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Latest News on DNA Ethnicity and Family Heritage

Decorated Dates: Is Your Birthday Linked to Award-Winning Success?

2021. szeptember 14., kedd 11:07:39

September is said to be the most common birthday month worldwide, but which birthdays produce the most prestigious award winners? 

Researchers at MyHeritage have gathered the birthdays of 1000 recipients of numerous prestigious prizes to discover the birthdays most likely to win you an award. 

From the Oscars to the Grammys and even the Olympics, some awards have been found to favor winners with certain birthdays over others. So, if you’re wondering whether you might be raising a future Nobel Prize winner or World Cup hero, these are the birthdays that might increase your child’s chances of bringing home a trophy. 

The Most Successful Birthdays

Out of 365 days in a year, April 30 proves to be the birthday that has produced the most winners. Among 1,000 winners or shortlisted nominees, 11 were born on this date, including Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman, one of the most celebrated actresses in history. 

2 scientists and Nobel Prize laureates share this birthday, Theodore W. Schultz and Simon Kuznets — as well as 3 winners of the Palme d’Or: Lars von Trier, Jacques Audiard, and the only woman to have ever won the award, Jane Campion.

Other celebrities who share this successful birthday include American rapper Travis Scott, Israeli actress Gal Gadot, and American actress Kirsten Dunst. 

The second birthday most associated with winning prestigious awards is another April birthday: the 27th, with a total of 8 out of 1,000 winners and shortlisted nominees sharing this birthday. 

Winners with this birthday include American singer and Grammy winner Lizzo and British actress and Golden Globes winner Sally Hawkins, as well as 2 Michelin Star chefs, Martin Berasategui and Léa Linster.

8 birthdays are associated with 7 winners each, including January 20, March 23, March 26, April 29, September 14, September 26, November 12, and December 30. 

Some winners with these birthdays include American musician and Grammy winner Chaka Chan — born on March 23 — and British singer Amy Winehouse, born on September 14. 

The Most Successful Months

April proves to be the month that produces the most successful award winners and nominees, with 99 recipients having birthdays during this month. These include Oscar-winner Emma Thompson and Grammy-winner Barbra Streisand. Other celebrities with April birthdays include Harry Potter star Emma Watson, Queen Victoria, and Victoria Beckham. 

November came in second place, with 94 winners and nominees having been born in this month. These include Oscar and Golden Globe winner Anne Hathaway and Michelin Star winner Gordan Ramsay. 

March was the third most successful month, with 92 awardees having been born in the third month of the year. Five-time Grammy winner Mariah Carey and The Palme d’Or winner Quentin Tarantino were born this month. 

February is the least common month to be born in according to the CDC, and this may explain why only 58 winners and nominees were born during this month. These include Oscar winner Daniel Kaluuya and Portuguese footballers and World Cup winners Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe. 


6 birth dates prove to be the most successful for Oscar winners, each with 2 Oscar winners. They are January 20, April 14, May 7, July 1, October 4, and November 2. Winners with these birthdays include American actor Adrian Brody (April 14) and British actress Julie Christie (April 14). 

March is the best birthday month for Oscar successes, with 13 winners and nominees having been born during March. Next comes April with 11 birthdays, while January, June, and November are tied for third place with 9 birthdays each. 


The month most likely to produce musical icons is May, with 15% of artists born that month. Lyrical geniuses such as Adele, Stevie Wonder, and Cher were all born in May. November is the worst month for musicians with only 4% of births in that month — though it did give us the legendary Tina Turner. 


The Olympics have been running since 1896. While the events have changed throughout the years, the spirit of celebration of human accomplishment remains the same. Every 4 years, gold medals are won by talented and hard-working athletes. Many individuals have won multiple gold medals — most notably swimmer Michael Phelps with a total of 28 Olympic medals with 23 gold medals, and U.S. gymnast Simone Biles, with 30 Olympic and World Championship medals.  

For joint first place, January and October each account for 12% of the Olympic athlete birthdays. 24 athletes from both months have won 100 medals between them, leaving December in their dust with only 3% of athlete birthdays.

Nobel Prize

Each year, 6 Nobel Prizes are awarded to individuals who have achieved extraordinary things for humankind. The award categories include Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Physiology, Peace, and Literature. Famous individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr., Marie Curie, Mother Teresa, and Albert Einstein light up this list of intellectuals. 

A tie between 2 months makes both March and June the best month for Nobel Prize winners: biophysicist Sir Bernard Katz was born in March, and philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre — who notably attempted to refuse the award as “a writer should not allow himself to be turned into an institution” — was born in June.


Taking 1000 people from 10 prestigious awards we gathered their birthdates, then collated all the dates for each award to find the award-winning birthdays.

The 10 awards used in the data were: 

  • The Oscars
  • The Nobel Prize
  • Olympics
  • The Grammys 
  • The World Cup 
  • Michelin Stars
  • The Booker Prize
  • The Golden Globes
  • The Pulitzer Prize
  • The Palme d’Or

The post Decorated Dates: Is Your Birthday Linked to Award-Winning Success? appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

MyHeritage Publishes New Name Index from U.S. and Canadian Historical Newspapers, with Nearly One Billion Names

2021. szeptember 13., hétfő 12:20:36

We are pleased to announce the publication of a massive new collection of 982 million names, extracted from our U.S. and Canadian historical newspaper collections. 

