"I can't tell you what it means to finally meet my brother after 65 years."
At MyHeritage, we regularly hear from our users about life-changing discoveries they have made about their families using our website. Today we share with you a truly exceptional story, and one that we had the privilege of taking part in as it unfolded. This is the story of two brothers separated as young children in post-World War II Europe. They hadn’t seen one another in 65 years — until MyHeritage reunited them.
A friend recently shared the story of how her great-grandfather Leon emigrated to America from Europe in the early 1900s. His brother had previously arrived, in search of a better life. When Leon followed his brother, he worked as a tailor and struggled to make ends meet to support his growing family.
After a few years, he reached a point in his career where he had become comfortable and had some expendable income. He searched to invest some money in a new opportunity. Leon's brother suggested that he try investing with him in real estate — and purchase some rural farmland in New York City.
In September 2015, Jacob Eric Stathers, 63, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and began treatment. While undergoing chemotherapy, he found himself with extra time on his hands, and he decided to dedicate this time to exploring his family history.
He began searching for the best tools and technology for his research and soon learned about MyHeritage. What he didn’t realize then were the new and exciting discoveries that genealogy would bring, and that it would open up a broader world during this difficult time in his life.
A British Columbia native, now Eric lives with his wife in Bellevue, Washington. They each have two children and two stepchildren. He holds a BSc (Agriculture — Soil Science), an MBA (University of British Columbia, Canada), and also studied at the Advanced Management College (Stanford University, California). A senior executive with 35 years of experience in business software, consulting, and management, he is today the managing partner of Stathers & Associates LLC. He is also co-editor and publisher of In the Ditch: Stories of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway 1929-65, authored by his grandfather, Eric Prince Stathers.
Eric became interested in family history as a young boy when his UK-born paternal grandfather, who lived with Eric's family while recovering from a heart attack, began compiling his family tree and writing his memoirs.
With Easter, we welcome Spring and the rebirth of new life. It’s a great time of year to do some spring cleaning and organize your genealogy research. It is also a great opportunity to try new things and venture down new avenues of genealogy research.
This is a guest post by Leslie Albrecht Huber, a genealogy writer, and speaker. She has written over 100 articles published in a variety of history and family history outlets. She loves speaking to groups on genealogy topics, particularly those focused on German genealogy, tracing immigrant ancestors, social history, and writing family histories. Leslie has spoken in over 20 U.S. states, on "Good Morning America" and on NPR (National Public Radio). Her book, "The Journey Takers," was published in 2010.
We’ve all read family histories that begin something like this: “My great-grandmother, Mary Smith, was born on June 3, 1890, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin. She was the daughter of Sarah Smith and John Smith. She had two older brothers and three younger sisters.”
With nothing story-like to them, these histories are little more than lists of details strung together in paragraph format. They may be packed full of well-researched information, but many readers will struggle to get beyond the first few pages before they find their mind wandering or their eyes drifting closed.
Genealogists take family history research very seriously. However, we all still love good genealogy humor.
We hope you can take a break — from searching for your great-great-great-grandmother — to check out our favorite genealogy jokes. They're sure to make genealogists and non-genealogists alike chuckle.
We recently hosted a webinar — Getting Started with Your Family History — featuring our US genealogy expert, Schelly Talalay Dardashti.
Researching your family history can be incredibly eye-opening, revealing connections that you never dreamed of, and ties to faraway places from past centuries. Schelly discussed the importance of family history research, as well as hints and tips for where to begin.
Did you miss it? Don't worry! Click on the video below to watch the full webinar.
Don’t forget to check our other webinars for many more genealogy tips to help make family history research easier.
Have ideas for other webinars? Let us know in the comments below.
Join us for our upcoming webinar on getting started with your family history on MyHeritage.
This is a guest post by George G. Morgan, president of Aha! Seminars, Inc., and an internationally-recognized genealogy lecturer. He is the prolific award-winning author of hundreds of articles for magazines, journals, newsletters, in genealogical publications, and at online sites internationally. His 12th book, the fourth edition "How to Do Everything: Genealogy," was released in 2015. He is also co-host of "The Genealogy Guys" podcast, the longest-running genealogical podcast, with thousands of listeners around the globe.
Placing your ancestors into geographical, historical, and social context is one of the most important means of understanding them better. Like you, your ancestors and their families did not live in a vacuum. They were attentive to the news and events of their times. Information they received influenced their opinions and attitudes and helped them make important decisions.
The announcement about a new tax was liable to cause them to worry about how they would make financial ends meet. News of political or religious unrest or about the approach of a foreign army might cause tremendous stress and fear. Economic downturns, drought, famine, and disease all meant potential disaster for the people. Such news could also cause your ancestors to make the crucial decision to migrate elsewhere or immigrate to another country.
Just a few days after creating a family tree on MyHeritage, Nancy Guay received a message: "My name is Judy, and I think I’m your sister."
These were the words Nancy Guay - of Montreal, Canada - and her brother Jamie had been waiting to hear for over 50 years.
Nancy: For a moment I felt the ground disappear from under my feet. I’d discovered my lost sister after believing I’d never find her.