world, families have been affected by war. Relatives have had to put aside family life in service of their country, and some even made the ultimate sacrifice.
For many, the act of remembering the fallen heroes of past wars is not just of national significance; it's also familial and personal. We pay our respects to the brave men and women who fought for their countries, and who are also remembered by the relatives who lost them.
We're delighted to introduce Search Connect™, a unique innovation released today that allows you to connect with other MyHeritage members who are searching for the same ancestors and people as you. Collaboration through Search Connect™ can open new doors, and provide exciting discoveries about your family history.
Search Connect™ includes millions of searches made by MyHeritage members. It allows you to find other users who searched for the people you are looking for, and to view the full data of their search (such as dates, places, relatives and more), as well as similar searches they've made. If you find a result that seems relevant or useful, you can contact the person who conducted the search and get in touch to exchange more information.
Excitement builds as we approach the holidays and preparations get underway. Family holiday cards are a longstanding Christmas tradition, and to many, an integral part of the lead-up to the holiday season. Each year, over 3 billion Christmas cards are sent in the US alone.
The very first Christmas card was commissioned by a UK government worker, Sir Henry Cole, in 1843 when he was too busy to write to his friends himself. Printed in black and white, they were originally colored by hand.
Only a handful of the 1,000 originally printed were sold, probably because of their prohibitively expensive price of one shilling.
It was only many years later that the tradition caught on. Sending cards became even more popular in Victorian times (1870s) when the cost of mailing Christmas cards dropped to a half-penny.
In the US, the first Christmas cards were produced in the late 1840s, but were too expensive for most people. They became more affordable in 1875, when a German printer began mass-producing them. In 1915, John C. Hall and two of his brothers created Hallmark Cards, still one of the biggest sellers of Christmas cards today!
Here at MyHeritage, we're searching for your oldest family Christmas card. What's the oldest Christmas card that you have in your family? Send it to us at email@example.com.