Historical newspapers are some of the most important sources for genealogical information because they are very rich in detail. Newspapers can often add color and personality to the dry facts that are often the output of other genealogical sources such as census records.

About the collection

The collection is an index of names that were extracted from existing free-text U.S. and Canadian newspaper collections on MyHeritage. The free text in these collections was generated from the scanned images of newspapers using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, which converts images into text. 

The new Newspaper Name Index does not replace the free-text newspaper collections, but is added on top of them as a separate collection. What’s more, this name index is the fruit of only half of our newspapers, and the other half of the name index is currently being generated and will be published soon, so that nearly one billion additional records will soon be added. 

Records in the index include a person’s name, a snippet of text mentioning them in the newspaper, and the newspaper’s publication title, date, and place of publication. Each record includes a scanned image of the original newspaper article. Some records will also include additional searchable information such as the name of a spouse and the place of residence based on the information extracted by the machine learning algorithms. Year range and place coverage in this collection vary greatly.

Search the Newspaper Name Index on MyHeritage

The new Newspaper Name Index will make it much easier for you to locate exciting details about your ancestors that you may have missed in prior searches. With the addition of this huge collection, there are now 15.1 billion historical records on MyHeritage.

Why we created the Newspaper Name Index

Although the same content already existed in our newspaper collections, it was previously in free-text format which meant that search capability was more limited. If you were looking for an ancestor with the first name of William, it would not have found newspaper articles where your ancestor was mentioned as Bill or Willie. And it would have returned irrelevant articles about people with the surname William. Following a smart extraction process, which we implemented using machine learning, the new name index is a structured collection which fully supports synonyms in searches, and differentiates between first and last names. The name index even includes relationships between people, and addresses, whenever these could be extracted. For example, a newspaper article mentioning “William and Roberta Miller” contributes to the structured index records for both William Miller and Roberta Miller, who are assumed to be spouses, and can be matched automatically to family trees using MyHeritage’s formidable Record Matching technology. Previously, even if you searched for “William Miller” you could have missed this mention because the names “William” and “Miller” are further apart in the article, resulting in lower ranking in a free-text search.

The Newspaper Name Index employs Global Name Translation™ — MyHeritage’s unique technology that automatically translates names between languages. This means searching for names in a foreign alphabet such as Hebrew or Cyrillic will return search results from newspapers in English. MyHeritage pioneered Global Name Translation™ Technology to help users overcome language barriers and allow users to locate records that mention their ancestors in different languages (as well as in variations of a name in each language). Learn more about MyHeritage’s Global Name Translation™ Technology in this recent post.

Sample records

The Newspaper Name Index contains a record about music legend Johnny Cash. The record is based on short descriptions of upcoming TV programs found in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune from April 6, 1978. Johnny Cash’s new play was set to air on TV, so the newspaper featured a short description about the play. In the free-text version of the newspaper collection, you would just see the snippet of text relating to Johnny’s name. The Newspaper Name Index, in contrast, includes Johnny’s name as well as the name of his wife, June Cash. 

Record on Johnny Cash in the Newspaper Name Index

Record on Johnny Cash in the Newspaper Name Index

Also in the collection is a record about renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The article is about an upcoming realtor conference where Wright will be one of the main speakers. The article also references Wright’s residence in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where his family estate was located. The Newspaper Name Index extracts Frank Lloyd Wright’s name as well as his address. If you were searching for Frank Lloyd Wright in the free-text version of the newspaper collections, you would see only the snippet related to Frank’s name and not his address.  

Record on Frank Lloyd Wright in the Newspaper Name Index

Record on Frank Lloyd Wright in the Newspaper Name Index


Newspaper collections are an incredible genealogical resource as they contain rich detail, with formats that genealogists find very useful such as obituaries, wedding announcements, and birth notices. Society pages and stories of local interest contain information on activities and events in the community and often provide details about the people involved. The new name index enhances MyHeritage’s American and Canadian newspapers and opens the door to finding details about relatives that have eluded you in the past when searching the free-text version of these collections. It is our hope that with this new index, you’ll be able to more easily find family treasures in the newspapers on MyHeritage.

Searching the collections on MyHeritage is free. To view these records or to save records to your family tree, you’ll need a Data or Complete subscription. If you have a family tree on MyHeritage, our Record Matching technology will notify you automatically if records from the name index and the free-text newspaper collections match your relatives. 

Enjoy the new collection!

The post MyHeritage Publishes New Name Index from U.S. and Canadian Historical Newspapers, with Nearly One Billion Names appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

MyHeritage Publishes the Scotland Census, 1841-1901, with 24 Million Records

2021. szeptember 13., hétfő 11:25:28

We are pleased to announce the publication of the Scotland Census, comprised of 7 collections with 24 million records from the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901. These collections are important, as they offer important details about Scottish ancestors not often found in other vital record collections, such as occupation information and residential addresses. If you are seeking more information on your Scottish ancestors, these collections are invaluable. The Scotland Census collections on MyHeritage are index-only and do not include the scanned documents.

In More Detail

From 1801 onward, following the Parliamentary Census Act of 1800, Scotland began collecting a census every 10 years. The first few census collections were mainly for gathering statistics and contained very little information on individual households. 

