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Latest News on DNA Ethnicity and Family Heritage

New Records Added in the Second Half of November

2019. december 4., szerda 12:02:37

8.8 million new records from sixteen new historical record collections have been added in the second half of November. These collections include a wide assortment of military, burial, death, and will records from Germany, Australia, the United States, and the U.K.

Here is the full breakdown of records in these collections:

CollectionDescription Number of RecordsLink to Search
Germany, War Graves Index, 1902-1961
An index containing information on German soldiers and civilians who died in wars or military operations between 1902 and 1961.4,234,266 recordsSearch collection now
Australia, Military Lists and Awards
An index of Australian military rolls.960,081 records
Search collection now
United States, Index of Burials, 1900-2019
An index of records from various cemeteries located in the United States.
492,002 recordsSearch collection now
Australia, Index of Burials, 1900-2019
An index of records from various cemeteries located in Australia.438,587 records

Search collection now
England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Index of Will Registers, 1384-1858

An index of wills proved before the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and other jurisdictions.979,653 records

Search collection now
United Kingdom, Royal Navy Ratings’ Service Records, 1853-1928
An index of Royal Navy service records for ratings who entered the service between 1853 and 1928.
803,684 recordsSearch collection now
United Kingdom, Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Royal Navy Reserve Ratings’ Records of Service, 1908-1958

An index of service record cards of Royal Naval Reserves, mainly those who served during the First World War.129,896 records

Search collection now
United Kingdom, Royal Air Force Officers’ Index, 1918-1919

An index of service records of those who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the First World War (1914–1918).
101,411 records


Search collection now
United Kingdom, Royal Marines’ Service Records, 1842-1925

An index of service registers of men who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1925.
112,012 records
Search collection now
United Kingdom, Index of Merchant Seamen’s Campaign Medals, 1939-1945

An index of medals awarded to merchant seamen for their service in the Second World War (1939–1945).108,387 records
Search collection now
United Kingdom, Index of Merchant Seamen’s Campaign Medals, 1914-1918

An index of recipients of British War Medals, Mercantile Marine Medals, and Silver War Badges issued to merchant seamen and officers in the First World War.157,424 recordsSearch collection now
United Kingdom, Recommendations for Military Honours and Awards, 1935-1990

An index of recommendations for military honors and awards between 1935 and 1990 to British Army personnel and army personnel from British dominions.78,497 records
Search collection now
United Kingdom, Royal Navy Officers’ Service Records, 1756-1931
An index of service records for officers who joined the Royal Navy between 1756 and 1931.66,686 records
Search collection now
United Kingdom, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Index, 1903-1922
An index of First World War service records for officers and ratings of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). 59,784 records
Search collection now
United Kingdom, Index of Death Duty Registers, 1796-1811
An index of country court death duty registers between 1796 and 1811.51,146 records
Search collection now
United Kingdom, Admiralty and War Office: Royal Naval Division: Records of Service, 1914-1919
An index of service records of ratings and officers in the Royal Naval Division (RND) during the First World War.50,017 records
Search collection now

Germany, War Graves Index, 1902–1961

This index of over 4.2 million records containing information on German soldiers and civilians who died in wars or military operations between 1902 and 1961. Many of the records are for soldiers killed during World War I or World War II. While the amount of information in each record varies, the vast majority of records contain the following searchable data: first and last name, date of birth, date of death, and place of death. Some records also include birth place, burial place, and military rank.

The burial place is seldom recorded, but when available it can provide valuable information about the location of the grave. While this is largely an early 20th-century military death index, many women are present in this collection. In the case of soldiers who went missing, the date of death field may refer to the date on which they went missing. Similarly, the place of death may refer to the place from which they went missing.

Australia, Military Lists and Awards

This collection consists primarily of three Australian military rolls: World War I embarkation rolls, the Australian World War I Nominal Roll, and the Australian Roll of Honour. The embarkation rolls consist of information collected about soldiers as they departed for military service abroad during World War I. The World War I Nominal Roll includes records about Australian military personnel fighting in World War I to assist with their return to Australia after the war. The Roll of Honour is a collection designed to honour fallen Australian military personnel and is not limited to any specific conflict.

This collection also includes the following Australian military records: various Honours and Awards along with recommendations, the Australian Red Cross wounded and missing file, World War II POWs and missing persons, pre-World War I nominal rolls, the Commemorative Roll, and a selection of the Australian Naval Force. The records may contain the following searchable information: surname, given name, date and place of birth, date and place of enlistment, date and place of embarkation, and date and place of death. The following information may also be viewable: service, unit, rank, cause of death, conflict, ship name, honours or gallantry, and several others.

