14    Jan 20143 comments

Family Records: Preserving oral history

One way to document and preserve family history is recording oral history interviews with relatives. This really brings our family trees to life, as it reveals the lives and memories of our family members in ways that dry facts, records or even photos cannot.

You may learn the story behind a family event captured in a photograph, emotions surrounding life events, and the names of previously unknown relatives  in photographs. Video recordings reveal how our relative sounds and what he or she looks like. We can get a genuine feel for their character.

In a recent article in the Examiner, archives technician Aaron Holt at the National Archives Fort Worth (Texas), said, “It only takes three generations to lose a piece of oral family history.” Holt continued, “It must be purposely and accurately repeated over and over again through the generations to be preserved for a genealogist today.” Continue reading "Family Records: Preserving oral history" »

3    Feb 20110 comments

Video of the Week: ‘The Icing on the Cake’

This week's video is from StoryCorps, an organization we've talked about before who record oral history from around the United States.

In this video they share a conversation between a first-generation immigrant and her daughter. It discusses the difficulties the mother had at first, but also the inspiration she provided to her daughter through overcoming them.

It's a nice short story, with a great animation to accompany it.

The Icing on the Cake from StoryCorps on Vimeo.

7    Oct 20103 comments

StoryCorps: Germans in the Woods

A month ago we featured StoryCorps, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving American oral history through the stories of ordinary people.

StoryCorps have recently begun combining some of their stories with short animations. Here is one that is both very beautiful and very sad, about an infantryman in the U.S. Army during the Second World War. We've embedded it here for you to watch.
Continue reading "StoryCorps: Germans in the Woods" »

12    Aug 20105 comments

Tracing Your Irish Ancestry

From 1800 to 1922 the UK was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.  So, for a great deal of the period of interest to genealogists, the two islands were part of the same country.

The consequence of this is that there are no official records of migration, because the Irish in Britain during that time were not technically immigrants.  As a result, the British archives contain much more material of Irish interest.

There are a lot of similarities between the record systems of Britain and Ireland, particularly:

  • The formats of the various civil registration records
  • Census-taking practice
  • Probate for wills
  • Before census and civil registration, parish records are the only direct sources of family information for the majority of the population.

There are four categories of Irish records that are relevant to almost everyone researching their Irish ancestors: civil records, census records, church records and property records.

There are also fascinating tales of family history, passed down orally through the generations, which can be found in most families.  Irish Family History is full of myths and legends.  These stories may be curious, but always interesting and sometimes historically valuable, perhaps grounded in fact and providing a peek into the past that might not be available through other means.

Continue reading "Tracing Your Irish Ancestry" »

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