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The Genealogue

MyHeritage BlogMyHeritage Blog

Latest News on DNA Ethnicity and Family Heritage

Journey to the Past with Free Immigration & Travel Records!

2021. június 24., csütörtök 11:16:21

With the summer in full swing, now is a great time to learn about the paths your ancestors traveled. MyHeritage is offering free access to all immigration and travel records from June 24–28, 2021. By learning about their journeys, you’ll get to know your ancestors in a more meaningful way. 

Humans have migrated throughout history, but until the last century or two, traveling was dangerous and costly, only undertaken out of absolute necessity — to escape war, famine, or other unrest, or to earn a living. In the 19th century, as new technology made traveling faster and safer, the upper classes began to travel for leisure, and people who would otherwise have spent their whole lives in the same village where their grandparents were born were starting to leave to pursue better fortunes. Many of us are descended from these brave adventurers.

Where did your ancestors come from? Where did they go?

Now is a great opportunity to find out.

The Immigration & Travel category on MyHeritage encompasses 57 collections with 181,280,020 historical records from all over the world. They include passenger arrival records, naturalization records, border crossings, emigration records, passports, and convict transportation records.

These records are often pivotal for genealogists because discovering details on exactly where your ancestors were from can help you understand where to look for additional records on their childhoods and their families in the old country. In the documents in this collection, you might find details on the journey, such as the name of the ship they sailed on and the city where they sailed from, in addition to personal details — such as names and occupations of the travelers themselves and of their family members.

Normally, most of these records are free to search, but can only be fully accessed by MyHeritage users with a Data or Complete plan. From today until June 28, anyone will be able to access them completely free of charge.

Ready for your own adventure to discover the journeys of your ancestors? Click here to start searching Immigration & Travel records on MyHeritage!

The post Journey to the Past with Free Immigration & Travel Records! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

MyHeritage Releases Two Record Collections from Austria and Eastern Europe

2021. június 24., csütörtök 10:49:18

We are pleased to announce the addition of 10.7 million Austrian Roman Catholic church records in two new collections that cannot be found on other commercial websites. The first is an index of records from a variety of communities around Austria-Hungary as well as Eastern Europe, covering modern-day Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, and Germany. The second focuses on Vienna, the capital of Austria, and some surrounding areas. The collections include vital records — baptism, marriage, and burial records — covering a span of 4 centuries, from the 16th century to the 20th. The collections are invaluable for anyone seeking to learn more about their heritage from Austria and Eastern Europe.

The areas covered by this collection were ruled by the Habsburg Monarchy, which began in 1273, rose to its broadest extent under Charles V in the mid-1500s, and then split into two: a western European region and a central-eastern European region, covering Austria, Hungary, Bohemia, and the surrounding areas. The records in this collection come from the churches in the central-eastern European Habsburg holding, where Roman Catholicism was the prevailing religion.

Here are more details about each of the collections:

Austria-Hungary, Roman Catholic Indexes, 1612–1966 

The 6.8 million records in this collection consist of baptism, marriage, and burial records for the Roman Catholic community in Eastern Europe. Baptism records include the name of the child, the date of baptism, and the location. Marriage records include the name of the bride and groom, the names of the bride’s parents, the names of the groom’s parents, the date of marriage, and location. Burial records include the name of the deceased, the date of burial, and location.

The coverage of this collection includes records from modern-day Austria (including the historical territories of Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Styria, Tyrol, Salzburg, and Carinthia), Hungary, the Czech Republic (Bohemia and Moravia), Poland, and Germany. This collection does not include Vienna.

Search Austria-Hungary, Roman Catholic Indexes, 1612–1966 

Austria, Vienna Catholic Church Records Index, 1585–1918

This collection of 3.8 million records contains an index of Roman Catholic Church baptisms, marriages, and burials from the city of Vienna, Austria and some surrounding areas. Records contain the full name of the individual, the date and place of the event (baptism, marriage, or burial), any comments, and various indicators about the records such as a book and page number. The location of the event normally includes the name of the parish as well as the district within Vienna.