The content is provided for free as a beneficial service to the genealogy community, courtesy of the Australian War Memorial.

United States, Index of Burials, 1900–2019

This collection includes records from various cemeteries located in the United States. A record may include the name of the cemetery, given name and surname of the deceased, age, city, date of birth, date of death, and religion.

Note that some records are pre-1900. Cemetery records are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who may not have been documented in other records, such as children who died young or women.

Australia, Index of Burials, 1900–2019

This collection includes records from various cemeteries located in Australia. A record may include the name of the cemetery, given name and surname of the deceased, age, city, date of birth, date of death, and religion.

Cemetery records are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who were not documented in other records, such as children who died young or women.

England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury, Index of Will Registers, 1384–1858

This collection includes the majority of registered wills proved before the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and other jurisdictions that exercised probate jurisdiction in the place of the Court, the most important of which was the Court for Probate of Wills and Granting of Administrations which exercised sole probate jurisdiction in England and Wales from 1653 to 1659. The records contain the following searchable information: name of the person for whom the will was created (including a title if given), the location where the person lived, and the date of the will.

Until January 1858, all wills had to be proved by the church and other courts. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury was the most important of these courts dealing with relatively wealthy individuals living mainly in the south of England and most of Wales.The earliest registers in this collection were constituted at a later date and contain the texts of wills proved before the archbishop of Canterbury or his officials before the Prerogative Court of Canterbury came into existence. Sentences in causes heard by the Prerogative Court of Canterbury and related jurisdictions, if registered, were also registered in this collection until some time in the latter part of the eighteenth century. English is the predominant language used in these documents. The use of Latin (and to a lesser extent Norman-French) quickly declined after the early wills. By the 16th century, Latin was no longer being used.

The contents of this and other U.K. collections in this update originate from the National Archives and contain public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

United Kingdom, Royal Navy Ratings’ Service Records, 1853–1928

This collection is an index of over 800,000 Royal Navy service records for ratings who entered the service between 1853 and 1928. A rate or rating is a junior enlisted member who is not a warrant officer or commissioned officer. The information in this index can include the following: given name and surname of the individual, year of birth, town of birth, official service number, and years of service.

An individual must have enlisted before 1929 to have a record within this collection. Some of the records cover periods of service up to at least 1950. Included in this collection are continuous service engagement books from 1853 to 1872, registers of seamen’s services from 1873 to 1924, registers of seamen’s services from 1925–1928, and continuous record (CR) cards from 1929–1950. A record may indicate that the rating was promoted to warrant officer.

The original records may contain the names of ships on which the rating served, with dates of joining and discharge from each ship, period of time actually served, any engagements not completed and the reason for noncompletion, service numbers (CS) up to 1872, and official numbers (ON) from 1873 onwards. Beginning in 1892 greater detail is included in the records, such as: occupation, good conduct badges issued, notes made about character and ability, physical appearance, wounds suffered, and date of death (if occurred in service).

United Kingdom, Registry of Shipping and Seamen: Royal Navy Reserve Ratings’ Records of Service, 1908–1958

This collection contains service record cards of Royal Naval Reserves, mainly those who served during the First World War. The indexed records may include the following searchable information: first name, last name, date of birth, birthplace, and service number of the individual.

Each record covers a 5-year term of service in the Royal Navy Reserve, so there may be more than one record for a person. A reservist will have a different service number for each term. Full records may also include the following: address, parents’ full names, physical description, date of enrollment, training undertaken, names of ships on which the rating served with dates of joining and discharge from each ship, period of time actually served, and any engagements not completed.

United Kingdom, Royal Air Force Officers’ Index, 1918–1919

This collection includes service records of over 99,000 officers who served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) during the First World War (1914–1918). Indexed records may include the first and last name as well as the date of birth.

The records were created from the inception of the RAF in April 1918. However, they include retrospective details of earlier service in the Royal Flying Corps or Royal Naval Air Service, where appropriate. The full records may also provide the place of birth, next of kin, occupation, date of commission, subsequent promotion(s), the units the officer served in (including the dates he joined and left the units), details of specialist courses attended, information about the type of aircraft flown, details of any honors and awards, the dates they were announced in the London Gazette, the date the officer relinquished his commission, and his date of death or his retirement date.

United Kingdom, Royal Marines’ Service Records, 1842–1925

This collection includes service registers of men who joined the Royal Marines between 1842 and 1925. The indexed records contain the following searchable information: first and last name, date of birth, and date of enlistment.

