Names - surname and given - are essential to family history research.
A surname passes through many generations connecting family members with that common surname. Many people are also named after deceased relatives to honor those individuals.
Generally, names are given to us, but people are beginning to adopt new names, both given and surnames.
What does this mean for family history?
Will it be more difficult to trace name changes and links to ancestors, or will it make research more exciting?
What do you think? If you could change your name easily, would you?
While some genealogists have been at it for only a few years, MyHeritage member Gary Fenton Kemp, 76, has been researching for decades.
Gary became interested in computers in the early 1970s. He also observed his parents, then in their 70s, trying to put together their genealogy by typing and writing everything out by hand. He knew that there had to be some way to use computers and began searching for a program that would be able to organize the data.
I found PAF and started using it. In 1987, I went to my parents’ home and spent three days entering data for 752 names.
Gary has many interests in addition to family history, such as surfing, fly fishing, geocaching, glider racing and lifting weights. He’s been an educator from kindergarten through university, and conducted teacher training programs in Fiji and elsewhere. Although now retired as a teacher, coach, high school principal and school district superintendent, he is still active, serves as a local school board member and as a Boy Scout merit badge counselor.
The San Tan Valley, Arizona resident has been married to Nancy for 54 years, has four children, 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and four more on the way.
Today we're on a journey to Mali, with a family adventure first shared on our MyHeritage French blog.
MyHeritage user Mahmadou Gary was born in Fatao (Cercle of Diéma in the Kayes Region of western Mali) in 1956.
His studies led him all the way to Kishinev, Moldova, where he obtained a Master's Degree in Biology and became a biology professor at Lycée Sankoré of Bamako. After leaving Kishinev, he earned a doctorate in biology at the University of Bamako, where he continued his career.
He was also the mayor of the municipality of Fatao from 1999 to 2004.
Mahmadou first became interested in family history when he attended his mother's funeral in the local village.
When you travel abroad, you have an opportunity to visit your ancestral home, as well as the important buildings and locations that might have been relevant to your ancestor’s life. These include houses of worship, schools, businesses, beaches, parks and other locations your ancestors may have frequented.
In addition, you may be able to visit repositories holding documents for your family, including libraries, archives and record offices. However, just showing up at a location won’t always do much good. It’s important to pre-plan and do prep work before you visit, or you may just be frustrated and come away with little of real value.
Genealogical societies are essential to family history researchers. They provide resources, programs, conferences, and other important assistance.
MyHeritage is spotlighting these societies in a new series over the year.
Today, we look at the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), based in Austin, Texas, and established in 1976.Headed by D. Joshua Taylor, FGS represents other genealogical and historical societies. More than 500 member societies represent over a half-million individual members in those societies.
We're delighted to introduce a new guest contributor to our blog - Tyrell "Ty" Rettke. After battling ulcerative colitis and a series of corrective surgeries, Ty is on a round-the-world adventure and will help people he meets in various countries to trace their family histories.
From a small town (Ketchikan) in Alaska, Ty, 28, is interested in history and in tracing his own family heritage. In the first of his monthly posts, he heads to Ireland to see his roots.
There are many reasons people travel. One trend is people visiting their ancestral homes. For me, this includes Ireland. So when I made my way across the Atlantic on my mission to circumnavigate the globe, I decided that Ireland was a must for my journey around the world.
People catch the genealogy bug in many ways. For MyHeritage member Chris King (in Georgia, US), it was because of the Girl Scouts.
My daughter, Caitlin, was in Girl Scouts and had to do a family tree of three-to-four generations. I always wanted to know more about where my family was from, but had never thought about doing a family tree. I helped her with the project and together we went back several more generations.
Born Christine Carlton in Paget, Bermuda, in January 1969, Chris' father was in the US Air Force, stationed on the island. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and she, her sister and their mother moved to Georgia, where she grew up. Today she has four children and a step-daughter. She and her husband have been together for 12 years and married for nine, with six grandchildren and another on the way.
Memories, photos and documents provide a wealth of invaluable family history information. Interviewing family members is a great way to learn about earlier generations and discover more about your family heritage.
Interview older relatives first. They may be the only people who know from which country or town your immigrant ancestors came, or the spelling of an original surname, or any name changes made over the generations. Unless that knowledge is documented before they die or their memories fade, then that information may be lost forever.
Storytelling is a great way to add details to your family tree, and interviewing a relative is a great way to start. To help with your family history research, here are some tips for interviewing relatives.
Memorial Day in the US is May 27, and millions of Americans will remember the men and women who died while serving in the US Armed Forces.
In honor of this special day, we are proud to provide free access - through May 28 - to our most popular collections of US military records.
Journey back in time to some of the most important conflicts in world history that not only impacted families in the US, but millions of families worldwide.
MyHeritage is excited to announce the launch of Record Detective™. It is the first technology of its kind to automatically extend the paper trail from a single historical record to other related records and family tree connections.
Here's a short video which explains how it works:
Record Detective™ generates new leads and discoveries by turning a single record into a door to more. For example, a record discovered in MyHeritage’s digital archive, SuperSearch, will now automatically include a summary of additional records and individuals in family trees relating to it, providing new information and clues to take your research to new directions.