Contributing author Schelly Talalay Dardashti is the US Genealogy Advisor for MyHeritage.com
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.
Do you have Scandinavian roots? Interested to learn how to find out about those ancestors?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How much do you know about the lives that your ancestors lived?
Many of us know their names and, if we are lucky, we have dates, professions and stories about our distant ancestors. However, many questions still remain. There are some essential day-to-day activities of our ancestors that we may know little or nothing about.
Did your great-grandfather cut ice for a living? Perhaps your grandmother was a switchboard operator and connected calls from house to house?
There are so many professions that our ancestors once followed that are now extinct today.
Here are 10 examples of professions that no longer exist:
1) A scissors-grinder was a street merchant that sharpened the blades of knives and scissors. He would call out in the streets or knock at the doors to try and get business. He worked the stone grinding wheel with his foot using a treadle.