7    Sep 20131 comment

Family Heritage: Patriots, spies and other surprises

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.

Gary's paternal grandparents' wedding photo,1881

He’s discovered so many exciting and interesting things about his family history. Continue reading "Family Heritage: Patriots, spies and other surprises" »

27    Aug 20139 comments

Tip of the month: Tree Consistency Checker

Having a large, family tree can sometimes lead to small oversights that may be difficult to identify. Some common mistakes are misspelled names, mixed-up dates or incorrect ages, while others are more difficult to detect such as a person tagged in a photo dated before they were born.

That’s where MyHeritage’s Tree Consistency Checker comes in to help fix these mistakes and improve the quality of data in your family tree.

Tree Consistency Checker is a unique, free tool that helps locate mistakes in family tree data. It automatically identifies any errors and inconsistencies in 40 categories - and shows you how to fix each of them.

Inconsistencies such as “child older than parent,” or “fact occurring after death” and “inconsistent last name spelling” will alert and enable you to make the necessary changes in your family tree.

The tool is available on our latest version of Family Tree Builder 7.0 and takes advantage of the new sync features so users with online trees can now utilize this tool as well. Users can sync their online tree to the Family Tree Builder software, and use the Tree Consistency Checker to identify any mistakes. Once you re-sync the tree back to the web, the online family tree will show all the updated information.

Don't have Family Tree Builder 7.0? Download it free here, and learn more about its new features.

We hope this tool will help you make your family tree as accurate as possible!

19    Aug 20132 comments

Family photos: Creative activities with the kids

Summer is a perfect opportunity to dig out your stash of old family photos and get children interested in their own family history.

A fun activity to help fill time during the school break, learning about family heritage is an excellent way to bond and do something meaningful with the younger generation.

As part of our “Treasure Family Photos” initiative, here are some fun ways to get creative with those old family photos to make beautiful additions to your home that showcase your family legacy.

Photo Time Capsule

A photo in a jar creates a time capsule. In a jar, get the kids to add some of their small personal items that remind them of family fun times such as movie stubs, notes and souvenirs from family vacations.

Image credit: http://kellicrowe.typepad.com

Once all the "memories" are added to the jar, put in a recent family photo and close the jar.  Choose to display it on a shelf or bury it in the yard with instructions to not open it for at least 10 years and look forward to the memories you’ll look back to! Continue reading "Family photos: Creative activities with the kids" »

12    Aug 20131 comment

Treasure Family Photos: Tips for taking great pictures

Viewing old family photos brings up nostalgic memories.  Whether it’s a wedding, a picnic in the park or goofing around at home, it’s important to preserve those family moments.

We have wonderful old photos from our ancestors, yet it’s also important to document our lives and cherish today's family gatherings and events.

However, it can be difficult encouraging the kids and and the entire family together to sit for a portrait. That’s why - as part of our “Treasure Family Photos” global initiative - we are offering tips to save and share your family story.

Here are some tips for taking a great family photo: Continue reading "Treasure Family Photos: Tips for taking great pictures" »

3    Aug 20131 comment

What’s in a name?: Strangers pick a baby’s name

For many expecting parents, it can be difficult to think of the perfect name for an unborn baby.

Many people turn to baby name books or choose an ancestor's name, but one US couple decided to take their name search to a vote, at their local Starbucks.

The New Haven, Connecticut couple asked customers to vote for two names: Logan and Jackson. With over 1,800 votes and many other name suggestions, they decided to combine the two names and will call their son, due in September, Logan Jackson.

Some might say the controversial idea of  asking strangers to name a  baby lacks that personal element of naming a child after a relative. Others may find this a relief and a unique way to choose a name.

We recently wrote about names banned in New Zealand and have asked about rare names in your family tree.

What do you think of crowd sourcing for baby names? Do you have a similar story in your family where relatives were named by strangers? Would you ask others to choose your child's name?

Let us know your stories and thoughts in the comments below, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.

24    Jul 20137 comments

Welcoming Royalty: 10 facts about the Royal Baby

Welcome to the world Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge!

Want to know more facts about the royal baby, including to whom he's related?
Learn more in our infographic below and in our Royal Family Tree:

12    Jul 201313 comments

Family reunion: Relatives reunite in Denmark

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.

Birgit Thygesen Moses (left) and Patricia Skubis meeting for the first time at family party in Vejle. Image credit: Peter Friis Autzen lokalavi-sen.dk

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. Continue reading "Family reunion: Relatives reunite in Denmark" »

18    Jun 201312 comments

Our Stories: A daughter’s project

Chris's graduation photo

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.

Continue reading "Our Stories: A daughter’s project" »

3    Jun 20137 comments

10 tips for interviewing family members

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.

Continue reading "10 tips for interviewing family members" »

6    May 201318 comments

Family History: A box of secrets

Every family historian has at least one story or event on which hours have been spent, trying to unravel the truth.

What would happen if there were a knock on the door, you opened it and a box was delivered into your hands. Inside, you would find documents, photographs (labeled!), journals and other records.

What would you like to see in that box?

For me, that's an easy answer. One of the last family members to arrive in the US from Belarus brought with him a 300-year-old family history. The few people who saw it described it as a sort of book, compiled of different kinds of papers, different calligraphies, many different languages, all bound together. Continue reading "Family History: A box of secrets" »

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