Starting in 1841, however, the census collections expanded to include important details about the members of each household, such as: name, gender, age, year and place of birth, marital status, and year and place of residence. The place of residence often included the name of the street, house name or number, county, and parish. Starting from 1851, the relationship of the individual to the head of household was also recorded. 

Census records were collected according to a national program and were taken in the same manner throughout Scotland. The records were subsequently preserved centrally and survive as a robust record of the 19th century from 1841 to 1901.

Here is a list of the 7 individual collections: 

Collection Number of RecordsLink to Search

1841 Scotland Census

2,625,739 records

Search collection now

1851 Scotland Census
2,912,392 records
Search collection now

1861 Scotland Census

3,006,924 recordsSearch collection now

1871 Scotland Census

3,349,107 recordsSearch collection now

1881 Scotland Census

3,716,329 recordsSearch collection now

1891 Scotland Census

4,015,584 recordsSearch collection now

1901 Scotland Census

4,437,453 recordsSearch collection now

Sample Records

Found in the 1851 Scotland Census is the record of inventor Alexander Graham Bell, the first person to patent a telephone and the founder of AT&T. Alexander was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847. In this record, you can see details on his place of birth and residence. The record includes the other members of his household. In the MyHeritage collections, you can click on any of the other household members to see their census records.  

Census Record of Alexander Graham Bell [Credit: MyHeritage 1851 Scotland Census]

Census Record of Alexander Graham Bell [Credit: MyHeritage 1851 Scotland Census]

The 1891 Scotland Census contains the record of Nobel Prize winner Alexander Fleming, most famous for his discovery of penicillin. The record is a glimpse of Alexander at 9 years old and shares details on his birth, his residence, and his occupation as a student or scholar.

 Census Record of Alexander Fleming [Credit: MyHeritage 1891 Scotland Census]

Census Record of Alexander Fleming [Credit: MyHeritage 1891 Scotland Census]


The Scottish census collections are invaluable for anyone with ancestors who lived in Scotland between 1841 to 1901. 

Searching the collections on MyHeritage is free. To view these records or to save records to your family tree, you’ll need a Data or Complete subscription. If you have a family tree on MyHeritage, our Record Matching technology will notify you automatically if records from these collections match your relatives. 

Enjoy the new collections!

The post MyHeritage Publishes the Scotland Census, 1841-1901, with 24 Million Records appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Winners of the Back to School Photo Contest

2021. szeptember 12., vasárnap 13:29:44

On August 30, we challenged you to dig up old school photos, improve them with the MyHeritage photo tools, and share them online. We received entries of all kinds from all over the world and we absolutely loved them. Many thanks to each and every one of the participants for sharing your photos with us!

We’ll announce the winners below, but first, some honorable mentions:

Runners up

The photo below comes to us from John Peterson of Nebraska, U.S.:

This photo was taken in 1912 in Geneva, Nebraska, and features John’s grandfather “being used as an armrest” in the middle row, fourth from the left. Too cute!

The photo below comes to us from Beverly Leeming from Canada:

Beverly writes: “This is a photo with my mother on the far left in the back row in her fourth year from The Argosy, the yearbook of Central High School of Commerce in Hamilton, Ontario in 1938. In the midst of the Depression, she was the first in her family to go to high school. She took the secretarial course as the quickest way to qualify for a good job and help the family finances. In May 1938 she was one of the top two students in the class sent for a job interview.”

Beverly included a quotation from her mother about the experience: During the interview, the manager asked if I thought I could run the machine. I said I was sure I could if I was given the opportunity of learning how. I was the lucky one who got the job in the office of the Hamilton Cotton Co. I started on May 8, 1938, at $12.00 a week, which wasn’t too bad for those days. My job was both full-time and permanent — not easy to come by in those depression days.”

So impressive!

 “I used the enhancer as the photo was very grainy and lacking detail,” Beverly writes. “Not needing much repair, I still used the tool to clean up the teacher’s dress and a couple of other spots. Zooming in, on the enhanced version you can see what a difference was made in smoothing out the graininess while sharpening details and improving the exposure. I’m very pleased with the difference!”

Vernon Cameron from the U.S. sent us the following photo, taken of his class in 1956:

“I am the one sitting next to the wall with my hand beside my face,” writes Vernon. “I was very shy and did not like getting my picture taken.”

Well, we’re glad Vernon overcame his shyness to share this beautiful photo with us!

Maria Adriaensen of Belgium sent us this shot of her father, taken when he was in primary school:

Her father was born in 1928 and was 10 years old in this photo, which means it was taken around 1938. His very serious expression in this photo almost fooled us — it turns out he had quite a mischievous streak. Mary says: “Now and then he had to stay in detention for naughty pranks…”

This next photo comes to us from Elizabeth Fisher, a.k.a. Eliza Jeffery from Australia:

The photo shows Elizabeth with her sister on their first day of school in 1959: “In 1959 I started preschool at Iona Presentation College in Mosman Park, Western Australia. In that same year my older sister Franceine commenced her last year of school, Junior Year, later called Year 10,” writes Elizabeth. “We wore the same uniform and 13 years later in 1971 I was still wearing it when I graduated High School and Matriculated to University.”

Here’s a photo of Elizabeth graduating high school in the same uniform:

Looks like the family took very good care of that uniform!

