You may have noticed that postings have not recently been made to the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.
This is the last post we will publish on this blog, but the good news is that we are folding this blog into the MyHeritage Blog as we go forward.
Chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz and I will continue writing for the MyHeritage Blog on various topics. We hope you will join us there, continue to offer your comments, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter.
Existing posts on the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog will be available via the MyHeritage Blog.
We look forward to greeting you online.
with best wishes
Schelly and Daniel
Or, have you been researching your family for a long time and are now experiencing writer's block?
This post may help everyone interested in recording family history.
Many researchers want to do more than just record names and dates. What we'd like to do is "add meat to the bones," or flesh out our ancestors as we learn about them as individuals.
Amy Coffin of the WeTree genealogy blog has organized 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History, which offers a weekly prompt on a different topic. Readers can also access this list at Geneabloggers.com.
We think that this list is as valuable for recording your own life for your future descendants as it is for those considering interviewing older relatives.
It doesn't matter if you start in the middle of this list, at the end or at the beginning. The essential thing is just to start.
How you record your answers doesn't matter: Use "notes" on an iPad, a document on your computer, write your ideas longhand in a leather-covered journal, an ordinary school notebook, or on plain white paper. Just begin. However, recording them in a nice journal that can be passed down through the generations seems a good idea to us.
As you start recording this information for yourself - and that notebook may become a prized possession for a great-grandchild in the future - you will find more information useful when you interview senior family members.
It is also a great suggestion for your family members at your site at MyHeritage.com. Ask your relatives to contribute their own memories of a topic each week.
I've included a bit about my favorite stuffed animal - in the toy category - but you'll need to read on to learn about Wolfie!
Some warm weather topics:
I’m heading back to the US for the largest West Coast genealogy conference - and the largest number ever of participating genealogy bloggers (70) – at the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree 2011.
I just finished a short visit home after a long trip covering the East Coast. Here are some highlights of that trip.
At the end of March, I ran the MyHeritage.com booth at the Ohio Genealogical Society regional conference in Columbus. I reunited with old friends and colleagues, met new friends and also gave some lectures for local genealogy groups in Dayton and Cleveland.
The New England Regional Conference - in Springfield, Massachusetts – was next. I tried to find the Simpson family, but it seems it was the wrong Springfield. There were some very interesting lectures and the opportunity to work on my personal research with a lecture about genealogy repositories in Romania and Ukraine. A later conversation with the speakers discovered some previously unknown resources.
The genealogy conference schedule began very early in February for the 2011 genealogy tour – as I like to call it – at RootsTech, the first technology conference dedicated to genealogy, or perhaps vice versa. Family Search achieved its goal to bring together genealogy users and the technology developers who produce the wonderful tools we all use to trace, save and share our family memories and data.
The event was unique, and also allowed us to see old friends such as DearMyrtle, Thomas MacEntee, Dick Eastman and Lisa Louise Cooke. It was also an opportunity to make new friends, such as Ami, A.C. and Joan Miller - just to mention a few of the bloggers present.
Who Do You Think You Are Live will welcome some 20,000 visitors over this three-day event.
Our MyHeritage team has been busy! The first day of the family history fair was Friday, and we were very busy from the minute the show opened. Today (Saturday) will be even more crowded.
Here's famous genealogy blogger Dick Eastman with MyHeritage's chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz as Daniel demonstrates some of our new features.
Blogger and podcaster Lisa Louise Cooke dropped by yesterday to record short segments with Daniel and myself.
Today is expected to be even more crowded than yesterday and many people are dropping by to learn about the software, family sites, memory card game and other features such as SmartSearch, SmartMatch and more.
I'm preparing for my talk this afternoon on creating online sites for ancestral communities.
On Thursday evening, Daniel and I spoke in a double session for the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. He spoke on SmartSearch, while my talk focused on genetic genealogy and DNA.
The MyHeritage team is very busy and includes Mario, Daniel, Robert, Laurence and mysef.
These conferences and fairs are always exciting, as we get to meet so many people. Many come up to us and announce that they are happy MyHeritage users. Others may have a small problem with a feature and Daniel is able to assist them, so they are also happy.
It's even more fun explaining about what we do to newcomers.
Talk about busy!
As soon as RootsTech ended, Daniel Horowitz and I flew to Albuquerque (New Mexico) to participate in A Taste of Honey, a community-wide education event, sponsored by MyHeritage.com.
Here we are at the MyHeritage display:
Genealogy is a popular subject here, even though there were many sessions on on completely different topics.
My presentation focused on Genealogy 101 - how to get started and, more importantly, why - while Daniel's presentation encouraged family history researchers to utilize all of MyHeritage.com's features.
This was the first year for RootsTech, a new technology and genealogy conference sponsored by FamilySearch.org, attended by some 3,000 people.
The Salt Lake City, Utah-event was described by some as "a candy store" for genealogists, genealogy bloggers and technology creators, developers and suppliers.
As it brought together technology people and consumers of family history products, it also provided opportunities for genealogy bloggers to meet face-to-face with the movers and shakers.
Each day featured excellent presentations on many topics by well-known speakers. To see the speaker line-up, click here.
With so many exciting talks by industry leaders and speakers, it was hard to plan our days. MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz and I staffed the MyHeritage booth and were also scheduled speakers.
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?"
Voices from the past are an integral part of family history. These voices may come through in diaries or letters written by ancestors.
Today, however, there's another way.
To put it another way, every story matters.
Individuals can record interviews with relatives, friends or community members via the non-profit StoryCorps, which has scheduled its third annual National Day of Listening on Friday, November 26, the day after Thanksgiving.
The Day encourages Americans to follow a new holiday tradition which promotes listening and understanding to share their stories on the day following Thanksgiving, which itself is an essentially family-oriented holiday.
Participants use equipment found in many homes, such as a computer, mobile phone, tape recorder or even pen and paper.
To learn more click nationaldayoflistening.org for a free instruction guide with equipment recommendations, suggested questions and ideas for preserving and sharing interviews.
Of course, another great way to preserve your family interviews is on your own MyHeritage.com family site, so all your relatives can them.
Imagine preserving an interview with your grandmother that would be available for future generations to hear.
“In an era of fierce political and cultural divides, we hope that the idea of listening to one another during the holiday season resonates with many Americans,” says StoryCorps Founder and MacArthur “Genius” Dave Isay. “Through our National Day of Listening, StoryCorps hopes to remind Americans of all stripes how much more unites us than divides us.”
Although a US-based day, the idea is certainy appropriate for people in all countries around the world and - as an additional benefit - encourages talking about family history and connecting families, which is exactly what MyHeritage.com is all about.
Although the Day of Listening is celebrated on the day after Thanksgiving, you can record family members, friends or community members on any day of year or in connection with any holiday.
Since 2003, StoryCorps has collected and archived more than 30,000 interviews from more than 60,000 participants. Each is recorded on a free CD to share, and is also preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress (Washington, DC).
The project is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind.For more information, or to listen to stories online, visit storycorps.org.
Have you recorded interviews with any of your relatives?
If you have a senior relative, remember to record them as soon as possible so that interview will be preserved. This is truly voices from the past!
Who have you recorded? Where and how have you preserved that interview?
Let us know via comments to this blog.