20    Sep 20158 comments

Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile

We remember our ancestors by their photos, which provide small glimpses into their world, and bring them to life once again. If preserved properly, photos offer lasting impressions for future generations.

When looking at old photos of our ancestors, it's easy to wonder what they were thinking at that moment. Their ambiguous expressions leave us questioning. Were they happy? Were they sad?

It's extremely rare to find 19th-century photos where people are smiling or showing any emotion. What's the story behind their stony and serious stares? Continue reading "Old Photos: Why our ancestors didn’t smile" »

20    Aug 20156 comments

Do You Have Progonoplexia?

Have you ever heard of progonoplexia?

According to Wikipedia, progonoplexia, from the Greek word Προγονοπληξια is roughly translated as "ancestoritis," or a deep obsession with one's ancestry.

Learning about one's roots was a huge part of Greek identity; being able to brag about ancestors and their past glories. The word was coined to describe the modern Greek people’s preoccupation with discovering their ancient past.

It's an obsession that has lasted over time.

In today's world, the genealogy "bug" has taken over. It is now the second most common pastime in the United States. We are questioning, curious beings. Continue reading "Do You Have Progonoplexia?" »

18    Jun 20156 comments

Family: Planning a roots trip?

Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com

Are you planning a family roots trip in the future? If so, it's time to make plans.

Whether you stay at home or plan an international trip, the basics are the same: Decide where you are going and what information you would like to find. Contact local historic or genealogical societies in the area for more information, and see below for even more suggestions.

Make a list of your names of interest and the towns your ancestors lived in. Try to group the towns regionally, by a particular geographic area. If this is an ambitious trip, you may want to make several groupings of towns.

A good way to put everything into perspective is to get a big map of the region you are planning to explore. Go to your local office supply store and pick up a few packages of colored transparent removable adhesive dots - they come in all sizes. Using the transparent ones mean you won't cover up important information.

Color-code your map. For example, put a red dot for the town, a blue dot for the cemetery, a yellow dot for archives, courthouses or libraries, and a green dot for possible accommodations. Use other colors for restaurants or other landmarks.

And, if your family is coming with you, mark sites they would like to visit with you or on their own, while you are digging through archives and cemeteries. Pay attention to fun places like water parks, amusement parks, a beach, music festivals or childrens' museums. Remember that cemeteries are not high on other people's must-see lists. Continue reading "Family: Planning a roots trip?" »

8    Apr 20150 comments

Webinar: Discover your Scandinavian ancestors

Do you have Scandinavian roots? Interested to learn how to find out about those ancestors?

In honor of our recent addition of millions of new Scandinavian records recently added online, we’re offering a free webinar to help advance your Scandinavian family history research.

Join Mike Mansfield, MyHeritage Director of Content Production and Jason Oler, MyHeritage Senior Program Manager, as they provide research tips and tools to help navigate these new records to help you explore your family history and make new discoveries. Continue reading "Webinar: Discover your Scandinavian ancestors" »

6    Jan 20156 comments

Recreating family photos: Honoring our ancestors

Photographs are a great inspiration to see family similarities, past and present. Have you ever been told that you resemble an ancestor?

We often see old photographs and want to learn the stories behind the faces in our family tree. Christine McConnell decided to take this further and actually "become" her ancestors in a beautiful portrait series.

Honoring seven generations of women on her maternal lineage, Christine recreated these photos using herself and showed them side by side. The similarities are uncanny and demonstrate how family connections also extend to appearances.

Martha (born 1821) Great-great-great-grandmother (Image credit: Christine McConell)

Continue reading "Recreating family photos: Honoring our ancestors" »

10    Dec 20143 comments

Introducing Instant Discoveries™

We're delighted to announce the launch of Instant Discoveries™, a new, free experience that makes it easier for new users to embark on their genealogical journey.

Imagine - if at the very moment you signed up to MyHeritage - you were handed a never-before-seen photo of your great-grandmother? Or, if you were given a family tree branch with many of your ancestors, just by entering some basic information? Discoveries can be magical and help engage newcomers to family history and introduce them to this fascinating activity.

With Instant Discoveries™, it takes only seconds for people who sign up to MyHeritage to discover ancestors and create an online family tree with many relatives and photos. After perfecting the technology, we took Instant Discoveries™ to the streets of New York and successfully demonstrated it to passers-by. It was incredible to see their emotional reactions which you can watch in the short video above.
Continue reading "Introducing Instant Discoveries™" »

8    Dec 20143 comments

Family Recipe: Grandmother’s famous sweet potatoes

We recently asked for your favorite family recipes and the stories and photos behind them. Recipes are often handed down from generation to generation. They are a link to our past and provide  a connection to the special people and events in our family's history.

We received so many great responses that we're excited to include the highlights in our MyHeritage Holiday Cookbook. It will soon be available for download on our blog, just in time for the holidays!

We wanted to showcase one of the many heartwarming family stories that we received over the past few weeks.

Irene Jeppsen from Afton, Wyoming sent in her grandmother's sweet potato dish. She chose to enter the recipe to honor her grandmother's memory and highlight the memories of her ancestors. Although she is unsure of the origins of the recipe, she believes it came from her grandmother.

A family photo taken at Irene's grandparents J.R. and Lera Maughan's Golden Wedding in 1959. Irene

This was the sweet potato recipe served by my grandmother Lera Clark Maughan (1889-1974). She was an excellent and creative cook. My mother Alice Maughan Neilson also made this Thanksgiving dish. It is a light version of the often calorie-choked sweet potatoes served at most holiday meals. Continue reading "Family Recipe: Grandmother’s famous sweet potatoes" »

22    Nov 20141 comment

Discover Your Military Ancestors

We recently hosted a webinar - "Discover your military ancestors" - featuring two of MyHeritage's experts: director of content production Mike Mansfield and UK genealogy expert Laurence Harris.

The webinar included an overview of our matching technologies to advance your family history research for ancestors in the military, as well as hints and tips for searching through MyHeritage's military record collections (available in SuperSearch) to learn more about the roles your ancestors played during times of war.

Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click on 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.

9    Nov 20143 comments

Webinar: Discover your military ancestors

Do you have ancestors who fought and died in service? Would you like to learn more about their military history?

In honor of Remembrance Day and Veterans Day on November 11, we’re offering a special free webinar about digging deeper into military records to uncover the stories of your ancestors' pasts.

Continue reading "Webinar: Discover your military ancestors" »

16    Oct 20145 comments

Just like our ancestors: Shared personalities

Has anyone ever said that you speak exactly like your grandfather?

We often talk about resemblances and physical similarities between ourselves and our ancestors - perhaps it's the same smile as a cousin, or the identical eyes of a grandparent.

However, our physical appearance may not be the only connection passed through generations. Not only can we look like our ancestors, but we can act like them as well.

Continue reading "Just like our ancestors: Shared personalities" »

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