These records were originally created in 1884 but include records created retrospectively for anyone who had joined earlier and was still serving in 1884. If you cannot find a record for a Marine in this collection, the person may have been an officer or the Marine had left the service by 1884. The information in the full records may also include the following: place of birth, occupation, religion, place of enlistment, physical description, names of ships and shore stations served on, details of conduct or promotion and medal entitlement.

United Kingdom, Index of Merchant Seamen’s Campaign Medals, 1939–1945

This collection lists the medals awarded to merchant seamen for their service in the Second World War (1939–1945), with the exception of the Arctic Star. The medals were claimed and issued from 1946 to 2002. Medals were not automatically issued, but had to be claimed by the merchant seaman. The indexed records may include the first and last name of the seaman as well as the date of birth.

Nine types of medals were awarded to British merchant seamen who served in the Second World War and who met the qualifications for each medal. Eight of the medals are included in this collection. The Arctic Star was not awarded until 2012 and records of its award do not exist in this collection. Each full record may also include the seaman’s discharge book numbers, place of birth, and medals, ribbons, and clasps issued.

United Kingdom, Index of Merchant Seamen’s Campaign Medals, 1914–1918

These records identify recipients of British War Medals, Mercantile Marine Medals, and Silver War Badges issued to merchant seamen and officers in the First World War. A record may include the first name, last name, place of birth, and date of birth of the recipient.

There are different qualifications for each type of medal. The Mercantile Marine Medal was awarded to those who served at sea for at least six months, and on at least one voyage through a danger zone. The British War Medal was automatically awarded to all recipients of the Mercantile Marine Medal. The Silver War Badge was awarded to those who were no longer fit for sea service.

For British War Medals and Mercantile Marine Medals, original records may include medals, ribbons, and clasps issued, the mercantile marine office (M.M.O.) to which the medals were sent (in some instances a home address may be noted in this section), and discharge/RS2 number(s). Ribbons were issued in lieu of medals until the medals were minted. Clasps were awarded for taking part in a particular battle or action. Occasionally a seaman did not receive a medal. In these cases it is most likely that the merchant seaman did not fulfill the necessary criteria for receiving a medal.

United Kingdom, Recommendations for Military Honours and Awards, 1935–1990

These records include recommendations for military honors and awards between 1935 and 1990 to British Army personnel and army personnel from British dominions. This collection also includes some awards to members of the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, and Royal Air Force, and decorations exchanged between British and Allied armies. A record may include last name, first name, rank, service number, regiment, theatre of combat or operation, award, and date of announcement in the London Gazette.

The recommendations were made for various reasons, such as gallantry in the face of the enemy, meritorious service, and distinguished service. The collection includes recommendations for the following awards: Victoria Cross, George Cross, Most Honorable Order of the Bath (Military Division), Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Military Division), Distinguished Service Order, Indian Order of Merit, Royal Red Cross, Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, Distinguished Conduct Medal, Burma Gallantry Medal, George Medal, Military Medal, British Empire Medal, mentions in despatches, and foreign awards to British recipients.

United Kingdom, Royal Navy Officers’ Service Records, 1756–1931

This collection includes service records for officers who joined the Royal Navy between 1756 and 1931. The collection includes service records for commissioned officers joining the Navy until 1917 and warrant officers joining until 1931. They also feature the records of Royal Marines officers commissioned between 1793 and 1925. Indexed records may include last name, first name, rank, and date of appointment.

An officer may have multiple service records. Commissioned officers include admirals (also known as flag officers), commodores, captains, commanders, and lieutenants. Warrant officers include gunners, boatswains, carpenters, surgeons’ mates, armourers, sailmakers, masters at arms, caulkers, ropemakers, coopers, masters (pre-1808), surgeons (pre-1843), pursers (pre-1843), chaplains (pre-1843) and engineers (pre-1847). Full records may also include the following information: name of ship served on, date of entry and discharge from each ship, date of death, date and place of birth and next of kin.

United Kingdom, Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve Index, 1903–1922

This collection includes First World War service records for officers and ratings of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR). This includes the service records of ratings who joined the RNVR between 1903, when the RNVR was formed, and 1919, and officers who joined between 1914 and 1922. Indexed records may include the following: first name, last name, division and service number, date of birth, and period of service.

Full records may also include the following: former occupation, physical description, dates and periods of engagement, ships or units served in, and remarks about character and ability. In rare instances a record may include the place of birth. Officer records typically include additional information such as rank, appointments, honors and awards, dates of promotion, and name and address of next of kin.

