Did your ancestors receive treats of whale blubber as a Christmas delicacy?
If they did, they must have come from Greenland.
Learn more about holidaycustoms around the world - which may be quite different from your experiences. It may help you understand your ancestors' traditions.
Santa Claus - who has many names - doesn't always wear his traditional red suit, fly around in a sleigh pulled by reindeer, or pop down a chimney.
In Hawaii, he wears a red Hawaiian shirt, and arrives in an outrigger canoe, with elves in aloha shirts.
In some countries where the main religion is not Christianity, there are also interesting traditions.
When we lived in Teheran, I was surprised to see that one could buy Christmas trees, and many stores sold all types of brightly colored lights and decorations. There was a large Armenian community (both Protestants and Catholics) along with Iranian Nestorian Christians.
In India - in the former Portuguese colony of Goa - there are nine days of fireworks and parties to celebrate the Wise Men's arrival. Christians and Hindus celebrate together on January 6, the Feast of the Three Kings. Young boys from prominent families are chosen to play the kings, wear bright costumes and ride in on white horses.
Some other traditions:
If so, do you keep them? For how long?
While many people resolve to break bad habits or improve physical qualities, those don't seem to last very long.
For a better outcome, try to learn some new skills to further your family history research. One way is to access free online classes. Some may be short tutorials, others are much longer and provide useful and practical data, including step-by-step videos.
What skills, tips or advice are you looking for? Do you need help in managing paperwork or photos? Would learning how to take better photos add to your MyHeritage.com family website?
Years ago, when I was very new at the genealogy game, I believed that I could accurately remember where I had discovered every bit of family data.
And - for awhile - I actually could do that. However, as the years went by, and the numbers of people on my trees increased - and my brain cells seemed to decrease - it became impossible.
Sometimes, I would write the information on a scrap of paper. We all know what happens to a scrap of paper stuck in a bag or pocket.
At one point, I had to stop all new research and back track, almost to the beginning of my quest, to fill in all those blanks.
Fortunately, I had even saved some of those scraps of paper on which I had scribbled information while visiting archives and libraries. To preserve them, I had taped them onto regular sheets of white paper. Eventually, I transfered that data to the family tree software I used, but the scraps didn't cover all my research.
It wasn't easy to admit that I had neglected this important documentation. And it required a very long time to retrace my steps.
Since those days, I clearly - and loudly - advise beginners to document every bit of data they find.
Some have replied innocently that they'll remember - they only have a few people on their tree. Others have even asked why it's important: "The names are what we need, right?"
For two days, MyHeritage has been at a family festival with 50 computers and a team of 15 experts.
We are a major presence at this three-day event - the "One Family, Many Faces" family festival.
I spoke to quite a few families yesterday to learn why they visited to set up a family tree. The answers were interesting, as we all knew they would be.
This post originally appeared on the MyHeritage Blog (English), but here's some of it and a link to the complete
The team has been here for two days - a great experience - as MyHeritage is all about uniting families, whether it is discovering new relatives or building a family tree together.
Every computer and chair was filled about an hour after the festival opened (see photo above).
Crowds of people - families with many children - were learning how to start a family tree and how to begin researching their family history during 30-minute consultations.
This morning several families shared their stories:
Click here to read the complete post.
Now that I'm back to my normal routine, I'm trying to review the great experiences from this summer.
Great times included four conferences in California, Washington State and Texas; visiting dear friends and family members; and meeting several relatives for the first time as we shared family history.
At all the conferences, I helped explain what we do at MyHeritage.com and how our tools and features make it easy for families to connect and communicate no matter where they live.
My suitcase now includes several new T-shirts from this year's events and some for 2011 events.
Here are some highlights:
Some 50 geneabloggers attended the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree this year.
After reconnecting with someone whom I knew in California and who was now in New Jersey, I realized her husband's family's long connection to a small community, now a suburb of a larger city, in that Eastern state. My own family had a long-ago connection to the same community when it was much, much smaller, and more rural.
My great-grandmother's sister and her husband had settled in that small town soon after they arrived in 1905, although my great-grandmother and her family lived in nearby big-city Newark.
I took a chance and asked if the woman's husband, whose family had lived there from the early 1900s, possibly had known my relatives. It was very exciting to learn that my great-grandmother's sister had been the husband's babysitter!
Find help with free online language courses.
I clicked here for the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Language Courses and found an extensive list of languages - from Amharic to Yoruba - with texts and audio tapes.