Genealogical research today is very different from that of a few years ago.
Sites like MyHeritage enable us to communicate with more people, faster and more easily, while reaching out to others worldwide.
Tools - such as Smart Matches - help you discover new ancestors and possible relatives with similarities in their family trees and who may have a direct relationship with you.
Today we'd like to know what you discovered when researching your family heritage. Where do your ancestors come from?
Listening to family stories as a child sparked Leigh Toselli’s interest, but - for her - it’s all about photographs and their stories.
A South African fashion, beauty and decor stylist, Leigh, 52, lives in Johannesburg with her French photographer husband Patrick and three sons (Devin, 25; Rowan, 23; and Kieran, 20).
Her biography reads like an A-Z of fashion, and she’s worked on every facet of image in the industry. She authored a series of books on beauty and image, and was also co-presenter of the South African version of the BBC show, What Not to Wear.
A few years ago, Leigh was trying to find a way of restoring, filing and sharing old family photographs.
Old photographs that gather dust seem so sad; all too often these are neglected and the names and faces forgotten. So I started asking the older generations to put names and anecdotes to the photos.
Family trees didn't really interest me, as they were simply a list of dates and names. That is, until I realized I could put faces to the names! Suddenly, my family’s history became a fascination - seeing family resemblances and spotting faces in old albums became a bit of an obsession.
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
Our Record Matching technology, launched last week, has made a big splash in the genealogy industry.
Check out what some of the most influential genealogists on the Web have had to say about it:
"I like the MyHeritage Record Matching technology - it is a step forward in helping researchers with online family trees find online records that can add content to their database in the quest for finding our elusive ancestors."
"This system of Record Matches is excellent - especially when there are too many matches to consume in one sitting."
"No other provider of record searches provides a similar service for newspaper articles - this one is unique to date."
"On my very first tries, I was impressed and that isn't very common. I don't usually do software reviews because I like all of the programs and I don't want to appear to hold favorites, but this turns out to be different. MyHeritage.com has come up with a new service that should impact many genealogical researchers in a way that hasn't happened previously."
"This is really significant -- MyHeritage.com Record Matches."
"In my opinion, this is a significant step forward for the online genealogical community."
We're pleased to introduce today a new technology - Record Matching - that automatically finds relevant historical records for every family tree on MyHeritage!
This is an add-on feature for SuperSearch, our global search engine for historical records, that was successfully launched in June. We're very excited about Record Matching, and believe it is a breakthrough that can bring value to almost every user of MyHeritage and to people not using MyHeritage who are curious about their family history. Read the details below and we hope you'll share our excitement.
Our genealogical journeys begin in varied ways.
MyHeritage member Michael O’Toole’s interest began with a box of family photos and pages torn from a family Bible.
Michael, 59, was born in New Zealand and lives today in Sydney, Australia, with his partner Dianne and daughter Grace; his mother, Enid, and sister, Susan, live in Queensland, Australia.
Active in the apparel and textile industry for most of his life, including Levi Strauss New Zealand, he’s had his own product development and importing businesses.
In addition to family history, his wide-ranging interests include rugby, motorcycle racing, cricket and big game fishing. He enjoys international travel and is looking forward to a UK trip to visit his ancestors’ towns and villages in Nottingham and Leistershire.
Michael wanted to trace the history of his New Zealand O’Tooles.
I had very little knowledge of them. My step-grandmother- just before she died about 10 years ago - sent me a box of photos and family pages torn from a bible, so I had something to start from.
He began by Googling “O’Toole, Invercargill New Zealand.”
Rodolfo Almar Hegoburu, 68, has always been interested in his Basque ancestors.
Born in Argentina, he received a PhD (Physics) at the University of La Plata (Argentina) and did post-doctorate studies at the University of Nottingham (UK). He has worked in Argentina, UK, Canada and the US, but spends a fair amount of time in Argentina.
Now retired, he lives in the US with his wife. He has three children.
He’s been interested in his ancestors since he was a youngster.
However, I became really interested in doing some research in my family genealogy only a few years ago. The help of a friend – with a lot more experience - has been instrumental.
He’s become intrigued by the Basque people, in general.
Some say that they were the first inhabitants of Europe, with a language that seemingly has no relation to any other Indo-European languages. Their history is fascinating.
There are many reasons why people become interested in their family history. It may be because of an inherited condition or the discovery of a previously unknown relative.
MyHeritage member Thelma (known as Thel) Brooks’ story includes both!
Born in Sydney, Australia, Thel’s interests were dancing, swimming and tennis. These days, it’s family history.
Now in her 70s and retired, she was a hospital office manager for most of her working life.
Married at 22, she and her husband, William John Brooks, were together for nearly 50 years. She has a daughter and a son, and four grandchildren. For 27 years, Thel was her husband John’s caregiver until his death in 2010.
Today, her life is devoted to her little dog, family and friends and she lives in Sunshine Coast, Queensland.
Thel first became interested in family history when her husband was diagnosed with an inherited incurable disease and she wanted to find out more where it came from. She then discovered, at 56, a previously unknown half-sister in Scotland:
Our post on the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking produced a breakthrough for a South African member of MyHeritage.
Christopher Brian Jennings (known as Brian), 44, of Johannesburg, South Africa became interested in family history as his elders aged. He realized that their wealth of information would disappear if he did not document the family.
Brian lives with his wife Adri, 44, and children Natasha, 19, and Michael, 15. He is an insurance industry director.