April 25, 2017

Discoveries Pages from MyHeritage

Discoveries pages from MyHeritage make finding matches easier than ever. MyHeritage is known throughout the industry for it’s matching technologies, and they have just gotten even better with this great new user interface.

MyHeritage has just announced their new Discoveries pages. The Discoveries pages provide a unified experience for all matches, organizing them into two main pages: Matches by People and Matches by Source. Now, you can look at all the matches that were found for a particular individual in your family tree, all matches found in a particular collection of historical records, or a matching family tree. Whatever you choose to use, the new pages combine Smart Matches (matches with trees) and Record Matches (matches with records) into the same unified and consistent interface.

MyHeritage also displays the new information that each match provides, and matches are arranged by the value that they add to your family tree. Those matches that add the most value are listed first. This saves you time and allows you to focus on the most valuable matches. You can easily save all new and improved information to your family tree, as well.

The new Discoveries pages are easier to use, more intuitive, and much faster than the previous layout. Learn even more about the Discoveries pages in the official blog post, here.

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MyHeritage DNA Matching – What I Like About It

MyHeritage DNA is new on the scene of genetic genealogy. With the recent launch of their DNA Matching, I decided to give it a test drive for you. I have now uploaded my test results from another company. Follow along as I share what I like about the MyHeritage DNA site…maybe it is just what you’ve been looking for!

MyHeritage DNA matching

By James Tourtellotte, photo editor of CBP Today[1] [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

There is no question that the launch of MyHeritage DNA fully into the genetic genealogy market is exciting news. We absolutely need someone to challenge AncestryDNA. Competition is good.

In September, MyHeritage began to provide matching results for individuals who had uploaded their test results from another company to their site. As of today, uploading your DNA test results to MyHeritage DNA is still free, so if you have been thinking about it, you may want to take advantage sooner rather than later. As expected, the matches are only as good as the depth of the database, and it is early in the game. Their DNA database is small, but even now we can get an idea of what to expect from MyHeritage as they take their first steps into genetic genealogy.

One of the most exciting elements of their November 7, 2016 announcement is their development of a Founder Population project where they have hand-picked individuals to represent their reference population for calculating ethnicity. They plan to launch with 25 population groups, but will likely increase to 100 in a fairly short amount of time. This is a far more advanced ethnicity report than is currently offered anywhere else.

Transferring Your DNA Results to MyHeritage DNA

After you have figured out how to download your raw data from your testing company (see my instructions here: http://www.yourdnaguide.com/transferring), and add it to MyHeritage (you have to add a family tree to MyHeritage to do this), you will need to wait the requisite time to process.  Then, you will receive an email notice that you have new DNA matches:

MyHeritage dna match alert

Email notice from MyHeritage regarding DNA matches.

You can access DNA matches when you log on to the site: under Discoveries, click DNA Matches (as shown below).

myheritage-dna-screenshot

My Favorite Features of MyHeritage DNA

As for my favorite features, I like how they list all the possible relationships that make sense between you and your match, taking into account multiple factors like your age, gender, and your genetics instead of a simple, generic range like 2nd-4th cousins. The accompanying chart, which visually shows you all possible relationships, is also very helpful. You can access the chart by clicking on the little question mark icon next to the relationship suggestions.

I like that these suggestions remind us that our genetic relationships have different genealogical interpretations. Meaning that genetically, a 2nd-cousin-once-removed, a first-cousin-twice-removed, and a second-cousin, all fall within a similar genetic range and it is impossible to determine your exact relationship based on the genetics alone.

myheritage-dna-screenshot-relationship-details

I also like how MyHeritage offers all three genetic descriptors of your relationship:

  • total amount of shared DNA
  • how many segments are shared
  • the size of the longest piece of shared DNA.

While this is more of an intermediate to advanced piece to your results, it can be important as your relationship analysis becomes more involved.

Addressing a Concern of Genetic Genealogists

MyHeritage makes a unique claim in their press release about their matching feature addressing a main concern genetic genealogists have: the lack of pedigree information provided by their matches. MyHeritage claims that 95% of their DNA samples have pedigrees attached. That is remarkable! However, from my own quick calculation of my matches, the number with pedigrees is more like 60%.

They also indicated that they will soon be doing a bit of pedigree-analysis for you by providing a list of shared surnames and locations between you and your match. This will be based on the pedigrees you have both submitted and will certainly be a welcome addition.