Vienna is divided by district (Bezirk), and each has a name and number. The baptismal records include parishes from the following districts: 1–10, 12–13, 15–16, and 18–21; the marriage records include parishes from all districts of Vienna except for district 20; and the burial records include parishes from districts 1–3, 9–10, and 21. A selection of marriage records pertain to areas outside of Vienna in either Lower Austria, Upper Austria, or military areas.

Search Austria, Vienna Catholic Church Records Index, 1585–1918

Sample Record

The burial record of world-renowned composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart can be found in the Austria, Vienna Catholic Church Records Index, 1585–1918 collection. The record lists the date of burial; his age at death, 36; and his burial location, Sankt Stephan, in Vienna.

Burial Record of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Burial Record of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


These two new collections are an important resource for anyone searching for more information on their ancestors from Austria and Eastern Europe.

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 Releases Two Record Collections from Austria and Eastern Europe appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

MyHeritage Online Events for July

2021. június 24., csütörtök 10:41:40

Summer is in the air, and we’ve got a fresh batch of free webinars on the menu for July! This month, you’ll discover some amazing genealogy stories, learn to research Swedish ancestors with a leading expert, learn how to future-proof your research, and much more.

Our free, live webinars feature top experts in genealogy, family history, and DNA speaking on a wide variety of topics. Thanks to the live format, you can ask questions and interact with the lecturers in real time. Even if you can’t make it to the live event, many of the recordings are made freely available for you to watch and enjoy at your convenience.

MyHeritage Webinars on Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Did you know that Legacy Family Tree Webinars hosts a number of free MyHeritage webinars each month? There are two sessions planned for July — topics TBD. Head over to the Legacy website for more details and to sign up!

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.

July 5, 1 P.M. EDT

Topic: Researching Swedish Genealogy

Speaker: Christina Sagersten

Description: Leading expert on Swedish genealogy Christina Sagersten will discuss how to go about researching your Swedish ancestors.

July 7, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: The Advantages of Online Genealogy Record-Keeping

Speaker: Dick Eastman

Description: Veteran genealogist Dick Eastman will discuss the advantages of keeping records of your genealogy research on an online platform like MyHeritage over the old-fashioned, offline methods.

July 12, 11 A.M. EDT

Topic: How a MyHeritage DNA Match Helped Me Solve a 40-Year Brick Wall

Speaker: Jan Alpert

Description: Genealogist Jan Alpert shares how a DNA Match led her to solve a 40-year-old family mystery.

July 19, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: Photo Features on MyHeritage

Speaker: Tal Erlichman

Description: Our Director of Product Management, Tal Erlichman, will walk you through MyHeritage’s complete suite of photo features, showing you how to breathe new life into family photos by repairing, animating, enhancing, and colorizing them.

July 21, 8 A.M. EDT

Topic: An Introduction to Crypto-Jewish Genealogy

Speaker: Genie Milgrom

Description: Award-winning author and genealogist Genie Milgrom will share her remarkable genealogy journey and show you how to dig for hidden Jewish roots in your Spanish or Portuguese family history.

July 21, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: MyHeritage Trivia Game

Speaker: John D. Reid

Description: Put your genealogy know-how to the test in this fun game facilitated by British-Canadian genealogist, John D. Reid!

July 28, 2 P.M. EDT

Topic: Future Proofing and Preserving Your Genealogy

Speaker: Thomas MacEntee

Description: Have you thought about what will happen to your years of genealogy research when you’re gone? Learn how to ensure that your hard work will endure. Through planning, common sense, and utilizing new technologies, genealogy expert Thomas MacEntee will review how to create an action plan for preserving your genealogy research for generations to come.


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 July appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Hot DNA Sale — Order Your Kit Now for This Low Price!

2021. június 23., szerda 13:42:45

Summer is the perfect time to make new discoveries and connect with new relatives. Make this summer special with a DNA kit for yourself, your family members, or your friends — or maybe all of the above, now that MyHeritage DNA kits are on sale for the crazy low price of $59!

Order your kit today! 