United Kingdom, Index of Death Duty Registers, 1796–1811

These records are country court death duty registers between 1796 and 1811. A country court was any church court apart from the Prerogative Court of Canterbury (PCC). Indexed records include first and last name of the deceased, and the place and date of the will that was signed.

Further comments could be added to the registers for up to 50 years after the first entry and so they can include additional information such as date of death of spouse, dates of death or marriage of beneficiaries, births of posthumous children and grandchildren, change of address, references to law suits and cross-references to other entries. During the period 1796–1811, only personal estates valued at £20 or more were liable to death duty — leases, freeholds and real estate were not liable and do not appear in these records. Full records may also contain the date and place of death, the value of the estate, name and place of residence of the executor or executrix, names of the inheritors and their relationship to the deceased, any special arrangements, and the amount of tax that was paid.

United Kingdom, Admiralty and War Office: Royal Naval Division: Records of Service, 1914–1919

These are service records of ratings and officers in the Royal Naval Division (RND) during the First World War. They consist of all the surviving service records for anyone who joined the RND between 1914 and 1919. Indexed service records may include first and last name, date of birth, service number, and rank.

The Royal Naval Division, formed in September 1914, fought on land alongside the army in the First World War. It consisted of personnel brought together from the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Fleet Reserve, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, a brigade of Royal Marines, the Royal Navy, and the army. Full service records may also include the following: home address, occupation, religion, place of birth, name and address of next-of-kin, career in the RND, where served and significant events during this time, awards and details of action, wounds sustained along with which hospital treated them, height, chest measurement, weight, complexion, color of hair and eyes, swimming ability, and distinguishing features, including descriptions of tattoos.

Summary

Searching all of these collections in MyHeritage SuperSearch™ is free and MyHeritage users will benefit from Record Matches. Our Record Matching technology will automatically find relevant historical records revealing new information about their ancestors who appear in these records. A Data or Complete subscription is required to view the records, save them to your family tree, and access Record Matches.

We hope these collections will expand the horizons of your family history research. Let us know what you discover!

The post New Records Added in the Second Half of November appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

MyHeritage Reveals: Boris Johnson Is Related to the New EU President

2019. december 3., kedd 9:34:43

Brexit may be compared to a messy divorce, but it turns out that the concept of a family feud may be more than metaphorical. MyHeritage has discovered that Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the UK, is distantly related to Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission.

The UK Prime Minister, whose full name is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, comes from a fairly diverse background: his father’s ancestry includes Turkish as well as European origins, and he is 5th cousins twice removed with Queen Elizabeth II. His maternal great-grandmother was a Russian Jewish immigrant to the U.S., and he held dual U.S.-U.K. citizenship until renouncing the former in 2016.

Dr. Ursula von der Leyen, who began her term as president of the European Commission on December 1, is mostly descended from natives of Hanover and Bremen in Germany, though she has an American great-grandmother of British, French, Italian, and Baltic heritage.

Using Geni.com, MyHeritage researchers discovered that they have a family connection dating back to the marriage of John and Margaret de Beauchamp in the 1400s. The connection makes Johnson and von der Leyen 16th cousins.

Upon hearing the news that he and Ursula are family, Johnson commented in the Sunday Express, “‘This is total news to me.’ He then joked, ‘Before I became foreign secretary I strategically stationed my ancestors around the world. They are everywhere.’’

The Brexit drama has put the U.K. on a constant collision course with Brussels, and Johnson has already clashed with von der Leyen by declining her request to put forward a candidate to represent the European Union’s executive.

Who knows? Maybe learning that they have this family connection will help soften the negotiations!

The post MyHeritage Reveals: Boris Johnson Is Related to the New EU President appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

DNA Upload to MyHeritage Reveals Father and 3 Half-Sisters

2019. december 2., hétfő 11:08:56

Washington state resident Rae Ellyn Robinson grew up with her biological mother but never knew her biological father. Her mom never gave her any concrete information to go on. Rae searched for her paternal family for 31 years. After trying many DNA testing services, it was a DNA upload to MyHeritage that cracked the case for her and her family.

Watch her touching story here:

The history

Rae was born in New Mexico in 1966. Her biological father was a soldier that her mother met before he had to leave for Vietnam. When she was 3 months old, her mother married another man, who was the man who raised her. She found out at age 8 that he wasn’t her biological father.

DNA Upload to MyHeritage Reveals Father and 3 Half-Sisters
Rae and her mother, c1966.

As Rae grew, she questioned the story she had been told about her biological father, but her mother never shared anything more. Curious about her heritage, she took a DNA test.

