My 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge; Week #2: Favorite Photo
About 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks
So, I joined the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge this year, put on by Amy Johnson Crow, for the first time. The 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is a series of prompts that you get each week that gets you thinking about an ancestor and sharing about them, which also helps with you writing about them to preserve for future generations, one of the stressed objectives of Know Who Wears the Genes in Your Family. I have wanted to attempt it many times over the years, but I am flooded with work, and it seemed too overwhelming, so we'll see how it goes and if I can complete it or not. I had always thought that the challenge had to be done in blog form, but since I found out that it can be done in any form, even just a post on social media, I was in! They also modify the challenge to those that will find it overwhelming, to 12 Ancestors in 12 Months, which is what I may have to revert to if I can't find the time each week to continue with it. I will try to blog about some through the year, but many will be just a quick post on my Facebook Page, like the first one that I have already done, I'm sure. I am also not a very elaborate memoir writer, and more of a technical writer, so I apologize in advance.
#52Ancestors Challenge Week #2: Favorite Photo
I don't really have a favorite family history photo, but I do have many that stand out to me for various reasons, and this is one of them. This is a photo of one set of my maternal 2nd great grandparents and 7 of their children, including my great grandmother to the far right. They had a total of 9 children. One is not pictured because he's already off working in the coal mines at a very young age, and the last child wasn't born until a year and a half later.
Reasons This Family History Photo Stands Out to Me
*Note: Photo is copyright protected and may not be downloaded, screenshot, etc.
You can check out my first week's challenge on my Facebook Page and below:
Are you intereseted in getting prompts to help you to begin jotting down more about your ancestors than just names and dates? Give it a whirl! You can sign up for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks here!
Follow my #52ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge here, and let's see if I can accomplish it this year!
Genealogy Events: January Is the Month Conference Schedules Are Out!
The new year is finally here! What does that mean for the genealogy world? January is a huge month for genealogy and family history beginnings! This is the month that most genealogy events are announced, and schedules are put up! Stay on the lookout for them! One of the places that you can find these events at is Conference Keeper.
Some of the 2023 genealogy event schedules that are out:
A lot of other events for the year have been announced, but schedules haven't been put up yet. Stay on the lookout for them at Conference Keeper or social media!
Learn about more fantastic genealogy events, classes and presentations in Genealogy Events.
MyHeritage 2022 in Review: What a Year!
What a great year MyHeritage had! They released DeepStory, Family Tree Timeline, Photo Tagger, and AI Time Machine! They added billions of new records, launched their Blast From My Past Podcast, and updated so many of their features! Some great 2022 highlights!
Did you know that MyHeritage's core values are innovation, compassion, and the desire to have a positive impact on the world? With all they do for others, they definitely accomplish this!
I looking forward to 2023 with MyHeritage! I can't wait to see what they come up with and do next!
Read about some of their 2022 highlights below!
In March, MyHeritage came out with their innovative DeepStory, which was original called LiveStory, that brings your ancestor's photos to life by making them talk! You can have your ancestor give their life story in this state of the art photo tool! You can read more about it in MyHeritage DeepStory: Make Your Ancestor's photos talk and Tell Their Story, that I wrote about back in April of this year.
Family Tree Timeline
MyHeritage also came out with Family Tree Timeline back in March. This feature shows a timeline of an ancestor in a colorful, visual way. Timelines are very useful in genealogy and can quickly give you insights!
At the end of March, MyHeritage announced their new feature, Census Helper. The Census Helper scans your family tree and lets you know exactly who can be found in each Census! They launched this just in time for the release of the 1950 U.S. Census! This came in extremely handy when it was time to look for my family manually in the digital images that were released, that I wrote about in A Whirlwind of Searching the 1950 Census Digital Images!
In August, MyHeritage came out with their new mobile feature, Photo Tagger, where you can tag multiple photos of the same person, all at one time! This is suppose to make organizing your photos way easier! Unfortunately, I do not use any genealogy apps on my phone, so was not able to test it out, but I hear from many that it's a lifesaver! Later, in September, they came out with the web version, I have yet to test it out, as I've been swamped and the majority of my photos have already been tagged, but when I add more photos, I will definitely use this organize my photos and save time!