The MyHeritage DNA test now offers the highest-resolution ethnicity estimate on the market. With 42 supported ethnicities and 2,114 Genetic Groups, you’ll gain fascinating, specific insights into where your ancestors came from. You’ll also receive a comprehensive list of DNA matches from within our global database, helping you connect with previously unknown relatives all over the world… and perhaps leading you to finally break through those brick walls in your genealogy research. That’s not just theoretical — MyHeritage DNA users are making incredible, life-changing discoveries all the time. You can read their true stories in the User Stories category of our blog.

Don’t miss out on your chance to make your own discoveries at this special price. Order 2+ kits and you’ll get free shipping, too!

This special offer ends June 27, 2021, so place your order now.

The post Hot DNA Sale — Order Your Kit Now for This Low Price! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Honoring Black Resilience Through the Black Homesteader’s Project

2021. június 17., csütörtök 17:39:39

Juneteenth is a special day of celebration honoring the anniversary of the emancipation of enslaved communities in Texas on June 19, 1865. It’s a day to reflect on the past, but to also look forward and honor the resilience of African American communities.

In that vein, I’d like to share my own family’s story and an exciting historic initiative called the Black Homesteaders Project which is part of the Homestead National Historical Park Service.

In the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proposed new legislation called the Homestead Act of 1862. The idea was to offer, for a minimal fee, up to 160 acres of public land to any citizen willing to farm the land and become a “homesteader.” After 5 years, the homesteader earned the right to own the land outright. 

The law was unique in that it did not discriminate on the basis of color and was notable for the opportunity it gave African Americans to own land. The U.S. government passed the Homestead Act to encourage western migration.

Every citizen in “good standing” was allowed to apply to become a homesteader, and for newly emancipated African Americans this initiative became a way to establish their lives as free citizens.

My grandmother told me that the land where she grew up in Louisiana was owned by her grandfather, Peter Clark. This inspired me to look into his story. 

Photo of Peter Clark and son Moses [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Photo of Peter Clark and son Moses [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Through the documentation surrounding Peter’s application to become a homesteader, I not only confirmed that he applied to become a homesteader on April 25, 1887 and was issued his land patent in 1896, I also learned fascinating details about him and the life he led in 19th century Louisiana.

Peter Clark homestead application [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Peter Clark homestead application [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Peter Clark Homestead application [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Peter Clark Homestead application [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Through his application testimony, I learned the exact location of the homestead and that he had already established residence on the land 10 years prior. He had a house, an outhouse, and 5 fenced-in acres that he had cleared. 

His testimony continues, “My wife and 4 children have lived there continuously since first establishing residence.”

When asked about the character of the land, he described it as “Piney-woods land — most valuable for farming when cleared.”

Several years later, Peter traveled back to the New Orleans office to update on the land and he provided the names of five witnesses who could attest that he successfully performed what was required of him as a homesteader. In 1894, the names of the individuals were published in the Southland newspaper.

Document listing Peter Clark’s witnesses [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Document listing Peter Clark’s witnesses [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Article listing Peter Clark’s homestead application and names of witnesses [Credit: The Southland Newspaper, October 17, 1894.]
Article listing Peter Clark’s homestead application and names of witnesses [Credit: The Southland Newspaper, October 17, 1894.]
Researching the identity of these witnesses gave me more details about Peter’s community at that time. Marshall Douglass was a former member of the United States Colored Troops; Charles Baptiste was also a witness at my grandmother’s wedding in 1913; Henry Tinkshell lived down the road from my 3rd-great-grandfather, and Robert Benefield was the editor of the newspaper. Most of these witnesses were African-American homesteaders themselves.

I also found a document stating that Peter didn’t have the money to go in for his final testimony, and had to wait until he’d saved enough to complete the process. Finally, in 1896, his patent was issued and his claim to the land was approved. Peter’s extraordinary stories have been documented in my award-winning book, Tracing their Steps: A Memoir.

