British Isles Descendants Will Love these New Records Online

Millions of British Isles descendants—whether still living in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales or dispersed to the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, may find their ancestors in these new online records that include medieval maps, BMD and immigration records, name changes and even medical records for British troops in WWI.

British Isles descendants: Time to explore!

New collections for across Britain

Britain name changes. TheGenealogist.co.uk has published a new database that will help researchers identify official name changes by their ancestors in Britain. According to Family Tree (UK), “The Change of Names Database covers information gathered from a number of sources including Private Acts of Parliament; Royal Licences published in the London and Dublin Gazettes; notices of changes of name published in The Times after 1861 with a few notices from other newspapers; registers of the Lord Lyon [King of Arms] where Scottish changes of name were commonly recorded; records in the office of the Ulster King at Arms and also some private information.” Click here to learn more about name change records and subscription options.

Try Findmypast.com for 50% off

British Isles descendants should all explore Findmypast.com. This month only, Genealogy Gems fans can get 50% off the 1-month Ultimate Package at Findmypast–only $9.98 USD (instead of $19.95), where you’ll access to everything Findmypast has to offer. This offer is good through July 31, 2018 and only available through our exclusive link: GET THE DEAL HERE. You can accomplish a lot of research in one month, so keep reading to learn more about their fabulous new and updated collections.

British WWI records. British Isles subscription-based Genealogy Giant Findmypast.com has added nearly 700,000 records to its collection of British Armed Forces, First World War Soldiers’ Medical Records. According to the site, “These records may allow you to discover when and where your ancestor was wounded, where they were treated how long they were held at the medical facility for treatment. Images may provide a variety of additional details such as their service history and a description of the wound.”

British Isles descendants FMP British WWI medical record

Sample image from Findmypast.com. Crown Copyright Images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England.

Battle artifacts. You can now browse or search a new database of more than 2000 archaeological artifacts that have been recovered from Anzac Cove and the Gallipoli Penninsula, in the area where thousands of Turkish, Australian, New Zealander, British, French, Indian and Newfoundlander troops died as part of a campaign over control of Istanbul. According to News Australia, this artifact collection results from “the world’s most extensive battlefield archaeological study uncovered items which gave a glimpse of life on the frontline for Turkish and Anzac troops, uncovered the trenches where men fought, lived and died, and unearthed everyday items such as bottles of beer and belt buckles.”

Medieval maps. Those who can trace their family history back to medieval times (even just to a particular region) will be excited to hear that the British Library has published a collection of free online maps. According to this announcement, “The Virtual Mappa Project has been officially released as an open access publication, with an incredible collection of digitised medieval world maps from the British Library and beyond, all online, annotated and waiting to be explored.” This collection is published “in a visually navigable, text-searchable, translated format that makes their intricacies much more accessible to modern minds.” Click here to read more instructions and to start exploring this collection!

Australia

Obituaries. Subscription-based Genealogy Giant Ancestry.com has updated its databaseAustralia and New Zealand, Obituary Index, 2004-2018, which now has more than 370,000 records. According to the collection description, this recent collection is curated through online research: “The collection contains recent obituaries from hundreds of newspapers. We work with partners to scour the Internet regularly to find new obituaries and extract the facts into our database. Where available we include the original URL link to the source information. As the internet is a changing medium, links may stop working over time.”

Queensland immigration. The tech-savvy subscription-based Genealogy Giant MyHeritage.com has published a new collection with more than 100,000 records in it: Queensland, Australia Passenger and Crew Lists, 1852-1885. According to the site, “This collection is an index to inwards passenger and crew lists arriving in Brisbane and Moreton Bay between 1852 and 1885, sourced from the Collector of Customs (Brisbane) records, held at the National Archives of Australia, Brisbane (Shipping Inwards Series J715). Many of the ships have two lists–one prepared at the time of departure (classified in this index as a “Departure” list), and another prepared upon arrival (classified in this list as an “Arrival” list). The index covers over 100,000 individuals from 485 different voyages. A few outwards lists are also included. Information provided may include name of passenger or crew member, age, marital status, occupation, name of ship, departure date and place, and arrival date and place.”