And the last of the runners up is Jamie Johnson from the U.S., who sent us two beautiful photos:

This one, taken in 1920 or 1921, features his grandmother Hazel Eckard with her class in Stony Run School in Pendleton County, West Virginia. Hazel is the girl in the dark dress in the middle of the front row.

Below is another photo of his grandmother, taken a few years later in 1924 or 1925:

“My great grandfather Arthur Eckard is the man on the far right and he was the teacher,” writes Jamie. “His son Vernon Eckard is in front with the baseball bat. His son Cameron Eckard is the tall boy in back second from right. His daughter Arline Eckard is third from right on the front row with long, dark stockings. And then there is my grandmother Hazel Eckard, second from left in the back row.”

Seems like school was quite a family affair in this family. Many thanks to Jamie and all the other honorable mentions!

And the winners are…

Our first winner is Mary Crawford from the U.S., who shared two lovely photos that come with a remarkable story about her ancestor’s determination to achieve an education despite the lack of support from her family. 

The photos depict Mary’s grandmother, Sophie Sieczkowski, who was the first female in her family to graduate high school.

Mary writes that Sophie was a first generation American citizen, born to parents who had fled persecution in Eastern Europe in 1887. “Sophie’s parents did not speak English and in fact they got quite perturbed when the children spoke English and they didn’t know what they were discussing,” writes Mary. She explains that where Sophie came from, it was considered unnecessary for a girl to be educated, because they were expected to have an arranged marriage at a young age (15–16). “The only thing women needed to know was how to clean, cook, and tend to children,” says Mary. “However, young Sophie had a dream. She wanted to be an educated woman and to become a teacher.”

In the early 1900s, children generally stayed in school until around eighth grade, if family circumstances permitted them to stay that long. But Sophie had other plans.

“Young Sophie hatched a scheme to tell her parents that the Nebraska law now stated that children had to graduate from high school,” writes Mary. The law actually stipulated that children must attend school between the ages of 7–16, and were allowed to leave early — at age 14 — if they were expected to work on the farm. But Sophie twisted the truth so she could stay in school. Her parents were not happy about this, and when her father understood that she would have to keep studying, he told her that if she wanted to graduate high school, she would be on her own and he would no longer be supporting her.

This didn’t deter young Sophie. She took a job as a domestic and worked for room and board while attending school. She graduated high school in 1913 in Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Below is her enhanced, colorized graduation photo:

“Her post-graduation plan was to train as a teacher and obtain employment in a local school district,” writes Mary, and that’s what she did: she obtained a teaching position in a rural one-room school in Cass County, Nebraska. The photo below shows her standing in the doorway of the schoolhouse where she taught grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

Sophie went on to get married, have 8 children, and become a very hardworking farm wife — and she encouraged all 6 of her daughters to get an education and graduate from high school like she had.

“She worked hard to earn the money to pay for the room and board for the girls to live in town and attend high school,” writes Mary. “Several of her daughters went on to eventually take some college courses.”

One of those daughters — Mary’s mother — also became a teacher, and so did Mary, as well as Mary’s niece.

“My grandmother was such a clever and brave girl to tell such a fib and then to follow through to reach her dreams,” writes Mary. “She was such a determined and spunky young lady that I respect and admire! I thank her every day for her sacrifices and for encouraging all of her female descendants to reach our dreams.”

What a deeply inspiring story and such beautiful photos! Congratulations, Mary, and many thanks for sharing them with us.

Our next winner is Julia Claire Stafford from Australia. Julia shared the following photo of her at West Harnham Infants School, Harnham, Salisbury, Wiltshire, U.K.:

“The old Nissen huts which housed the school were left from the army base on Salisbury Plain  during World War II,” writes Julia. “Even though this photo was taken about 57 years ago, I still remember my teacher Miss Smith, who wore long skirts and rode her bike to school every day. My most vivid memories are of my best friend crying on our first day because she didn’t like the milk we had at morning tea time and lining up at the office to be given our 5-year-old vaccines.  Luckily I only remember the Polio vaccine, which was on a sugar cube. I am the child second from the left of the photo, the little girl walking and carrying a book.”

What an extraordinary photo, and such vivid memories! Congratulations, Julia, and thank you for sharing!

And last but not least, the third winner of the Back to School Photo Contest is Kathryn Archer (@that90sgenealogist) from Yorkshire:

This photo depicts her grandfather’s class in Goldthorpe, Yorkshire. Kathryn writes: “His father also taught at the same school and taught actor Brian Blessed during his time there.”

The photo truly comes to life when colorized with MyHeritage In Color™, right down to the wood grain of the desks. Amazing! Congratulations, Kathryn, and thank you for sharing this!

Mary, Julia, and Kathryn will each receive a free MyHeritage Complete plan. Congratulations again and enjoy — and thanks once again to everyone who entered for your wonderful photos.

The contest may be over, but you can improve your old family photos with stunning results at any time using the MyHeritage photo tools. Enhance, colorize, or animate your photos today!

The post Winners of the Back to School Photo Contest appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Back to School Photo Contest with MyHeritage!

2021. augusztus 30., hétfő 14:48:31

Whether or not you’re heading back to an educational institution with a bag full of blank notebooks and freshly sharpened pencils, maybe you have some old school photos lying around — either of your past self or of your ancestors. Take them out and share them with us for a chance to win a free Complete plan! We’ll be choosing three winners. 

