October 2013

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Haunting Spirit Photography

Posted October 31, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Have you ever found an old photo that appears to have a ghostly presence amongst the individuals pictured? You may have stumbled upon a “spirit” photograph. During the late 19th century, spirit photography sprang into popularity. The practice attempted to capture images of a passed loved one’s ghost or spirit within a photograph. With Halloween upon us, let’s take a closer look at the history behind these spooky photos. In the 1860s, photographer William H. Mumler discovered… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Vlad the Impaler

Posted October 31, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today the United States celebrates the scariest night of the year, Halloween! In honor of this night of horror, we’re highlighting Vlad the Impaler, Prince of Wallachia. Born in 1431, he was known by his patronymic name Dracula before he was posthumously dubbed Vlad the Impaler due to his reputation for excessive cruelty. The tales were so famous that he became the inspiration for one of the most well known horror figures in history, Bram… Read the full story

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Millions of new gravestone records and obituaries now available

Posted October 30, 2013 by Amanda | Comments Off
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Here’s some excellent news to add to your Halloween festivities – millions of gravestone records and obituaries are now available to Geni users through Record Matches and MyHeritage’s SuperSearch™! This new addition includes 5.5 million gravestone records from BillionGraves and 3.5 million obituaries from Tributes.com. Using MyHeritage’s powerful matching technologies, Geni users will receive Record Matches whenever these new records match your family tree. These records will also be accessible directly through your relatives’ Geni… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Orson Welles

Posted October 30, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Seventy-five years ago today, Orson Welles broadcasted his radio play of H.G. Wells‘s The War of the Worlds, causing severe anxiety to many audiences across the United States. Presented as a series of news bulletins, many listeners mistakenly believed that Welles’ show was an actual live broadcast of an alien invasion. The widespread panic created by the program and media attention thereafter skyrocketed Welles’s notoriety and became one of the most famous radio broadcasts in… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Winona Ryder

Posted October 29, 2013 by Amanda | One Comment
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Today we celebrate actress Winona Ryder‘s 42nd birthday! She was born Winona Laura Horowitz in Minnesota in 1971. Her father’s family was originally named “Tomchin” but took the surname “Horowitz” when they immigrated to America. Winona’s first staring role was Lydia Deetz, the goth teenager in Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice. Afterwards, she continued to pursue diverse characters, including roles in Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, the cult hit Reality Bites and Little Women, for which she eared an Academy… Read the full story

Monday Recap »

Monday Recap for October 28, 2013

Posted October 28, 2013 by Amanda | 2 Comments
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Have a great weekend? Check out some interesting articles you may have missed in the passed week! The Genealogy Sphere Map: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls, State-by-State (Jezebel.com) – Fascinating maps of the most popular girl names. Do any of these pop up in your family tree? Eerie Cemeteries Left to Nature (PHOTOS) – Haunting images of nature reclaiming old cemeteries Blended families, blended names (CBC.ca) – Modern couples opting for… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Julia Roberts

Posted October 28, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Julia Roberts! Today the Oscar-winning actress turns 46. Did you know Julia has a fascinating story about her birth? She was born in 1967 in Atlanta, Georgia to Betty Lou Bredemus and Walter Grady Roberts. The one time actors and playwrights  were co-founders of the Atlanta Actors and Writers Workshop in Georgia. While Betty Lou was pregnant with Julia, the couple ran an acting school for children. Among their students were the children of… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: George III

Posted October 25, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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On October 25, 1760, George III became the King of Great Britain and Ireland. His long reign was marked by a series of conflicts, including the American Revolutionary War in which Britain would lose its colonies in the Americas. He would become one of the longest living and reigning monarchs before his granddaughter Queen Victoria‘s reign. In the later part of his life, George III suffered from bouts of mental illness that earned him the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Harry Houdini

Posted October 24, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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On October 24, 1926, legendary illusionist Harry Houdini made his last performance at the Garrick Theater in Detroit, Michigan. Although suffering from appendicitis, Houdini proceeded to complete his performance for the theater’s audience despite being in constant pain. A few days later he died of peritonitis caused by a ruptured appendix. Celebrated as one of the greatest illusionists of all time, Houdini had a remarkable ability to escape from handcuffs, chains, ropes and straitjackets. He also detested… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Peter II of Russia

Posted October 23, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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On October 23, 1715, Peter II of Russia was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was the only son of Tsarevich Alexie Petrovich, who was the son of Peter the Great. Peter II’s father was accused of treason by Peter the Great and died in prison. From a young age, Peter II was kept in seclusion, with little attention payed towards his education. It wasn’t until the reign of Catherine the Great that it became… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Diana Ross

Posted October 22, 2013 by Amanda | One Comment
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On October 22, 1966, The Supremes became the first all-female music group to have a number 1 selling album on the Billboard charts. The album The Supremes A’ Go-Go sold over 1 million copies in the U.S. and 3.5 million copies worldwide. In honor of this anniversary, we’re highlighting founding member and lead singer Diana Ross‘ family tree. As a part of The Supremes, Ross’s popularity skyrocketed and she eventually left the group to embark on… Read the full story

