18    Sep 20114 comments

MyHeritage Genealogy Blog: The final post!

Dear readers,

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.

This move will consolidate all English language posts in one blog, on one Facebook page and on one Twitter feed.

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

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!" »

8    Jun 20110 comments

Back to the US

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.

David Ferriero and MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz

David Ferriero and MyHeritage Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz

Continue reading "Back to the US" »

17    May 20110 comments

Gen conferences: Information for all

Three genealogy conferences in two countries were on my schedule over the past 10 days.

Each conference provided food for thought, learning opportunities and practical information. Additionally, each event offered networking opportunities, and chances to meet others with the same interests.

On May 7, the Society of Genealogists (London, UK) held their Centenary Conference, a major event for this group founded in 1911. The world of family history and how we research hadn't changed much over the decades until rather recently.

Continue reading "Gen conferences: Information for all" »

26    Jan 20110 comments

Family History: A moving experience

Moving can be chaotic and even traumatic.

Anyone who has ever moved house - even just a few streets away in the same city or as far away as another country - goes through this experience, albeit with varying degrees of complications.

An international move  can be more troublesome.

However, if you're a fan of family history - a newcomer or a professional - you won't be alone in your new community.

All you need do is contact the local genealogical or historical society in your new neighborhood before your move.

Our recent international move to the beautiful state of New Mexico had its share of problems. However, I had already made contacts with the family history community in our new city.

Once I arrived, I called old and new contacts, and soon had a full calendar of meetings, lunches, events and much more. People can't believe that we've only been here for two months.

I've met a wonderful group of researchers - covering all levels of skill and specialities - who belong to at least three genealogical and historical societies.

I've received an excellent beginning education in local Hispanic genealogy - a relatively new area for me - from a local expert. Just one example was an 11am brunch meeting at a great local eatery which went on to well after 6pm - and we could have kept going for hours! This amazing person has offered to introduce me to the archivists at the Hispanic research center, and has invited me to join her at future meetings of another historical society which meets in the next town. I'm looking forward to that.

I've been asked to speak to several groups, as well as to participate in community events, and am already on committees planning local genealogy events and programs, some of which MyHeritage.com is sponsoring.

When I visited our local library branch - a beautiful contemporary building only a few minutes from our home - to sign up for our new library cards, I asked about family history activities and offered to speak. This branch has two librarians who are also genealogists, making this transition very easy.

I'm now on the planning committee for  the library's first major Genealogy Day event in April, aimed at relative newcomers. We'll have a major speaker and then break into several smaller groups offering "how-to-get-started" offerings in several categories. The goal is to plan further workshops  throughout the year and raise awareness of family history throughout the local area. 

The international genealogy community is composed of interesting, helpful individuals united in our common interest in family history and how we can help others get involved.

Our family has moved several times, sometimes internationally, and I have been on both sides of a move - being the newcomer and also welcoming those new to our community.

I believe that all genealogy communities are welcoming to newcomers as each person brings new skills, special interests and knowledge to the mix.  We are always learning about new resources and from each other.

Is a move in your future?

Think about contacting the genealogy groups in that new location ahead of time.

It can make all the difference to a successful transition. Remember that the move to a new location becomes an important part of your family's unique history, so record it with photographs, video and other methods.

Find a genealogy society in your future home via an internet search.

Have you moved recently? What are your tips and advice for newcomers?

24    Nov 20100 comments

Family: Voices from the past

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.

2    Nov 20100 comments

Tracking the troops: GI Jane, GI Joe

Do you have ancestors or relatives who served in the military?     

As we peer into our past, we often find family members who served on land or sea in many countries and in many capacities. Some were on-the-ground forces, while others filled support roles such as tailors, doctors, nurses, cooks or musicians.   

London's Imperial War Museum has organized a Family History Day on Saturday, November 6, sponsored by MyHeritage.com. The event will assist participants - from beginners to experienced family historians - to learn how the Blitz affected families, the roles relatives played to help win the war, the aftermath of this history in today's families, and what records are accessible for more information. 

The Imperial War Museum is the museum of everyone’s story: the history of modern conflict told through the stories of those who were there. It is an educational and historical institution responsible for archives, collections and sites of outstanding national importance. You can view the Museum’s main website here.    

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker

 Women as well as men have served in diverse capacities in all US military branches - Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and the Coast Guard. For information on women veterans from Colonial to contemporary times, view stories here (scroll down to see other relevant pages on that site), and a time line here. For a collection of photos and artifacts documenting women's service, click here.    

One Civil War surgeon - Dr Mary Edwards Walker (photo left) - was the first woman to receive the Medal of Honor.     

Accessible records include regiment lists, files for widows' pensions, death and burial records, medals, hospital lists for the wounded, transport lists and many other records, each supplying another piece of the family history puzzle.     

Where can you find more information on those who served?

Continue reading "Tracking the troops: GI Jane, GI Joe" »

26    Oct 20102 comments

House History: Document yours!

A house on Rennweg (Zurich, Switzerland), c1880

 Imagine going down to the cellar of your house and seeing "1423" carved in an original beam.

Our daughter once lived in Zurich, Switzerland. Her fascinating house on a historic street - Rennweg - in the center of town was on all the medieval maps at the city museum. 

In the Middle Ages, it was the main street of the city's upper town and ran along the 12th century city wall from a fortified gate to the town hall. During street renovations, a Roman-era well was discovered.

Except for that carved date in an ancient wooden beam, a casual visitor would not have known the nearly 600-year-old building's history. Of course, other clues were the very steep steps, sloping floors and oddly-shaped rooms, but everything else was  modern.

Wouldn't you love to know the history of your home? When it was built and by whom? Who lived in it through the years? How they were connected to the community in which they lived?

Unless preserved, this type of information is often lost.

In Ithaca, New York,  a group of people have come up with a local project to preserve house history - one which could easily be replicated in places around the world.

Continue reading "House History: Document yours!" »

28    Sep 20100 comments

MyHeritage: At a family festival

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.

19    Sep 20103 comments

Diaries: A family history source

keeping a journalTake it from a writer: The more you write, the easier it becomes. Why not keep a journal or diary?

Journals and diaries are excellent resources for family history research.

Don't you wish your ancestors had recorded their daily lives and thoughts in a format that has come down to you as a treasured keepsake through the centuries?

I know someone whose ancestor left a journal written several hundred years ago. The writer describes the family's everyday life in difficult new surroundings, how they celebrated holidays, the writer's wishes for her descendants far in the future and much more. It is as if the writer knew it would be treasured and passed down through the generations, as it has been. It is a priceless heirloom.

Put yourself in the shoes of a great-grandchild who finds your journal. What do you think will interest him or her? What is happening in your life now that you want future generations to know about? Do you want to include advice for future generations?

Continue reading "Diaries: A family history source" »

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