7    Sep 20131 comment

Family Heritage: Patriots, spies and other surprises

While some genealogists have been at it for only a few years, MyHeritage member Gary Fenton Kemp, 76, has been researching for decades.

Gary became interested in computers in the early 1970s.  He also observed his parents, then in their 70s, trying to put together their genealogy by typing and writing everything out by hand. He knew that there had to be some way to use computers and began searching for a program that would be able to organize the data.

I found PAF and started using it. In 1987, I went to my parents’ home and spent three days entering data for 752 names.

Gary has many interests in addition to family history, such as surfing, fly fishing, geocaching, glider racing and lifting weights. He’s been an educator from kindergarten through university, and conducted teacher training programs in Fiji and elsewhere. Although now retired as a teacher, coach, high school principal and school district superintendent, he is still active, serves as a local school board member and as a Boy Scout merit badge counselor.

The San Tan Valley, Arizona resident has been married to Nancy for 54 years, has four children, 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and four more on the way.

Gary's paternal grandparents' wedding photo,1881

He’s discovered so many exciting and interesting things about his family history. Continue reading "Family Heritage: Patriots, spies and other surprises" »

26    Aug 201317 comments

1932: A most famous photograph

As part of our Treasure Family Photos initiative, to preserve old family photos and to encourage people to learn more about their family history from them, we've seen some beautiful family photos and learnt about their history. There are also many other famous photos with a great history behind them. One of the world's most iconic photos is of a group of men sitting on a 69th floor construction beam high above Manhattan.

This iconic 1932 photo of construction workers having lunch on the 69th floor of the Rockefeller Center is the subject of MEN AT LUNCH, a film by Sean O Cualain.

MyHeritage was delighted to be able to interview (via email) Seán Ó Cualáin – director of the documentary Men at Lunch – on his project. Continue reading "1932: A most famous photograph" »

1    Aug 20132 comments

1790: First US Census Day

The US Census is the nation’s largest and most important set of records. They are invaluable to everyone interested in discovering their family history.

This week marks the original Census Day, which took place on the first Monday in August in 1790.

The 1790 Census was the first census conducted, numbering the then-population at  3,929,214.

Thomas Jefferson in the 1790 U.S. Census. Note occupation listed as 'Sec of State to the US' (click to zoom)

Census records provide a snapshot into the lives of our ancestors by documenting names, addresses, birthplace, members of household and more. Continue reading "1790: First US Census Day" »

10    May 20132 comments

Ghosts of War: Bringing historic legacies to the present

What's the relationship between our history and our daily reality?

Each day we walk by our local store, our neighbor's place or the park, without realizing the stories from the past that existed in those same places many years before.

While we often think of history as antique, irrelevant and something out of the past, it  can just as easily be intertwined with the present.

Imagine what it would look like if the ghosts of World War II came back to the streets today. That’s what Dutch historian Jo Hedwig Teeuwisse shows through her Ghosts of War photo series.

Ghosts of war - France; taken prisoner (Courtesy of Jo Hedwig Teeuwise)

Continue reading "Ghosts of War: Bringing historic legacies to the present" »

8    Mar 20131 comment

International Women’s Day: Your stories

International Women’s Day has its roots in the North American and European Labor movements.

It was first observed in the US on February 28, 1909, in honor of the 1908 worker’s strike when women protested against poor working conditions. A year later, The Socialist International met in Copenhagen and established a Women’s Day to honor the women’s rights movement.

The first International Women’s Day, in 1911, took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Women rallied for worker’s rights, the right to vote and to hold public office, among other issues.

Today, International Women’s Day is observed worldwide: Continue reading "International Women’s Day: Your stories" »

1    Mar 20132 comments

Celebrating: National Women’s History Month

March is National Women’s Month in the United States. It has been observed annually since 1987 to honor women’s contributions to society, history and culture.

