Our Volunteers: From Lebanon to Ecuador

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Electronics Engineer Elias Faour, 68, has been volunteering for MyHeritage, translating our products into Spanish, since 2011. Born in the North Lebanon village of Hadeth el Joubbe, he later moved to Batroun. At the age of 28, in 1975, at the beginning of the civil war in his country, Elias moved to Guayaquil, Ecuador.

In 1976, he married his cousin Cecilia. They have two children, Daniel and Monica, and three grandchildren.

Although the family of his paternal grandparents – Yousef Faour and Adél Corban – has few relatives, the family of his maternal grandparents – Hanna Saab and Rosa Andery is numerous, as is his wife’s paternal family, Chedraoui (Chedrawi)-Sfeir.

Elias was always surrounded by many uncles, aunts, and cousins. His mother’s sister and her family were already living in Guayaquil.

To understand his family in Ecuador, he wanted to create a family tree of his wife’s grandfather, Antonio Chedraoui (Chedrawi), whom he knew personally.

I gathered all family information and hired a painter, who worked in oils, who created a huge apple tree with the background landscape of North Lebanon, where the family originated. Red apples carry the names of children with their birthdates, and the branches with the names of the spouses, birth dates and marriage dates.

This work was his gift to his aunt and mother-in-law Odette and father-in-law Pedro David, who displayed the family tree in their living room. Elias received great praise and thanks from the family, which, he says, “fed his ego” and encouraged him to learn more about the family.

Elias learned about MyHeritage on the internet a long time ago. He signed up and began to create the family tree of his two grandfathers.

That was and continues to be an extraordinary experience. My family has expanded on four continents and in some 10 countries, including Lebanon, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Australia, the US, and elsewhere.

It wasn’t easy to obtain the contacts for all my family members. I had to communicate in five languages: Arabic, Spanish, English, French and Portuguese. However, the result was well worth it. Today, my family tree has 519 individuals, and 178 members participate on our family website.

According to Elias, his most exciting experience on MyHeritage has been the data search of his relatives, the descendants of his maternal and paternal grandparents, with whom he hadn’t had contact. Although his family is today around the world, it wasn’t easy getting personal data for each of them.

The most exciting time was when I began receiving responses to invitations made through my family website on MyHeritage!

The most useful features of MyHeritage, according to Elias, have been SuperSearch and SmartMatches.

One day, Elias received an email from MyHeritage asking if he would help with translations of blog posts and FAQs into Spanish from English.

For me, that was both a risk and a challenging adventure. I accepted and I make sure that all my translations are the most authentic and clear.  It seems that I did well and I am still here.

According to Elias, being a volunteer to translate texts into Spanish for MyHeritage was a challenge.

It wasn’t easy, it took time and patience. I often finished translation at dawn. I feel a great satisfaction every time I complete a request. It is very gratifying to know that the work and effort of one serves to help others. I feel really good about helping in this project that fascinates me.

For those just beginning their research journey, Elias advises:

  • The most important thing is to be patient and to preserve information
  • Ask family elders for help and information
  • Encourage family members to complete their profiles as much as possible.
  • Encourage relatives to upload photos to share with the rest of the family.

Do you have a story to share? Send it to stories@myheritage.com.