According to their November 9th Q and A, MyHeritage hasn’t decided yet if the ethnicity features will be available to those who only transfer, and they hint at many more features they have in the works that may only be offered to those who purchase their test.

In short, the MyHeritage DNA site is currently functioning much like the top three genetic genealogy sites (Ancestry, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe) and like the free tool Gedmatch: it offers a meeting place for those who have been tested at one company to meet those who have tested at another.

More on DNA Testing and Genealogy

Super DNA quick guide bundleDNA testing is an incredible tool for genealogists. With several different types of tests and testing companies, hundreds of matches, and lots of technical jargon, it can be challenging to make sense of it all. My DNA Quick Guides to help you pick the right test, understand your results, and take the next steps with your matches. These guides can be purchased in printed format or digital downloads.

 

Limited time low introductory priced DNA test: Uncover Ethnic Origins with Global DNA Testing at MyHeritage

MyHeritage joins the future of genealogy with the announcement of their new Autosomal DNA testing and services. Learn more about MyHeritage DNA and how they compare to other DNA testing companies. Their low introductory price may not last long!

DNA testing at MyHeritage

MyHeritage has big news this week. They have just launched MyHeritage DNA, their global integrated genetic testing service. MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet says,

“DNA testing is the future of family history. We see DNA as a natural evolution of our business and look forward to harnessing it to reunite families, engage in new pro bono projects, and enrich the lives of millions of users.”

 

The MyHeritage DNA website has two main features. The ethnicity report maps the user’s ethnic and geographic origins. This report shows the percentage of the user’s DNA that comes from different populations around the world. Currently, the MyHeritage database includes 25 ethnicities, but will improve with time due to a special project called Founder Population. The Founder Population project is the largest of its kind ever conducted. MyHeritage says of the project:

“More than 5,000 participants have been handpicked for the project from its 85 million members. They were chosen by virtue of their family trees exemplifying consistent ancestry from the same region or ethnicity for many generations. In the next few months, the project will be completed, resulting in a rich DNA data set of more than 100 ethnicities that will enable MyHeritage to show users their ancestral roots with far greater resolution than other services.”

The second feature called DNA Matches, is used for finding relatives. Additional features are being planned for the future.

The Kit for DNA Testing at MyHeritage

Cheek swab for DNA testing at MyHeritageMyHeritage DNA offers a home-testing kit that is simple to use and affordable to the masses. The kit includes a cheek swab and there is no need for blood or saliva. The cheek swab sample is then mailed to the MyHeritage DNA lab. Once the results have been processed, the user is invited to view the results on the MyHeritage website.

According to MyHeritage DNA, test results take on average 3 to 4 weeks, compared to Ancestry sometimes taking between 6 to 8 weeks.

MyHeritage DNA kits are available for the limited time introductory price of $79, plus shipping and handling.

MyHeritage Cheat SheetYou may feel intimidated about starting your own family tree and navigating on MyHeritage. Genealogy Gems Editor, Sunny Morton, has authored MyHeritage.com Cheat SheetThis guide will help you use MyHeritage.com to its full potential! You’ll learn how to create a family website on MyHeritage, build your family tree, research records and other’s trees, get the most from the built in search tools, quickly navigate the website, and choose the best membership plan (free or paid) for your needs.

The MyHeritage Cheat Sheet is available in a 8.5 x 11 full-color physical guide that can be mailed to you, or as a digital download.

And, for a limited time, you can purchase the MyHeritage Cheat Sheets for 30% off using the code: SAVE30MH. (Offer ends November 30, 2016)

More on Using DNA for Genealogy

To learn even more about using DNA testing for genealogy, enjoy the collection of DNA guides by Diahan Southard. You might also check out our Premium Member video titled “Getting Started in Genetic Genealogy,” in which Diahan walks you through the answers to three important DNA questions. Watch the preview below. Not a Premium Member yet? Join today!

Family Maps and Migration Routes Traced with New Tech Tools

family maps and migration routes are easyFamily maps and migration routes can sometimes uncover new record finds and answer brick wall questions. It’s fast and simple to use these free tech tools to map your family’s history! I used them to track my ancestors as they trekked from the eastern seaboard to the Midwestern United States and found some fantastic leads!

There are two online treasures I have just discovered. FamilySearch and MyHeritage family trees can now be mapped with some neat interactive tools. MyHeritage just launched their PedigreeMap saying it is an “innovative way to view your family history,” and I think they are right. I have used migration maps to help me overcome brick walls and questions in my research for years. Using these free online tools have made it really fun and not difficult at all.