South Australia immigration. The free Genealogy Giant, FamilySearch.org, has added more than 25,000 records to Australia, South Australia, Immigrants Ship Papers, 1849-1940. According to the site, this update includes “a record of births and deaths aboard, 1849-1867 and 1873-1885. Indexed records in collection include passenger lists arriving and departing from South Australia. Information on images varies but may include ship’s name, master’s name, tonnage, where bound, date, port of embarkation, names of passengers, ages, occupation, nationality, and port at which passengers have contracted to land.”

Canada

New Brunswick births. FamilySearch has also added nearly 24,000 names to its collection, New Brunswick Late Registration of Births, 1810-1899. “These records include indexes and images of provincial returns of births, 1869-1906 and late registrations, 1810-1906. The late registrations from 1810 to 1899 are arranged by birth year and then surname. Although the index is complete, images are being added to this collection as they become available. The returns of births, 1870-1906, and the late registration documents which were original certificates and some returns, 1810-1899, are arranged alphabetically within each year.”

England

Kent births. This collection isn’t huge, but it’s new and as the record of a male midwife, it’s fairly unusual: Kent, Lydd Midwife’s Birth Register 1757-1815. The site states, “The collection contains over 2,400 records transcribed from the original register of William Waylett (1729-1815), a male midwife who practiced in Lydd and the surrounding parishes on Romney Marsh in Kent….Transcripts span the years 1757 to 1815 and will reveal a combination of your ancestor’s birth date, birth place, parent’s names and any additional notes. Notes may include details of the pregnancy, delivery, mother, or payment for services.” If you find your ancestor in these records, we hope you’ll let us know about it!

Liverpool church records. Ancestry.com has added to several separate collections of Liverpool Anglican church records so that they now total more than 4 million records. You may want to search first the multi-record type Liverpool, England, Church of England Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1659-1812, and follow up by searching within these individual collections of Liverpool, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1917, Liverpool, England, Church of England Confirmations, 1887-1921, Liverpool, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 and Liverpool, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1975.

Northumberland and Durham burials. Findmypast.com has added over 14,000 new records to Northumberland and Durham Memorial Inscriptions. According to the site, “The new additions cover churchyards in Birtley, Blyth, Boldon, Eighton Banks, Gosforth, Great Lumley, Penshaw, Ryhope, South Shields, Whitley Bay and Woodhorn. Each result includes a transcription of an original inscription. The amount of information listed may vary although most transcripts will include a combination of your ancestor’s burial year, birth date, death date, age at death, denomination, inscription, location, plot, stone type and any additional notes.”

Yorkshire burials. Findmypast.com has added more than 38,000 new records to its database, Yorkshire Burials. According to the site, the collection “now contains over 5.1 million records spanning more than 400 years of the county’s rich history.”

New Zealand

Nearly a half million records already appear in New Zealand, Cemetery Transcriptions, 1840-1981, a brand new free collection you can search at FamilySearch.org. Containing indexed names and images from various places across New Zealand, the records may include the cemetery name, name of deceased, death date, age at death and names of family members.

Scotland

Ancestry.com subscribers may now search a new collection with more than 3.2 million records: Aberdeen City and Former Counties of Aberdeenshire, Scotland, Electoral Registers, 1832-1976. “This database contains yearly registers listing names and residences of people in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, who were eligible to vote in elections. These year-by-year registers can help place your ancestors in a particular place and possibly also reveal some information about property they owned. Coverage for the area and timeframe is not complete, so it may be helpful to check the browse menu on the right [of the database’s search page, linked to above] for details of which volumes are included.”

British Isles descendants Aberdeen voters Ancestrycom

Sample image from electoral roll of Aberdeenshire County, 1862, images 25-26 on Ancestry.com.

United States

Deceased physicians. Findmypast.com has published more than 700,000 biographical card files of deceased doctors from the American Medical Association. The Deceased Physician File (AMA), 1864-1968 is a browse-only collection. The site explains, “Each record consists of a transcript that may reveal when your ancestor died, where they practiced, where they attended school, where they were living at the time of their death, details relating to their career and their cause of death.”

