In 2011, I was happy to attend many genealogy conferences.
These events included the annual events of the National Genealogical Society (Charleston, South Carolina), Southern California Genealogical Jamboree (Burbank, California), IAJGS International Jewish Genealogy Conference (Washington, DC) and the Federation of Genealogical Societies (Springfield, Illinois).
MyHeritage is all about reuniting families, so we were delighted to participate in the recent meeting of Ronald van der Voort (51) and his half-sister Anneliese (known as Anna) (70).
Ronald’s father - Cornelius Franziscus Staps – was born in Mönchengladbach, Germany, although his paternal ancestors were from the Netherlands. Cornelius’ marriage to a German woman, Anna Baum, produced a daughter, Anneliese.
After the marriage dissolved, he returned to the Netherlands and left his daughter with his former wife. He hoped that Anna would visit him, although that was wishful thinking – he never saw her again. In fact, he went to Germany several times in attempts to find her, but those efforts were in vain.
Cornelius’ son Ronald, born in the Netherlands, grew up longing for his sister. Following the death of his father, Ronald began searching again. He looked for years with no success; his sister had seemingly disappeared.
Even popular TV shows couldn’t help him. The only lead during this entire time was a small piece of paper given to Ronald by a sympathetic town hall employee. The paper bore only the name of Anna’s step-father. Although searches for that name were attempted, nothing was found.
Anna grew up with her mother after her parents’ marriage ended. All she knew was her father’s name and that he was German. She lived in her hometown until her teens.
During her teens, Anna decided to study in the UK as part of a school program. When she applied for her passport, an official told her that she could not obtain a German passport because her father was, in fact, Dutch. That was quite a surprise!
In England, Anna found her true love. They married and moved to New Zealand where – nearly 50 years later – they still live. Unknown to her, Ronald lived 11,000 miles away in the Netherlands and was trying to find his sister.
Recent announcements include online Canadian records, a free mobile app for the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS), as well as interesting family history-related stories covering an inspiring search, family reunions and memoir-writing.
Canadian records online
Looking for a quick way to search Canadian genealogy records?
FamilySearch.org has added nearly 8,000 Quebec notarial record images (1800-1860) to its Canadian records. Click here for more information.
- Try Genealogy in Time’s free genealogy search engine. Some included websites: Automated Genealogy, Alberta Family History Society, Alberta Genealogical Society, Ontario Genealogical Society, Canada Genweb websites, federal and provincial archives, Canadian obituary websites, as well as French, Acadian, Loyalist, Mennonite and other sites. Fifty additional online sites with Canadian ancestral records have been added. The site claims some 10 million new records have been added.
- For more lists of Canadian-specific sites and records, click http://www.genealogylinks.net/canada/ or http://www.cyndislist.com/canada
Summertime and the living is easy (or so they say). It's hot, the days are long and kids are running amok around town trying to cool down. What better a time then now to get the extended family together?
We've been hearing some great stories of family reunion traditions around the world and have gathered a few here:
Lang family invades Victoria Park for reunion, a 100-person family reunion that brings together members from Nova Scotia, British Columbia, Alberta, Michigan and the Czech Republic.
Annette John-Hall: A reunion brings together five generations of love and history, a beautiful story of a 86-year-old matriarch and her impressive family of 20 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
Ann's Choice Hosts Longstreth Family Reunion, a very nice story of the Longstreth reunion, celebrating Warminster and some 35,000 relatives.
Whether it's your first family reunion or 50th -- we want to hear how your family celebrates! Please share your photos and stories on our Facebook page.
In February, our genealogy and translation manager Daniel Horowitz traveled to London for the Who Do You Think You Are? LIVE family history fair.
His visit enabled the reunion of two branches of his SINGER family, who shared decades of information for the first time.
Read the full story about Daniel's happy reunion here at the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.