Archive for February, 2012

DNA: History revealed via technology

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

By Schelly Talalay Dardashti

MyHeritage.com – US Genealogy Advisor

Genetic genealogy is perhaps the most exciting new tool for family history research.  It can prove or disprove family relationships, determine a time frame when two people shared a common ancestor, provide genetic matches and clues to ancestral origins.

While paper records may be inaccurate through accident or purpose – throughout history – blood doesn’t lie. If two men match genetically, they are related, and what needs to then be determined is when their most recent common ancestor (MRCA) lived.

Genetic genealogy technology can:

  • Provide information when there is no paper trail.
  • Confirm or disprove a relationship or story.
  • Cut across history/geography lines.
  • Results may point to better traditional methodology/resources by pinpointing geography or other details

What is important, however, is to understand how this new industry came about, and what it can and cannot do.

FamilyTreeDNA.com was founded by CEO/founder Bennett Greenspan in Houston, Texas in April 2000. He had discovered two branches of his mother’s family, one known in the US, the other a possible relation in Argentina. While he suspected the connection – because of the rare name – there was no paper trail of documents for the Argentine family. He convinced Dr. Michael Hammer of the University of Arizona to conduct a pilot project,

Bennett’s group included sets of identical twins; his own father, brother and sons, Bennett’s son, and other individuals, as well as males from those two branches of his mother’s family. As he suspected, the Y-DNA tests of the two branches matched, as did those of the identical twins with each other, and those of his father, brother and the next generation (albeit with small natural mutations). (more…)

On the Road Again!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

On the road again!

The MyHeritage team will be on the road again as we head to two great events.

Who Do You Think You Are LIVE! London February 24–26

MyHeritage staff will join an estimated 17,000 family history enthusiasts for the Who Do You
Think You Are? family history show in London Read more about the WDYTYA MyHeritage trip
here.

St. George Family History Expo February 24-25

At the St. George Family History Expo, Mark Olsen will present two programs, and both will be
streamed live via Google Plus:

MyHeritage Online Family Tree
4.50pm, Friday, February 24, Sunbrook C Demo

Mark will demonstrate key features of the MyHeritage Online Tree and show its power
for connecting your family, past and present. The MyHeritage Tree offers many features
that young and old can use to stay connected while they also research and add to the
family tree. Mark will also show the integration of WorldVitalRecords content into the
MyHeritage Tree and how the powerful new feature will make it easier than ever to find
new sources and grow your tree. (more…)

New: MyHeritage offers DNA tests to help unlock more genealogy clues

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

MyHeritage is proud to take genealogy to the new millennium by offering a revolutionary technology for advancing family history research — DNA testing — at affordable prices.

MyHeritage DNA tests (click to zoom)

Your ancestors left clues to your family history in you and in other descendents, and you can unlock these clues by testing your DNA.

Order your DNA test now

DNA testing can help you:

  • Discover previously unknown relatives via DNA matches
  • Uncover the ethnic and geographical origins of your ancestors
  • Prove or disprove whether you and another person are related through a common ancestor
  • Break through “brick walls” encountered during your family history research

DNA tests are useful for identifying the deep ancestral origins of your direct paternal line (Y-DNA), your direct maternal line (mtDNA), finding relatives across all lines via autosomal DNA (Family Finder) and producing a percentage breakdown of your ethnic roots.

Continue Reading MyHeritage Offers DNA Tests

Looking at Marriage Records

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Marriage

Wedding Picture

February is the month of love – Valentine’s Day – so we are taking a look at marriage records – using Catholic records as an example to show the significant role of these documents in genealogy research.

The Catholic Church mandated that marriage records be kept after the 1563 Council of Trent, which decreed that each parish should keep records on baptism, marriage and death for their parishioners.  These records can contain valuable genealogical data linking together many generations. Each marriage record lists the names of the couple, their places of residence, along with each of their parents and their places of residence. It is possible to jump from one generation to the next using marriage records on their own, as they all tie together. Of course, the problem is whether you can find those records – a topic for another post – but when they are available over many decades, they are perfect for providing essential information which can lead to other parish and diocesan records for more investigative work.

According to the FamilySearch Wiki, you can expect to find in a marriage record:
• Marriage date and place
• Full names of the bride and groom
• Marital status of the bride and groom – single, divorced or widowed.
• Residence of bride and groom
• Ages of bride and groom
• Parents’ names, residence and/or birthplace
• Sometimes the parents’ civil status at time of marriage
• Witness names (more…)

MyHeritage RootsTech Day One Recap

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

RootsTech 2012: Day one highlights

MyHeritage’s experience at RootsTech has been a success, from setup to live hangouts and a very busy booth on the first day.

The team began setting up Wednesday afternoon. Our booth is a real standout with double arches of balloons in the MyHeritage logo colors. Everyone knows where our booth is located as the colorful balloons fly high above the exhibit floor.

Booth Setup

Booth Setup

MyHeritage Super Search
Today, the opening day, our CEO/founder Gilad Japhet demonstrated the new MyHeritage Super Search technology. The new tool greatly expands search functionality and takes into account user errors, common name variations, and other important details which, in the past, have not been included in most ancestral searches. There are many options to filter results by collections, via additional refining, advanced search and filtering capabilities as demonstrated in his presentation. This tool is still under development.

FamilyGraph API
MyHeritage’s chief genealogist Daniel Horowitz presented the FamilyGraph API and its potential uses by developers and consumers (see video here). (more…)

In praise of baby-steppers

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

I work at MyHeritage, so you might think I’d be a dedicated, relentless genealogist who spends many hours each month on my own family’s roots. My long-standing commitment is more than casual, and I expect to enjoy RootsTech this week as much as last year. However, my life and my chosen pursuits never seem to allow much time or energy for my own research. I know many people, even in my own neighborhood, who work much harder and accomplish far more.

I still like to think there’s room for me and others like me in the vast, welcoming community of genealogists. More importantly, I think I’m justified in feeling I’ve accomplished something worthwhile, even when it’s not very much.

So, as a tribute to those who enjoy genealogy but advance only in occasional baby steps, let me share what I’ve accomplished in January 2012. For some researchers it might be only an afternoon’s work, but by my standards it was a productive and satisfying month.

First, I found a photo of my maternal grandmother, c. 1918. It hadn’t been missing for generations, only for 18 months, since my family moved across town. But I had missed it. It was in the last box to be unpacked. I scanned it for later use and posted a low-resolution version on Facebook. (more…)