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.
2015 is here! Have you thought about what you'd like to accomplish this year in your family history research?
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.
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!
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.
This weekend, MyHeritage Founder & CEO Gilad Japhet was interviewed on Israel's leading prime time TV news show to discuss MyHeritage and some of its pro bono projects. These include discovering heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated in WWII, returning looted art to its rightful owners and our global crowdsourcing project with BillionGraves to digitally preserve the world's cemeteries.
Our technologies are helping millions of families around the world discover more about their history. We're happy to take our mission several steps further by proactively initiating and executing important projects that have the potential to make the world a better place. Watch the video clip with English subtitles below:
We're proud of our motto to not only do well, but also do good, and we will strive to continue in this direction in the years ahead.
We work hard to provide greater access to family history information and so were thrilled to be awarded the Presidential Citation at the FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies) conference this past weekend, along with BillionGraves, for our partnership in promoting the preservation of international burial locations.
The Federation of Genealogical Societies was established in 1976 and represents more than 500 member genealogy and history societies, including over a half-million individual members. You can learn more about FGS in our genealogy society spotlight blog post.
Gravestones are a great resource for family history investigation and a useful tool to learn more about your ancestors. They provide detailed information such as names, dates of birth and death and often describe personality. However, natural wear and tear means that these important family history sources need to be preserved before it’s too late. Together, MyHeritage and BillionGraves launched a global initiative to digitize cemeteries and gravestones to preserve these gravestones by making them accessible for free online to millions to aid in their family history research.
Watch the video below to hear MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet explain the tremendous importance of this project and the value of gravestones for genealogy.
Some people begin with traditional family history and turn to genetics to find more connections, but MyHeritage member Peggy Shackelford, 64, of Southern California began her geneajourney to understand the genetics in her family.
She has two grown daughters and three dogs. She holds a BS in computer and management sciences and works as a business intelligence developer. Although born just outside Chicago (in Hammond, Indiana), Peggy grew up in northern California. Her work involves analytical research and developing business intelligence software.
About 30 years ago she started the journey to discover her family roots. Armed only with some family stories she began her research. It was very hard going back then, she says. There was very little available online and most of her research involved sifting through microfilms of census records to find people and clues.
Join Australian family history expert and geneablogger Shauna Hicks for an interactive webinar for tips and tricks to jump start your family history research.
She’ll highlight the golden rules of genealogy for discovering more about your ancestors, building your family tree and learning more about your family heritage. Sign up now.
At MyHeritage, we understand the importance of preserving your family history and documenting our family history discoveries.
We’re always eager to add new details, and sometimes forget to to look back at our previous entries and fill in the missing pieces of our research.
Here are a few tips to help “trim” and edit your family tree to make sure it’s up-to-date with the latest family information.
1. Merge Duplicates
Over time it’s possible that a person may be listed more than once in a family tree. With the Check for Duplicates feature in Family Tree Builder, it’s easy to run a duplicate check on your family tree. To use this feature, go to Tools and Check for Duplicates. You can then merge and edit those duplicates accordingly.