I only got results for a few distant cousins. I spent days researching family history, trying to prove a family line, but not being able to figure out which of the matches was from my dad’s side.

MyHeritage DNA

After hearing about uploads at MyHeritage, Rae decided to upload her DNA data to MyHeritage, to cast a wider net, and to meet new relatives who hadn’t tested with other services.

I remember I spoke to a relative of mine and said wouldn’t it be wild, if on MyHeritage it will pop up something like – this is your half sister of brother?

Almost immediately, she received new DNA Matches that she had never before seen. That same night Rae was at home and received an email from MyHeritage saying “you’ve got your matches.

The very first one was my aunt!

Rae sent a message to the woman she had just matched. She now had a name. She also found what she thought was an old picture of her family.

DNA Upload to MyHeritage Reveals Father and 3 Half-Sisters
Rae’s paternal family, c1964.

I discovered the picture that was the last picture taken when everybody was alive. There were 10 kids plus a mother and father in the picture, and it was taken in 1964. I quickly realized that this woman I had matched with is the second youngest out of the 10 kids in the photo, so she was probably my aunt.

A few days later — what seemed like forever to Rae — her aunt replied. Rae learned that her aunt had six brothers. They worked together to figure out which one was her father. A few days later, the aunt came back with an answer. Her little brother, Woodrow Levell Drowns (who goes by “Joe”) had served in the Air Force, stationed in Almagordo — the city where Rae was born.

Rae’s father, Woodrow Levell Drowns (Joe), when he was in the military. c1970s.

Not only had she located her father, but also four additional half-siblings — three sisters and one brother!

Rae and her dad spoke for the first time on Father’s Day, and they continue to speak on an ongoing basis.

From that point everything went fast. I created a little FB page, because I was talking to all, and they were like – ‘tell us about you, where do you live etc’. And I was repeating it all over again, so I just decided to create a group that was just for family. I added the eight people that I know were family, and they added people. Next thing I know, overnight there are 42 people welcoming me to the family. 

In addition to the four half-sisters and half-brother that she didn’t know about, Rae found aunts and uncles still alive, plus 14 nieces and nephews, eight great-nieces and nephews, and more than 30 cousins.

The reunion

She arranged to travel to meet her father and three half-sisters in San Antonio on her 52nd birthday! She couldn’t contain her excitement and nervousness to meet her biological family for the very first time.

When the big day finally came, Rae and Joe cried and shared a big hug. The family spent the weekend enjoying dinners, getting matching tattoos and recognizing resemblances in one another. They celebrated Rae’s birthday as one big happy family.

Joe can’t believe the family resemblance:

She looks just like my older sister. Big resemblance!

MyHeritage users can upload their raw DNA data from other testing services for free, or pay to access additional features. Learn about the advanced DNA features that you will enjoy when you “unlock” an uploaded kit.

The post DNA Upload to MyHeritage Reveals Father and 3 Half-Sisters appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

#HolidayHeritage Challenge Week #2

2019. december 1., vasárnap 15:04:51

Last week, we introduced the #HolidayHeritage challenge! Visit the #HolidayHeritage Challenge site for more information on the competition, and for details of how you can enter the weekly challenges.

Last week’s winner

Last week, we asked you to send in your oldest holiday photos. We received some fabulous entries of historic family photos from the holidays.

Here are some of our favorites:

MyHeritage #HolidayHeritage Challenge! This is the only photo at Christmas with my daddy, Ludwig Reinhardt. Christmas 1958. Little did we know that a few months later he would be taken from us by Cancer.

Posted by Karen Mason on Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Visit the #HolidayHeritage Challenge site to see all entries!

Without further ado, the winner that has received the most likes for this week and will receive a MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry kit and a MyHeritage Complete Subscription is Cristian Sanz Sánchez. Christian’s post, where he reminisces over his memories of a childhood Christmas performance in 1996 in Madrid, garnered over 200 likes!

Don’t forget that all entrants still have the chance to win our grand prize! The post with the most likes by the end of the competition will win 10 MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry kits and 10 MyHeritage Complete Subscriptions.

New challenge

For this week’s challenge, we’re asking the following question: if you could go back in time, which ancestor would you love to spend the holidays with, and why?

To enter, post your answer to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Make sure to tag MyHeritage and use the hashtag #holidayheritage. Share your post and the HolidayHeritage Challenge site with your friends and family to get the most likes. The post with the most likes by December 7th will win a MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry kit and a MyHeritage Subscription. A photo goes a long way, so make sure to add one, if you have a photo of the ancestor you chose!

We can’t wait to hear about your ancestors!