Indiana marriages. Findmypast.com has added nearly 80,000 records of Indiana marriages (1818-1920) to its growing (and already enormous) collection of United States Marriage records. According to the site, “The collection includes both transcripts and images of original documents that will list a combination of your ancestor’s marriage date, location, the names of both the bride and groom, their birthplaces, birth dates, ages, residence and the names of both their parents.”

Massachusetts. The Boston Public Library has curated a collection of thousands of high school yearbooks from across the state of Massachusetts and published them online for free viewing at the Internet Archive. The collection page appears to comprise 4440 volumes dating back to 1892. (We read about this new collection in this online article at CBS Boston.)

Native American census. New and free to explore on FamilySearch.org is United States, Native American, Census of the Ute Tribe, 1944. Though a small collection (only about 2500 records), it may be key to helping you trace Ute ancestors and tribal membership. According to the site, these records come from an “index and images of Indian Census Roll taken on the Uintah and Ouray reservation in northeastern Utah during the month of January 1944 by the Office of Indian Affairs….Additional records for this tribe, reservation and agency will be found at the National Archives at Denver in Record Group 75 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”

North Carolina. A new collection of nearly 20,000 records at FamilySearch is North Carolina, County Divorce Records, 1926-1975. The collection description states, “This collection contains an index and images to the ‘index to former husbands and maiden names of divorced women’ covering the years 1926 to 1975. The documents included are affidavits, which are titled “Notice of Intention to Resume Use of Maiden Name.”

Also new for North Carolina is the online availability of some issues of the Charlotte Post, an African American weekly newspaper founded in 1878 and now available on DigitalNC. According to this article, “The first issues that we are making available online on DigitalNC cover 1988-1990, 1993, and 1996.” However, the landing page shows online issues back to 1971.

Ohio. Nearly 168,000 records have been added to the free FamilySearch collection, Ohio, Crawford County Obituaries, 1860-2004. These records come from the obituary file at the Crawford County Genealogical Society in Galion, Ohio. (We love societies and the work they do to compile and preserve local records!)

Tennessee. More than 150,000 records have been added to the free FamilySearch collection, Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963. This collection includes indexed images of statewide death certificates.

Washington, D.C. FamilySearch.org has added nearly 100,000 record entries to District of Columbia, Glenwood Cemetery Records, 1854-2013. According to the site, “This collection includes images of cemetery records from 1854-2013 from the Glenwood Cemetery, a historic cemetery located on Lincoln Road NE in Washington, D.C.” This collection continues to grow as more images are added.

Try Findmypast.com for 50% off

If you’ve got British Isles ancestors, then you’ll definitely want to explore Findmypast.com. They’re also home to an incredible collection of unique and growing records for the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. And there’s no better time to get your all-access pass than right now! This month only, Genealogy Gems fans can get 50% off the 1-month Ultimate Package–only $9.98 USD (instead of $19.95). This offer is good through July 31, 2018 and only available through our exclusive link: GET THE DEAL HERE.

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

Free US Historical Newspapers on MyHeritage for July 4 Week

Through July 8, search free US historical newspapers on MyHeritage.com! Newspapers help you tell compelling family history stories. Collections for several individual states are available–and so is a SuperSearched-version of the nationwide historical newspaper site, Chronicling America. 

The following announcement comes from MyHeritage.com:

“In honor of July 4th, we are delighted to announce FREE access to all U.S. Newspaper collections on MyHeritage’s SuperSearch™, for a limited time. From July 3, 2018 through July 8, 2018, we are providing free access to all 23,385,114 U.S. Newspaper records – no data subscription required!

Newspapers are essential resources for genealogy and family history research. In addition to providing birth, marriage, and death notices, society pages contain stories rich with information on persons of interest, as well as various community activities and events. The U.S. Newspaper collection currently holds newspapers from the states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Connecticut, Maine, New York, Kentucky, Indiana, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maryland, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Delaware.”

More free US historical newspapers on MyHeritage

This week it’s also free to use the MyHeritage SuperSearch engine to explore digitized historical newspapers at Chronicling America, the Library of Congress’ free historical newspaper website. MyHeritage’s SuperSearch engine is proven powerful to help find the most–and the most accurate–search results among millions of records on its site. See what SuperSearch finds for you on Chronicling America or in any of these free U.S. newspaper collections this week.

