December 2016

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A Look Back at 2016 on Geni

Posted December 30, 2016 by Amanda | 2 Comments
A Look Back at 2016 on Geni

As we come to the end of the year, we take a look back at what we have accomplished in 2016. We are proud the milestones we’ve hit as well as the fantastic new features we’ve introduced this year to make Geni’s World Family Tree even better. Here are our highlights from 2016 on Geni: Geni hit a huge milestone in January when the World Family Tree surpassed 100 million profiles. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Helge Ingstad

Posted December 30, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Who are the adventurers in your family tree? On this day in 1899, Norwegian explorer and adventurer Helge Ingstad was born in Meråker, Norway. Ingstad and his wife, archaeologist Anne Stine, were the first to prove the Vikings had reached North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus. In 1960, Ingstad and Stine found the remnants of a Viking settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, Canada.The settlement dated to approximately 1,000 years ago and proved the… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Debbie Reynolds

Posted December 29, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Only one day after the death of her daughter, Carrie Fisher, legendary actress Debbie Reynolds passed away on December 28, 2016 at the age of 84. Reynolds launched to fame during the 1950s with a string of musicals, most notably starring in the classic film Singin’ in the Rain alongside Gene Kelly. Only 19 when she shot the film, Reynolds had never danced professionally before. She was born Mary Frances Reynolds on April 1, 1932 in El… Read the full story

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Remembering Star Wars Icon Carrie Fisher

Posted December 28, 2016 by Amanda | One Comment
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On the morning of December 27, 2016, Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher passed away after suffering a heart attack on a flight from London to Los Angeles just four days earlier. Image: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons  An accomplished author, screenwriter and actress, Fisher was well known for her quick wit and candor. She held memorable parts in When Harry Met Sally and Hannah and Her Sisters, but she will perhaps forever be remembered for her iconic… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Woodrow Wilson

Posted December 28, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Woodrow Wilson

Have you found your connection to a U.S. President? On this day in 1856, Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, was born in Staunton, Virginia. Wilson was the third of four children born to Joseph Ruggles Wilson and Jessie Janet Woodrow. His paternal grandparents had immigrated to the United States from Ireland, while his maternal grandparents had come from Scotland. As President, Wilson led the country through World War I and helped craft… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Louis Pasteur

Posted December 27, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Louis Pasteur

Today we remember French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur, who was born on this day in 1822. Pasteur was born in Dole, France on December 27, 1822 to Jean Joseph Pasteur and Jeanne Etiennette Roqui. His father was a tanner and was awarded the Legion of Honor during the Napoleonic Wars. As a child, Pasteur had a strong interest in drawing and painting. However, he was encouraged to pursue academics rather than the arts by… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Clement Clarke Moore

Posted December 23, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Clement Clarke Moore

Almost everyone will recognize the beginning lines to this familiar Christmas story: ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the houseNot a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there; On this day in 1823, the popular holiday poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” was first published in the Troy New York Sentinel. Although initially published anonymously, Clement Clarke Moore would later… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Giacomo Puccini

Posted December 22, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Giacomo Puccini

On this day in 1858, Italian composer Giacomo Puccini was born in Lucca, Italy. He was born Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini to Michele Puccine and Albina Magi. One of nine children, Puccini had come from a long line of musicians. His second great grandfather, also named Giacomo Puccini, was the first of five generations of composers in the family. Remembered as one of the greatest Italian opera composers, many of Puccini’s works… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Kiefer Sutherland

Posted December 21, 2016 by Hiromimarie | No Comment
Kiefer Sutherland

On this day, actor Kiefer Sutherland was born. Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland was born on December 21, 1966 in London, England to actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas. He was named after writer-director Warren Kiefer, who had directed Donald Sutherland in his first featured film, Castle of the Living Dead. His maternal grandfather was Thomas “Tommy” Douglas, a Scottish-born Canadian politician and the seventh Premier of Saskatchewan from 1944 to 1961. Sutherland’s first… Read the full story

Fun with Genealogy »

