26    May 20156 comments

13 ways to know you’re a genealogist

Whether you are a family historian or just someone interested in learning about their family’s heritage, there are certain things only a genealogist will understand.

You’ve been hit with the genealogy bug if…

  1. When introducing someone you say, “this is my sister’s grandmother’s father’s son.”
  2. You are more interested in what happened in 1815 than in 2015. Continue reading "13 ways to know you’re a genealogist" »
30    Apr 201512 comments

Names: What’s in the middle?

Middle names. Some people have them; others don’t. The three-name structure we use today (given, middle and last name) began in the Middle Ages when Europeans wanted to give a child a saint’s name and a traditional family name, but middle name use goes back even further.

In ancient Rome, it was an honor given to important people to have multiple names. Later - in the 1700s - aristocrats began to give their children long names to indicate his or her place in society. For example, Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge. Continue reading "Names: What’s in the middle?" »

27    Apr 20152 comments

Our Stories: Age doesn’t matter

Erik Elkan

When you think of a genealogist, what does that person look like?

An elderly person, perhaps? Someone who has lots of time on their hands and for whom family history research utilizes that time?

Think again – this is the story of young Swedish genealogist Erik Elkan, 19, who proves that genealogy is a pursuit for everyone - regardless of age.

Thousands of people in Sweden - and everywhere else around the world - have, at some point, sat down and looked at old family photos. Many have looked deep into their closets and cupboards for family belongings; some have been more successful than others.

The important thing for Erik - as one of that multitude - is the moment when something completely new about deceased relatives is discovered, he says, whether it is in a dusty photo album or a hand-drawn family tree that has lost almost all its color. Continue reading "Our Stories: Age doesn’t matter" »

13    Feb 20150 comments

RootsTech 2015: Day 1

The MyHeritage team is in Utah for RootsTech, the largest family history event in North America.

Here are some highlights from day 1.

Continue reading "RootsTech 2015: Day 1" »

8    Feb 20151 comment

RootsTech 2015: MyHeritage heads to Utah

We’re looking forward to seeing our old friends and meeting new ones at RootsTech 2015.

RootsTech, the largest family history event in North America, is a unique family history conference for both new and experienced genealogists. It is a place to learn about new technologies that bring families together and help make family history discoveries easier.

This year’s event will take place February 11-14 in Salt Lake City, Utah, and we're proud to be Platinum Sponsors.

On Thursday, February 12, MyHeritage Chief Product Officer Mike Mallin will give a keynote address in the main lecture hall. Later that day Mike will be presenting "Instant Discoveries and Family Storytelling in the Mobile World," at a MyHeritage-sponsored lunch.

The MyHeritage Team will be speaking at classes throughout the conference. Here is a list of the great talks we have lined up:

Continue reading "RootsTech 2015: MyHeritage heads to Utah" »

12    Jan 201535 comments

Understanding Dates: Five common mistakes to avoid

This post was written by Laurence Harris, Head of Genealogy UK at MyHeritage.

It is important to record key events of our ancestors, including the date when each event occurred.

Usually several sources indicate an event's date. For example, for a death: the date may be indicated on a death certificate, a headstone, a newspaper obituary and in a Grant of Probate (which authorizes distribution of a deceased person's estate). However, those dates would have been documented using the calendar and recording conventions of the geographical location and time when the event originally took place, rather than the calendar and conventions with which today's researcher would be familiar. Failure to take into account the original context of an event or document often results in mistakes in understanding when an event actually happened.

Here are five of the most common mistakes that can occur in interpreting dates, together with suggestions as to how these mistakes can be avoided or corrected. Continue reading "Understanding Dates: Five common mistakes to avoid" »

3    Jan 20154 comments

5 tips to start your family history research

2015 is here! Have you thought about what you'd like to accomplish this year in your family history research?

Here are some tips for a successful year in your genealogy journey: Continue reading "5 tips to start your family history research" »

1    Dec 20143 comments

Genealogy and Family History Success: How MyHeritage made it happen for us!

This guest post was written by expert genealogist Scott Phillips, owner of Onward to Our Past genealogy services, and specializing in immigrant ancestry. He is a regular genealogy contributor for Huffington Post and also blogs weekly for the e-publications of GenealogyBank.com. Follow Scott on his Facebook page and on his website/blog.

Not all that long ago (in genealogy time) my wife and I received the wonderful news that our son and his wife were expecting our second grandson and would be named William in honor of my dad, who had died a year previously.

I began thinking how well I knew my dad and how well our son knew his grandfather, but his namesake would not personally know him at all. Since no one in our family had ever done any family history research, I made the fateful decision to write a paragraph or two about my father so my grandson would know him.

Now, years later, I still find myself laughing when I think back to my desire to write “a paragraph or two”! Our family tree now includes over 11,100 individuals representing 3,685 families, and contains over 6,900 images and documents.

The family tree was not always this robust. However, thanks to MyHeritage, it is now – and it keeps on growing. Continue reading "Genealogy and Family History Success: How MyHeritage made it happen for us!" »

31    Oct 20142 comments

Happy Halloween: Spooky Collections, Online Graveyards and more

Ditch the flashlight this Halloween and take a trip through MyHeritage’s online graveyards.

We've found over 100,000 Freddy Kruegers, 6,000 Munster families and 5,000 Frankensteins in our vast database of over 5.5 billion historical records!

If that hasn’t spooked you enough, we found over 2 million death records from people around the world who died last year on Halloween. Continue reading "Happy Halloween: Spooky Collections, Online Graveyards and more" »

11    Sep 201411 comments

Tools of the Trade: Newspaper research

Local notes from the Spanish American newspaper (pg 12; February 6, 1905, Roy, Mora County, New Mexico)

MyHeritage's US genealogy advisor, Schelly Talalay Dardashti, describes how historic newspapers add life to our family trees.

Old newspapers are treasure troves of family information. If your family lived for a long time in one location, then local papers likely hold information about your relatives.

Such details include birth, marriage and death announcements. If your ancestors owned businesses, there may be legal records or advertisements. Social announcements, real estate records, school graduations, athletic events and even the costs of consumer goods at the time can provide a glimpse into your family and also provide a backdrop as to what life was like for them at a certain point in history.

In the Spanish American (published in Roy, Mora County, New Mexico) page 12 of the February 6, 1906 edition offers local notes such as these (see left). We learn who went where and why, business announcements and who was sick. If your family is one of those mentioned, here’s a very personal look into what happened around that time.

No matter where you live around the world, local historic newspapers provide fascinating information available nowhere else.

Although current events and major historic events are of great interest, it is the personal and cultural reporting that may be of more interest to family historians. Consumer goods are only one area of life detailed in historic newspapers, and those published in major ports (such as San Francisco and New York City) published ship arrivals, the cargo carried, as well as passengers. Continue reading "Tools of the Trade: Newspaper research" »

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