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

MyHeritage News: Pedigree View, End of WorldVitalRecords

We have three pieces of MyHeritage news to share with you. First: a quick summary of the billion records they’ve added recently–including U.S. newspapers. Second: a much-requested feature for their online family trees launches. Third: they’re retiring the site that launched their entry into online historical records: WorldVitalRecords.

Our friends at MyHeritage.com, one of the Genealogy Giants and a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems Podcast, recently made three announcements we are sharing below.

MyHeritage news you can use

1. A Billion New Records

“We’ve reached a new huge milestone — we now have over 9 billion historical records in MyHeritage SuperSearch™! After achieving our huge milestone of over 8 billion historical records, we have added another one billion records in less than 10 months!”

In this update, we are announcing 11 new collections with a total of 9.8 million new historical records, including Newspaper Collections from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Rhode Island, a Danish Census from 1840 [and they’ve since added the 1834 Danish census, too!], New Jersey Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes and Queensland Passenger and Crew Lists.”

2. New Pedigree View updates

“As you may recall, we recently released the long awaited and highly requested Pedigree View for online family trees, which was very well received by our users. This new view enables you to see a person in your family tree and their direct ancestors. (It does not show siblings, spouses, or anyone else who is not a direct ancestor. In this view you can navigate to anyone else in your tree and view their pedigree as well. The new Pedigree View doesn’t replace the current view, which we call Family View. It comes in addition, and you can toggle between the two and a third view, which is a List.)

“We initially released Pedigree View as read-only. We are happy to announce that you can now add, edit, and delete tree profiles directly from the Pedigree View. It is no longer necessary to switch to the Family View to edit your tree. Click here for more information.”

3. End of WorldVitalRecords and BackupMyTree

“In 2011, MyHeritage acquired the services World Vital Records/Family Link and BackupMyTree. We are now announcing that these services will be retired on September 1, 2018.”

BackupMyTree
“BackupMyTree was a free service for backing up family trees consisting of a software client and server backup at www.backupmytree.com. At its peak, the service was used by a few thousand users. The BackupMyTree software did not survive recent updates that Microsoft has made to the Windows operating system. The data that was backed up on BackupMyTree will be deleted on September 1, 2018. Any user of the service who would like a copy of their family tree data from BackupMyTree is encouraged to download their backup from the service before September 1, 2018, and to contact MyHeritage support if they require any special assistance.” [Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning members can watch the Premium video, “Take Control of Your Family Tree” to learn a master strategy for safeguarding your family tree data.]

World Vital Records/Family Link
“These two similar services provide a searchable collection of historical records and were the basis for MyHeritage’s expansion into historical records in 2011. Both these services share the same pool of historical records. In 2012, all of the data on those services was transferred to MyHeritage SuperSearch™ where the number of available records is more than triple what was originally available on these services. MyHeritage also includes superior tools for searching and matching. World Vital Records/Family Link underwent silent sunset under which almost no new subscribers have been added in the past three years.

“Any current subscriber of these services is entitled to a free Data subscription on MyHeritage for the same duration. Subscribers of World Vital Records or Family Link that still have an active subscription that extends beyond September 1, 2018, and who find that they do not yet have an equivalent subscription for free on MyHeritage, are welcome to contact MyHeritage Support and a free Data subscription on MyHeritage will be provided to them for the duration of their current subscription.

“We will work with subscribers of the World Vital Records Library Edition to transition them to the MyHeritage Library Edition which is a superior product with three times more content. We will give the Library subscribers an equivalent subscription on MyHeritage plus six additional months for free to ease their transition.”

More MyHeritage News from Genealogy Gems

We help you keep up with changes and progress at the world’s biggest genealogy websites, which we refer to affectionately as the Genealogy Giants. MyHeritage.com is one of these giants. Here’s an interview I did with Daniel Horowitz from MyHeritage.com at RootsTech 2018 with MORE MyHeritage news you should know–whether you’re a subscriber or not. For example: they’ve found that your genes have nothing to do with your longevity! Check it out.

About the Author: Sunny Morton

About the Author: Sunny Morton

Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s  known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

How to Use the NEW MyHeritage DNA Chromosome Browser

The new MyHeritage DNA chromosome browser offers two different kinds of browsing–and a triangulation tool. Here’s what these tools are and how to work with them.