Peter Clark’s homestead patent [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Peter Clark’s homestead patent [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Peter Clark’s final homestead certificate registration [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
Peter Clark’s final homestead certificate registration [Credit: Bernice Bennett]
You can watch me tell my story and reveal my research, and hear stories of other descendants who I was able to help, in this Nurturing Our Roots Genealogy Discussion:

Discovering the story of my ancestors’ land ownership inspired me to help others learn about their own ancestors’ stories. Many people who have inherited land are not familiar with their family’s history of land ownership. Through the Black Homesteaders Project, many descendants were able to trace the lives of their ancestors during this pivotal time in history. This Project initially focused on the Black Homesteaders of the Great Plains and now descendants of Homesteaders throughout the United States are also researching and sharing their stories. Read more about their inspiring stories in the National Park site, Black Homesteading in America.

If you think your ancestors may have acquired their land through the Homestead Act, I recommend visiting the Bureau of Land Management, where you can find records of the landowners. This is where I found my great-great grandfather’s name listed, along with some of the aforementioned witnesses. I have also started a new Facebook group called Descendants of African American Homesteaders that offers helpful tips and important information.

Happy Juneteenth!

The post Honoring Black Resilience Through the Black Homesteader’s Project appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

These Candid Photos Were Taken Secretly… in the 1890s

2021. június 15., kedd 13:43:46

If you have the fortune of possessing family photos from the 19th century, you probably know that most photographs from that era look more like paintings than like modern pictures. Camera equipment was generally heavy, cumbersome, and expensive, and those who could afford to have their pictures taken usually reserved the pleasure for special occasions. Therefore, most photographs of people from this period feature stiff-posed, unsmiling subjects.

The secret photographs of Carl Størmer, a 19-year-old Norwegian student who went on to become a great scientist, are completely different. Taken without the knowledge of their subjects, they capture moments very rarely seen in photos of that era. And especially after applying the MyHeritage photo tools, they reveal a 19th-century landscape, unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.

Størmer was born in Skien in 1874, the only child of pharmacist Georg Ludvig Størmer and his wife Elisabeth and nephew to Henrik Christian Fredrik Størmer, an engineer and inventor. He was studying math at the University of Oslo when a lovely young woman caught his eye. Too shy to approach her, he found an ingenious (though rather questionable) way to preserve the memory of her beauty: he procured a 19th-century equivalent of a spy cam.

Ad for the Stirn Concealed Vest Camera

Invented by Robert D. Gray and introduced in 1886, this flat, circular camera was small enough to be tucked into a waistcoat or vest, with the lens poking out through the buttonhole. By tugging a cord that led down to his pocket, Størmer was able to take photographs surreptitiously.

Two women in crisp white dresses hurry past the photographer

He soon discovered that the device had wider uses than spying on his secret crush: he could snap pictures of people on the street. Between the years 1893 and 1897, he took almost 500 photographs of passersby on the main street of Oslo. The results include an array of images unlike most you will find from the Victorian period. Women strolling down the street with parasols, chatting with friends; men smiling and tipping their hats; even people snuggling young children and pets.

The MyHeritage photo tools smooth over scratches and small tears, clarify facial expressions, and of course, transform a black-and-white 19th-century Oslo into a vibrant, colorful setting.

A man tips his hat as he passes a lamppost on the sidewalk of a cobblestone street. Across the road are some trees, an elegant building, and other people milling around.
A woman in a dress with floral decorations cuddles a striped cat
A child sits playfully on her father as he lays in the grass and pats their pet dog, who is lying by his head

It’s interesting to note that if these people had known they were having their picture taken, they probably wouldn’t have been smiling at all. Smiling for the camera only became popular in the 20th century.

A man smiles cheerfully at the photographer in front of a hotel
A pair of women enjoy a walk in the park

Størmer went on to become an acclaimed mathematician and astrophysicist. He is best known for his work in number theory, including the development of Størmer’s theorem, and his research on aurorae and the movement of charged particles in the magnetosphere. He authored a book on those topics called From the Depths of Space to the Heart of the Atom. He even has a crater named after him on the far side of the moon.