Letters to Santa From 100 Years Ago

Posted December 20, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you remember writing letters to Santa Claus? What did you ask for? Every year, children all around the world take a moment to ask Santa for gifts for being good during the year. The Mountainair Independent, December 21, 1916 / MyHeritage SuperSearch Have you ever wondered what your ancestors may have asked for 100 years ago? Newspapers often printed children’s letters to Santa. Common gift requests included dolls, firecrackers, candy, and fruits, particularly apples and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: John Steinbeck

Posted December 20, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Do you remember reading The Grapes of Wrath? On this day in 1968, author John Steinbeck died at the age of 66. The acclaimed American novelist was born John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr. on February 27, 1902 in Salinas, California. His paternal grandfather, Johann Adolf Großsteinbeck, had shortened the family name to Steinbeck after immigrating to the United States. After leaving his studies at Stanford, Steinbeck found work as a freelance writer and began writing his first novels. He… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Édith Piaf

Posted December 19, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Édith Piaf

Today we remember French singer and actress Édith Piaf, who was born on December 19, 1915 in Paris, France. She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion to Annetta Giovanna Maillard, a cafe singer, and Louis Alphonse Gassion, a street acrobat. Piaf was named after the World War I British nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed for helping soldiers escape from German captivity in Belgium. Piaf first rose to fame after she was discovered by nightclub owner Louis Leplée…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Ludwig van Beethoven

Posted December 16, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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German composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born 246 years ago today. Beethoven was born in Bonn in the Electorate of Cologne, which was then a part of the Holy Roman Empire. Although there is no known record of the exact date of his birth, it is known that his baptism took place on December 17, 1770. Since baptisms typically took place a day after birth during this time, and it is known that Beethoven and… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Gustave Eiffel

Posted December 15, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Have you ever visited the Eiffel Tower? On this day in 1832, French architect and engineer Gustave Eiffel was born in Dijon, France. Eiffel had spent years building bridges before he was contacted by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi for help to devise the structure for the Statue of Liberty. Eiffel had replaced the statue’s initial engineer, who unexpectedly died. With Eiffel’s help, the statue was built and then dismantled for its journey to New York…. Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Alan Thicke

Posted December 14, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Alan Thicke

Today we remember actor Alan Thicke, who passed away at the age of 69. Thicke was best remembered as the beloved dad, Jason Seaver, on the 80′s sitcom, Growing Pains. He was born Alan Willis Jeffrey on March 1, 1947 in Kirkland Lake, Ontario to Shirley Isobel Marie Greer, a nurse, and William Jeffrey, a stockbroker. He began his career on Canadian television before moving on to American TV. Although best known for his work in front… Read the full story

Fun with Genealogy »

Great Genealogy Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Posted December 13, 2016 by Amanda | One Comment
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Looking for a great gift for the holidays? Whether you are looking for a gift for the family historian or genealogist in your circle of friends and family or just looking to share your love of family history with your relatives, here are some nifty gift ideas for this holiday season. For something nostalgic…   Poster of your family tree A family tree poster is an excellent gift to to give to your family. You can… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Dick Van Dyke

Posted December 13, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Dick Van Dyke

Happy birthday, Dick Van Dyke! Today the star turns 91. Richard Wayne Van Dyke was born on December 13, 1925 in West Plains, Missouri to Hazel Victoria McCord, a stenographer, and Loren Wayne Van Dyke, a salesman. During World War II, Van Dyke enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and eventually served as a radio announcer before transferring to the Special Services to entertain the troops. In 1961, he got his big break as… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Frank Sinatra

Posted December 12, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Happy birthday, Frank Sinatra! Today marks what would have been the legendary crooner’s 101st birthday. Francis Albert Sinatra was born on December 12, 1915 in an upstairs tenement in Hoboken, New Jersey. At 13.5 pounds, Sinatra’s birth was not an easy one. He was delivered with the aid of forceps, which left him with severe scars on this left cheek, neck, and ear and a perforated eardrum. After getting his start singing in local nightclubs, Sinatra… Read the full story

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Remembering John Glenn

Posted December 10, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Remembering John Glenn

