17 Things that happened on March 17th: Saint Patrick’s Day

Today is Saint Patrick’s day – a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the day that Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland died. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday for over 1,000 years although it has become an international festival with people celebrating Irish culture around the world with parades, dancing, special foods and a lot of green!

But did you know that, on 17th March:

  • 45BC Julius Caesar defeated the Pompeian forces of Titus Labienus and Pompey the Younger in the Battle of Munda…his last victory.
  • 1658, A Pro-Charles II plot in England was discovered
  • 1755, The Transylvania Land Company buys Kentucky for $50,000 from a Cherokee chief
  • 1762, The first St Patrick’s Day parade was held in NYC, US.
  • 1776, British forces evacuated Boston to Nova Scotia during the Revolutionary War
  • 1800, The British warship Queen Charlotte caught fire; 700 died
  • 1842, Indians landed in Ohio, a 12 square mile area in Upper Sandusky
  • 1842, The Relief Society, a philanthropic and educational women’s organisation and an official auxilliary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) was founded by Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, USA.
  • 1871, The National Association of Professional Base-Ball players was organized
  • 1891, The British Steamer “Utopia” sunk off Gibraltar killing 574
  • 1901, A showing of seventy-one Vincent Van Gough paintings in Paris, 11 years after his death, created a sensation.
  • 1921, Lenin proclaimed New Economic Politics
  • 1943, Physician Willem J Kolff performed the world’s first ‘hemodialysis’ using his artificial kidney machine in the Netherlands, however the treatment was unsuccessful and the patient died.
  • 1953, The US performed a nuclear test at the Nevada Test Site.
  • 1957, The Dutch ban on Sunday driving was lifted.
  • 1973, St. Patrick’s Day marchers carried 14 coffins commemorating Bloody Sunday.
  • 1995, The Sinn-Fein leader Gerry Adams visited the White House

How many of your ancestors would have been involved with any of these World Events?

A Twile account for the WHOLE family (plus two more Twile features)

We’re really excited to tell you about three features we’ve added to Twile this week, including a new Twile Family subscription.

One of the things we’re most proud of at Twile is how much of the website has been shaped directly by the ideas and suggestions of our customers.  We try to make it as easy as possible for you to reach out to us when you have something to say.

Here are some of the new additions that have resulted from this feedback, including conversations with the 1000s of people that we met during our week at RootsTech 2016…

1. Twile Family subscription

Our mission at Twile is to get the whole family exploring and contributing to their family history.  Our brand new Twile Family subscription makes it a lot easier for everyone in the family to view and contribute to a Twile timeline.

For £74.99 ($124.99) per year, you can enable every (yes every single living) person on your family tree to add unlimited events and photos to your family timeline, without having to pay for a Twile subscription of their own.  With Twile Family they will be able to explore the timeline you’ve built and add their own photos and events to tell the story of their own lives and extend your timeline further.

This is particularly beneficial for younger members of the family who might not be able to afford a personal subscription or those who will contribute less often, but still have a story to tell.

To sign up for Twile Family, visit our pricing page at twile.com/pricing.  If you already have a Twile Premium subscription and wish to upgrade to Twile Family, please get in touch with us and we’ll arrange that for you – just email us at help@twile.com.

2. Who else was there?

One of the best things about Twile is that every person on your family tree has an individual timeline of their life – click through from the tree to see their story from the day they were born.

When you add a milestone (such as a birth or marriage) for someone, it gets added to their individual timeline, but there are often other people involved – who was present at their birth, who attended their wedding?

Adding people to an eventWe’ve now made it possible to add other people to these milestones.  Just click into the event and tick the family members that were there.  This helps you record more of the detail for each event, while also making sure they show on the timelines of everyone that was involved.

3. Choose the photos that show on your timeline

When you add photos to an event, Twile automatically chooses a few of those pictures as the ‘cover photos’ that show when you’re scrolling through your timeline.  A lot of customers have asked for the ability to control which photos are selected.Choosing cover photos on Twile

Now, when you open an event, you can click the star in the top-left corner of any photo to have that image included in the story when it’s shown on the timeline.  This gives you even more control over how your timeline looks.

Coming soon…

We’re working on new features for Twile all of the time – keep any eye out for big improvements to how events are displayed, new milestone types and a much faster Twile experience.

Things you didn’t know about Mother’s Day

In the UK, the fourth Sunday in Lent provides time to enjoy a firmly embedded tradition: Mother’s Day, which means breakfast in bed for mum, a (usually) hand-made card from the children and family meal.

The tradition dates back to the sixteenth century where people saw Mothering Sunday (note not yet Mother’s Day) as a time when they returned to their Mother Church. Domestic servants were given time off to visit their family and attend their mother church together and they were encouraged to pick wild flowers along the way to place in church or give to their mothers. This is where Mothering Sunday evolved to include the giving of gifts, particularly flowers and it has evolved a great deal more since.

Mother’s Day in the UK has become one of the biggest consumer spending days in the yearly calendar, with retailers seeing an increasing amount of cash spent, particularly online –  it has become big business.  A staggering 30 million cards are sent each year and it has become one of the busiest times of the year for pubs and bars!

