28    Sep 20160 comments

Meet the Team: Marianne

Marianne Melcherts

Dutch-born Marianne Melcherts has been working with the customer support team at MyHeritage since 2010. The way she describes it, it feels both like forever and like no time at all.

As a child, Marianne was already quite interested in discovering her roots. She grew up in a small village in the Netherlands, located between Amsterdam and Utrecht. She was interested in history and archaeology. Marianne’s family is very well read, and reading was a big part of her upbringing. From an early age, she would often read books that had to do with historical research.

Photos of the family's ancestors were hung on the walls in the living room of her parents' house. They depicted her grandparents, great-grandparents, and there was even one of her great-great-grandfather. As a child, Marianne was mesmerized by the people in these photos and was curious to know more.

My paternal ancestors came from Friesland, the most northern province of the Netherlands and, in some photos, the women wore the traditional costume. I remember my father and grandparents speaking Frisian. I am very proud of my Dutch heritage.

Photos of Marianne's great-grandmother Luurtske Durks Hijlkema and great-grandfather Lolle Rimmers Hijlkema.

Continue reading "Meet the Team: Marianne" »

11    Sep 20162 comments

Our Volunteers: From Madeira to MyHeritage

Born on the island of Madeira (Portugal) in 1954, Vasco Gonçalves de Andrade moved to Lisbon in 1976 to work and to study psychology. He holds a degree in social and organizational psychology.

Married, he has two daughters in Lisbon. The older is a TV reporter, and the younger is a landscape architect.

After many years of working for two large companies in Lisbon and in Funchal (where he has lived for 16 years), he took early retirement due to illness.

Today, Vasco is a volunteer for the Portuguese Red Cross, where he can help people and work for a good cause. He has also been a volunteer translator of Portuguese for MyHeritage, since 2012.

It was so long ago that I don’t remember if I was asked to help or if I proposed to help.  It has been a great experience! Since I enjoy genealogy and also like to practice my English, this has been a dual-goal job. I’ve also made friends on the MyHeritage team.

Continue reading "Our Volunteers: From Madeira to MyHeritage" »

15    Aug 20165 comments

Our Stories: Never-before-seen photos

It's always exciting to hear about MyHeritage users who have reconnected with family members around the world. One such user, Peri, recently told us about the incredible discovery of her unknown cousins through MyHeritage. As a result, she now has photos of her ancestors that had never been seen before.

I am wild with excitement. I got an email that on MyHeritage there was a match. I was shocked to see my mother's maternal family in another tree and the best part was there were so many photos which - as we all know - is "genealogy gold."

Peri is married and has two children. She is an attorney in Connecticut and graduated from Quinnipiac School of Law in 1984. For the past several years, she has devoted her practice to locate missing and unknown heirs, given her background in genealogy. She has successfully solved many cases where she reunited family members or just gave someone their family tree, and they were very grateful.

Continue reading "Our Stories: Never-before-seen photos" »

24    May 201610 comments

Our Stories: Uncovering a brood of half-siblings

When Cathy Combs of Spokane, Washington began researching her family history, she had no clue what discoveries were awaiting. She uncovered a huge chunk of family that she never knew existed.

MyHeritage has played a pivotal role in the documentation of my family history, and research that enabled the discovery of my half-siblings!

Cathy and four of her six siblings, at a 2014 reunion

It all started with Jean McDonald Clark. Jean was born in Chicago, but raised in Minnesota. She married Ernest Rucks in 1946. Between 1947 and 1950, the couple had four children. She was a young bride with an unfortunate domestically turbulent home life. While pregnant with her fifth child, she fled to California to safely give birth and process for divorce. In the early 1950s, battered women in such situations had few options or resources. Continue reading "Our Stories: Uncovering a brood of half-siblings" »

3    Apr 201614 comments

Our Stories: From illness to discovery

In September 2015, Jacob Eric Stathers, 63, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and began treatment. While undergoing chemotherapy, he found himself with extra time on his hands, and he decided to dedicate this time to exploring his family history.

He began searching for the best tools and technology for his research and soon learned about MyHeritage. What he didn’t realize then were the new and exciting discoveries that genealogy would bring, and that it would open up a broader world during this difficult time in his life.