Family Statistics on MyHeritage
In October, MyHeritage announced a major upgrade to their Family Statistics feature, that to be honest, I never really noticed before until this major upgrade. This upgrade definitely made it pop and certainly had my attention! This feature lets you see your family tree in a fun and engaging way! Not only can you see stats quickly, but you may get insights on things you may never even thought about knowing, let alone making it interesting enough that even family will want to get involved! You can read about it more in MyHeritage: Updated Family Statistics Feature for Your Family Tree! I'll also be giving a talk on it this coming year at Legacy Family Tree Webinars, part of the MyHeritage Webinars series, so don't forget to register for See Your Family in a Whole New Light! Come learn about this feature and how family analytics, statistics and visuals can enhance your family tree, while giving you tons of new insights, making it easy see your family stats quickly, and making your family tree more interesting to want to get others involved!
See the full 2023 Webinars schedule at Legacy Family Tree Webinars here: Upcoming Webinars
Sorting for DNA Matches
In October, they also announced Sorting for DNA Matches, an invaluable DNA tool where you can view shared DNA matches based on the total shared amount of DNA with you or the amount they share with a particular match! A revolutionary, must have, DNA tool!
AI Time Machine
Just in November, MyHeritage announced the biggest innovation whopper yet, their AI Time Machine photo feature that went viral all over the world! This fun photo tool lets you see yourelf throughout history, while giving you an idea of how you may have looked during your ancestors' lifetime! It's also a great way to compare yourself to a certain ancestor for any uncanny resemblances! You can read more about it and see some of the outstanding results of this amazing feature in MyHeritage AI Time Machine: See Yourself or Your Ancestors Travel through Time! They have since added tons of new themes and a gallery for all your images!
Blast from My Past Podcast
In March, they announced their new podcast, Blast From My Past, where incredible, true stories of lives being forever changed through MyHeritage!
You can follow or subscribe to MyHeritage's podcast here: Blast From My Past
MyHeritage Core Values
Even though MyHeritage is a business, and a business' s primary goal is to make money, MyHeritage stands out for being more than just a business. They are constantly stiving to keep the customer, their team, and the world in their forefront, above all else.
MyHeritage is a business, but they also believe everyone should have access to their family history, so they also provide many of their features, tools, records, webinars, their new podcast, and their new Introduction to Genealogy course for FREE, along with FREE heirloom family tree charts and family tree storage database (up to 250 people). They also help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing, offering them DNA test kits for FREE! You can read more about it at MyHeritage DNA Quest. They also just recently connected with Connecting Roots, a U.S.-based nonprofit that helps Chilean adoptees reunite with their families in Chile, and Nos Buscamos, a Chilean nonprofit that helps families affected by coerced adoption and kidnapping and helped them reunite with familes by providing them with FREE DNA test kits!
They have shown tremendous compassion in helping their employees in their Ukraine office relocate with their families right before the war broke out, bringing them to safety, while still continuing to help them.
Their employees are remarkable in the way they go out and volunteer in their communities, which highlights what MyHeritage is all about!
I have much admiration for the compassion that MyHeritage shows and continues to show, while having a positive imapact on the world! They definitely hold true to to their core values!
Way to go MyHeritage! You keep inspiring us with all you do!
Read more about this year at MyHeritage in their blog post!
2023 Legacy Family Tree Webinars Series Registration is Open!
MyHeritage's Legacy Family Tree Webinars, the leading genealogy and DNA testing webinar series in the world, has just announced the line up for the year and is open for registration! And, what a line up it is!
I'm honored to be a part of this fantastic line up this year of genealogy education at it's best!
Come view the schedule and register for FREE now! Register for one or all!
2022 Genealogy Wish Grants Winner!Read Now
2022 Genealogy Wish Grants Winner!
The 2022 Genealogy Wish Grants Winner has just been announced! Congratulations to Connie Dexter Spicer of Ohio, who won this year for her decades long brick wall story!
About This Year's Winner
Connie Dexter Spicer has been researching her family history and genealogy since she was 17 years of age, 45 years ago! She has been following Know Who Wears the Genes in Your Family for close to a year, while being an active participant.
A Tough Choice
There were many entries for this year's first Genealogy Wish Grants! It was down to two compelling stories that made it a tough choice. The most compelling story was that of an unknown parentage, but a decades old brick wall story was chosen for all other criteria being met.
This Year's Story Entry
"So, my backstory is simple enough. I’ve been researching my family since I was 17 – a scant 45 years ago. I had my DNA done within a year or so after it was offered by Ancestry.com. I have it uploaded at FamilyTreeDNA.com, MyHeritage, maybe others.
