A new search technology is here: MyHeritage Book Matching automates the process of connecting digital book content to users’ family trees.
It used to be that our only option for finding our relatives mentioned in old family histories, county histories and other books was pretty slow. We’d head to a library, thumb through indexes and skim through likely-looking books, hoping we’d spot a familiar surname.
Google Books, the Internet Archive, FamilySearch’s Digital Books and other major digital archives have reduced the number of books we have to page through manually. Now there’s one more tool out there for digital book searching: MyHeritage Book Matching.
This new technology “automatically finds matches for people in your family tree on MyHeritage in [their] vast collection of 450,000 digitized historical books,” says a MyHeritage press release. That’s 91 million pages—and counting, because they have 50 curators out there aiming to add hundreds of millions of pages of digitized books each year. Right now they just have English-language books but they’re working to expand that.
MyHeritage Book Matching uses what they call “full semantic text analysis” to compare digital book content with the people in your family trees. In everyday terms, it means they’re matching both the names and locations on users’ family trees with book content.
The nice thing about this technology is that it’s automated. Like the main Record Matching and Newspaper Matching features on MyHeritage, the site constantly combs new content and alerts users when possibilities are found. It’s analogous to having Google Alerts for books that are digitized on MyHeritage. (If you don’t know about Google Alerts, the automated Google searching you can set up for your genealogy, click here to learn more.)
So far on my MyHeritage tree, I’ve had 6 matches from Book Matching. All appear relevant, though I haven’t dug into them to confirm. My favorite is one that mentions an ancestor and all her siblings as charter members of the Mt. Vernon Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Missouri:
What a great lead–I could jump on this to look for those church records and see what else they can tell me about the Weedin family. I found a picture of another ancestor in a church biographical collection; a family history book I didn’t have; and another ancestor’s name in a state genealogical magazine.
Do you have to have a paid subscription at MyHeritage to use these? Yes and no. Book Matches are generated automatically for any family tree built on the website or imported into it. But a data subscription, which runs about $10 a month, is required to actually view your Book Matches. Click here to learn more about subscribing to MyHeritage, which is a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast.
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