Monday Recap »

Monday Recap for October 21, 2013

Posted October 21, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Here are some interesting articles to start off your week! The Genealogy Sphere Living Relatives of 5,300-Year-Old Mummy Located in Austria (redOrbit) – Through DNA testing, scientists were able to identify living relatives to a 5,300-year-old mummy Adopted daughter rode the school bus for seven years before she discovered the conductor was her real mother (Daily Mail) – A woman discovers her childhood bus driver is her biological mother Goats successfully uncover graves at Md…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Carrie Fisher

Posted October 21, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday to Carrie Fisher! Today the Star Wars icon turns 57. Born to actors Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, Carrie got an early start in show business. Despite also becoming a best selling writer, Carrie remains best known for her portrayal of Princess Leia in the original Star Wars trilogy. Carrie Fisher is connected to over 70 million people in Geni’s World Family Tree. How are you related?     View Carrie Fisher’s Geni Profile  … Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Stephen King

Posted October 18, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today the remake of the horror classic Carrie opens in the United States. Based on horror mastermind Stephen King‘s 1974 novel, the story follows a shy high-school girl who upon discovering telekinetic powers, seeks revenge on those who tease her. Do you remember watching Sissy Spacek as the original Carrie? In its most recent film incarnation, actress Chloë Grace Moretz takes on the titular role. Is Carrie on your must watch list this Halloween season? Stephen King is connected to over 70 million people… Read the full story

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Photo Caption Contest: Win a Free Geni Pro Subscription

Posted October 17, 2013 by Amanda | 18 Comments
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It’s competition time! Help come up with a unique caption for the image below for your chance to win a free Geni Pro subscription. With Geni Pro you will have access to advanced tools to help grow your family tree, including: Tree Matches – achieve faster tree growth with instant tree matches to connect with new relatives Unlimited data – upload unlimited photos, videos and documents Premium support – communicate directly with our expert support staff… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Margot Kidder

Posted October 17, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Are you a fan of Superman? Today Margot Kidder turns 65. She was born in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada to Jocelyn Wilson, a history teacher, and Kendal Kidder, an explosives expert and mining engineer. She rose to fame in her most memorable role as Lois Lane opposite Christopher Reeve‘s Clark Kent in four Superman films. Did you know Christopher Reeve is Margot Kidder’s 16th cousin once removed? Margot Kidder is connected to over 70 million people… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Angela Lansbury

Posted October 16, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday Angela Lansbury! Today the actress turns 88. She was born in London, England to Moyna MacGill, an Irish actress, and Edgar Lansbury, a wealthy English timber merchant and politician. Her paternal grandfather was the Labor Party leader and prominent pacifist activist George Lansbury. As a young girl, she became transfixed with the world of cinema and in 1940, began her studies in acting. With a career spanning seven decades, Lansbury has earned numerous… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Sarah, Duchess of York

Posted October 15, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday Fergie! Today Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York was born in London England. The second daughter of Major Ronald Ferguson and his wife Susan Mary Wright, she married Prince Andrew in 1986. The couple divorced ten years later amidst much media tumult. They had two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie of York. Sarah, Duchess of York is connected to over 70 million people in Geni’s World Family Tree. How are you related?    … Read the full story

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MyHeritage’s partnership with FamilySearch to add billions of new records!

Posted October 15, 2013 by Amanda | Comments Off
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When we first introduced Record Matches and Smart Matches™ on Geni, we promised that additional historical record collections would be coming in the future. Today we are excited to announce that our parent company MyHeritage has entered into a strategic partnership with leading genealogy organization FamilySearch; this partnership will bring billions of global historical records and family tree profiles spanning hundreds of years to MyHeritage. What does this mean for Geni? These new additions to MyHeritage’s… Read the full story

Monday Recap »

Monday Recap for October 14, 2013

Posted October 14, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Let’s get this week started with some great family history articles! The Genealogy Sphere Spotting a Copy (Family Tree Magazine blog) – Photo detective Maureen Taylor walks through how to spot a photo copy of an earlier image Here’s Why There Are So Many German-Americans in the U.S. (Business Insider) – A look into the history of early German immigration to the United States Ricky Gervais Asked Grandparents to Share the Most Important Lesson They… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Christopher Columbus

Posted October 14, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today the United States celebrates Columbus Day! The holiday commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the New World in 1492, sailing across the Atlantic with his ships the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Although his is technically not the first to arrive to the American continent, Columbus’s expeditions played a significant role in Spain’s colonization of the New World. Christopher Columbus is connected to over 70 million people in Geni’s World Family Tree. How are you… Read the full story

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Family History: Creative Games for Kids