Here’s how to enter the contest:

  • Scan an old school photo and upload it to MyHeritage. The photo can be of you, a parent, a grandparent, or anyone in your family. (Hint: it can also be a yearbook photo you found searching the Schools & Universities collections on MyHeritage!)
  • Use any or all of the MyHeritage photo tools to improve your photo: repair it with Photo Repair, animate it with Deep Nostalgia™, enhance it with the Photo Enhancer, colorize it or restore its colors with MyHeritage In Color™, or all of the above. Click here to learn how to use the MyHeritage photo tools.
  • Share the results on your favorite social media platform: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok. Make sure to tag @myheritage and use the hashtag #oldschoolphotos. If you’re not on social media, you can email your improved photos to Remember, we love a good story, so share as many details about the photo as you can!

Winners will be announced on Thursday, September 9, 2021. Good luck! We can’t wait to see your entries.

The post Back to School Photo Contest with MyHeritage! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

MyHeritage Online Events for September

2021. augusztus 30., hétfő 12:37:00

September is almost upon us! Before we get into this coming month’s excellent lineup of free live sessions, we’d like to make sure you’re aware of Webtember, a free genealogy conference from Legacy Family Tree Webinars with 30 live and pre-recorded webinars taking place every Friday of September. Click here to check it out!

This month, we’ll take a deep dive into the AutoClusters feature, get ready for the upcoming release of the 1950 U.S. census, place our ancestors in their historical context, and discover the secrets of loose records with a range of seasoned expert speakers. Keep reading for more details!

Facebook Live Sessions

No advance registration is required for these sessions: you can join them straight from our Facebook page. Simply visit the page when the session is scheduled to start, and look out for the live video broadcast at the top of the feed. We recommend following our Facebook page to get a notification when we go live. You’ll be able to ask questions in the comments, and the speakers will respond to them at the end of the session.

Can’t make it to a live session? No worries — you can still enjoy all recorded FB Live sessions in the Videos section of the MyHeritage Facebook page.

Monday, September 9, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: A Deep Dive into MyHeritage AutoClusters

Speaker: Paul Woodbury

Description: AutoClusters is an incredibly useful DNA tool that can help you understand the connections between your DNA matches. Join Paul Woodbury, DNA Team Lead and research at Legacy Family Tree Genealogists, for a deep dive into this feature.

Tuesday, September 14, 1 P.M. EDT

Topic: Using MyHeritage to Prepare to Rock the 1950 U.S. Census

Speaker: Lisa Louise Cooke

Description: The 1950 U.S. census is slated to be released to the public this coming April! Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems will show you how to use MyHeritage to do your homework ahead of the release so you can get the most out of this valuable historical resource.


Wednesday, September 22, 8 A.M. EDT

Topic: Seeing Our Ancestors In Their Historical Context

Speaker: Thomas MacEntee

Description: We are all influenced by the social, technological, political, and cultural conditions we live in, and so were our ancestors. Genealogy educator Thomas MacEntee will help you understand your ancestors’ lives better by examining the historical context of the time period they lived in.


Wednesday, September 29, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: Loose Records: A Treasure Trove for Genealogists

Speaker: Melissa Barker

Description: Melissa Barker, a.k.a. The Archive Lady, shares the secrets of loose records at archives and repositories and discusses their value for genealogy research.


Ask the Expert

The free Ask the Expert webinar series is hosted by our Genealogy Expert, Daniel Horowitz, every Thursday at 1 P.M. Each week Daniel focuses on a different topic, from leveraging useful MyHeritage features to searching the historical record collections, and invites users to ask questions and consult with him. Click here to register for upcoming Ask the Expert sessions.


As always, we look forward to having you join us!

The post MyHeritage Online Events for September appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

New and Improved Colorization Model for MyHeritage In Color™

2021. augusztus 26., csütörtök 13:33:50

MyHeritage In Color™ was the first feature we released for improving photos based on artificial intelligence, back in early 2020, and it became a huge success. This was also the start of our collaboration with Jason and Dana from DeOldify who developed this wonderful technology. We went on to release a whole toolbox of photo features to further improve your old family photos and bring them to life — but we never stopped working with DeOldify to make MyHeritage In Color™ even better. Since its release in early 2020, we added the option to customize the colorization settings (including the option to select an alternative colorization model) and then released a new colorization model at the end of last year. Now, thanks to Jason and Dana’s relentless efforts to improve the quality of colorization further, we have released yet another model, named the July 2021 model, that takes colorization quality to new heights.

The new colorization model works especially well on higher resolution photos that have been enhanced and upscaled using the MyHeritage Photo Enhancer. It resolves discoloration issues that occurred in some enhanced photos and produces better-looking results for non-enhanced photos as well.


Below are a few examples of photos that were colorized and enhanced using the earlier colorization models, with a comparison to the latest model.

The photo below was colorized by Judy Russell, the Legal Genealogist, back when MyHeritage In Color™ was first released. As can be seen, it suffers from poor colorization of army uniforms.

