This Week’s News (w/e Fri 22 December 2023)

Welcome to this week’s roundup of the latest news and updates from around the main genealogy sites! As family historians and genealogists, it’s crucial to stay informed about the newest resources, features, and insights that can aid us in our quest to uncover the past. Whether you’re a seasoned researcher or just starting your family history journey, my weekly digest aims to bring you valuable information that can enrich your exploration. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this week’s highlights.

There is a new blog post on Ancestry.com titled “Unboxing the Origins and Traditions of Boxing Day: Take a Peek at Your Commonwealth Ancestors’ Celebrations” explores the history and meaning of Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26th. The article delves into its roots, beginning as a day to give to the less fortunate, evolving from Victorian era traditions of gifting leftover food and goods to servants and the poor. Today, it’s marked by shopping deals, sporting events, and family gatherings. The piece also highlights how understanding Boxing Day can connect people to their Commonwealth ancestry and traditions.

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Ancestry offers another blog post titled “Winter Solstice: Discovering Ancestral Traditions as the Seasons Change” focuses on the cultural significance of the winter solstice across various civilizations. It details how the solstice is defined, its occurrence, and the diverse ways it’s celebrated worldwide, including Saturnalia in ancient Rome, Soyal by the Zuni and Hopi peoples, Dong Zhi in China, Yule in Scandinavia, and Shab-e Yalda in Iran. The article emphasizes the solstice’s role in folklore and its impact on farming and outdoor industries, suggesting these events may connect to personal family histories.

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Findmypast announces the addition of over 18,500 new English records. Key updates include Yorkshire monumental inscriptions, Lincolnshire workhouse guardians’ minutes, and records from the UK’s first free school for deaf children. This expansion offers detailed insights into ancestral lives, particularly those with Yorkshire roots or connections to workhouse history. The article also notes the addition of two new titles to their newspaper collection, expanding research opportunities for genealogists.

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MyHeritage has uploaded a blog post titled “She Was Researching Her Father’s Birth Family. Instead, She Found Her Long-Lost Half-Sister”. It tells the story of Wesley Saucier, who, while researching her father’s birth family, discovered her half-sister whom her mother had placed for adoption fifty years ago. Wesley joined a family history group on Facebook and uploaded her DNA to MyHeritage, leading to this unexpected yet heartwarming reunion. The post narrates the emotional journey of Wesley, her mother Angela, and her newfound sister Winona, culminating in their eventual meeting.

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The MyHeritage blog post “Vietnamese-Australian Adoptee Finds Birth Family in Denmark Thanks to DNA Quest” tells the story of Kim Catford, born Ha Van Tuan in Vietnam, who was adopted by an Australian family. At 50, Kim utilized MyHeritage’s DNA Quest initiative to uncover his heritage, leading to a startling discovery: he is half Scandinavian. He found a DNA match with relatives in the U.S. and Denmark, unveiling the identity of his Danish birth father, Niels Korsgaard. This revelation introduced Kim to a large Danish family, opening a new chapter in his life’s journey.

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Geneanet has a post “The Christmas Truce of the Great War”, which provides an insightful narrative of the 1914 Christmas Truce during World War I. It recounts how, against the backdrop of trench warfare, soldiers from opposing sides spontaneously ceased hostilities on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. They exchanged gifts, sang carols, and even played football together. The post details how this remarkable event unfolded in various sectors of the front, offering a touching example of humanity amidst the horrors of war.

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Looking for fresh leads in your ancestry quest? MyHeritage and FamilySearch shine in different ways, but together they form a powerful research duo. MyHeritage excels at record matching and DNA connections, helping you find hidden branches in your family tree. FamilySearch, with its open platform and global records, fosters collaboration and broadens your search. Upload your FamilySearch tree to MyHeritage for record matches, and attach MyHeritage sources back to FamilySearch for richer detail. By leveraging both platforms, you’ll uncover hidden stories and build a comprehensive picture of your lineage.

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Uncover the stories of Czechoslovakian refugees who found refuge in the UK between 1939 and 1975. The National Archives UK holds a treasure trove of records, including registration cards, travel documents, and personal correspondence. These reveal details of arrival, family composition, and even intimate glimpses into the challenges and hopes of a displaced community. Whether you’re tracing your own ancestors or enriching your understanding of this historical chapter, this collection offers a fascinating window into the past.

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