However, not everything is online ... yet!
Keep checking and searching online - particularly with MyHeritage's new Record Detective technology - to see what's available to you.
However, there may be perplexing family history mysteries that you are trying to resolve, and family historians need to speak - in person - to other researchers, who may have faced similar problems in the past.
There are so many ways to get bitten by the genealogy bug. MyHeritage member Melva Jo Wright of Florida (US) took over the research of her maternal aunt (Geraldine Martinez) when she died in 2004.
Her aunt’s four sisters helped with the research and each received a family history binder from their researcher sister.
Most have shared them with me, but I’m still waiting to hear from the others to complete their details in our family tree. I hope they contain some original pictures, as most of those I already have are copies.
Melva Jo, 60, has three children and three stepdaughters. Her mother worked at the Pentagon and her father was a stockcar racer, killed in a 1951 race. Her mother remarried, to an Army major, and the family lived in Germany and France.
Among her exciting discoveries: the Mayflower’s John and Priscilla Alden are her direct ninth great-grandparents. She's also related to writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, President Abraham Lincoln, Clement Clark Moore (who wrote “The Night Before Christmas), as well as Orson Wells, Marilyn Monroe, Dick and Jerry Van Dyke and Ricky Nelson, to name a few.
Mother’s Day is nearly here. What better way to thank our mothers for everything they've done for us than by reflecting on all the wonderful mothers out there.
Mothers have a strong impact on our lives. Many even say that “mother knows best.”
Whether they are, in fact, our grandmothers, our aunts or our own mothers, all leave us with lasting impressions of the advice and wisdom they share.
Growing up, I remember listening to my grandmother recall her childhood, and learning about my own history. On my first day of school, I remember my mother's hug and her words of encouragement, reassuring me that everything would be OK. I know that - even today - I can always count on these great women in my family.
We never know what our unique family histories may reveal, and MyHeritage member Kathleen Whitfield, 60, of the UK, is no exception.
Her childhood was spent in the UK with her parents and older brother, who lived some 250 miles from any blood relatives. Neither of the siblings ever met their father’s family or had any living grandparents they knew about.
Although they occasionally visited their mother’s sister and family in Lancashire and another sister in London, the only details they were told about their father’s family was that his Irish father was an opera singer, their father was born in London, that he had siblings, but he had lost contact with his family. Kathleen was told she was named for her father’s mother. Further, she discovered that her paternal grandmother was really Kate Constance, not Kathleen!
Thank you to everyone who participated in last week’s oldest wedding photo competition. All the entries were fantastic and captured the beauty and significance of the person’s special day. The oldest entry was from 1846!
With over 40 photos received, participation was above our expectations. It was great to see the lives of your families and the rich history brought to life with the stories that accompanied them.
In the old days, when doctors were few and far between in rural areas, women with knowledge of medicinal herbs, of healing the sick and of midwifery were important community members.
In the American Southwest, among the old Hispanic families, there are many documented curanderas (healers). The older generations still tend gardens of special medicinal herbs and are the keepers, preservers and transmitters of generations of remedies.
In some countries, foods are classified as hot or cold in nature. People with certain ailments are told to eat one and not the other or vice versa. It is something a person is brought up with and never disregarded. Those who have not been raised with this system generally find "the rules" somewhat strange.
So do these remedies really work, or do we just believe that they work because that’s what we’ve been told since we were little children? In any case, this is part of our family history, of our heritage, and the details should be preserved.
This year's RootsTech was only the third edition, and it has grown exponentially every year. Some 7,000 attendees - plus nearly 2,000 young people (ages 12-18) on Saturday - flocked to the Salt Palace Convention Center. It is now the largest such event in the US.
While the weather ranged from near-blizzard conditions to rain to sunshine, the halls - with some 100 exhibitors - and classrooms housing some 250 programs, drew excited crowds. According to organizer FamilySearch, attendees came from 49 states and 17 countries.
Additionally, FamilySearch announced that some 10,000 people viewed programs and keynotes via live streaming video online, while remote satellite broadcasts took place at 17 Family History centers in seven countries, attended by another 4,000 participated by remote satellite broadcast at Family History centers in 17 locations in seven countries.
Mark your calenders for RootsTech 2014 (February 6-8, 2014). FamilySearch said that they plan to export the event to some 600 locations worldwide (16 US locations and several other countries).
A piece of family history can be found in a library book.
As a young girl, I spent a lot of time at the iconic New York Public Library – with those stone lions out front - working on school projects. I once found a book I needed and opened it. Out fell an old-fashioned photo postcard with my grandfather’s picture on it.
He was in the army and had sent the card, with a message, to his sister. She had likely stuck it in the book and forgotten about it, until I found it decades later.
I wasn’t a genealogist then, and in what I now believe was a misguided act of responsibility, I put the card back in the book. Perhaps the owner would come looking for it?
When I got home, I told my family about it, and everyone said I should have brought it home. Fortunately, we found a copy at another relative’s home much later.
Have you ever had to clear out the home of a deceased relative or had to help move an elderly relative to a retirement or nursing home?
Checking the dusty corners of a large home, or even a small apartment, can produce family treasures that would otherwise be lost forever.
Photographs are a great inspiration to see family similarities from past and present.
Argentine photographer Irina Werning's photography series - "Back to the Future" - shows us a new way to explore and preserve photographic memories.
Like many of us, Irina loves old photographs and preserving family memories. In a way to document the present family, she take an older photograph from childhood or from the past, and replicates it with the same people years later.
Together, the two photos show family history coming alive in the present, and is a great way to link memories from our childhood to adulthood.
Have you ever tried to give a recent photo a vintage look or emulate an old family photograph? If so, share the photograph or link to your photo in the comments section below, or share on our Facebook page, Twitter or Google +.
One of my favorite blogs is The Signal, the digital preservation blog of the Library of Congress. A hot topic there centers on personal digital archiving, and much of that relates to family history and genealogy.
The LOC’s Mike Ashenfelder, who writes online articles about personal digital archiving, digital preservation leaders and developments in digital preservation, writes on preserving personal genealogical collections in a digital age.
The popularity of genealogy websites and TV shows is rapidly growing, mainly because the Internet has made it so convenient to access family history information. Almost everything can be done through the computer now. Before the digital age, genealogical research was not only laborious and time consuming, it also resulted in boxes of documents: photos, charts, letters, copies of records and more. Online genealogy has replaced all that paper with digital files. But the trade-off for the ease of finding and gathering the stuff is the challenge of preserving it.
About genealogical databases, Ashenfelder writes:
that relational databases are the engines that drive digital genealogy. Databases make it possible to quickly search through enormous quantities of records, find the person you’re looking for and discover related people and events. And when institutions collaborate and share databases, statistical information becomes enriched.
And, considering some demographics of family history aficionados, digital estate planning now a popular topic. What happens to our digital possessions after we die? And what can we do to preserve them? Getting your digital affairs in order offers much practical information.