Original black and white photo

Original black and white photo

Non-convincing results of the original colorization model (Feb 2020)

Non-convincing results of the original colorization model (Feb 2020)

Slightly better results, with less redness, with the November 2020 model

Slightly better results, with less redness, with the November 2020 model

Much better results with the latest July 2021 model

Much better results with the latest July 2021 model

Check out the bride’s bouquet and dress in the photo below and see how their colors improved with the latest model:

Original photo in black and white

Original photo in black and white

Colorized with the November 2020 model (left) and the new July 2021 model (right)

Colorized with the November 2020 model (left) and the new July 2021 model (right)

Last example:

Original black and white photo

Original black and white photo


Colorized with the November 2020 model (left) and the new and improved July 2021 model (right)

Colorized with the November 2020 model (left) and the new and improved July 2021 model (right)

Default and alternative models

The new model is now the default for all photos that are colorized using MyHeritage In Color™ both on the website and on the mobile app. Photos that have already been colorized using a previous model will remain as they are. If you want to change the model and check if it improves colorization results, for any particular photo, use the colorization settings.

To access the colorization settings, visit the photo page and click the cogwheel icon in the upper left corner. (This icon only appears on the photo page of a photo that has been colorized.)

Accessing colorization settings

Accessing colorization settings

Selecting a colorization model in the colorization settings

Selecting a colorization model in the colorization settings

In the colorization settings you can change the colorization model, and click “Preview” to see how it looks. You can then click on the photo to see how the previous version looked and compare the results. If you’re happy with the new results, click “Save”; if you prefer the previous version, click “Cancel”. We’re making several colorization models available because for some photos, a different model works better than others.


Using the MyHeritage photo features paints a new picture of your family history and breathes life into old family photos. With the new colorization model, MyHeritage In Color™ produces even more breathtaking results, especially when used in combination with the Photo Enhancer on MyHeritage.

We keep on developing new and exciting features that will help you experience your family history in a whole new way — as well as improving the features you already know and love.

Colorize and enhance your old family photos now

The post New and Improved Colorization Model for MyHeritage In Color™ appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Webtember at Legacy Family Tree Webinars: All Genealogy. All September Long.

2021. augusztus 26., csütörtök 9:29:17

Have you heard about Webtember, the free month-long online genealogy conference over at Legacy Family Tree Webinars?

Dedicate Fridays in September to taking your genealogy skills to the next level! Every Friday, several live and pre-recorded webinars will be available on the Legacy Family Tree website — 30 sessions in all. You can join for as many or as few live sessions as you like, and the pre-recorded sessions will be free to view through the end of the month. The sessions cover a veritable plethora of topics and focus areas, from DNA and photo scanning to Afro-LatinX heritage in the Old West to overcoming genealogical angst. Our own Daniel Horowitz and Schelly Talalay Dardashti are among the impressive lineup of speakers.

Click here to register for the live classes, and check each Friday for that week’s pre-recorded sessions.

Here’s the full Webtember schedule:

DateTime (Eastern U.S.)Live/Pre-recordedSpeakerTitle
Sep 310:00 AMLiveGeoff RasmussenFAN Club in Action: a Simple Case Study
11:00 AMLiveRoberta EstesPaint Your Way Up Your Tree with MyHeritage and DNAPainter
12:30 PMLivePeggy Clemens Lauritzen, AGAmerica’s Turnpikes, Rivers, and Canals
2:00 PMLive hereAnita WillsNotes and Documents of Free Persons of Color
Pre-recordedTeresa Steinkamp McMillin, CGLife, Liberty and the Pursuit of German Military Records
Pre-recordedDr. Bruce DurieHow Can I Get a Legal Coat of Arms in Scotland?
Pre-recordedDenise May LevenickSeventeen Secrets to Successful Scanning
Pre-recordedMary Kircher Roddy, CGFinding Jane Graham’s Parents: Using Clusters and Records in Three Countries
Sep 108:00 AMLiveCarol BaxterBritish and Irish Given Names - Part 1
9:30 AMLiveDaniel HorowitzDon't Believe Everything You Read
11:00 AMLiveCraig R. Scott, MA, CG, FUGAThe Loyalists That Stayed Behind: The Reintegration
12:30 PMLiveDearMYRTLE and Russ WorthingtonNEVER GIVE UP: 5 Strategies for Overcoming Genealogical Angst
Pre-recordedCarol BaxterBritish and Irish Given Names - Part 2
Pre-recordedDebra RenardWhat are the Odds? Finding Answers Using DNA Painter’s WATO Tool
Pre-recordedSchelly Talalay DardashtiDid your Abuelita...? Seeking Jewish Heritage
Pre-recordedMelissa BarkerDiaries, Journals and Calendars: Preserving and Document Your Ancestor's Day-to-Day Life
Sep 179:30 AMLiveJames TannerResearching Immigrants to New England in the Great Migration, 1620-1640
11:00 AMLiveJanice Lovelace, PhDAfro-LatinX in the Old West
12:30 PMLiveDaniel HorowitzGenealogy on the Go with the MyHeritage Mobile App
2:00 PMLive hereLianne KrugerA Toboggan Ride Through Canadian Records, eh!
Pre-recordedRebecca Koford, CG, CGLOut of the Ballot Box: Voter Registrations & Records
Pre-recordedMarie CappartBeneluxury archives! How to get the best out of belgian, dutch and lux archives online
Pre-recordedFiona BrookerA Step Through Time(lines)
Sep 248:00 AMLiveMichelle LeonardInferred Matching Explained
9:30 AMLiveThomas MacEnteeThe Mysterious Death of Anna T. McPhillips
11:00 AMLiveJudy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL"Twelve Good and Lawful Men": Jury Lists in Genealogy
12:30 PMLivePaul WoodburyWhere Did That Come From?! Tracing the Origins of Unique Ethnicity Admixture
Pre-recordedMichael L. Strauss, AGRoosevelt's Tree Army: Researching the Civilian Conservation Corps
Pre-recordedLisa Toth SalinasBeginning Hungarian Genealogy
Pre-recordedCathie SherwoodOne family, many connections: Using the FAN club in one Australian locality