It hasn’t always been so commercial however.

The event became known as ‘Mother’s Day’ and became the celebration that we now know in the 20th Century, when the UK and many other countries around the world took their lead from the USA and in particular a lady called Anna Jarvis. Anna held a memorial for her mother in 1908 and coined the term ‘Mother’s Day’, trademarked it and petitioned for it to be an official holiday, something which was recognised by all US States by 1911.

Anna fairly soon became resentful of the commercialisation and disagreed that companies were profiting,  to the point of threatening lawsuits to stop the holiday.

Her efforts were fruitless and the holiday continues to be one of the most commercialised events in the national calendar to this day, with people spending up to three times more than on Father’s Day!.

Some more interesting facts about Mother’s Day

  • Mothering Sunday is observed on 6th March 2016 by the UK, Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Nigeria.
  • Many countries will observe Mother’s Day on 8th May 2016 including the USA, Australia, Belgium, Denmark and Germany to name a few. See the full list here
  • UK sons and daughters spend £30 on mum compared to £112 in Brazil!
  • The world’s most prolific mother was the Russian Mrs. Vassilyev, who had 69 children in 27 pregnancies. She had no single births, but multiple sets of twins, triplets and quadruplets.  67 survived past infancy!
  • Maddalena Granata of Italy, gave birth to a whopping 15 sets of triplets between 1839 & 1886.
  • The Hindu population celebrate ‘Mother Pilgramage fortnight’, which is observed in April/May
  • In France, in 1906 ten mothers who had nine children each were given an award recognising ‘High Maternal Merit’
  • In Germany during the war the government promoted the ‘death of a mother’s sons in battle as the highest embodiment of patriotic motherhood’.
  • Simnel Cake is a type of fruit cake that young girls in service used to take home to their mothers on their day off.
  • 46% of people in the UK send a facebook or text message instead of a card!?
  • In Japan it is traditional to give your mother a red carnation
  • The most unusual gift idea we have seen this year is an ‘Eyezone Massager’!
  • If you fancy giving your mum just a good old fashioned hug, try to not let go for at least 24 hr 33 min. Ron O’Neil and Theresa Kerr (both from Canada) hold the record for the longest hug in 2010.

To all the mothers out there… enjoy your day!

Twile Partners with Findmypast

We are delighted to reveal that Twile has secured an investment  and partnership deal with leading family history site Findmypast, which is set to open up huge opportunities for us.

The agreement will offer Twile’s customers access to Findmypast’s rich bank of eight billion records, helping them to expand their family trees and timelines from within Twile.  We’ll also be working closely with Findmypast to allow their customers to display their family tree data on a rich, visual Twile timeline.

From our earliest conversations with Findmypast, it’s been clear that they share our mission of making family history more engaging for the wider family, especially the younger generations. This relationship makes Twile better in every sense, while also allowing a whole set of features that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.


In a statement to the press, Annelies van den Belt, CEO of Findmypast, said “We believe that our partnership offers great value to both companies’ customers. The recent RootsTech awards speak to the creativity of Twile and to win the People’s Choice award shows clearly that this is a product that the public wants”

What does this mean for Twile customers?
The investment from Findmypast – along with funding from some of Twile’s existing investors – means we have all of the resources we need to develop new features for Twile more quickly and create a truly global product.

Our customers should expect to see a lot of exciting new features and more integrations with third party services (including Findmypast).  We have a long list of ideas (mostly requested by our customers) and we’re working through them as quickly as we can – this investment means we can now move even quicker!

We love our customers and are hugely appreciative of the support they’ve given us since we started.  Today’s news marks the start of a relationship that will help us build Twile into the family history tool you’ve always wanted!

Twile Wins Two Awards in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2016

Our first RootsTech has come to a close and we are delighted to have won two awards in the Innovator Showdown, including People’s Choice!

Chosen from 46 overall applicants, Twile was one of 6 companies who presented in Friday’s final.  The viewers (4,000 audience members and an estimated 100,000 online) voted during the live show to select their favourite innovation – choosing Twile as their #1 People’s Choice.

This means so much to us – we develop our product to suit the needs and requirements of you, our end users and this is our priority. Thanks to everyone in the audience at RootsTech and those watching via live stream who voted for us!

We are coming home with two cheques totalling $16,000 (plus a further $10,000 of in-kind prizes) for winning the people’s vote and third place as voted for by the judges. We have been overwhelmed at the warmth and support we have encountered during our time in Salt Lake City and the organisation of the event has been amazing.

We will be back next year for RootsTech 2017!  Please visit our Facebook page to keep up with our news.

See you soon!

RootsTech Innovator Showdown – Are we your people’s choice?

We are delighted that we have been selected as one of six finalists in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech. The finals will be streamed live, meaning that all of our customers and friends around the world have the opportunity to watch us online. The finals are held at 10.30am (local time) and if you love Twile be sure to tune in and give us your support.  If you think we are a worthy winner of the people’s choice award, you can even give us your vote!

