5    Jul 20113 comments

Memories: Start recording them!

Do you want to begin recording your family history, but just don't know where or how to start?

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:

Continue reading "Memories: Start recording them!" »

30    May 20110 comments

Links We Like: Edition 3

This third edition of Links We Like has information on a movie database, a new historic music and speech archive, and a mobile app for grave photos and transcriptions.

Searching these resources for your unique names and places of interest may provide new clues or data and push your research forward.

Check out these new resources and let us know what you've found via comments below to this post.

Continue reading "Links We Like: Edition 3" »

22    May 20111 comment

Links We Like: Edition 2

Links We Like is a periodic feature of the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog. It offers information on new databases, websites, news sources and more, which may help advance your research.

This week's edition spotlights information on an African-American magazine archive, Hawaii resources, a university digitization project, a resource for new genealogy blogs and a new search engine.

Continue reading "Links We Like: Edition 2" »

9    May 20110 comments

New feature: Links We Like

Links We Like is a new feature of the MyHeritage Genealogy Blog.

We'll be providing periodic round-ups of interesting links to family history-related resources. These may be books, articles, personalities, new online resources and much more across the spectrum of family history.

So much happens that it is difficult for most readers to read everything that is out there, so we hope to help you advance your research by collecting links with information that may help.

And now for our first edition of Links We Like:

-- Searching your Irish roots? Ireland is helping families to understand the lives of their immigrant ancestors with three tourist attractions. These include the Guinness Storehouse's archives (if any of your ancestors were ever employed there), a replica of an 1847 famine ship and the Cobh Heritage Center. Read about them in an Okahoman article.

If you're trying to trace your Irish ancestry, these new interactive exhibits make getting to the root of your family tree both easy and fun.

-- Researchers often have trouble locating the maiden names of female ancestors. One Tennessee woman has discovered 11 generations of maiden names in her family tree. 

-- Readers in Charleston, South Carolina and environs will have a chance to visit the largest genealogy conference in the US, May 11-15, run by the National Genealogical Society. A Kids' Kamp is set for Friday morning as well as special Saturday sessions to help local residents improve their research skills. Click here for more information.

-- Roots travel is featured in the Wall Street Journal. While many of us use the Internet to trace our families, more and more family history researchers want to walk in their ancestors' footsteps by visiting ancestral towns.  Here are some tips on how to get started:

According to those in the field, a growing number of travel companies and genealogical experts are offering "ancestral" or "heritage" trips. Former emigration hot spots, including Ireland and Nova Scotia, have recently begun promoting genealogical records on government-sponsored tourism websites. And hotels and resorts, including the Lodge at Doonbeg in County Clare, Ireland, and the Sheraton Grand Hotel; Spa in Edinburgh, Scotland, have hired genealogists.

"Genealogy is almost trendy," says Elaine Bostwick, tour coordinator at Ancestral Attic of Carp Lake, Mich., which arranged for 42 genealogical tours last year, almost double the number five years ago.

-- Learn something about the Roma - known also as Gypsies - and their origins and migrations in this Times of India article.

The Romani gypsies in Europe trace their ancestry to the nomadic communities in India. During the medieval period, gypsies in India began migrating westwards because of incessant foreign invasions. From India to West Asia and gradually to Africa and Europe - that is, from Rome and Barcelona, they spread to France, Germany and England. They were initially called Egyptians; apparently Europeans believed that they came from Egypt and were travelling under papal patronage. Later, Egyptians was shortened to gyptians and finally the word 'gypsy' became the moniker for these nomads.

-- Do you live in Scotland and would like to learn more about family history? On May 14, there's the Tayroots Genealogy Fair in Edzell.  Some nine local and other history and genealogy groups will assist attendees. In addition to a lecture on the Guild of One Name Studies, an archivist will speak on old photos. Attendees are invited to bring their family photos along for identification. Admission is free.

“In the past people moved across the country following their trades or searching for work – so we often find that visitors in the East need information on the West!”

Let us know if these links have provided clues or suggestions for your own research. We look forward to reading your comments.

26    Feb 20111 comment

London: Who Do You Think You Are LIVE 2011

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.

20    Feb 20110 comments

RootsTech 2011: Fabulous first

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.

Continue reading "RootsTech 2011: Fabulous first" »

17    Jan 20110 comments

Genealogy of Color: Resources Online

In the US, we celebrate famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday as an official holiday on the third Monday in January.

This year it is today, January 17.

It is a fitting day to discuss the increasing number of family history resources available to African Americans searching for their roots, which can be difficult.

When the book "Roots"  was published and later screened as the most-watched television series of all time in the '70s, it offered people of all ethnicities the idea that it was possible to learn about their families. In the past few years, increasing numbers of resources have been made available.

For African Americans, it meant that more resources would be developed allowing the people of today to find out about their ancestors, whose history and even names had been hidden or erased. With today's DNA resources, many can now trace their families to areas in Africa.

Here is a round-up of resources - websites, blogs, DNA research - that will help you learn more about your family. Remember that each resource listed also offers even more links to additional information.

Continue reading "Genealogy of Color: Resources Online" »

31    Dec 20101 comment

New Year: Family history plans for 2011

Some studies indicate that January is the most popular month for family history research.

Perhaps it's because people have just spent time with their families and those social gatherings may have triggered a quest, an emotional response to the universal idea of finding out who we really are, who our ancestors were and everything about them.

You may be in that category of newcomers to this passion of ours, or you might be among those who have spent decades researching your family.

In any case, the new year brings opportunities to follow up on clues, become a bit more organized and take on (or complete) tasks that you know must be done.

Many of us have these to-do lists posted by our computers - even if we don't get to them in a timely fashion - but to help readers who may not have such a list, here are some suggestions:

Continue reading "New Year: Family history plans for 2011" »

24    Dec 20100 comments

Holidays: Family traditions

Santa may look very different in other countries!

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:

Continue reading "Holidays: Family traditions" »

22    Dec 20100 comments

New Year: Learn something new

Do you make New Year's resolutions?

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?

Continue reading "New Year: Learn something new" »

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