While those accomplishments are surely more groundbreaking than his hidden camera exploits — and we don’t recommend taking pictures of people without their consent — we will be forever grateful to him for providing us with these rare, refreshing glimpses of day-to-day life in late 19th century Oslo.

A group of people sit on the stern of a sailboat
People on the street, including two women in traditional Norwegian costume. One smiles uncertainly at the camera
Two women walking. One turns her head to look at the photographer; perhaps he called to her so he could photograph her face

Isn’t it astonishing what the MyHeritage photo tools can do for these photographs? Try out Photo Repair, the Photo Enhancer, and MyHeritage In Color™ on your own family photos!

The post These Candid Photos Were Taken Secretly… in the 1890s appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

My Brother Vanished at Age 3. MyHeritage Helped Me Find Him 32 Years Later

2021. június 10., csütörtök 8:44:15

One autumn day in 1988, two little boys were playing together in their garden in Bogota, Colombia while their older brother watched from a second-story window. A family friend approached them and asked one of them, Jhonatan, to come with him, offering to buy him some candy.

His family didn’t see Jhonatan again for 32 years.

Juan Jimenez was 5 years old when he watched from the window as that man walked away with his little brother. Riddled with grief and guilt that he had failed to prevent his brother’s disappearance, he tried everything in his power to help his mother find Jhonatan. As an adult, Juan moved to the United States — where they believed Jhonatan had been taken — with the thought that even if his efforts to find his brother failed, at least he would be physically closer to him.

One day, he saw an ad for MyHeritage’s DNA Quest: a pro bono project to donate DNA kits to adoptees and help them reunite with lost family members. Juan applied for a free kit, and MyHeritage sent him one.

Meanwhile, Jhonatan, now named John Erik Aarsheim, had grown up with a loving family in Norway that never suspected he’d been abducted. His adoptive parents, Karen and Gunnar, adopted him from an orphanage near Bogota, having been told that he’d been found in the street and that all television and newspaper ads looking for his parents had gone unanswered. Karen and Gunnar brought Jhonatan to their home in Stad, where he lived a quiet, happy life with his grandparents next door. As he grew up, all he had of Colombia were vague memories and a niggling curiosity about his origins. Who were his parents, and why had they abandoned him?

When John was 30, he decided to take a DNA test to see if he could find any information about them, but nothing came of it. He became resigned to the fact that he would probably never know.

But then, John heard about MyHeritage’s Health upgrade and decided to take a MyHeritage DNA test to learn how his genes might affect his future health. When his results came through, he glanced at the DNA matches just out of curiosity — and there, right before his eyes, was a match he never dreamed he’d see: half-brother, uncle, or nephew.

John wrote to Juan right away, describing the details of his story and asking what he knew.

“A lot,” was the reply.

When Juan got the message from John, he was overjoyed. He picked up the phone and called his mother, and even before he said anything, she knew he had found Jhonatan.

Juan told John the whole story of his disappearance. It was a lot to take in: not only had his parents not abandoned him, his mother had been looking for him and missing him all that time. All of a sudden, he had 3 brothers and a sister, too.

John was both excited and nervous to meet the family that had been searching for him for 32 years. A few months after that first contact, Juan flew to Norway to bring John back to his home city. Watch Juan’s touching video he made of their reunion: 

John arrived in Bogota to a royal welcome: the family had rented a chiva, a Columbian party bus, that traveled with a police escort to the home he’d been taken from. The whole family was waiting for him there, waving Norwegian flags and holding signs bearing his name. And there, in front of the house she’d never sold in hopes he would find his way back to it, was his mother, holding a sign that read: “I missed you a lot, son of mine. Welcome home. I love you.”

The next few days were a whirlwind of hugs, tears, and joy. John was overwhelmed by the love his family had for him and their elation at having found him at last. He says he saw many aspects of himself in his long-lost relatives. Through all this, he sent regular updates to his adoptive family in Norway, who are very happy for him.

Juan (left) puts his arm around John Erik (right) during the welcome party

John encourages other people seeking lost family members not to give up hope: to know that maybe someone, somewhere, has been waiting their whole life to hear from you.

