13    Dec 20144 comments

Christmas 1914: A holiday truce

This Christmas marks 100 years since the famous Christmas truce of WWI, in 1914.

During a stormy winter of fighting between the two sides, a widespread but unofficial truce emerged in the week leading up to - and on - the holiday. German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and to sing songs between their trenches. There were even occasions where soldiers walked over to opposing sides to talk to their counterparts and exchange gifts.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the soldiers put aside their differences for a few hours. Many of them - from both sides - ventured into "no man's land," where they met and exchanged food and souvenirs, and sang carols together.

German and British soldiers meeting in no man's land, December 26, 1914

It is said that at the first light of dawn on Christmas Day, some German soldiers emerged from their trenches and approached the Allied lines calling out "Merry Christmas." The Allied soldiers were wary at first, thinking it might be a trick, but when they saw the Germans approach them unarmed, they climbed out of their trenches as well, and shook hands with the enemy. Continue reading "Christmas 1914: A holiday truce" »

6    Dec 20141 comment

Family historians: Perfect holiday gifts

The holidays are fast approaching, and they will be here before we know it.

Do you know what you are getting your friends and family for the holidays this year? What about for the genealogists in your family?

It can be relatively easy to find a present for your family's family historians since they appreciate practical gifts.

  • Genealogists spend a lot of time researching and collecting information. In their line of "work," it is important to stay neat and organized. They may like a new pencil case with office supplies such as pencils, paper clips, a stapler, Post-it stickers and labels. Continue reading "Family historians: Perfect holiday gifts" »
29    Nov 20142 comments

Historical Masterpieces: ‘Downton Abbey’ and more

Recently, many historical television series have become very popular. What is it about this genre that appeals to us? What draws us to them?

Perhaps it's about getting a glimpse of what life was like in times gone by. We feel more connected to our ancestors when we learn more about their lives and times. It's the same feeling that draws many of us to genealogy and family history research. The achievements and struggles faced by our ancestors serve as lessons for our own future. After all, history is known to repeat itself.

One such show is the British series, "Downton Abbey," which has swept a nation and also has become popular in other countries, as well. It is now  into its fifth season.

Downton Abbey (Image credit: ITV)

"Downton Abbey" follows the Crawley family through major events in history, showing the effects on their lives. The series opened with news of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, followed by the outbreak of the WWI, the Spanish influenza pandemic, and the Marconi scandal in the second season. It dealt with the interwar period and the formation of the Irish Free State in the third season, the Teapot Dome scandal in the fourth, and the general election of 1923 in the UK in the current season. Continue reading "Historical Masterpieces: ‘Downton Abbey’ and more" »

25    Dec 20132 comments

Happy Holidays from MyHeritage

Today only, share this link with your family and friends and have them sign up for a free MyHeritage account to build a family tree and discover new relatives and ancestors (you can as well, if you don't have an account already): http://bit.ly/GZrCjp

Anyone that starts a free account today using this link will be entered into a draw to win one of the following ten prizes: Continue reading "Happy Holidays from MyHeritage" »

24    Dec 2013121 comments

Holiday Contests: Win a MyHeritage Premium account!

Yesterday we asked you to caption a photo for a chance to win a digital camera.

Today, we're continuing our week of holiday giveaways!

For a chance to win today's contest, guess the year that this Christmas photo was taken. We'll give the first 10 correct answers a free MyHeritage Premium account! Enter by December 27. Continue reading "Holiday Contests: Win a MyHeritage Premium account!" »

16    Dec 20131 comment

Family Christmas Traditions: Through the Years

(Credit: Dwellingsbydevore)

Did you know that Christmas trees were originally hung upside down from ceilings in some countries? Or that up until 100 years ago, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas in parts of the United States?

Many Christmas traditions still common today date back thousands of years in some form or another. Some customs, such as the 12 days of Christmas, gift-giving, and caroling, have been traced back to as early as Mesopotamian times.

When did we start celebrating Christmas as we know it today?

In 1647, the English Parliament passed a law making it illegal to celebrate Christmas. The ban was lifted in 1660. During Queen Victoria's reign, Christmas was a time for gift giving, and became a special season for children. In Colonial America, Christmas was not celebrated as we know it today. Even in the US, it was illegal to celebrate Christmas until about 100 years ago.

As customs developed in different countries, we celebrate many of the same holiday traditions.

Where do some of our favorite Christmas traditions come from? Continue reading "Family Christmas Traditions: Through the Years" »

8    Dec 20138 comments

Dear Santa: Then and now

"Dear Santa..."

As Christmas nears, millions of children around the world are using these two words to begin their letters to Santa , with the hope he will bring what they want.

These letters are often sent by obliging parents to Santa's home at the North Pole. However, back in time, it was popular to send "Dear Santa" letters to a local newspaper, which published them.

Our newspaper collection includes over 120 million pages dating back to 1609, and a quick search using the keywords "Dear Santa" brings really interesting results... Continue reading "Dear Santa: Then and now" »

2    Jan 20121 comment

Happy holidays competition: See the winners!

The rules were simple: Send us a short video incorporating the MyHeritage logo and letting us know where you are.

For more on the contest announcement, see the blog post here. Congratulations to our four winners for your great videos.

We received videos showing lots of happy MyHeritage multigenerational families - and even a family pet! The team thanks to everyone that participating, for their time and creativity. We enjoyed viewing your entries and hope you had fun making the videos.

View the other three winning entries below.

Continue reading "Happy holidays competition: See the winners!" »

23    Dec 20110 comments

Warmth, Joy: Our family holiday traditions

Holiday scenes are engraved, from early childhood, in our memories and in our hearts. Each of us, regardless of what holiday we celebrate, carries these indelible memories.

Continue reading "Warmth, Joy: Our family holiday traditions" »

28    Nov 20111 comment

Best gift for the holidays: Family history

Thinking about a good gift for that special family member? Don’t wait too long as the holidays are just around the corner.

December is a month of wonderful worldwide holidays. Christians celebrate Christmas (December 25), Jews celebrate Chanukah (December 21), and there is also the African-American festival of Kwanzaa (December 26).

Although there are many gift options out there, family history can be an unforgettable present.

At MyHeritage, you can create – for free - your own family tree design and then order a professional print delivered directly to your home or  to a relative anywhere on the globe. Surprise them! To learn more about this service, click here Continue reading "Best gift for the holidays: Family history" »

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