MyHeritage: A young German genealogist’s story

MyHeritage: A young German genealogist’s story

David Krüger
David Krüger

At an age when most young men tend to look at the world outside instead of their own family roots, David Krueger, 15, from Germany, is already working on his family history at MyHeritage. He began his research at age 13.

In 2010, he “Googled” his own name, just for fun. He looked at the results and saw a family tree with many branches.

Under the picture was written: “My ancestors, determined by a genealogist.” “It looks interesting,” I thought, and clicked on it. I discovered more and more fascinating information about genealogy.

David went to his mother and asked about his grandparents, writing down their birth and death dates. When he asked about his great-grandparents, there was no room on the paper.

I quickly turned on my computer and looked for a way to represent this piece of information online, so that I had a clear view in a way I could understand (I was then 13).

On Google, David discovered MyHeritage, clicked on the link and was impressed by how beautifully the site was designed. He registered and added the standard information into the tree.

When I clicked and saw my family tree at MyHeritage, I was surprised that there were so many features, so I went through all the functions and read everything that was available. I was also impressed by the beautiful design of my tree (which was then very small). I tested many functions, including how to edit my family tree, add new people, upload pictures, etc.

My great-great grandparents
David's great-great-grandparents

Over the next two years, David continued developing his family tree and received a few Smart Matches, which he could not confirm because he wasn’t yet a premium user.

By early January, my family tree was nearly 250 people, and I decided it was time for an upgrade so I could continue adding more people and pictures. I paid the fee and after two days I was able to confirm the SmartMatches and add new people.

I had matches from Germany (relatives who had already created a family tree themselves), from the US, including researchers who had also focused on the BUNTROCK family, and from South Africa (the ancestors of my grandmother’s husband).

Group photo of my great-aunt and great uncle’s wedding
The wedding of David's great-aunt and great-uncle

David was amazed to see how his family tree grew in such a short time. His relatives supported him so he could research even faster and they also registered at MyHeritage and helped to complete the tree with additional information. Today he has 247 people, and he keeps searching everywhere.

The oldest information I have entered is the birth of an ancestor born in 1785.

My great-grandparents with friends at their home in Revenow, Cammin (now Poland)
David's great-grandparents with friends at their home in Revenow, Cammin (now Poland)

What tips does David offer for researchers of any age?

I’ve learned that if you don’t advance in your research, you should look into joining a genealogy forum or association, where you can get immediate help. In my case, I needed help with the old German handwriting. I belong to two clubs and will soon participate in a volunteer project with one of them. I am also happy to get to know other club members, hear their stories and get tips from them.

I hope that, one day, I will have even more people in my family tree. Thanks to the beautiful design of MyHeritage, everything will be clearly presented.

We thank David for sharing this story about his research at such a young age! His example is truly inspiring.

Perhaps his story will inspire you and help you motivate the younger generations in your family.

Do you know a young researcher whom we could interview in our blog? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Line Kristin Furuseth

    July 19, 2012

    Very very good David 🙂

  • Rika van Staden

    July 20, 2012

    I started my family tree November 2010 and discover my long lost family through a tree build by a family member then only 15 years old. I am also a member of that tree and here is the link to it:
    The Appel website (as above) is managed by Maritha Appel, who will turn 17 on the 26th of this month. If it was not for this young family member of mine, I wouldn’t have discovered my long lost family! My site is I am not sure how old Maritha was whenshe started the site, because it was quite comprehensive when I discovered it. Thank you Maritha!

  • Rune Meyer

    July 20, 2012

    I am so happy that so young people take an interest in their family. Far too few do. If I had done that, when I was at that age, I would have known much more than I do today. My grandmothers mother – no trace, execpt a name. Same with my grandfathers mother. All this, I could have got, if I started earlier. We have to remember, that the names we search, were living poeple, like us, however – they struggled so we could get this good life today that we have. Encourage all young people to start.

  • Katie Stilp

    July 20, 2012

    I began researching when I was 17, as part of a high school project that had us dig up our roots. Throughout college I continued to research when I had time and now that I am 24 and have been graduated from college for 2 years, I have spent the last 2 years digging more deeply and learning more about researching. I’ve found several towns of origin in Germany for a few of my branches, which I never discovered when starting back in high school. I’ve uncovered hundreds of photos, connected with a ton of relatives and been able to trace back my Stilp ancestors to the 1700s in Germany. I’ve gotten involved in my local genealogy scene as well, attending a free 8 week genealogy course offered by our local library and have attended a conference hosted by our local genealogical society, in which I helped some of the “older” researchers with figuring out how to navigate internet searches and websites, as well as sharing tips on researching in our local resources. I’m definitely hooked on genealogy and was fortunate enough to start young enough so I had my great-grandmother on one side of the family still living. She passed away two years ago but we had spent hours upon hours talking about the past and I showed her all the information and photos I had uncovered. It was one of the most rewarding things I have ever done and I’m thankful that genealogy brought me closer to her. I also have all four of my grandparents living, and they have helped tremendously with answering questions about ancestors and encouraging me in my research.

  • moses

    July 21, 2012

    David, that is really inspiring. Am 40 and I wish I had discovered this earlier; at your age. I am a Ugandan and my Kiroomu-Batiibwe Family Project target is 5000 people by the end of 2013. The biggest challenge is to involve as many relative as 500. Pray for me and give us more tips. Always be blessed.

  • lise lessard

    February 21, 2013

    I just started my family tree last week

    As you are from Germany, maybe I can ask tour help?

    my grand-grand-grand-father was from Germany,
    his name= Johann-Zacharias Léard Ziliac Georges
    maried with Catherina Elisabeth Weinshreken

    His son George
    according to somes genealogist, George could be Jacob Ciliac, born Krautheim
    he was in gogel’s Co. of the Anhalt-Zerbst Rgt.
    (riedesel papers 11,31)
    LEARD, George Ignace Zacharias : Anhalt-Zerbst ; Jacob Ciliak, Gogel 20 june 1782 (Riedesel II.31), 19 years old, Georg Ciliak, Cie Nuppenau,. Born 1st september 1762 à Krautheim (Saxe-Weimar), son of de Johann Zacharias Leard & Catharina Elizabeth Weinshraken.

    somebody can help me?
    it will be very appreciate to have more information about Johann-Zacharias Ziliac and family in Germany

    ps:I usually speak french
    but can understand english

  • Johanne Montreuil

    March 10, 2015

    Bonjour Lise,
    Je prépare un tableau de 11 générations, pour le 60ième anniversaire de mes beaux parents le 19 avril prochain. Tout comme vous, je suis bloqué aux même ancêtres. Avez vous finalement trouvé ???

    Bonne journée

    Johanne Montreuil