The post #HolidayHeritage Challenge Week #2 appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Cyber Monday deals are in!

2019. december 1., vasárnap 9:27:08

What a week, huh? We hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and a productive Black Friday! Tens of thousands of customers chose to take advantage of our Black Friday sale to give the gift of family to their loved ones for an unprecedented price.

If you missed it, don’t despair! The fun isn’t over yet. Tomorrow is Cyber Monday, and we’re rising to the occasion with another unbelievable offer!

Our Cyber Monday deal is now LIVE. Order your kits today!

Now is your chance to take advantage of our absolute lowest price of the year on all MyHeritage DNA products, including MyHeritage DNA Ancestry-only and MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry tests.

There’s never been a better time to buy a MyHeritage DNA kit as a holiday gift for your loved ones.

Like all amazing things, this sale won’t last forever. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity — order your kits today and ensure that your gifts will arrive in time for the holidays!

The post Cyber Monday deals are in! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

Mail-Order Babies: The Bizarre History of Sending Kids in the Mail

2019. november 28., csütörtök 13:31:53

The holiday season is a busy time for postal services all over the world: people everywhere ordering and sending cards and gifts. Here at MyHeritage our Early Bird Holiday MyHeritage DNA sale is in full swing, and we’re offering free shipping on 2+ kids… kits! We mean kits.

But hey, wouldn’t it be great if you could have your grandkids shipped to you as holiday gifts instead?

People and the Post, Postal History from the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum

Believe it or not, for a brief period of 6 years, it was possible to mail a baby or small child through the U.S. Postal Service!

Shipping the kids to Grandma

The United States Postal Service introduced parcel post in 1913. Before then, all packages sent by mail had to weigh 4 pounds (1.8 kg) or under. With the commencement of the parcel service, people could now ship anything below 50 pounds (23 kg).

It didn’t take people long to realize that sending babies and young children in the mail was cheaper than purchasing train tickets. In 1913, the first baby was sent in the mail: 8-month-old James Beagle, who weighed 10 and 3/4 pounds, was sent from Glen Este, Ohio to his grandmother’s home in Batavia, a few miles away. The parents paid 15 cents for postage and $50 for insurance.

You may find the mental picture of babies being packed into boxes and tossed on the back of a truck disturbing, but it wasn’t quite like that! Babies and children who were sent in the mail were carried or walked along the route.

One child did make the trip in a railway mail car: 5-year-old May Pierstorff was sent from Grangeville to Lewiston, Idaho, to visit her grandmother on February 19, 1914. May was just under the weight limit at 48.5 pounds, and her parents realized that sending her by mail would be cheaper than buying her a train ticket. They attached the postage — 53 cents in parcel post stamps — to May’s coat, and she rode in the train’s mail compartment all the way to Lewiston. She was personally delivered to her grandmother’s home by Leonard Mochel, the mail clerk on duty.

May Pierstoff. Courtesy: Postal Museum

Some children were shipped quite far. Edna Neff, 6, was sent 720 miles from Pensacola, Florida to Christiansberg, Virginia, where her father lived.

Mail-Order Baby

There was even a case where a man from Georgia tried to have a baby shipped to him for adoption. An article appeared in The New York Times in January 1913 stating that the postmaster general had received a letter from this man asking his advice on “specifications to use in wrapping so it (baby) would comply with regulations and be allowed shipment by parcel post, as the express co[mpany] are to[o] rough in handling.”

Clipping from the NYT on the letter sent to the postmaster general

It appears that there was doubt as to the legality of shipping humans even back in 1913, but in 1920, the postmaster general finally ruled once and for all that children may not be shipped through the mail. Ever since, babies and young children have had to ride the train, plane, or bus with everyone else!

While the brief history of shipping kids in the mail may seem neglectful or downright cruel, Jenny Lynch, United States Postal historian, explains that it was actually a sign of how much rural communities trusted local postal workers.

“Mail carriers were trusted servants, and that goes to prove it,” she told Smithsonian.com. “There are stories of rural carriers delivering babies and taking [care of the] sick. Even now, they’ll save lives because they’re sometimes the only persons that visit a remote household every day.”

Would you trust your local mailman with such a precious package? Tell us in the comments!

The post Mail-Order Babies: The Bizarre History of Sending Kids in the Mail appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

HUGE Black Friday DNA Deal Now Live!

2019. november 26., kedd 14:56:15

This holiday season, give your loved ones a holiday gift they will cherish for generations to come. The MyHeritage DNA kit offers powerful insights into your ethnic origins and helps you find relatives you never knew existed!