Order your MyHeritage DNA kit today — who knows what you might discover?

The post My Brother Vanished at Age 3. MyHeritage Helped Me Find Him 32 Years Later appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Lilibet Diana: Vintage Names Surge in Popularity

2021. június 8., kedd 15:34:57

Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the birth of their new baby daughter, Lilibet Diana! We can’t help but note the lovely choice of name — clearly a moving tribute to two powerful and important women in the baby’s family. Decades of data show that her parents aren’t alone in turning to the past to look for an appropriate name for a member of the next generation.

Names are a deeply personal topic and can often remind us of people we hold dear to us. As more people research their family’s history, it is now easier than ever to look into our family’s past and find out which names had significance to our ancestors. This could be a big driver for the recent boom in historical baby names, as new parents look to connect their children with their ancestors.

In addition to the historical tie, more parents are looking for names that are unique. In the 1950s only 5% of babies had a name outside the top 1000. This number has now increased to closer to 30%, as names continue to become more diverse.

Lilibet is a known nickname of Queen Elizabeth II, derived from the way she pronounced her own name as a child. The name sits outside the top 10,000 for births in the U.S. and outside the top 4,000 in the U.K., according to the latest published records.

Meghan and Harry’s daughter Lili’s middle name, Diana, was of course given in memory of Harry’s mother, who died tragically in a car accident in 1997. It’s a more common name, having consistently ranked among the top 200 in the U.S. since the 1930s, and is in the top 100 in such diverse countries as Hungary, Spain, and Ukraine.

Lilibet is not the only new member of the royal family to receive a more traditional, less common first name. Princess Eugenie’s son, born in February, was named August after Queen Victoria’s husband, whose birth name was Francis Albert Augustus Charles Emmanuel. A month later, the Queen’s oldest granddaughter — Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne — gave her son the name Lucas Philip, in a touching nod to her now-late grandfather.

While the name Lilibet may not have been common during the last 100 years, as with other royal names, we expect it will spark a trend, and we will see a boom in popularity following the new arrival. After Prince George was born, the name soared to 2nd place in the list of most popular given names in the U.K. As it’s rumoured that Charles will take the name King George when he ascends the throne, there is no doubt the name will continue to rise in popularity.

The name Charlotte stayed strong in the top 100 during the 1800s, but dropped out of fashion in 1920. It re-entered the top spots during the 1980s and rose from 25th place to 12th most popular after Kate Middleton chose the name for her daughter in 2015. Before Prince Louis was born, in 2017, the name ranked 82nd in popularity. After William and Kate christened their youngest son with the moniker, it shot up to the 53rd spot the following year.

MyHeritage researchers discovered some interesting facts about which traditional baby names are seeing a resurgence in popularity:

  • The most popular names when records began in 1780 were Mary, John, William, and Elizabeth.
  • Alfred, Bertie, Frank, Fred, Leonard, and Sidney all saw a 21st-century peak in 2012
  • The most popular names of the 1950s and 60s are yet to see a resurgence, as almost all now sit lower than the top 500 in popularity. There are 3 exceptions: David, Michael, and John.
  • The name Bertie is up 1,646 places in the rankings. 
  • After almost a century out of the top 100, the name Olive has almost reached its 1800s peak once more.
  • Some names have eclipsed their original heyday. Violet and Elsie saw higher rankings in 2019 than they did 200 years ago. 
  • Names like Agnes, which peaked in 1910 but dropped out of the top 100 names in 1935, have started to make their way towards the top 100 again. 

Do these trends indicate a newfound interest in the past? Your guess is as good as ours, but we are touched by Lili’s parents’ choice of name, and we’re sure the rest of the royal family is, too.

Are you or your children named after a beloved ancestor? Search our historical record collections and see if you can gain new insights about old names in your family.


The post Lilibet Diana: Vintage Names Surge in Popularity appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

The Oldest People Ever Photographed

2021. június 3., csütörtök 10:06:26

How old is the oldest ancestor you have a photo of?