Posted October 11, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Have you wondered about what creative ideas are out there to get your kids more excited to learn about their family history? In honor of Family History Month, here’s a sample of DIY games that’s loads of fun for the entire family. Guess Who? Family Edition Image credit: Mads Memories blog Here’s a clever idea from the Mads Memories blog. Take the classic game Guess Who? and make it your own. Replace the game’s photos with those… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Edith Piaf

Posted October 11, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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This month marks the 50th anniversary of French singer Edit Piaf‘s death. Remembered as one of France’s greatest international stars, Edith became known as “The Little Sparrow” throughout her life because of her nervous energy and small stature. She became a popular performer in France during World War II and after the war, her international fame spread quickly. In 2007, her life’s story became the subject of the film La Vie en Rose starring Marion Cotillard,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Ed Wood

Posted October 10, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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On October 10, 1924, American filmmaker Ed Wood was born in Poughkeepsie, New York. In the 1950s, Wood made a number of low-budget science fiction, horror and cowboy genre films, intercutting stock footage. His films developed a large cult following who continue to celebrate his campy films today. Did you know in 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wood enlisted in the United States Marine Corps? He was involved in the Battle of Tarawa and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: John Lennon

Posted October 9, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember John Lennon on what would have been his 73rd birthday. Born and raised in Liverpool, England, John skyrocketed to stardom as one-fourth of the musical phenomena the Beatles. He shares his birthday with his son, Sean Lennon, who was born in 1975. Do you have a favorite John Lennon song? Check out his family tree on Geni!     View John Lennon’s Geni Profile  

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Profile of the Day: Sigourney Weaver

Posted October 8, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday Sigourney Weaver! Today the actress turns 64. She was born Susan Alexandra Weaver in New York City and began calling herself Sigourney at the age of 14 after a character in the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby. She is best known for her iconic role of Ellen Ripley in the four Alien films, which also earned her an Academy Award nomination in 1986. Sigourney Weaver is connected to over 70 million… Read the full story

Monday Recap »

Monday Recap for October 7, 2013

Posted October 7, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment

Here’s our weekly roundup of interesting genealogy and family history articles. Enjoy! The Genealogy Sphere 19 Ways to Find Someone’s Birth Information (The Ancestor Hunt blog) – Check out 19 great resources to track down birth data The alien rebel and his land (The Legal Genealogist blog) – Judy Russell looks deeper into land record to discover how a German-born ex-Confederate soldier claimed federal land The Changing Face of America (National Geographic) – An intriguing… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Edgar Allan Poe

Posted October 7, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember poet Edgar Allan Poe, who died on October 7, 1849 at the age of 40. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe is generally credited with being the first to to write the modern detective story. His poem “The Raven” ranks as one of the best known pieces of poetry in American literature. Are you a fan of his spooky tales? Edgar Allan Poe is connected to over 70… Read the full story

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Family History Month: 5 Fun Ways to Celebrate

Posted October 4, 2013 by Amanda | One Comment
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It’s that time of year again! October is Family History Month – an entire month devoted to the celebration genealogy. Learning about your family history gives us a greater appreciation of our past and a better understanding of where we come from. Check out  these 5 fun activities to celebrate Family History Month! 1. Interview your relatives Take this month to see which relatives you have yet to interview and record their stories. Nothing makes… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Barbara Billingsley

Posted October 4, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy anniversary, Leave It to Beaver! On October 4, 1957, the legendary television show Leave It to Beaver aired its first episode and become one of the nation’s most beloved comedies. In honor of the sitcom’s 56th anniversary, we’re highlighting Barbara Bilingsley‘s profile on Geni. Alongside her on-screen husband Hugh Beaumont, and Tony Dow and Jerry Mathers as their sons Wally and Beaver, the Cleavers stood as the idyllic American suburban family of the mid-20th century…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Tom Clancy

Posted October 3, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember author Tom Clancy, who passed away on October 1, 2013. Born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1947, Clancy was best known for his military thrillers and stories of espionage set in the aftermath of the Cold War. Seventeen of his novels were best-sellers, with over 100 million copies in print. Even if you haven’t read his novels, it is likely you may have seen their movie adaptations, including The Hunt For Red October,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Charles M. Schulz

Posted October 2, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you remember the comic strip Peanuts? On October 2, 1950, the beloved comic by Charles M. Schulz was first published. Featuring the classic characters Snoopy, Charlie Brown and many others, Peanuts ran until February 14, 2000, with nearly 18,000 strips published in all. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Schulz developed an early interest in comics. He based the character of Charlie Brown on himself, while the inspiration for Snoopy came from his childhood pet. Today,… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Jimmy Carter

Posted October 1, 2013 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday Jimmy Carter! Today the former President turns 89. In 2002, Carter was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development” through The Carter Center, a non-profit devoted to the advancement of human rights and alleviation of human suffering. He holds the honor of being the only President to be awarded the prize after… Read the full story