24    Sep 20139 comments

Our Stories: From the Netherlands to Australia

MyHeritage members come to us in various ways. Maria Keep, 63, born in the Netherlands and now living in Australia, tried a free MyHeritage CD that came in a magazine.

Maria was born in Renkum, Netherlands. She, her husband and adult daughter and son live in Forster NSW Australia. She is a full-time caregiver for her husband who is vision impaired and suffers from total memory and short term memory loss.

Family wedding in 1954

Maria has been collecting family history for some four decades.

I am from a very big family and have always been interested in family history and had been collecting little bits of information on bits of paper and putting them in a book with the intention of putting it all together one day into a proper family tree record. I started collecting this information about 40 years ago.

Continue reading "Our Stories: From the Netherlands to Australia" »

9    Sep 20137 comments

Our Stories: Planning a family reunion

By his own account, Norwood Wayne Newkirk says that reading and history were not his greatest passions as he grew up. Today that has changed, as he was the project manager for his family’s reunion held August 1-4, 2013, in New Jersey.

He holds a degree in electrical engineering and worked as a loss prevention consultant. Today he creates risk management systems as a senior account executive and computer application developer.

So what I have done over the past two years [since the 2011 reunion] in preparation for our 2013 reunion is not a far stretch from what I do vocationally. I see the issue and try to develop a solution.

However, as he went through life, he began to recognize that something was missing.

I found a church with teaching ministry that filled the void in my spiritual life and became very active in leading the Media Volunteer Ministry (it is in my genes). Yet there was an area still lacking.

I eventually recognized I had become distant from my family, not because I wanted to, but life situations and circumstances caused things to happen just that way. In fact, there was a time when I truly could not remember a large chunk of my past.

As life would have it, things changed and there was a rekindling of his family history. As family members grew older and died, it offered occasions for the family to come together more frequently than they would like.

It was on those occasions that I heard stories about family members including myself. Stories that made you laugh and stories that made you say, “Did that really happen?” At that point I began to understand what I was missing. It was family. Cousins that I grew up were now distant relatives.

At his grandmother’s funeral, a family pastor talked about thing his grandparents experienced over 92 years of their life and the legacy they left behind.

The Starling family could have written “Roots.” This revelation showed me the importance of family.

Continue reading "Our Stories: Planning a family reunion" »

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" »

5    Aug 20131 comment

Your Stories: A trip to Mali with Mahamadou Gary

Today we're on a journey to Mali, with a family adventure first shared on our MyHeritage French blog.

MyHeritage user Mahmadou Gary was born in Fatao (Cercle of Diéma in the Kayes Region of western Mali) in 1956.

Mahamadou Gary

His studies led him all the way to Kishinev, Moldova, where he obtained a Master's Degree in Biology and became a biology professor at Lycée Sankoré of Bamako. After leaving Kishinev, he earned a doctorate in biology at the University of Bamako, where he continued his career.

He was also the mayor of the municipality of Fatao from 1999 to 2004.

Mahmadou first became interested in family history when he attended his mother's funeral in the local village.

Continue reading "Your Stories: A trip to Mali with Mahamadou Gary" »

18    Jun 201312 comments

Our Stories: A daughter’s project

Chris's graduation photo

People catch the genealogy bug in many ways. For MyHeritage member Chris King (in Georgia, US), it was because of the Girl Scouts.

My daughter, Caitlin, was in Girl Scouts and had to do a family tree of three-to-four generations. I always wanted to know more about where my family was from, but had never thought about doing a family tree. I helped her with the project and together we went back several more generations.

Born Christine Carlton in Paget, Bermuda, in January 1969, Chris' father was in the US Air Force, stationed on the island. Her parents divorced when she was 3, and she, her sister and their mother moved to Georgia, where she grew up. Today she has four children and a step-daughter. She and her husband have been together for 12 years and married for nine, with six grandchildren and another on the way.

Continue reading "Our Stories: A daughter’s project" »

5    Jun 20131 comment

Our Stories: A family reunion in the Netherlands

A group of MyHeritage users from Holland and Canada met for the first time in Haarlem, Netherlands, in May.

Family photo outside the North Holland Archives

Joining them was our Netherlands country manager Denie Kasan, who documented their reunion at the North Holland Archives in Haarlem. Following is a translation based on his original post.

Continue reading "Our Stories: A family reunion in the Netherlands" »

23    May 201323 comments

Our Stories: The Mayflower and more!

There are so many ways to get bitten by the genealogy bug. MyHeritage member Melva Jo Wright of Florida (US) took over the research of her maternal aunt (Geraldine Martinez) when she died in 2004.

Her aunt’s four sisters helped with the research and each received a family history binder from their researcher sister.

Melva Jo’s maternal great-grandparents and their family: Norval Smith Channing (1878 PA-1955 PA) and Amanda Catherine (Pyle) Channing (1877 PA-1957 PA). Her grandmother (far left) is Rebecca (Channing) Lytle (1901 PA-1980 FL) (Courtesy photo)

Most have shared them with me, but I’m still waiting to hear from the others to complete their details in our family tree. I hope they contain some original pictures, as most of those I already have are copies.

Melva Jo, 60, has three children and three stepdaughters. Her mother worked at the Pentagon and her father was a stockcar racer, killed in a 1951 race. Her mother remarried, to an Army major, and the family lived in Germany and France.

Among her exciting discoveries: the Mayflower’s John and Priscilla Alden are her direct ninth great-grandparents. She's also related to writer Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, President Abraham Lincoln, Clement Clark Moore (who wrote “The Night Before Christmas), as well as Orson Wells, Marilyn Monroe, Dick and Jerry Van Dyke and Ricky Nelson, to name a few.

Continue reading "Our Stories: The Mayflower and more!" »

26    Apr 20131 comment

Our Stories: Hidden families and an opera singer

We never know what our unique family histories may reveal, and MyHeritage member Kathleen Whitfield, 60, of the UK, is no exception.

Her childhood was spent in the UK with her parents and older brother, who lived some 250 miles from any blood relatives. Neither of the siblings ever met their father’s family or had any living grandparents they knew about.

Although they occasionally visited their mother’s sister and family in Lancashire and another sister in London, the only details they were told about their father’s family was that his Irish father was an opera singer, their father was born in London, that he had siblings, but he had lost contact with his family. Kathleen was told she was named for her father’s mother. Further, she discovered that her paternal grandmother was really Kate Constance, not Kathleen!

William C. Green, Kathleen’s paternal grandfather (Courtesy Photo)

Kathleen got “into” family history because her husband’s niece conducted fascinating research into his family. Continue reading "Our Stories: Hidden families and an opera singer" »

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" »

14    Feb 20131 comment

Valentine’s Day: Your Stories

Millions around the world will send flowers, write love letters and say "I love you" to their families, significant others and spouses to mark Valentine's Day today.

We each have our own romantic stories. Whether a first love, a first kiss or discovering a secret admirer, these stories are memorable moments.

At MyHeritage, we know how important  family and love are in our lives. Last week, we asked you to send in romantic stories of proposals, marriage and love from your unique family history.

Here we share a few of our favorites on this special day:

Continue reading "Valentine’s Day: Your Stories" »

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