Tuesday 3 January 2023

MyHeritage 2022 Yearend Summary

 News report from MyHeritage:

2022 was quite a year here at MyHeritage. We released several fantastic new features, including DeepStory, Family Tree Timeline, Photo Tagger, and AI Time Machine™;  added 2.5 billion historical records in 271 new collections; launched our podcast, Blast From My Past; and released several improvements to existing features to make your family history discovery experience on MyHeritage that much better. We also facilitated many emotional reunions and enjoyed the stories of incredible discoveries our users made through family history research and DNA — all while keeping true to our core values of innovation, compassion, and the desire to have a positive impact on the world.

And those are just a few of the highlights! 

There’s a lot to look forward to in 2023… so stay tuned!

Legacy Family Tree Webinars 2023

 The 2023 schedule, LFTW’s 14th season, was released this week:

Choose from 177 classes from genealogy's leading educators on topics ranging from scanning old negatives to Microsoft PowerPoint, from the West Indies and Greece to Germany and Liverpool, from mtDNA and YDNA to the Erie Canal and the First Kansas/US Colored Troops 79th Regiment, from urban mapping tools to telling better family stories on MyHeritage, and from deciphering handwritten documents to turning witnesses into evidence. We are also introducing Webinar Shorts and bringing back genealogy's pioneer in problem-solving methodology, Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL for the brand new members-only series, "The Best of Elizabeth Shown Mills: Genealogy Problem Solving".

I am pleased to note that I will be part of the 2023 program for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.  My talk will be about Surnames: Why? When? Why then? It will be presented on 19 April 2023.

Come see what Legacy has to offer this year. They start tomorrow with Diahann Southard’s The 5 steps to organizing your DNA in 2023.You can register for any or all talks here.


Monday 2 January 2023

Life in Europe During the Little Ice Age

I read a lot of scientific and socio-economic articles about research into conditions during the Little Ice Age. They give me context into how our ancestors fared during the period from the early 14th to the early 19th centuries.

Hunters in the Snow - 1565 painting by Pieter Brueghel the Elder

One such piece I came across was written in 2001 and titled, Variability of climate in meridional Balkans during the periods 1675-1715 and 1780-1830 and its impact on human life. Okay, it’s not a new study but as you read more about certain subjects you continually come across more articles and books written in past decades that are just as relevant now as when they were published.

The paper specifically discusses the Balkans region but its conclusions are similar to those of other studies done for much of the European continent. I will note other publications in future posts to give readers a broader view of overall conditions of the Little Ice Age everywhere.

The authors used data from (limited) instrumental records; annals, chronicles and historiographies; records of public administration and government; travel reports; scientific writings (books and historical climatological papers); and monastery records. Sources offer “direct or indirect information about the course of the weather or meteorological phenomena or they describe natural phenomena and social events related to weather. Information about famine and epidemics, such as plague, are also included.”

Data have been collected from former Yugoslavian countries, Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Romania, Syria and Turkey. Comparisons were made with similar data from the period 1961-1990, where there is also valid instrumental measurement, in order to quantify older references.

The authors describe not only the physical conditions of weather and climate during the period but also how such parameter impacted people directly.

There is an excellent bibliography of relevant studies from most parts of Europe that will be worth reading.


Xoplaki, Eleni, Ranagiotis Maheras & Juerg Luterbacher. (2001). Variability of climate in meridional Balkans during the periods 1675-1715 and 1780-1830 and its impact on human life. Climate Change, v.48, pp. 581-615. Download from file:///F:/Downloads/Variability_of_climate_in_meridional_Bal%20(1).pdf

Other blog references:

Book Review: A Cold Welcome (12 June 2018) https://discovergenealogy.blogspot.com/2018/06/book-review-cold-welcome.html