Family history attracts people of all ages.
Recently, MyHeritage was happy to hear from member Jeff Zeitlin of Connecticut, who sent an email on behalf of his son Jared, 11. He explained that Jared was very interested in genealogy and asked if it was possible to get a MyHeritage souvenir.
Our marketing department wrote to Jeff and discovered that Jared had made remarkable family history discoveries.
We asked the family’s permission to share their story and they were happy to do so. Of course, we sent Jared a MyHeritage fleece (see photo left).
Here’s Jared’s story:
A fifth-grade student, Jared’s parents are Alyson and Jeffrey Zeitlin and he has an older sister, Mikayla. He also enjoys spending time with his grandparents in Connecticut and Florida.
Growing up in a Jewish family, Jared found great interest in religion and genealogy. These interests spurred his focus in researching his family history, which resulted in building the family tree on MyHeritage.com.
One day a few summers ago, Jared’s father’s first cousins visited them in Connecticut – the first time Jared had met them.
During the day we discussed how we were related. Cousin Arthur mentioned that another distant cousin had created a family tree on another website. That got me interested in looking at my family.
Jared checked that website, read about his family and added family members – some 450 people. Then he stopped for a while.
One day, my Grandpa Matthew provided me with new information to add to the tree. We began discussing family trees again while we were on vacation in Florida in December 2011. I learned about MyHeritage.com through a family tree my Israeli cousins began and they invited me to join. I decided I wanted to start a new family tree from scratch and see how far I could grow it. My parents allowed me to start a new family tree on MyHeritage.com.
As Jared began adding people, he became even more interested. He felt good because this was now his family tree.
With each new person I added, I learned something new. This was very exciting and interesting for me. I began to ask different family members about what they knew of the family and the tree began to grow!
Currently, Jared has 1,641 relatives in his family tree, with his earliest ancestor – Yitzhak Osovitzky – born in 1790. The youngest is his first cousin once removed – Roselyn – born in November 2011.
The history of his family only goes to Jared’s great-grandfather, Joseph Zeitlin (1884-1956), from Minsk, Belarus. Although Joseph’s ancestors are still unknown, most of the family is from Russia and Poland.
His maternal great-great-grandfather was Philip Goldberg (1879-1962), from Gorodok, Belarus, who didn’t know who his maternal mother was until he was 27. The child of an arranged marriage that didn’t work out, he always thought his mother was the woman his father was married to as he grew up.
Jared has been a MyHeritage member through his Israeli cousin’s tree since April 2010, and began his own tree in December 2011.
The best part of MyHeritage is being able to share what I find about my family with all these other relatives, many of whom I’ve never met. It’s been great to get e-mails from relatives who looked at my tree. I also get excited when I see relatives contact each other – like a birthday greeting – through MyHeritage. I also now speak to or email family with whom I’ve never communicated before.
Jared received many SmartMatches with the family tree that his Israeli cousins compiled on MyHeritage.
His family is also involved in his family history quest.
My parents let me join MyHeritage and other websites to help me research and build the family tree. I also get a lot of information from my two grandfathers about relatives to help me do my research.
Most of his living relatives are included in his tree, and when Jared sees them, they know about the family tree and always share information.
I also tell them about their family and new facts that I learned. I email some relatives now with whom I had little or no contact before working on my family tree.
The family came from Poland, Russia and Belarus, and today lives in the United States and Israel. Sometimes Jared wonders if he still has relatives there:
I probably do. One day maybe, I will go to Minsk, Belarus.
He hopes to go to Israel when he is 13 to visit his Israeli cousins.
Jared shared a great story with MyHeritage about his research.
My mom and I spoke to a cousin, Rana, whom I’ve never met, for 90 minutes on the phone. She’s my Grandpa Matthew’s first cousin’s daughter. My mom hadn’t been in contact with her for over 30 years. I found her information while doing Internet research for my family tree.
Rana sent Jared information about her family, including her brother, parents and uncle (Jared’s grandfather’s first cousin), and Jared shared the information with his grandfather. She also emailed photos and birthdates for the tree. Jared gave Rana the link to MyHeritage.com and she shared the information with her own father.
The young genealogist also shared the following research tips:
Start with your parents and the relatives you know. Ask them about other relatives and how everyone is related. There is great information on the Internet, such as census records, that give a lot of information about people’s families, which can be included on the family tree.
Jared also discovered that libraries are good places for information. He visited the Connecticut State Library’s genealogy section and looked up city directories and obituaries on microfiche (see below).
At 11, Jared is rather young to compile such a large family tree. He’s proud of his accomplishment – as is MyHeritage!
I’m proud because I’m the first person in my family to make such a large family tree. I’m gathering family history for my family. I get excited when I see that other family members visit my MyHeritage site. Sometimes they ask questions or they just tell me how impressed they are with the information. I’m also excited when I find a new record or find new information. That makes me feel very good.
MyHeritage sent Jared a company fleece in honor of his accomplishments. We hope his story encourages other young people to track their families.
Do you know a young genealogist who would like to share his or her story? MyHeritage wants to encourage the younger generations to get involved in family history, so let us know in the comments below.