Creating Family Maps and Migration Routes at MyHeritage

PedigreeMap is free for all MyHeritage users. To access it, log on or create a MyHeritage account. If you are new to MyHeritage, you will be prompted to begin creating your free family tree when you click Sign up at the top right corner of their homepage.

Once you have created your family tree, find it by clicking Family Tree and choosing Manage trees from the pull-down menu.

family maps at myheritage

To use the PedigreeMap feature, choose your family tree from the list and then click on Apps and choose PedigreeMap from the pull-down menu.

FamilyMaps_2

You will be able to see a map of the entire world in which your ancestors lives are plotted. From my map below, I can see the large concentration in the eastern half of the United States, but also the location of my ancestors from Europe.

Not only are genealogical events like births, marriages, and deaths plotted on your map, but if you put in a location of a picture, it will plot that too. You will notice, on the left-hand side there is a list of all the places that appear in your family tree. The numbers on the list match up to the number of each place in your family tree.

FamilyMaps_3

You can zoom in or zoom out, but my favorite part is clicking a location in the list to the left. For example, if I click on Marion, Linn, another list pops up on the right. This list shows me what events took place in Marion, Linn County, Iowa.

FamilyMaps_4

Additionally, I can see major roads, rivers, and hills. I can even click on the satellite view to see the street where my great-grandparents were married!

There are many more wonderful tools on PedigreeMap that you will want to check out. To learn more about all the unique features, read their article here.

Creating Family Maps and Migration Routes with FamilySearch

RootsMapper has been around awhile and is an interactive mapping website that works with FamilySearch. As you know, FamilySearch allows users to create a family tree online and search all their records for free. Like PedigreeMap, you will need to create your free account and family tree at FamilySearch. Then, go to the FamilySearch Apps page and click on RootsMapper. Now, click Get Started.

Family maps at RootsMapper

When you are redirected to the RootsMapper homepage, click Login to begin mapping. You will use your FamilySearch username and password. By clicking Accept, you give permission for RootsMapper to use your FamilySearch tree data.

The interactive map has various features. I particularly like the lines showing both the migration of my paternal line and my maternal line.

FamilyMaps_6

Did you notice my paternal line goes right through modern day West Virginia? Several years ago, I had “lost” my Walls family line. By plotting their known whereabouts on a map and connecting the dots, I could see possible migration routes. In fact, during that time frame, they likely took nothing but trails into Monongalia, Virginia. I did a search for records along this path and was surprised to find my fifth great grandfather on a tax roll for Virginia in 1790!

You can play around with the settings and map just one generation, five generations, or even ten generations. The options allow for pins, migration lines, changing the root person you are charting and much, much more.

It really is amazing how innovative genealogy research is today. The Genealogy Gems team delights in sharing new tech tools and tips to help you in your genealogy goals. Why not try out one of these family map and migration route tools today and share with us your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

More Gems on Mapping and Migration Routesfamily maps and migration routes with old maps

Mapping U.S. Migration Patterns

5 Ways to Enhance Your Genealogy Research with Old Maps (Premium Member Video)

3 Sources for Historic Maps That May Surprise You

The Power and Preservation of Oral History

tribal quest oral historyHow can you preserve a family’s history when it exists only in the memories of tribal storytellers? Visit the tribe and capture its oral history, as MyHeritage is doing with its Tribal Quest initiative.

MyHeritage recently announced a new global initiative to record and preserve the family histories of tribal people living in remote locations around the world.

Their first project is in Namibia. Next they plan to move on to Papua New Guinea. Check it out in this brief video:

MyHeritage is even recruiting volunteers who want to travel to these places and help out. You can learn more at TribalQuest.org.

FamilySearch published an article a few years ago about similar work they’ve done in several African nations. “Most African tribes have a designated ‘storyteller’ who is responsible to memorize the tribe’s oral traditions, including names of ancestors going back six to thirty generations,” it says. “FamilySearch works with chiefs and local volunteers to visit these storytellers and record the information they have been charged to remember in their heads. Sometimes the interview is audio or video recorded.” FamilySearch enters what they learn into a GEDCOM (the universal family tree file format) and put it on FamilySearch.org for others to use.

How far have YOU gone to capture your family’s oral history? Probably not to a remote tribal home! Why not use the resources below to help you with your next oral history project?