The post Webtember at Legacy Family Tree Webinars: All Genealogy. All September Long. appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

I Found My Dad’s Secret Birth Father Thanks to a MyHeritage DNA Test

2021. augusztus 22., vasárnap 9:56:13

MyHeritage user Robyn Trickel Barret Dowd has been hooked on genealogy ever since her then-8th-grade daughter came home with a family research project — but her research took a crazy turn when a throwaway comment from a family member led her to uncover a painful family secret. Determined to get to the bottom of it, Robyn embarked on a thorough DNA testing campaign until she finally got some answers… and some new relatives. Here is her story:

It all started around 2004 when my angry half-sister told me to take her off the family tree I’d been working on for the past 20 years. “Besides,” she threw out, “you are following the wrong family anyway!”

What did she mean?

The tree in question traced her line back to Newgate Prison in London, where our ancestor was found guilty and sentenced to transportation to Virginia Plantation in 1743. Was she saying that this ancestor wasn’t really my ancestor?

The father we had in common had unfortunately passed, but my stepmother was still around, so I called her to ask what my half-sister had meant. My stepmother replied that it was all in the past and there was no sense digging up old dirt.

So what she was telling me was that there was truth to those words.

Digging up old dirt

My next move was to call my dad’s only living sister. She knew a family secret and she shared it: one of the five siblings did not belong to her father! She cried on the phone and confessed that she always felt she was the one, since her parents divorced shortly after her birth.

I had to get to the bottom of this.

I’d been attending the annual Southern California Jamboree in order to improve my research skills, and at one of the events, I listened to Bennett Greenspan talking about genetics. What he had to say froze me in my seat.

If I could test two males in my family, I might be able to sort out who was who.

There were only two living males descended from my paternal grandmother at the time. First, I had to break the news to them that one of their fathers might not be a Trickel. My cousin’s first question was, “How will we know?” I replied that if we were lucky, either he or my brother would match another family and we would have our answer.

I bought two kits and sent one off to our cousin. I was planning to visit my brother for his 60th birthday and bring him the kit then, but unfortunately, in early June, I received a call from my sister-in-law: she had found my brother deceased that morning. I changed my ticket and flew out that night — kit in hand. The mortuary agreed to take his DNA sample and told me they did this all the time and not to worry. I worried anyway, as he was being cremated; what if the postal service lost his test? I grabbed his toothbrush and put it in a Ziplock bag just in case!

A few months later, we had our answer. My dad was not a Trickel, but a Barlow. He had a close match with a Barlow in Georgia.

When I told my aunt, she cried again. I think she had been blaming herself all those years for her parents’ divorce. Then she stopped and said, “I’m still your aunt!” Yes, she was.

Finding my grandfather

Now that we had the answer, a new question arose: how do I go about finding which Barlow man was my grandfather?

Here’s what we knew: My grandmother was living in a tent city in the oil fields of Pawhuska, Oklahoma at the time of my father’s conception. She and her two children had followed her husband for his work in the field. While working there, he was arrested for moonshine running in late 1923–early 1924, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. The story is left to the reader’s imagination as to what happened after, but my dad was born in the tent!

Researching Barlow men in the area, I found two brothers listed on the 1920 census. One was an oil foreman, and one was an oil pumper. They were also listed in city directories. So I made the assumption of who my great-grandparents were and worked up a family tree. This was 2008.

I wrote to the oil foreman’s descendants, and their responses ranged from skepticism to downright, “I don’t know who you are!” I felt like the woman I contacted hung up on me, even though it was on Facebook!

Years passed, and over time, I took a DNA test myself and managed to get my dad’s sister, my half-brother, my children, and my German-born sister-in-law to test as well. I uploaded our data to a few different websites, including MyHeritage, in hopes of casting a wider net.

After checking all of my DNA uploads weekly, finally — in September 2018 — I received a message from MyHeritage informing me of new DNA matches… and there he was, my brick-wall-breaker! 371.1 cMs! My Barlow first cousin! My dad’s nephew! His father had passed away earlier, so I guess that led him to decide to take a DNA test, and he chose MyHeritage. It was officially confirmed: the oil pumper was my paternal grandfather!

My brick-wall breaker was as excited as I was that I found him. The family had no idea that my dad existed, but once he found out, he and his brother drove from Oklahoma to California to meet me.

