Genealogy research defines taking the road to discovery. There are traffic lights, stop signs, many turnings, and cars stuck in traffic. In the country, narrow lanes are fringed with trees, obscuring views of towns, few cars and dead ends. Highways have slippery curves, rest stops and fast-moving vehicles, while exits lead to other byways or tollbooths! Sometimes we may have a map, while at other times, we are in uncharted territory.
MyHeritage's US genealogy advisor Schelly Talalay Dardashti wrote this piece back in 2003 for a newspaper column. It has been adapted from the original version, but the journey remains the same in 2012 and beyond.
Read about Howard who found a long-lost cousin living in his own hometown!
We also helped to reunite half-siblings Ronald and Anneliese.
We publish these stories because we think they're a great way to inspire all of us in our family history research. Who knows what story we'll uncover with the next relative we add to our family tree.
If you're interested in sharing your inspiring story or breakthrough, and having it published in this blog, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The MyHeritage team
Whether you'll be visiting close relatives or meeting with distant cousins, family get-togethers are the perfect way to find out more about your family history.
Want to add more information to your family tree or inspire the younger generations to get involved? Here are three simple tips to turn your next family gathering into a genealogy opportunity!
1. Ask relatives to bring an old family object
Documenting the story of a family treasure can be an great tool to increase understanding about your family history. Whether a letter, card, ornament, jewelry or recipe, encourage relatives to bring something to show everyone. These items can bring interesting stories to life and provide new family information.
George Bernard Shaw once said, "If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
Family secret - two words that together to form an explosive combination. Most families have them and - when they are revealed - they either disrupt the family balance or, more positively, put years of misunderstanding to rest.
In today's poll, we're asking whether you've uncovered a family secret during your genealogy research.
Let us know in the poll below:
The Nobel Prize awards ceremony takes place today in Sweden. Who was Alfred Nobel, and why is there a prize named after him?
Before the award became famous, Alfred Nobel was best known as the inventor of dynamite.
In 1888, Alfred’s brother Ludvig died while visiting France. A French newspaper mistakenly thought it was Alfred who had died and so published his obituary. Alfred was shocked to read the article especially the description of him as “the merchant of death.” One particular line: "Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday," got him thinking.
As a journalist, I know that using more than one device is a good idea. There’s no telling when one will not cooperate. I prefer to use a digital sound recorder with an external microphone, and a video camera (with sound) as well. I also take notes and work from a list of questions.
Make sure you have a digital camera to take shots of documents or old photos; bring a small tripod one along (best: those with legs that can be twisted into any angle or used against your arm or shoulder to stabilize the camera). Not expensive, they take up very little room.
A portable scanner – getting smaller and less expensive every year – is another good idea to copy unframed photos and documents; always check the backs of photos and documents for notes, inscriptions, dates, etc. Use your digital camera to shoot framed photos hanging on the wall.
Practice using your equipment ahead of time – so you won’t waste time or annoy the person with technical glitches. Remember to take the lens cap off the video camera! If using battery-operated devices, bring along spares (or chargers). The Boy Scouts have it right: “Be Prepared.”
At this time last year, a Canadian couple celebrated the birth of their 100th grandchild.
Grandparents Viktor and Aneta Urich have so many grandchildren that they find it difficult to remember all their names. Half of them have Canadian names, half have Russian names.
The couple has 16 children. The 100th grandchild was born to their eldest son Heinrich and his wife, Tatjana. Heinrich and Tatjana have nine children, the eldest is 12.
Is there someone in your family tree with a large number of grandchildren? What's the largest number of grandchildren you've found in your family history research?
Let us know in the poll below.
“I can actually recall the moment when I became interested in my family history,” writes MyHeritage member Heather Alexander in Massachusetts.
My sister was helping my then-young niece with a school project. Our entire family was on vacation in historic Newport, Rhode Island, when she was going over all sorts of records in a binder she had for my niece to go through to figure out how to do her assignment.
I recall thinking "What is all this? I know I'm Irish and English on our mother's side, Lithuanian and Polish on our father's side but I've never actually seen the evidence. I've never heard names. I only know that's what I was told...Irish/English Lithuanian/Polish.
Heather, 37, was born in and lives in Massachusetts. Married with a daughter, 9, she was educated in public and private schools in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and is a former credit analyst.
Heather put off her questions for a while, but became curious to find out about those few stories she had heard as a child but didn’t pay much attention to. Her sister, the eldest child, is highly intelligent and would explain things in such complex terms that only another person with an advanced degree in history could understand.
I didn't have that. I would question her a lot, but I grew frustrated with not understanding her answers to my questions and the same held true for our middle sister when she would ask - she got confused.
We’re thrilled to announce today that we’ve acquired Geni.com, the Los Angeles-based family tree network. Geni.com is one of the leading family tree websites and it has established a very strong global brand since its inception in 2007. We’re really excited to welcome Geni.com’s talented team to the MyHeritage family.
This is great news all round! As a larger community, the users of MyHeritage and Geni.com can expect to benefit greatly from this acquisition. Users of each website will now receive matches with the family trees of the other website, and MyHeritage’s Smart Matching and Record Matching technologies will benefit the Geni.com users, who will get access to historical records never available before on Geni.com.
This is our eighth and largest acquisition yet. It comes at a time when we’re rapidly growing, adding more records, and offering additional technologies to help you make family history breakthroughs.
The websites of MyHeritage and Geni.com will be kept separate and the users of MyHeritage will not experience any changes in how they use MyHeritage. If you already happen to have an account on MyHeritage and on Geni.com, they will be kept separate.
We thought you may have some questions about this acquisition and hope this post will answer them. For more information, you can read the official press release here.
Laurence Harris, MyHeritage's Head of Genealogy (UK), led a small team to quickly trace the living relatives of these men who were killed in action, to invite the relatives to a ceremony on Remembrance Sunday, in which the board was rededicated and their stories retold.
Over the next few weeks, we'll demonstrate how Laurence was able to do this, while sharing some of the stories of these unsung war heroes.