A British Columbia native, now Eric lives with his wife in Bellevue, Washington. They each have two children and two stepchildren. He holds a BSc (Agriculture — Soil Science), an MBA (University of British Columbia, Canada), and also studied at the Advanced Management College (Stanford University, California). A senior executive with 35 years of experience in business software, consulting, and management, he is today the managing partner of Stathers & Associates LLC. He is also co-editor and publisher of In the Ditch: Stories of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway 1929-65, authored by his grandfather, Eric Prince Stathers.

Eric became interested in family history as a young boy when his UK-born paternal grandfather, who lived with Eric's family while recovering from a heart attack, began compiling his family tree and writing his memoirs. Continue reading "Our Stories: From illness to discovery" »

22    Feb 20168 comments

Our Stories: Discovering long-lost siblings

Just a few days after creating a family tree on MyHeritage, Nancy Guay received a message: "My name is Judy, and I think I’m your sister."

These were the words Nancy Guay - of Montreal, Canada - and her brother Jamie had been waiting to hear for over 50 years.

Nancy: For a moment I felt the ground disappear from under my feet. I’d discovered my lost sister after believing I’d never find her.

20150811_211405.jpg Continue reading "Our Stories: Discovering long-lost siblings" »

21    Dec 20156 comments

Our Stories: Decoding an old letter

South Carolina resident Joia Sokol Thompson shared this story about her sister Carol Sokol, a nurse who lives in Utah.

Carol is the Sokol family genealogist and has been working on their history — particularly their father’s line — since she was 14 in the early 1970s. One of her most prized heirlooms is a letter written to her great-grandfather in 1880. MyHeritage led her to cousins in Canada who decoded the antique letter and uncovered new family connections.

A photo of the gravestone plate of relative Katerina Myskova, discovered through a MyHeritage connection.

Carol’s mother accompanied her husband to visit his relatives and, for years, she recorded family history information. She often asked relatives to complete family group sheets and pedigree sheets that she organized. Continue reading "Our Stories: Decoding an old letter" »

21    Oct 201526 comments

Our Stories: A past he never imagined

October marks the 210th anniversary of the death of the great British military hero, Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, who was mortally wounded during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

We recently spoke with MyHeritage user David Bullock - from Bath, England - after he discovered an unexpected connection with Nelson that blew him away.

David Bullock and Horatio Nelson

When he began tracing his roots in February 2014, David, a graphic designer, never imagined the roller coaster of emotions his journey would become. Continue reading "Our Stories: A past he never imagined" »

19    Oct 201510 comments

Send Us Your Stories for a Chance to Win a Kindle!

Do you have a family history discovery story that you'd like to share? We'd love to hear it!

Looking deeper into your roots and learning more about your family's past can help strengthen family connections and uncover previously unknown relatives. Many of our users have shared what they've uncovered and learned about their families, using MyHeritage.

Take a look at our featured stories to see some incredible discoveries. Barbara followed a MyHeritage SmartMatch to uncover her mother’s side of the family and, as a result, received priceless family correspondence. Brian was able to use MyHeritage to trace his family tree back to 690 AD and he discovered that his ninth great-grandfather was, in fact, The Duke of Argyll!

Share your story for a chance to win one of three Kindles, and to have your story featured on our blog! To enter, send us an email with your story, to stories@myheritage.com by November 7.

We look forward to hearing about your discoveries!

26    Jul 20152 comments

Our Volunteers: A young genealogist’s Norwegian family history

Continuing our spotlight on volunteer translators, we introduce Torbjorn Wolden, a MyHeritage member from Norway, who has been helping to translate MyHeritage products into Norwegian for the five years.

A young genealogist, Torbjorn became interested in his family history in elementary school.

We did a project where we would make our own family tree (which I still have) and show it to the rest of the class. My grandparents also had a bygdebok (a local history book) for the parish, where all the farms and everyone who had lived there are listed, and I used to look at this and see how long my family had owned the farm and how long they had lived in the area.

Torbjorn has traced back his family history to the mid-1500s to the Trøndelag and Nordmøre regions in Norway. While most of his close family still lives in these regions, he has discovered distant relatives in Sweden; the US; Rotuma, Australia; Denmark and Switzerland. Continue reading "Our Volunteers: A young genealogist’s Norwegian family history" »

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