More Oral History Gems

ancestors have so much to say oral historyRecord and Share Oral History with Free MyHeritage App

Easy Family History Writing Project: Publish a Q&A (Oral History)

Premium Podcast 134: Lisa’s Tips for Recording Oral History Interviews on Your Mobile Device (Genealogy Gems Premium website subscription required)

 

 

MyHeritage Book Matching: Automated Alerts for Ancestor Names

myheritage book matching iconA 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:myheritage book matching 2

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.

More Gems on Digital Books for Genealogy

Internet Archive homeGoogle Earth + Google Books: A Great Research Combination

2 Mysterious Deaths in the Family: Google Helps Find Answers

Free Video Tutorials for Internet Archive

MyHeritage Search Connect – A New Way to Meet Relatives

myheritage search connectMyHeritage.com has created a unique new database that allows you to find others who have searched for the same relatives you’re trying to find.

Genealogy companies are getting smarter about figuring out how to use the data that’s created when people use their sites. One example is the newest smart-searching feature from MyHeritage Search Connect ™.

For several years, MyHeritage has kept track of who is searching for what ancestors. Now MyHeritage has turned their enormous archive of this information into a searchable database, with 30 million entries focused specifically on rare surnames. The database will continue to be updated weekly.

Now when you search in MyHeritage, results from  Search Connect ™ will appear in your search results. Subscribers will be able to click on those results and connect with other MyHeritage users interested in that surname. According to a company press release, “As well as connect with other MyHeritage members, you can also view the full data of their search (such as dates, places, relatives and more), as well as similar searches they’ve made.” This can help you determine whether you are indeed searching the same branch of a family.

An initial search in MyHeritage Search Connect on a rare surname in my husband’s family–O’Hotnicky–brings up results that could keep me busy for a while! We’ve never connected with overseas relatives, and many of the results shown are for MyHeritage trees created by members outside the U.S. I was pleased to see that MyHeritage’s Global Name Translation tool (released earlier this year) translated the O’Hotnicky name correctly into Eastern European spellings.

PRIVACY TIP: If you’re a MyHeritage user, you can opt out of having your searches (past, present and future) included in the database. According to MyHeritage, “To do that, log into your family site and click on your name in the upper right-hand side of the screen. Select ‘My Privacy’. Click on ‘My member preferences’ on the left and uncheck ‘Enable Search Connect™’.”

We are pleased to partner with MyHeritage, a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast.

MyHeritage scandinavian-facebook-enMore on MyHeritage from Genealogy Gems

Millions of New Scandinavian Genealogy Records Online at MyHeritage

Send Family Birthdays and Events Right to Your Phone with MyHeritage 

MyHeritage App Ranks in Top 100–and Gets a Redesign

 

We Dig These Gems! New Genealogy Records Online

Every week we blog about new genealogy records online. Which ones might help you find your family history? With whom should you share this good news? New this week: electoral registers for England, Wales and Ireland; British Columbia marriages and deaths; WWI-era absent voter lists for England; Dutch Christian Reformed Church records (US); Iowa prison records and over 46 million Swedish household records!

We dig these gems

ENGLAND, WALES AND IRELAND ELECTORAL REGISTERS. A century’s worth of electoral registers for England and Wales (1832-1932) are now searchable for Findmypast subscribers, as are Irish registers for 1885-1886. According to a press release, the England and Wales database is the “largest single collection released on Findmypast to date with over 5.4 million images and approximately 220 million names.” These annual registers fill the gaps between censuses and can help you “discover where your family lived, when they could vote and details of the property your family owned in the 19th & 20th centuries.”

BRITAIN ABSENT VOTERS. The new Britain, Absent Voters Lists 1918-1921 at Findmypast “contains over 20,000 pages listing over 100,000 names of service men, women serving with the auxiliary forces, merchant seamen, diplomats and others…absent from their homes.” Because of the timing of the lists, they include “men who were killed, missing or taken prisoner in the period of time between the compiling of lists and the publication of the register. Records can reveal your ancestors name, a description of their service and their qualifying premises, allowing you to uncover details of the home they left behind and the part they played in one of history’s bloodiest conflicts.”

BRITISH COLUMBIA VITAL RECORDS. FamilySearch has updated its free collections of marriage and death records for British Columbia. Over 300,000 additional deaths are reported for 1872-1932 and 1937. Over 18,000 marriages have been added for the years 1859-1932 and 1937.