My brick wall is the parents of my paternal great-grandmother, Josephine Johanna Swan: namely, her father, Joe Swan and (especially) his mother and father. Great grandma was a lovely lady – quiet but strong-willed, according to my dad. He felt as if Grandma Josie and his Grandpa Ed raised him, but he never really knew anything about her because, while she was an amazing cook, she wasn’t much for talking!
Grandma Josie’s father Joe, who I later identified as Lawrence Joseph Swan, was the only son of one Arabella Swan. I have no other name for Arabella, other than she is listed in documents and directories as the “widow of Joseph Swan”. But I have no proof of any marriage, so she may have 1-taken the name of her son’s father, 2- made it up completely or 3-I just haven’t found the record yet.
1880 Census records from Tippecanoe County, Indiana, show her as born in 1827 in Canada to Irish parents. Not Canadians, not English or American. I have not found her in any other census in the US or Canada, thus, I suspect she was not a Swan when she immigrated from Canada.
Her son, Joe Swan, was listed as a clerk in a railroad office in 1880 Lafayette, Indiana. Arabella was listed as 53 years old, which makes her born about 1827. I found them (earlier) in Fort Wayne, Indiana where his career began, and hers in taking care of him was keeping house. Later records show him in Tippecanoe, Indiana working the Wabash line and then after he married my 2 times great grandmother, to Detroit working the railroad there.
My goal is twofold:
Priority 1 - to try to locate additional clues for finding out the truth of who Arabella is or to confirm or refute my own hypothesis, and in locating some type of death or burial record or marriage record (or both) for her, should those exist…to try to determine her true lineage. I have a strong hypothesis based upon a name-only search as to who she “could be” or “should be”. There are tons of coincidences, but nothing that flags it down and says “yeah, here’s the end-go here next”.
Priority 2 - I would also like to try to locate a death or burial record or something for Joseph, who apparently fell off the earth some years after the birth of his son, Joseph – aka Bud Swan. It’s possible he left the family by rail, abandoning them. It’s possible he died on the rail lines or elsewhere, effects unknown. He could have been in jail, though I never found any stories like that. Maybe he was a cad who ran off and started another family elsewhere? Or maybe he got caught in a compromising position by a jealous husband? Or maybe he did something brave and heroic on a train and was injured or killed?
I know it would be quite difficult to break down these brick walls in a scant few hours of research, but I would offer all the documentation and results that I currently have to try to break it and build on my Swan family background.
Isn’t it interesting, that like the story of the ugly duckling, the cygnet is born “ugly” and becomes beautiful with time? We might have that here in my Swans. And, regardless of the good, bad or ugly, I’m ready to know the truth. I hope you’ll agree and curiosity will get you involved! Thank you for considering my Grandma Swan's family."- Connie Dexter Spicer
Thank you to all of this year's first Genealogy Wish Grants applicants! I hope you all continue to follow and participate! Don't forget to apply to Genealogy Wish Grants 2023, details coming soon! The entry start date will be posted on my Facebook Page, my Facebook Group, my blog, and on the Genealogy Wish Grants page, so stay tuned!
Top 5 Family History Gifts for Genealogists
What could you possibly give to the genealogist that seems to have it all already?! Genealogy is expensive, to say the least! Just because one is a genealogist, it doesn’t mean they have all they need nor can afford to keep up with what they currently have. Here are my picks for the Top 5 family history gifts to give the genealogist in your family, even though you may think they have it all! Hint, hint!
Find more of the best of family history and genealogy under the The Best of Genealogy category.
Top 5 Unique Family History GiftsRead Now
Top 5 Unique Family History Gifts
Evalogue.Life, Heart of the Family, Molly's Canopy, Climbing My Family Tree, Cami Mayer, Field Genealogist, Ancestor Detective, DNA Breakthroughs, Your DNA Guide, Ancestral Findings, Genealogy Tip of the Day, Family History Daily, Genea-Musings
I hope my family history and genealogy blog on genealogy research tips, resources, events, and more, along with my own genealogy journeys, will help you in your research and in building your family tree to learn more about your ancestors and family history to preserve for future generations to come!
Come visit me at Know Who Wears the Genes in Your Family if you're interested in starting your family history journey, booking me for your next speaking event, or family history and genealogy heirloom products!