American women have achieved many firsts; here are a few:

  • The first convention held to advocate women’s rights was at Seneca Falls, New York in 1848.
  • In 1869, Wyoming Territory was the first US territory to grant women the right to vote.
  • The first woman elected to an American political office was Susanna Salter, mayor of Argonia, Kansas in April 1887.
  • Elizabeth Blackwell was the first accredited American female doctor and founded the first medical school for women.
  • Edith Wharton became the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for her novel - The Age of Innocence - in 1921.
  • In 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to successfully fly more than 20 hours across the Atlantic.

"We Can Do It" poster, J. Howard Miller. Image credit: Wikipedia

This year’s theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation through Imagination,” which recognizes the contributions and achievements of women in the fields of science, mathematics, technology and engineering.

In honor of International Women's Day next week, we will publish some of our favorite inspirational stories of women in your family tree.

Do you have women in your family who were pioneer inventors? Do you have any stories of women ancestors' contribution to society, culture and innovation? We'd like to hear your stories. Share them in the comments below, or email them to stories@myheritage.com.

18    Feb 20130 comments

Happy Presidents’ Day!

Washington's Birthday Image credit: Wikipedia

Washington's Birthday. Image credit: Wikipedia

Today is, in the United States, “President's Day.” Did you know that this was originally celebrated as “Washington’s Birthday"?

Established in 1885 as a Federal holiday, it was first celebrated on February 22, Washington’s real birthday. It was also the first Federal holiday honoring an American citizen.

In 1971, the date changed to the third Monday in February, after the creation of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.

The Act also combined Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in some states. The combining of these two days gave equal recognition to two of America's most famous men.

Since then the day has become known as President's Day and also honors other presidents born during February, including Ronald Reagan and William Henry Harrison. It is popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all US Presidents.

Continue reading "Happy Presidents’ Day!" »

6    Feb 20130 comments

Games: Feeling ‘board’? Roll the dice

Monopoly Board Image Credit: AP Photo/Hasbro

Monopoly Board Image Credit: AP Photo/Hasbro

The famous board game Monopoly has received a makeover ahead of its 78th anniversary tomorrow with a revamp of its original 1935 design.

The game’s birthday milestone made me nostalgic for all the times my family and I played Monopoly and other board games.

With new technology and busy daily schedules, we often get distracted and forget the importance of spending time with our families.

Take a break with a traditional board game and bond with your family.  With just a roll of the dice, enjoy laughter, joy and amusement. All you need to worry about is whether your uncle or sister cheated in the last round.

Continue reading "Games: Feeling ‘board’? Roll the dice" »

30    Jan 20130 comments

Innovation: What’s next?

When was the last time you used a typewriter?

Technology crept into my life when I switched from my beloved black portable manual Remington typewriter to an IBM electric.

Just a few years ago - relatively speaking - personal computers were just appearing on the scene. We researched the old-fashioned way - handwriting letters, loading rolls of film in our cameras, visiting dusty archives and winding through endless rolls of microfilm in resource centers. It took hours of effort to search for family information.

Today we connect in ways we couldn't imagine only a short time ago. We communicate almost instantaneously with email and messaging, and we access ever-expanding Internet resources for family history. Everyone is connected by computer, by smartphone, by technology.

Once upon a time, my tech arsenal consisted of an electric typewriter. Period.

Continue reading "Innovation: What’s next?" »

25    Jan 20132 comments

Australia Day: Do you celebrate?

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

Australia Day - Image credit: timeanddate.com

January 26 marks Australia's national holiday, Australia Day.

Australia Day celebrates the establishment of the first settlement in Port Jackson (which is now Sydney Harbour), in 1788.

What's known as the "First Fleet", consisted of 11 ships that set sail from Great Britain and landed on this day at the Port. By 1808, January 26 was celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day”.

In 1818, the Governor of Australia gave all government employees a day off, and in the years that followed, bank employees, and other employees, were also given a holiday day.

Continue reading "Australia Day: Do you celebrate?" »

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