Our Black Friday deal is now LIVE. Order your kits today!

If you’ve been considering purchasing a MyHeritage DNA kit for a loved one, there’s no time like the present: our limited-time Black Friday sale this holiday season is our best sale EVER. We can even gift-wrap it for you!

The MyHeritage DNA kit offers a detailed ethnicity breakdown with one of the most comprehensive lists of ethnicities in the industry from 42 regions, including 7 East Asian regions. The test is really easy to use: a simple cheek swab that takes only 2 minutes to complete. Furthermore, our huge global DNA matching database enables you to find new relatives from all over the world.

Take advantage of our biggest Black Friday sale EVER going on NOW!

This holiday season open the door to powerful new discoveries. When you purchase a MyHeritage DNA kit for a family member, you’re doing more than helping them learn about where they come from. You’re helping them learn about the common history you share, strengthening the bond between you in a profound way.

Don’t miss out! Order MyHeritage DNA kits for everyone on your list today!

Happy shopping!

The MyHeritage Team

The post HUGE Black Friday DNA Deal Now Live! appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

5 Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving

2019. november 25., hétfő 14:26:27

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reflect on the blessings in our lives… and MyHeritage DNA gives you a lot to be grateful for.

Our Black Friday Deal is now live! Get MyHeritage DNA for the lowest price EVER!

1. Family

What’s more important than family? MyHeritage DNA helps you celebrate the role family has in your life: whether it’s discovering more about your family origins, finding new relatives, or learning about how your genetic makeup affects your health and that of your family members. Take a MyHeritage DNA test this year, and you just might find more seats at next year’s Thanksgiving table.

Terry and Kimmie, half-siblings who discovered each other through MyHeritage DNA and met for the first time on Thanksgiving last year. This year, Jan from the Netherlands will be celebrating Christmas with his biological family for the first time thanks to MyHeritage DNA.

Who knows what you might discover?

2. Identity and connection

The Ethnicity Estimate that MyHeritage DNA provides opens a unique window into your roots. Just watch the faces of the users and celebrities who have done our DNA reveals: learning where you come from creates a powerful sense of identity and belonging.

Watch as Dr. Phil gets his MyHeritage DNA results!

Your ethnic mix shows you how you are connected to the rest of the human family. There’s so much these days driving us apart, encouraging us to separate off into our own tribes. Learning how much you share with the rest of humanity helps break down what separates us and serves as a powerful reminder that we are all connected to each other.

3. The miracles of technology

We may complain that smartphones are ruining our lives, but when used wisely, they are a modern miracle. Modern technology helps us create and maintain new connections with people all over the world and learn information we may never have encountered otherwise.

MyHeritage DNA utilizes cutting-edge technology to help users learn more about themselves and connect with new family members all across the globe: whether it’s our advanced DNA analysis, our unparalleled matching technologies, or our sophisticated algorithms helping connect users to records and individuals who can help them learn about their pasts.

You’ll get updates on new DNA Matches even after you receive your initial results
You’ll get updates on new DNA Matches even after you receive your initial results

4. Good health and modern medicine

Advancements in modern medicine have made it possible for us to live longer and healthier lives than ever before — even as the challenges of the modern world make it harder for us to maintain good health. The MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test helps users make informed choices about their health and lifestyle, contributing to a better future for themselves and their family members.

5. A special Black Friday price on MyHeritage DNA kits!

Did we mention that the MyHeritage DNA kit is now available at our lowest price ever?

Access our amazing Black Friday Deal now!

Everyone on your list will be grateful you did!

The post 5 Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.

What’s in a French Surname?

2019. november 24., vasárnap 17:35:46

MyHeritage recently added an important collection of historical records from France, opening new horizons for genealogists with French heritage. The France, Nord Civil Marriages collection contains not only details about brides and grooms registered from 1792–1937, but also details on their parents. If your ancestors hail from this magnificent region so steeped in history and culture, you likely have some French ancestral surnames in your family.

Search for your French surname in the France, Nord Civil Marriages collection!

The word “surname” actually derives from the French surnom, derived from sur (“above” or “over”) and nom (“name”). Surnames were uncommon in ancient times, probably because there wasn’t much of a need for them. Social circles and communities were much smaller, and people didn’t move around very much. As the world developed and the population of Europe grew, the need for a way to distinguish between the various Jeans, Pierres, and Michels emerged. The earliest documented use of surnames in France was during the 11th century, but they did not become common until around the 14th century.

French surnames normally fit into one of the following categories:

Patronymic & Matronymic

One common type of surname across cultures is the patronymic or matronymic surname: a surname derived from the first name of the person’s father or mother respectively. Patronymic names are more common, since in general, matronymic names were only used when the father’s name was unknown.

