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.
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.
Want to know all about how MyHeritage can help with your family history research?
MyHeritage makes it easy to discover your family heritage with our many features. Start building your family tree, research your family history, and discover relatives and ancestors with our sophisticated technologies such as Smart Matching™ and Record Matching.
Available in 40 languages, MyHeritage is the largest family history network with over 4 billion records and 1.5 billion profiles. Our online digital archive, SuperSearch, allows you to access billions of historical records and millions of public family trees and newspaper articles.
We hope you enjoy the video and begin today to discover your family history.
Today we look at DENNIS, in honor of the debut of the "Dennis the Menace" comic strip on March 12, 1951.
DENNIS comes from the medieval personal name Den(n)is (Latin Dionysius, Greek Dionysios’ - follower) in reference to an early Eastern god believed to be the protector of the vine.
St. Denis, the 3rd-century martyred Bishop of Paris, was one of the first mentions. However, the modern popularity of the name in England came in the 12th-century, via a French influence. The first recording of the name was believed to be Walter Denys in 1272. Throughout the centuries, the surname developed with DENNIS being a variant.
MyHeritage welcomes you to a new weekly blog post, "Surname of the week." We'll discuss the origin, history and other information of one surname in each post.
Surnames first appeared in the Middle Ages as a way to record and document people and for tax purposes. Details included given names, nicknames, parents’ names, occupation and residence. This personal information later became an important part of the history of surnames.
English surnames, as we know them today, began in England as early as the 11th century. However, it was not until the late-17th-century that many families adopted permanent surnames.
Generally speaking, family names fall into the following categories with some examples given:
- Occupation: Smith, Taylor or Miller
- Personal characteristics: Young, Black or White
- Geographic or locations: Hamilton, Bush, Hill, Windsor or Murray
- Patronymics, Matronymics or Ancestral: Stephenson, Richardson or Harris
In honor of American-British Actress Elizabeth Taylor's birthday, we look at TAYLOR this week:
Today is, in the United States, “President's Day.” Did you know that this was originally celebrated as “Washington’s Birthday"?
Established in 1885 as a Federal holiday, it was first celebrated on February 22, Washington’s real birthday. It was also the first Federal holiday honoring an American citizen.
In 1971, the date changed to the third Monday in February, after the creation of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
The Act also combined Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in some states. The combining of these two days gave equal recognition to two of America's most famous men.
Since then the day has become known as President's Day and also honors other presidents born during February, including Ronald Reagan and William Henry Harrison. It is popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all US Presidents.
In February 2012, MyHeritage introduced DNA testing for genealogy. And now, to celebrate the first anniversary, we're providing significant discounts to make DNA tests more affordable for all our users.
The discounts are available for a limited period, so now's your best chance to get a DNA test and take your family history research to the next level.
In the back of a high closet shelf, in the basement, in your attic, you have some kind of a container.
It may be an old metal box that held cookies a lifetime ago, an old shoebox or hatbox, a modern plastic container with a snap-on lid, or even a handy-dandy sealed plastic bag stuck in a drawer.
The contents may include dried flowers, holiday and life-cycle event cards, and many old photographs. If this is your personal collection, you'll likely know who the people were and when the image was taken. That's good.
However, these treasured possessions may have belonged to your great-grandmother. She, if you are very fortunate, may have written lightly in pencil on the back. The lady in the strange hat is Cousin Helen, you learn, but you've never heard of anyone with that name.
If you are even luckier, the inscription may indicate that it's a holiday gift from "your dear brother in London." You've never heard of anyone who had a brother in London.
If your relative was somewhat obsessive, he or she may have recorded the names, dates and places on each photograph. In this case, your genealogy colleagues around the world will congratulate you on your good fortune!
My colleague Javier showed me an article in the Spanish magazine Zankyou, which discusses marriage as the merging of two family trees, and therefore the perfect occasion to honor our ancestors.
The article suggests some very original ways to not only think about those relatives who have passed on, but actually incorporate genealogy in our wedding celebrations.
One way is with jewelry. Some people choose to wear a special family heirloom, like a brooch, others use their ancestors' rings as their own wedding bands.
Artist Ashley Gilreath takes it one step further. Ashley specializes in creating pieces that fuse heirlooms with their story, and like the necklace below, with genealogy.
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.