25    Jan 20132 comments

Australia Day: Do you celebrate?

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

January 26 marks Australia's national holiday, Australia Day.

Australia Day celebrates the establishment of the first settlement in Port Jackson (which is now Sydney Harbour), in 1788.

What's known as the "First Fleet", consisted of 11 ships that set sail from Great Britain and landed on this day at the Port. By 1808, January 26 was celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day”.

In 1818, the Governor of Australia gave all government employees a day off, and in the years that followed, bank employees, and other employees, were also given a holiday day.

Continue reading "Australia Day: Do you celebrate?" »

31    Jul 20128 comments

MyHeritage: Family history with challenges

Sylvia Baker

Sylvia Baker

People look into their family history for all sorts of reasons. Australian Sylvia Baker, 62, had some special reasons for asking questions.

Born Wilhelmina Cornelia Steeneveld in Delft, Netherlands, Sylvia immigrated to Australia in 1957; lived in Matraville, NSW for five years; and later in Montrose, Victoria. Now retired, she lives in Manjimup, Western Australia and previously worked as a bookkeeper.

She was married to Lambertus Tip, and had two sons, Angus (born Wayne) and Jeffrey (now deceased).

Sylvia attended three years of primary school, began working and then married. At 37, she returned to school and began learning from the beginning!

Continue reading "MyHeritage: Family history with challenges" »

6    Jun 20122 comments

Australia: Family mysteries revealed

There are many reasons why people become interested in their family history. It may be because of an inherited condition or the discovery of a previously unknown relative.

MyHeritage member Thelma (known as Thel) Brooks’ story includes both!

Born in Sydney, Australia, Thel’s interests were dancing, swimming and tennis. These days, it’s family history.

Now in her 70s and retired, she was a hospital office manager for most of her working life.

Married at 22, she and her husband, William John Brooks, were together for nearly 50 years. She has a daughter and a son, and four grandchildren. For 27 years, Thel was her husband John’s caregiver until his death in 2010.

John and Thel, 2008

John and Thel, 2008

Today, her life is devoted to her little dog, family and friends and she lives in Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Thel first became interested in family history when her husband was diagnosed with an inherited incurable disease and she wanted to find out more where it came from. She then discovered, at 56, a previously unknown half-sister in Scotland: Continue reading "Australia: Family mysteries revealed" »

24    May 20123 comments

MyHeritage: A Saigon story

MyHeritage members live around the world. Here’s one member’s story!

Now a Melbourne, Australia resident, Nghia (Neil) Huynh was born in Saigon, Vietnam.

The youngest of eight children, he is 54. His parents – from Bien Hoa and Di An – had lived in Saigon since the early 1940s. His father was a civil servant in the old South Vietnam government, and his mother took care of their large family.

Neil's family

Neil's family: His parents (from left), Huynh Thang Nhut and Dinh Thi Quyen; sisters Huynh Thi Xuan Hoang, Huynh Thi Xuan Ha; brother, Huynh Thang Toan.

Continue reading "MyHeritage: A Saigon story" »

2    May 20120 comments

Down Under: A visit to Australia

Daniel Horowitz, MyHeritage's chief genealogistMyHeritage's chief genealogist, Daniel Horowitz, recently visited Australia. Here's his report.

In March, I traveled “down under” to Australia.

I was invited by the South Australian Genealogical & Historical Society (SAGHS) to present a keynote talk at the 13th Australasian Congress on Genealogy & Heraldry. I spoke about how we share and preserve memories in today’s digital age. In addition, I presented a program about MyHeritage’s unique and well-known facial recognition technology, which helps researchers discover relatives in family photos.

The conference was a wonderful experience, and I enjoyed meeting some long time genealogy community friends and speaking with regional experts. While staffing our exhibit hall booth, I greeted MyHeritage users and informed others about the advantages and features MyHeritage offers. Continue reading "Down Under: A visit to Australia" »

7    Mar 20123 comments

Australia: MyHeritage chief genealogist to speak

MyHeritage’s chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz will visit Australia this month to speak at the 13th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Adelaide.