A patronymic or matronymic surname might simply be the father’s or mother’s given name, like Bernard, Martin, or Richard. It also might have a prefix, such as de, des, du, lu, or the Norman fitz (for example, de Gaulle or Fitzgerald), or a suffix that means “little son of,” such as -eau, -elet, -elin, -elle, and so on.

Marriage record of Charles De Gaulle’s Parents, Henri Charles Alexandre De Gaulle and Jeanne Caroline Marie Maillot, 1886
Marriage record of Charles De Gaulle’s Parents, Henri Charles Alexandre De Gaulle, and Jeanne Caroline Marie Maillot, 1886 from the MyHeritage France, Nord Civil Marriages, 1792-1937 collection

Occupational

Another common type of surname is the occupational surname: a surname based on the person’s profession or trade. For example, Lefebvre (meaning “craftsman” or “smith”), Leclercq (“the clerk”), Lemaire (“the mayor”), Carpentier (“carpenter”), or Dufour (“of the oven,” meaning a baker).

Descriptive

A surname might also be derived from the description of a unique characteristic of the individual. For example, Legrand (“the large one”), Moreau (“dark skinned”), Petit (“small”), or Caron (“beloved”).

Rose Caron, a famous French Opera singer, in the role of Salammbo, 1896
Rose Caron, a famous French opera singer, in the role of Salammbo, by Léon Bonnat,1896

Geographical

These names are based on a place—often a former residence. For example, if a man named Pierre moved to a town from Lyon, the people in the new town might call him Pierre Lyon or Pierre de Lyon. Examples of this from our France Nord collection include Delannoy (“of Lannoy”), geographical name might also be a description of where the person lived, such as Fontaine (meaning “fountain” or “spring”). These names might also have a prefix such as de, des, du, or le to indicate “of.” For example, Dubois (“of the wood”), Dupont (“of the bridge”), Dumont (“of the mountain”), Descamps (“of the fields”), or Delattre (“of the churchyard”).

Dit names and Noms de Guerre

Sometimes, a second surname was adopted in addition to an original surname for various reasons. These surnames included the word dit, which means something like “that is to say.” Gustave Eiffel, architect of the Eiffel Tower, was born Alexandre Gustave Bonickhausen dit Eiffel. He formally changed his surname to Eiffel in 1880.

Caricature of Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) in the form of the Eiffel Tower by Edward Linley Sambourne (1844–1910). Illustration for Punch, vol. 96, p. 324 (June 29, 1889).
Caricature of Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923) by Edward Linley Sambourne, June 29, 1889

Before the French Revolution, new recruits to the military were required to adopt a nom de guerre, literally a “war name,” under which they would serve. This was a predecessor of military identification numbers. Some soldiers went on to use their noms de guerre in civil life as well.

Do you have a French surname in your family or any French ancestors? Start your surname research with SuperSearch™!

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Introducing the MyHeritage #HolidayHeritage Challenge

2019. november 21., csütörtök 14:09:56

Oh, the memories. The scents of Grandma’s festive cooking. The lilting notes of gentle singing wafting in through the windows. The warm glow of flickering candles. The holidays are a precious time to spend with family, making new memories and looking back on old ones.

In that spirit, this holiday season, we are delighted to announce the MyHeritage #HolidayHeritage Challenge! 

The Competition:

Each week during the month leading up to Christmas, we will post a new question or challenge — and each week we’ll select a different winner. Among the prizes you could win are MyHeritage DNA kits, subscriptions, and one grand prize winner will receive 10 free DNA kits for everyone on their holiday list!  

To enter, simply post your answer to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #holidayheritage tagging MyHeritage (Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram). Share your post with friends and family to get as many likes as possible. 

At the end of that week, the entry with the most votes will win a MyHeritage Complete subscription, a MyHeritage DNA test, and a MyHeritage Health Test — and the winner will be entered into the grand prize draw. 

The First Challenge:

For the first challenge, share your oldest family photo from the holidays! Tell us who’s in it, when it’s from, and what those people mean to you. 

Post your photo to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram and make sure to use the hashtag #holidayheritage. The first challenge will be open from November 22–28, 2019. 

We can’t wait to hear about your holiday memories and to help you create new memories your family will cherish for generations to come.

Tune in to our blog next week for this week’s winners, a new challenge, and a new opportunity to win!

Good luck!

The post Introducing the MyHeritage #HolidayHeritage Challenge appeared first on MyHeritage Blog.