MyHeritage member Dayne Skolmen, 24, of South Africa, has been working on his family history since he was 14, when a family tree school assignment caught his interest. His ancestors come from Norway, Germany and the Netherlands.
Dayne lives in Port Elizabeth, and is currently completing his Master of Technology (MTech) in Information Technology Research at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
His grandfather, Thorbjorn Christian Synnestvedt Skolmen, died at 81 when Dayne was only 3.
It was a family reunion unlike any other. When members of the Douse family met in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (Canada) last month, one of the central events of the week-long event was excavating their ancestor's crypt. They gathered from all over the world, coming from Ohio, Michigan, and as far as Zimbabwe.
Their story was featured in the Toronto Star last week.
Their ancestor, William Douse, arrived at Prince Edward Island, from Wiltshire, England, in 1822. He was known for his strong wit and tenacity. He was a character, and became well-known on the island. He contributed to the early evolution of P.E.I., serving nearly three decades in the island Assembly, longer than any politician in history.
Long summer days are the perfect time for family gatherings and a great opportunity to ask questions of relatives to discover more about your family heritage.
Here are some hints and tips for furthering your family history research this summer:
1. Visit close family members. Encourage the younger generation to record relatives' stories and anecdotes to learn about earlier generations and preserve those memories for future generations.
2. Plan a vacation to meet distant family members. Come prepared with questions about their branch of the family and use the MyHeritage Mobile App to fill in gaps in your family tree and to add photos while you're on-the-go.
By his own account, Norwood Wayne Newkirk says that reading and history were not his greatest passions as he grew up. Today that has changed, as he was the project manager for his family’s reunion held August 1-4, 2013, in New Jersey.
He holds a degree in electrical engineering and worked as a loss prevention consultant. Today he creates risk management systems as a senior account executive and computer application developer.
So what I have done over the past two years [since the 2011 reunion] in preparation for our 2013 reunion is not a far stretch from what I do vocationally. I see the issue and try to develop a solution.
However, as he went through life, he began to recognize that something was missing.
I found a church with teaching ministry that filled the void in my spiritual life and became very active in leading the Media Volunteer Ministry (it is in my genes). Yet there was an area still lacking.
I eventually recognized I had become distant from my family, not because I wanted to, but life situations and circumstances caused things to happen just that way. In fact, there was a time when I truly could not remember a large chunk of my past.
As life would have it, things changed and there was a rekindling of his family history. As family members grew older and died, it offered occasions for the family to come together more frequently than they would like.
It was on those occasions that I heard stories about family members including myself. Stories that made you laugh and stories that made you say, “Did that really happen?” At that point I began to understand what I was missing. It was family. Cousins that I grew up were now distant relatives.
At his grandmother’s funeral, a family pastor talked about thing his grandparents experienced over 92 years of their life and the legacy they left behind.
The Starling family could have written “Roots.” This revelation showed me the importance of family.
Congratulations to James Colina, winner of last week’s competition for the photo with the largest number of family members. This week, we're holding another photo competition, and asking you to send in your fun family photos. Read more below.
Over 220 family members were photographed in the winning entry taken at a family reunion organized by James in August 2011. He won a photo consultation with Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to learn more about his old family photos. Watch the consultation here.
Thanks to those who submitted their largest family photos. It was lovely to receive so many images from family reunions, gatherings, weddings and other celebrations, both old and new. View all the entries on our Pinterest board here.
The competition continues:
It began in summer 2011 when MyHeritage user Patricia Skubis (Madison, Wisconsin) stumbled upon a family discovery. Some two years later, she was in Denmark on the way to meet her Danish family.
For more than 30 years, Patricia searched for her Danish roots. She had tried various ways to connect the family history, but never managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Patricia’s relatives had immigrated to the US in 1888 , and another branch had been in Australia since 1873. Twenty-seven years ago, Patricia, now 75, had connected with Alison Rogers from the Australian branch. However, Alison was also unable to find the Danish missing links.
One day, Patricia received a new Smart Match on her MyHeritage website. Her grandfather, Martin Thygesen, had appeared in another member’s tree, but not all the information matched completely. Her curiosity peaked, and she wrote directly to MyHeritage member Tage Therkildsen Thygesen for more information.
A group of MyHeritage users from Holland and Canada met for the first time in Haarlem, Netherlands, in May.
Joining them was our Netherlands country manager Denie Kasan, who documented their reunion at the North Holland Archives in Haarlem. Following is a translation based on his original post.
We're delighted to announce the release of MyHeritage app version 2.0, our free mobile application, packed with exciting new features. Now you can build and edit your family tree, add more information to it, and take your heritage with you anywhere you go.
Our mobile app is available for iPad, iPhone and Android smartphones and tablets, in 32 languages, and has been optimized for each platform using cutting-edge HTML5 and SVG technologies. Download the new app now, for free, from Apple's App Store or Google Play.