This Week’s News (w/e Fri 8 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.

Ancestry® Recognized by Inc. for Outstanding Impact in 2023


Ancestry®, a global leader in family history, has been honoured on Inc.’s 2023 Best in Business list in the Consumer Products category. This recognition highlights Ancestry’s significant societal impact through various initiatives, including a partnership with the Center for Jewish History, eco-friendly packaging, free educational resources for students, and efforts to preserve at-risk history. Ancestry’s CEO, Deborah Liu, emphasizes their commitment to empowering personal discovery and building a sustainable future. This accolade from Inc. reflects Ancestry’s influence in both its industry and society at large.
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Exploring Hanukkah Traditions in Family History


A blog post on Ancestry dives into the rich history and diverse traditions of Hanukkah. It discusses the holiday’s origins, highlighting its celebration of liberation and the miracle of the Temple’s oil. The article offers insights into various customs, including lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and enjoying traditional foods like latkes and sufganiyot. It encourages readers to explore their Jewish heritage, preserving family traditions and stories for future generations. The post is a comprehensive guide to understanding and celebrating Hanukkah’s cultural significance.
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The Evolution and Significance of German Last Names


Ancestry’s blog also explores the fascinating origins and meanings of German last names. The article traces the history of German surnames from the Middle Ages, focusing on their derivation from occupations, patronymics, physical traits, and geographic locations. It discusses the legal standardization of surnames in the 18th century and the upcoming legal reforms in Germany regarding surnames. The post is an insightful journey into understanding the cultural and historical significance of German last names, aiding in genealogical research and family history discovery.
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13 Thoughtful Gifts for Family History Enthusiasts


This Ancestry blog post provides a curated list of 13 thoughtful gift ideas for those passionate about family history and genealogy. It includes various options like memory and preservation gifts, genealogy books, memberships, and software subscriptions. The guide also suggests practical items for genealogists, unique family history gifts, and even heritage travel tours. This comprehensive list caters to a range of interests and budgets, making it easy to find the perfect present for family history enthusiasts.
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Guide to Building Your Family Tree on Findmypast


Findmypast offers a comprehensive guide on creating your family tree, suitable for beginners. The article covers the basics of family trees, starting with your own details and expanding to include parents, grandparents, and other relatives. It emphasizes using various historical records to uncover unknown family members and suggests using Findmypast’s online tools for building and storing your tree. Additionally, the guide discusses the joy and importance of family history research, including preserving family stories and connecting with your heritage.
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New Northampton Roman Catholic Records on Findmypast


Findmypast has expanded its collection of English Roman Catholic Parish records to include the Diocese of Northampton. The update brings over 13,000 new records, including baptisms, marriages, burials, and confirmations spanning from 1775 to 1913. These records are invaluable for those with Northamptonshire ancestors, providing rich details such as names, birth and death dates, and family connections. Additionally, Findmypast has enhanced its Irish Roman Catholic marriages collection and introduced ‘The Bookseller’ newspaper, covering 150 years of literary history.
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MyHeritage Expands Historical Records Collection in November 2023


MyHeritage significantly increased its database in November 2023, adding 17.4 million historical records from 36 collections across several countries, including Australia, Belgium, the Channel Islands, England, France, Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States. These records encompass a variety of data types like obituaries, marriages, court records, deaths, tax registrations, births, census registers, and emigration records, some with accompanying images. This expansion enhances the research possibilities for family historians and genealogists.
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Life-Changing Gifts: MyHeritage DNA Kits’ Impactful Stories


This MyHeritage blog post shares four heartwarming stories demonstrating the profound impact of MyHeritage DNA kits. These stories include reuniting separated families, discovering unknown relatives, and understanding ancestral roots. Each story exemplifies the transformative power of DNA testing in connecting people with their heritage and lost family members, emphasizing the emotional and historical significance of such discoveries.
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The Transformative Power of 23andMe’s Genetic Testing


23andMe’s blog post, “Your Hero Gene,” highlights inspiring stories of customers who discovered vital health information through genetic testing. The stories include Kenzie and Shannon’s experience with BRCA1 variant testing and Melissa’s discovery of a factor V Leiden variant, which helped her prevent a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. These narratives underscore the importance of genetic insights in proactive health management and the life-saving potential of personalized genetic information.

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Artificial Limbs During the First World War

This blog post from the National Archives UK explores the fascinating history of artificial limbs during the First World War. The post discusses the development of artificial limbs and how they were used by soldiers who had lost limbs in battle.

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Reflecting on Windrush 75

Another blog post from the National Archives UK commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Windrush generation’s arrival in the United Kingdom. The post discusses the Windrush generation’s impact on British society and culture.

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International Volunteer Day 2023

Continuing with the National Archives UK, this blog post celebrates International Volunteer Day 2023. It highlights the importance of volunteering and how it can make a difference in the lives of others.

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Dominican Republic Christmas

This blog post from FamilySearch explores the unique customs and traditions of Christmas in the Dominican Republic. The post includes information about Christmas food, decorations, and activities.

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Christmas in Ukraine

Also on FamilySearch, this post discusses the significance of Christmas in Ukraine. The post includes information about the history of Christmas in Ukraine, as well as the traditions and customs associated with the holiday.

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FamilySearch: New Records 12 November 2023

Finally, another post from FamilySearch, which announces the release of new records on the FamilySearch website. The records include birth, marriage, and death records; census records; and military records from a variety of countries.

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