Jeff and Wayne Barlow (my Brick Wall Buster) and myself, Robyn Trickel Dowd, 2020

Jeff and Wayne Barlow (my Brick Wall Buster) and myself, Robyn Trickel Dowd, 2020

Meeting Jill Binder, another Barlow cousin, in Oklahoma

Meeting Jill Binder, another Barlow cousin, in Oklahoma

This summer, we had a mini-reunion in Owasso, Oklahoma. Our cousin Wayne Barlow met us in Pawhuska, where my father was born. Wayne wanted us to see the Barlow heritage through his eyes. He took us to a bridge that was commissioned by our great-grandfather, John Wesley Barlow, or JW. JW owned a blacksmith shop in Caney, Kansas making carriages, but moved on to Oklahoma when the oil fields beckoned. He was very influential in the Pawhuska community: his picture hangs in the Pawhuska Courthouse. It was closed when we were there, but the local museum had several plaques noting his works. JW was killed working in the oil fields in 1918, at age 57, when he was struck in the head by the derrick of a pipe pulling machine.

Robyn’s great-grandfather, JW Barlow

Robyn’s great-grandfather, JW Barlow

Our mini-reunion in Oklahoma was with 3 Barlow descendants that we had met since 2019, Wayne and Jeff Barlow and Jill Binder. Unfortunately, my half-uncle that I had so wanted to meet was sick and unable to come. It was a disappointment of the trip. I had wanted to see if he and my dad shared mannerisms, voices, or interests.

The next day, Wayne, Jeff, and their significant others, caravaned us to our great-great-grandfather’s grave in Anderson, Missouri. I would never have found it without their help. So though the reunion didn’t include my half-uncle, I got to “meet” my great-great-grandfather, Alfred Barlow.

The post I Found My Dad’s Secret Birth Father Thanks to a MyHeritage DNA Test appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

How to Write an Obituary

2021. augusztus 16., hétfő 11:31:20

As the family historian, or simply as a mortal human, you may find yourself presented with the difficult task of writing an obituary for a family member who has recently passed. If you are a genealogist, you know how valuable obituaries can be. They often contain far more detail than any other death record, sometimes providing information about the deceased person’s life that you would never learn from any other source. You can search through MyHeritage’s 102 newspaper collections to discover some fascinating obituaries from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. 

But how do you summarize an entire life in a few paragraphs? How do you write something that will honor the memory of your loved one and help others honor that memory?

First things first:

What is an obituary?

The word “obituary” comes from the Latin “obitus,” meaning “death.” An obituary is a notice of death, traditionally printed in a local newspaper, that describes the life of the deceased. When a person who was famous or well-known dies, newspapers will typically print an obituary summarizing that person’s life and accomplishments. In other cases, the family may choose to write something and have it published in a local newspaper or on a dedicated website.

What to include in an obituary

Obituaries don’t have to be especially long or detailed. In fact, if it makes it easier for you, you can simply follow a template or formula (we’ll demonstrate below). This may be best if you are paying to have the obituary printed in the local paper and have limited space.

However, the more detail you add, the more value it will bring — both to the people who knew the deceased and to those who didn’t have a chance to. Plus, even if you’re going to be publishing an obituary in the paper, it may be a good idea to write a longer, more detailed one to share online, whether it’s via social media, a blog, a funeral home website, or just as an email to family and friends.

What does an obituary look like?

Below is an example of an obituary from the MyHeritage newspaper collections. This obituary for Aurelia Premore appeared in The Daily Gazette, Schenectady County, New York, on April 6, 1995:

Obituary from The Daily Gazette, Schenectady County, NY, April 6, 1995. Courtesy of the MyHeritage newspaper collections

Obituary from The Daily Gazette, Schenectady County, NY, April 6, 1995. Courtesy of the MyHeritage newspaper collections

This is an excellent example of a formulaic, simple obituary. It begins with the name and age of the deceased at the time of death, and goes on to note the date, place, and cause of death. The next few paragraphs offer some background information on the life of the deceased, including her place of birth and her education, and a little about her career and her activities in the community. Next, the obituary mentions the family members of hers who predeceased her, and then the family members who are still alive. Lastly, the obituary offers practical information on the service, burial, and calling hours, and then mentions a nonprofit that was important to the deceased that friends and acquaintances are invited to contribute to in her memory.

How do you write an obituary?

The example above should give you an excellent structure to work with if you want to keep it simple and brief.

If you’d like to write something more detailed, a good way to get yourself in the right mindset is to imagine you are describing your loved one to a future descendant of theirs. What do you think that future descendant would like to know about this person? What would the deceased want that descendant to know?

It may be easiest to start by writing down the basic, dry facts:

  • Where and when were they born?
  • Who were their parents and siblings?
  • Where did they receive their education?
  • What was their profession?
  • Did they marry? If so, whom, and when and how did the couple meet?
  • Did they have children? When were they born?
  • When did they die, and what was the cause of death?
  • Which family members died before them, and which are still living?

Then, see if you can add richer details:

  • What stories do you know from their childhood? What was it like for them growing up?
  • What were their most important accomplishments in their professional and personal life?
  • What challenges did they face and overcome during their lifetime?
  • What are some memories you have of them, or stories about them that got told and retold in the family?

Once you have all these details, you can organize them chronologically, starting with their birth and ending with their death.

Many find the process of writing an obituary to be cathartic, and a good opportunity to spend time thinking about your experiences with your loved one. It can be difficult emotionally, but certainly rewarding — not only for you, and not only for the friends and family who will read it now, but also for the future genealogist seeking to learn more about an ancestor they never got to meet.

If you are seeking to learn more about an ancestor you never got to meet, search the MyHeritage historical record collections to discover obituaries and many other types of records that can shed light on your family’s past.

The post How to Write an Obituary appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.