On December 8, legendary astronaut John Glenn died at the age of 95. A hero of the space age and the last of the original Mercury 7, Glenn inspired generations of scientists and explorers. Image: NASA Remembered best as the first American to orbit Earth, Glenn was also a national war hero and former U.S. Senator. In honor of his memory, here are some interesting facts about the life of the American icon. 1. He grew up… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Kirk Douglas

Posted December 9, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Kirk Douglas

Happy 100th birthday, Kirk Douglas! The legendary actor was born Issur Danielovitch on December 9, 1916 in Amsterdam, New York to Bryna “Bertha” Sanglel and Herschel “Harry” Danielovitch. His parents were poor, Jewish immigrants from Russia and the family spoke Yiddish at home. His family adopted the last name “Demsky” when they arrived in the United States, and he grew up using the name Izzy Demsky until he legally changed his name to Kirk Douglas… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Mary, Queen of Scots

Posted December 8, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Mary, Queen of Scots

Have you connected to royalty? On this day in 1542, Mary, Queen of Scots was born in Linlithgow, Scotland. The only legitimate child of King James V, Mary was named Queen of Scots just six days after her birth when her father died following the Battle of Solway Moss. While still an infant, her great uncle, King Henry VIII of England, took the opportunity to propose marriage between Mary and his son, Prince Edward, to create… Read the full story

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Heroes of Pearl Harbor

Posted December 7, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Heroes of Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. On the morning of December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy struck the U.S. navel base at Pearl Harbor in a surprise military attack. The attack lasted a couple of hours and left more than 1,000 wounded and 2,400 people dead. Image: U.S. Navy The attack was intended as a preventative action to keep the U.S. Pacific Fleet from interfering with the planned military actions of… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Willa Cather

Posted December 7, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Willa Cather

Do you have pioneer ancestors? American author Willa Cather was born on this day in 1873. She is best remembered for capturing pioneer life on the Great Plains in her novels. Wilella Sibert Cather was born on December 7, 1873 on her maternal grandmother’s farm in the Back Creek Valley near Winchester, Virginia. Her father’s family had lived in the area for six generations. Within a year after her birth, the family moved to the Willow Shade… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Roy Orbison

Posted December 6, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
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Today we remember Roy Orbison, who died on this day in 1988. Orbison was born on April 23, 1936 in Vernon, Texas to a working class family. He showed an interest in music at an early age when his father gave him a guitar for his 6th birthday. By the age of 8, Orbison began singing on a local radio show. Known for his trademark glasses and distinctive voice, Orbison is often considered one of the… Read the full story

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Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family

Posted December 2, 2016 by Amanda | One Comment
Your Stores: Reconnecting with his Father’s Family | Geni.com

We love hearing of stories from users who have discovered a new piece of their family on Geni. Today we share a story from Jens Petter Kleven, who grew up knowing very little about his father’s family. What he found on Geni would open up an entirely new world to him. Jens was born in September 1950 in Oslo, Norway. He describes his childhood as difficult from day one.  His mother had denied his father… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Napoleon III

Posted December 2, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Napoleon III

On this day in 1852, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte took the French throne as Napoleon III. The nephew and only heir to Napoleon Bonaparte, Charles Louis Napoléon Bonaparte was born in Paris, France on April 20, 1808. After Napoleon was removed from power in 1815, the entire Bonaparte family was forced into exile. Determined to reclaim the French crown, Louis-Napoléon attempted a failed coup. Undeterred, he continued to assert his views in political writings before seizing his next opportunity for… Read the full story

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Profile of the Day: Bette Midler

Posted December 1, 2016 by Amanda | No Comment
Profile of the Day: Bette Midler

Today Bette Midler celebrates her 71st birthday! The celebrated singer and actress was born on December 1, 1945 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Ruth Schindel and Fred Midler, who worked at a Navy base in Hawaii as a painter. She was named after actress Bette Davis, although she pronounces her name as one syllable. Her sisters, Susan and Judy, were also named after Hollywood stars, Susan Hayward and Judy Garland. She got her start singing at public bathhouses in… Read the full story