DUTCH CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH RECORDS. Vital and membership records ((1856-1970) of the Dutch Christian Reformed Church are now searchable on Ancestry. This church split from the historic Dutch Reformed Church in 1858 in Michigan. Vital records include baptisms, marriages and deaths, and often include dates, places and the names and relationships of family members. Membership records include registers of entire families; information about transfers (moves) to different congregations, addresses, birth and baptismal dates.

IOWA CONVICTS. Convict registers from three Iowa state penitentiaries (1867-1970) are now on Ancestry: the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison, established in 1839; the Anamosa State Penitentiary in Anamosa; and the Iowa State Reformatory for Women in Rockwell City.

SWEDISH HOUSEHOLD RECORDS. Over 46 million household records dating 1880-1920 are now searchable at MyHeritage. According to the collection description, “The Household Examination Books are the primary source for researching the lives of individuals and families throughout the Parishes of Sweden, from the late 1600’s until modern times. The books were created and kept by the Swedish Lutheran Church which was tasked with keeping the official records of the Swedish population until 1991.”

share celebrate balloonsThank you for sharing this list of great new resources with your genealogy buddies and for posting them on your society pages. Let’s spread the news!

 

Language Translation Tool for Genealogy: MyHeritage’s New Global Name Translation

MyHeritage Global_Name_Translation_PR_imageAt some point in the past, many of our relatives–overseas or in the same land–spoke a different language. They used different versions of names we know. Records about their lives were created in a language we don’t know, whether their home tongue or the language of an institution, like church records in Latin.

Well, MyHeritage has just launched a groundbreaking new technology today that aims to remove language barriers in family history research. “Global Name Translation™ helps overcome the Tower of Babel syndrome,” says Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “The world is getting smaller and more connected, yet information from other countries is still mostly hidden from those who don’t speak the language.

Now you can now search for historical records at MyHeritage “in one language and receive relevant results from other languages, automatically translated for you into the language of your search,” explains Japhet. Alex is Aleksi MyHeritage name translationFor example? “A search for Alessandro (Alexander in Italian) will also find ‘Саша’ (which is the Russian form of Sasha, a popular nickname of Alexander in Russia) with its corresponding transliteration into the language of your search.”

This technology is also integrated into MyHeritage matching technologies, so subscribers will begin receiving transliterated matches from other languages.

According to a press release, Global Name Translation™ works with “very high accuracy, generating all the plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search in one language will also provide results in other languages, translated back to the user’s language for convenience. This is a unique innovation not offered elsewhere, useful for anyone interested in discovering their global roots.”

The first version works with several languages: English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian. “The next version currently in development will add Chinese and Japanese, and additional languages will follow.”

MyHeritageClick here to learn more reasons we love MyHeritage, which is a sponsor of the free Genealogy Gems podcast, or click here to explore MyHeritage yourself. If you are looking for a language translation tool for genealogy outside of MyHeritage, check out the chapter on Google Translate in the fully-revised and updated second edition of The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox by Lisa Louise Cooke.

MyHeritage Shares Holocaust Survivor Story with Descendants

MyHeritage Jewish holocaust survivor

About a year ago, Greek-American family historian and Emmy award-winning writing, producer and author Yvette Manessis Corporon published When the Cypress Whispers: A Novel, a novel based on true stories gathered from her grandmother. Among the anecdotes was a decades-old secret from the Greek island of Erikoussa: that the entire island joined together to save a Jewish tailor and his family from the Nazis.

It’s a heroic and dangerous story of Holocaust survivors. When the Nazis arrived in Corfu, they killed most of the Jewish residents. One family escaped to Erikoussa: a man named Savas and his wife and three daughters.

“Yvette’s grandmother was one of those Islanders,” says Daniel Horowitz, Chief Genealogist at MyHeritage. “She was good friends with one of the girls and so Yvette turned to MyHeritage to ask if we could help find the family. We did, and an emotional (although virtual) reunion took place between Yvette, and Rosa’s sons.” Apparently the story did not get passed down through Savas’ family. They were stunned to learn about their family’s experience on the island, many years after their relatives had left it for Israel and other parts of the world.

Below, watch an Israeli newscast on the story (with English subtitles), or click here to read a news story about it (in English). Click here to learn why we here at Genealogy Gems partner with MyHeritage, a leading international resource for family history trees and records

Genealogy Gems Book Club Genealogy Family HistoryAre you an avid reader? Check out the Genealogy Gems Book Club, which features great reads (fiction and nonfiction) for those who love history and family themes. (P.S., if you ever purchase a book we recommend, we appreciate you using our links! Your purchases keep the free Genealogy Gems podcast FREE.)