See the live streaming via the RootsTech homepage at www.rootstech.org.

Thanks for your support!



RootsTech 2016: The Best and Worst Week of Our Lives?

As tech entrepreneurs with a mission to make family history more engaging for the wider family, we are counting the days until RootsTech 2016!

With a 15-hour flight from the UK – taking in the sights of Atlanta (airport) on the way – we’re looking forward to arriving in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. We can’t wait to be immersed in the family history community, catch up with Facebook and Twitter friends and meet some of our ‘biggest fans’.

The final preparations are being made, exhibition equipment is booked for our stand on Innovation Alley and everything is packed. However the realisation that we are leaving our biggest ‘little’ fans behind has set in.

As parents of small children, the excitement of travelling to the world’s biggest family history event is dwarfed at times by apprehension: none of us have been away from our children for this long since they were born.

We will miss them and their smiles and their cuddles. We will be wondering what they’ve been up to, what they have eaten, did they sleep well, are they missing us?

Thankfully our little ones remind us everyday why we created Twile.  We have used it to record their lives since they were born and we know that we won’t miss a moment whilst we’re away.  Grandma and Grandad are looking after them for the next week and they’ll be adding photos and stories to our Twile timelines. We’ll see that they are safe and having fun.

We also know they’ll see what we are doing: our photos from RootsTech –  including our time on stage at the Innovator Showdown – will be added to our Twile timelines for them to see.

They are very excited for us and have just one request – bring back jelly beans!

Twile Wins a Semi-Final Place in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2016

We’re absolutely delighted to say that we’ve made it to the final 12 in the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2016!

RootsTech is the largest family history event in the world, held annually in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Combining a huge exhibition with talks and classes on family history, it attracts tens of thousands of visitors, from seasoned genealogy experts to absolute beginners.

As part of RootsTech, the Innovator Showdown competition aims to highlight innovative technology products that service the family history market.  We’ll be attending the conference and battling it out to win part of the total $100,000 cash and in-kind prizes.

It’s so important to us to have been recognised as innovators in our industry, by one of its leading players – RootsTech is run by FamilySearch, the largest genealogy organisation in the world.

This year the conference runs from 3-6 February, during which we’ll be pitching to secure a place as one of the 6 finalists and to present Twile on stage to thousands of attendees.

We had an amazing 2015 after launching our family history timeline in April and have worked closely with our customers to build Twile into a tool they love.  It looks like 2016 could be even more exciting!

We want to thank everyone who uses Twile, everyone that has helped us spread the word and all of the people that have given us advice and support since we started.

If you’re going to RootsTech this year, please come along to our booth and say ‘hello’ – we’d love to thank you in person!

You can read more about the Innovator Showdown on the RootsTech website.

How To Create A GEDCOM File

If you have your family tree in an online service (such as Ancestry) or a software package on your computer, you can now import your tree into Twile to automatically create an amazing timeline of your family history.

All of the people and events that are hidden away in your family tree will be brought to life on a timeline that you can share with your whole family.

We thought it would be helpful to add links to the step-by-step guides for exporting a GEDCOM file for some of the more popular genealogy tools…


Findmypast                                                     http://www.findmypast.co.uk/frequently-asked-questions/answer/can-i-make-a-copy-of-my-tree-export-a-gedcom-file


You can’t currently export a GEDCOM file from FamilySearch, but you don’t need to – you can import it directly into Twile.  Simply click the ‘Import Family Tree’ button at the top of your family tree and choose the FamilySearch option there.


Family Tree Maker

Legacy Family Tree 

Ready to import your GEDCOM file?
If you’re new to Twile, you can register for free here: https://twile.com
Otherwise, visit your family tree on Twile and click ‘Import Family Tree’ at the top of the screen.

If you need any help creating your GEDCOM file or importing it into Twile, please get in touch and we’ll do all we can to help.

Privacy and Security on Twile

Your privacy and security is top of our priority list.

Everyone involved in Twile is a parent with a young family and we completely understand how important it is to keep personal information safe online. We use Twile to share our family history, photos and memories with our family and have worked hard to ensure it is kept safe – for us and for our customers.

Your Timeline
You have complete control over who sees the content you add to your timeline. By default, anyone on your family tree that is registered with Twile can see the stories, photos and milestones you create.

However, if you want to stop sharing with individual people on your tree, you can do so in a few simple steps:

  1. Visit your family tree
  2. Find the person you want to stop sharing with
  3. Click/tap on them to open their profile
  4. Untick the ‘Share photos and stories with them‘ option
  5. That’s it – you will no longer be able to see each other’s content

Your Family Tree
Your family tree is private to your family – nothing is ever made public.

Anyone in your family can add to the tree to help keep it accurate and up-to-date. However, only the people you share with on your tree can view the content you’ve added to your timeline (see above).

We use Microsoft’s secure infrastructure to store your content, so it will always be available and safe.

We will also never sell or rent your contact information, nor will we ever share any of your content with anyone outside of the family or friends you add. You always remain in control of your content.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please get in touch: help@twile.com