Always busy, this trip follows his recent participation at Who Do You Think You Are Live! in London.

He'll also speak in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on general genealogy topics and what MyHeritage and WorldVitalRecords offers to family historians and genealogists.

He has a multi-faceted role at MyHeritage. With more than 20 years of genealogy experience, Daniel provides key contributions in product development, customer support and public relations; working with genealogy societies, bloggers and media; as well as speaking and attending conferences around the world. He also heads our translation department, where he has been instrumental in increasing MyHeritage’s global support for 38 languages for our website and software.
Continue reading "Australia: MyHeritage chief genealogist to speak" »

9    Feb 20126 comments

Family history: Before it’s too late!

Today I read a moving article in The Guardian - “Top five regrets of the dying." It made me wonder about my own life. The first thing that came to mind was my family history project.

The article is based on Australian nurse Bronnie Ware, who spent several years working in hospice care with patients in the last few months of their lives. She included the patients' comments in a blog, Inspiration and Chai and authored a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Among the common regrets:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected.
  2. I wish I had not worked so hard. Continue reading "Family history: Before it’s too late!" »
16    Nov 20112 comments

News from MyHeritage Australia – 16 November 2011

This is a guest post by Shauna Hicks.

Shauna is a professional genealogist, former archivist and librarian who has been researching her own family history since 1977.

She is also a MyHeritage member.

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Genealogists for Families

The Genealogists for Families project established by Brisbane genealogist Judy Webster in October, is big news in Australian genealogy circles.

Since first gaining popularity in Australia, genealogists from around the world have joined the project and are helping to further publicise it.

What’s it all about? In a nutshell, a team of genealogists and their families have joined together to help families in low-income areas. The project slogan is We care about families (past, present and future).

Continue reading "News from MyHeritage Australia – 16 November 2011" »

20    Sep 20111 comment

Interview: Jeanette Finlayson – Central Queensland Family History Association

This week we talk to Jeanette Finlayson from the Central Queensland Family History Association. Queensland is a large state in Australia’s northeast.
 

Tell us a bit about yourself, Jeanette. How did you get into family history research and why are you so heavily involved with it now?

I am a retired teacher. Many years ago, I was having a conversation with one of my cousins from my Mother’s side. He was saying how fortunate we were that our ancestors had the foresight to migrate to this country. Of course, I agreed with him, and then thought how little I actually knew about their story, so I decided that as soon as I retired I would find out as much as I could about my maternal German ancestors and my Irish paternal ancestors. I have now been researching for 14 years, and have been richly rewarded by what I have found, and the people I have met. The story of my ancestors was one of hardship and sacrifices, and required great courage in their fight for survival in their new country. I am greatly indebted to them for the comfortable life I have today.

Continue reading "Interview: Jeanette Finlayson – Central Queensland Family History Association" »

5    Sep 20110 comments

News from MyHeritage Australia – 5 September 2011

This is a guest post by Shauna Hicks.

Shauna is a professional genealogist, former archivist and librarian who has been researching her own family history since 1977.

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This month is a big one for genealogy events. Last week in Victoria was the Unlock the Past history and genealogy expo at Geelong with over 70 exhibitors and 36 presentations. MyHeritage had a special presence with inserts in every show bag and they were joined by a large number of the leading genealogy and family history associations from Victoria and Australia who exhibited over the two days. I've posted a wrap up of the event over on my blog for those who weren't able to attend.

For New South Wales genealogists, there is the annual conference of the NSW & ACT Association of Family History Societies, 16-18 September in Inverell. There is a great program of talks and exhibitors  but unfortunately I can’t make it this year. I just hope someone blogs it! Continue reading "News from MyHeritage Australia – 5 September 2011" »

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