Just last year, if you had asked me if I thought anyone could catch AncestryDNA in their race to own the genetic genealogy market, I would have been skeptical. However, it is clear that MyHeritage intends to be a contender, and they are quickly ramping up their efforts to gain market share–and your confidence.

MyHeritage began 2018 by making a much needed change to their DNA matching algorithm, which had some errors in it. They were able to adjust it, and now it is humming right along, telling our second cousins from our fourth. Another development, launched in February, is the addition of a Chromosome Browser.

The new MyHeritage DNA Chromsome Browser

Much like you would browse the library shelves for the perfect book, or browse through the sale rack for a great bargain, you can use a Chromosome Browser to look through your chromosomes for the pieces of DNA you share with your genetic cousins. Chromosome Browsers can be everything from a fun way to review your genetic genealogy results, to a tool to assist in determining how you are related to someone else. Let’s go over three tips to help you make use of this new tool:

Navigating to the Chromosome Browser

There are actually two different kinds of Chromosome Browsers in MyHeritage: one to view only the segments you share with one match (the One-to-One Browser), and a browser where you can see the segments shared with multiple matches (the One-to-Many Browser).

To get to the One-to-One Browser, head over to your match page and find a cousin for whom you would like to see your shared DNA segments. Click on Review DNA Match, then scroll down past all the individual match information, past the Shared Matches and Shared Ethnicities until you see the Chromosome Browser.

Using the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser

To find the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser, you can use the main DNA navigation menu at the top of the MyHeritage homepage. Click on DNA, then on Chromosome Browser, as shown below.

In the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser you can compare yourself, or any account you manage, to anyone else in your match page. To choose a match to evaluate, just click on their name and they will be added to the queue at the top:

Clicking on Compare will then allow you to see the actual segments you share with each person:

In this One-To-Many view, each individual match gets their own line for each chromosome. Since we have added 7 people to the Chromosome Browser, there are seven lines next to each chromosome number. Each match not only gets their own line, but also their own color. So you can easily match up the lines on the chromosome to the match that shares that piece of DNA with you. For the majority of people the majority of the time, these Chromosome Browsers are just another fun way to visualize the connection you have with your DNA match. In the end, it doesn’t matter where you are sharing on the chromosome, just how much DNA you are sharing. You can obtain that information from your main match page and never look at this Chromosome Browser image, and still make fantastic genetic genealogy discoveries.

The Triangulation Tool

Another feature of the Chromosome Browser on MyHeritage is the Triangulation tool. To understand how this works, you first need to understand that you actually have two copies of each chromosome. Two copies of chromosome 1, two copies of chromosome 2, etc. One copy is from mom, and the other from dad. However, in the Chromosome Browser image, you see only one line for yourself (in grey). Therefore, when you see someone matching you on chromosome 14, for example, you don’t know if that person is matching you on the chromosome 14 you got from your mom, or the chromosome 14 you got from your dad.

Likewise, if you see two people whose shared piece with you looks to be in the same location on the same chromosome, you can’t tell if they are both sharing on the same copy of that chromosome, or if one match is related to your dad’s family, and the other match is related to your mom’s family. However, this is what the Triangulation tool does for us. It tells us if two (or three or four, etc.) matches are sharing on the same copy of the same chromosome. Be careful when you use this tool, though. Many erroneously assume that when they see a segment shared between multiple people, that indicates the presence of a recent common ancestor for all of those people. However, that is not always the case.

Start Using the MyHeritage DNA Chromsome Browser

Ready to start exploring what the MyHeritage DNA chromosome browser may tell you about your family history? You have two options. Click here to upload your autosomal DNA test results from another company to MyHeritage for FREE. Or click here to order a MyHeritage DNA test kit. Either way, you can start using all the great tools at MyHeritage DNA!

The Author: Diahan Southard

The Author: Diahan Southard

Your DNA Guide

Diahan is Your DNA Guide at Genealogy Gems! She has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry. She holds a degree in Microbiology and her creative side helps her break the science up into delicious bite-sized pieces for you. She’s the author of a full series of DNA guides for genealogists.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

DNA News and Classes at RootsTech 2018

RootsTech 2018 was so exciting—especially for a genetic genealogist such as myself! There were so many DNA lectures to choose from every day, including the one I’ve recommended at the end of this post. (It was so much fun–I did it with Lisa Louise Cooke! And it’s such an important topic!) But before you watch it, here’s some important DNA news that broke at RootsTech this year.