Many of us are lucky to uncover photographs of our ancestors from the early 20th century, and even luckier to find photos from the late 19th century. That means that the earliest photographs most people may have access to feature ancestors born sometime in the 1800s.

Photography as we know it was invented in the late 1830s, and became popular throughout Europe. It took a while for the trend to be adopted in America, however. A man named Matthew Brady, who witnessed the new daguerreotype method of developing photos when it was invented in France, brought the technique to the United States and began introducing it to the American public. He opened a photography studio in New York in the mid-1840s, and found that people were reluctant to have their photos taken. Eventually he found his clientele: mostly younger people keeping up with the European trend. However, some of his subjects were elderly people — distinguished members of society who agreed to pose as models to preserve their presence in the world and celebrate the bond they had with their life partners.

The more advanced age of these people in the photos makes them the oldest people to have ever been photographed. Many were born in the 1700s and some of them even lived through the American Revolutionary War.

See what they look like enhanced and colorized with the Photo Enhancer and MyHeritage In Color™:

The subjects of the photos are dressed in formal wear, with the women wearing bonnets. Dark colors were favored for clothing during this historical period because it was better at hiding dirt and stains and didn’t need to be washed as often. Most of the subjects are looking into the camera somewhat grimly, perhaps with an expression of suspicion or confusion, or sometimes even a spark of amusement. Smiling for photos only became common in the 1920s.

The MyHeritage photo tools make these photos come to life in an extraordinary way. With the colorization, we can see the shade of their hair, the color of their eyes, and the contrast between the bright white of their bonnets and collars and the dark colors of their jackets and dresses. The photo enhancement makes their features crystal clear, and Photo Repair removes some of the distracting scratches and blemishes.

We don’t know for sure whether all these were photographed by Mathew Brady — other photographers might also have been involved — but he was the most active photographer in New York during that period. He went on to become one of the most important photographers of the age, creating portraits of important figures such as Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln.

Credit: The Library of Congress

He was also a pioneer of war journalism with the images he captured of the Civil War.

Credit: The U.S. National Archives

Do you have precious historical photographs of your ancestors? Bring them to life with MyHeritage’s incredible photo tools! Colorize them with MyHeritage In Color™, enhance them with the Photo Enhancer, and animate them with Deep Nostalgia™.

The post The Oldest People Ever Photographed appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

I Found a Photo of My Great-Great-Grandma Thanks to a DNA Match on MyHeritage

2021. május 30., vasárnap 14:34:49

Karla Saravia, 54, a MyHeritage user from New York, left a comment on one of our Facebook Live sessions mentioning an extraordinary photo she discovered thanks to a DNA match on MyHeritage. Here is her story:

I received a DNA match with a third cousin. One day, I got a message from him, and using the last names that we had in common, we were able to work out that we are connected through my great-grandparents — he is a great-grandson of theirs.

We continued to speak, and then he shared a photograph of our common great-great-grandmother. The moment I saw it I noticed a clear resemblance to my mother. It was pretty exciting to see that picture, because it was my first time “meeting” this ancestor!

The photograph Karla’s cousin shared was of their great-great-grandmother Maria Francisca Aristizabal (born Perez)

I colorized the photo with the MyHeritage In Color™ feature and shared it with all my family, who were thrilled.

That line of the family comes from Colombia. In fact, my mom was an opera singer — she had a singing contract that brought her to the U.S., and she stayed. That’s how we ended up here. My mother turns 90 this year, so she was able to see the photo and she absolutely adores it. She loves genealogy, and every time I share with her all these things she’s very happy. 

In the pic: Karla’s mother Dolly Cadavid
Karla’s mother Dolly Cadavid

The really nice part is that the person I had matched with lives close to me. He is from New Jersey, and I am from upstate New York; that’s about 45 minutes to an hour away. We were going to actually try and get together, but couldn’t because of COVID. He says he had more genealogy things to share with me and to show me, so I can’t wait to get together when we get the chance.

 Pic: Karla Saravia
Karla Saravia

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