DNA news from RootsTech 2018

MyHeritage’s Big Tree

Addressing the biggest problem in genetic genealogy, namely the looming What Next? question facing millions of newly swabbed participants, MyHeritage announced the Big Tree. This giant network of genetic and genealogy results will automate much of the match comparison and tree searching to replace your head-scratching with light-bulb moments. They have already made significant headway on this project, as reported in the journal Science, on which MyHeritage’s own chief scientific officer Yaniv Erlich collaborated.

The journal reports that the team of scientists successfully extracted public family trees from Geni.com (a MyHeritage daughter company), and then used a computer program to clean up and link the trees together. It sounds like MyHeritage will be adding genetic data to this kind of tree data in their Big Tree project.

Helping adoptees

MyHeritage is showing support for the 7 million adopted individuals in the United States with their new DNA Quest campaign. Lisa’s already blogged in more detail about this, but in short, MyHeritage will provide 15,000 DNA test kits to eligible adoptees (free of charge) to help them use DNA to reunite them with their biological families. With this initiative they “hope to make this project a shining light for corporate philanthropy and an example to be followed by other commercial companies in their own lines of expertise to make the world a better place.”

MyHeritage has assembled an advisory board of genetic genealogists and genetic counselors to help drive this project and ensure it meets the needs of the community. If you or someone you know is interested in participating, you can head on over to the DNA Quest website to fill out an application. But you better hurry: the application deadline is April 30, 2018.

Living DNA: Matches are coming

The UK-based company Living DNA announced that they plan to add DNA matching to their popular origins test by third quarter 2018. When they launched in October of 2016, LivingDNA was not offering cousin matching, but opted instead to focus all of their resources on providing very detailed origins reports, including breaking down the UK in up to 46 categories. (Living DNA can already detect up to 21 regions in the UK, four in Italy and four in China—and the company is adding more regions all the time. Click here to order a DNA test from Living DNA.)

In the months since their launch, they have been working on a genetic matching system, called Family Networks, that will appeal to a wide range of users and will “reduce the risk of human error and take away the tedious task of figuring out how each person on a user’s list are related to one another.” They are promising an experience that provides “a level of relationship prediction and specificity beyond anything currently on the market.”

So it sounds like if you are currently struggling with turning your DNA matches into genealogical discoveries, our testing companies want you to know you are not alone, and they are working hard to provide solutions to these problems! Time will only tell if they can succeed.

Some of the best DNA news: “No tree required”

At a RootsTech live-streaming session, now free to watch on the RootsTech website, Lisa Louise Cooke and I teamed up to talk about how to work with DNA matches who haven’t posted tree data. It’s true—sometimes you can learn important details about your family history even without their trees. Other people’s trees may include the ancestors you have in common, and with persistent sleuthing, you may be able to find them.

The Author: Diahan Southard

The Author: Diahan Southard

Your DNA Guide

Diahan is Your DNA Guide at Genealogy Gems! She has worked with the Sorenson Molecular Genealogy Foundation, and has been in the genetic genealogy industry since it has been an industry. She holds a degree in Microbiology and her creative side helps her break the science up into delicious bite-sized pieces for you. She’s the author of a full series of DNA guides for genealogists.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links and Genealogy Gems will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links (at no additional cost to you). Thank you for supporting Genealogy Gems!

Major Pro Bono DNA Testing Initiative for Adoptees

MyHeritage Launches DNA Quest:

A Major Pro Bono Initiative for Adoptees and Their Biological Families to Find Each Other via DNA Testing

MyHeritage will distribute 15,000 DNA kits, worth over one million dollars, for free in the first phase of this initiative. Here’s the scoop:

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today the launch of a new pro bono initiative, DNA Quest, to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing. As part of this initiative, MyHeritage will provide 15,000 MyHeritage DNA kits, worth more than one million dollars, for free, with free shipping, to eligible participants. Participation is open to adoptees seeking to find their biological family members, and to anyone looking for a family member who was placed for adoption. Preference will be given to people who are not able to afford genetic testing. The first phase of the initiative is open to USA residents, involving adoptions that took place in the USA. Application opens today on the project website, www.dnaquest.org, which includes detailed information about the initiative.

Introducing DNAQuest,org A Pro Bono Initiative for Adoptees and their Biological Families to reunite via DNA Testing – Tweet this

Many of the approximately 7 million adoptees living in the USA today are searching for their biological parents or siblings. The search is time-sensitive, because every year some of the people who are searching pass away, missing the opportunity to reunite. Currently, the main avenues for adoptees and their biological parents to find each other are adoption agencies, registries created for this purpose, and genetic testing. With formal adoption records being unavailable or difficult to obtain in most states, genetic genealogy opens new doors in the search for relatives, and MyHeritage believes everyone should be able to access this valuable technology.

To maximize the potential of this initiative to successfully reunite families, MyHeritage has set up an advisory board of top experts in the fields of genetic genealogy and adoption to guide and support this initiative on a voluntary basis. This alliance ensures the best possible professional support for participants, with each advisory board member bringing unique expertise. The advisory board includes: CeCe Moore, founder of The DNA Detectives; Blaine Bettinger, The Genetic Genealogist; Richard Weiss of DNA Adoption; Richard Hill, DNA Testing Adviser; Katharine Wall, founder of Adopted.com; Brianne Kirkpatrick, founder of Watershed DNA; Pamela Slaton, investigative genealogist; Leah Larkin, The DNA Geek; and Susan Friel-Williams, Vice President, American Adoption Congress.

DNA Quest is an expansion to the USA of another one of MyHeritage’s successful pro bono projects to reunite adoptees from the Israeli Yemenite community with their biological families. In that project, MyHeritage facilitated successful reunions between adoptees and their biological siblings, solving challenging cases where the protagonists were searching for each other without success for more than 60 years.

“We have a company culture of using our resources and technology for the greater good. In this spirit we’ve initiated several significant pro bono projects, such as returning looted assets from WWII to their rightful owners and documenting family histories and traditions of tribal peoples who lack access to modern technology. DNA Quest is a natural extension of these efforts,” said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet, who conceived DNA Quest. “There is a great need for a project like this — to help adoptees find their biological families — and we are the right company to take it on. We’ve already successfully reunited many families and are confident that through this initiative, together with a wonderful alliance of top experts, we’ll be able to utilize the power of genetic genealogy to help many more.”

“Few things are more fulfilling than a life-changing adoptee-family reunion”, said CeCe Moore, founder of DNA Detectives, the largest group on Facebook that brings together volunteers with genetic genealogy and searching experience, and those seeking biological family. “I’m very excited to be a member of the DNA Quest advisory board and look forward to assisting participants in finding the lost loved ones for whom they are yearning.”

There are already more than 1.25 million people in the MyHeritage DNA database — one of the fastest growing among the major DNA companies. Additionally, MyHeritage is unique among the top three DNA companies to offer the option to upload DNA results from other test providers, and this is available for free. The company is uniquely positioned to reunite families and has indeed facilitated many emotional success stories, with more taking place in every passing day.

Adoptees and family members searching for their biological relatives can apply for a free MyHeritage DNA kit at DNAQuest.org through April 30, 2018. Participants will be selected, and their free DNA kits will be shipped to them by the end of May 2018. Results are expected as early as July 2018.

Those who have already taken a DNA test with another company can upload their DNA data to MyHeritage for free and participate in this initiative as well.

The privacy of all applicants and participants will be strictly enforced. The DNA is owned by the participants and not by MyHeritage. The company has never sold genetic data and has pledged to never do so in the future without users’ explicit consent. DNA Quest is a pro bono project without gotchas or caveats.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage has transformed family history into an activity that is accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive database of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and groundbreaking search and matching technologies. Launched in November 2016, MyHeritage DNA is a technologically advanced, affordable DNA test that reveals ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to find new family members, discover ethnic origins, and to treasure family stories, past and present, for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages. For more detail, visit www.myheritage.com. DNA Quest is available on www.dnaquest.org.

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke

Lisa is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.

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