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My New Journey with MyHeritage, PLUS a new webinar on their new Book Matching

My explorations into the MyHeritage.com genealogy site have just begun, and after the discoveries it made in my tree today, I anticipate MyHeritage will soon become one of my top go-to resources.

I've heard of MyHeritage, have consistently seen it appear in the annual rankings as one of the top genealogy websites, and have seen their large presence at major genealogy conferences. But it wasn't until our recent webinar with MyHeritage's Mike Mansfield that I began to see that it deserves more of my attention. In "7 Unique Technologies for Genealogy Discoveries at MyHeritage" Mike showed off some really cool technology and the genealogy challenges they solve.

This week, for the first time, I uploaded a small part of my tree and nearly immediately began to experience two of these technologies: Smart Matching and Record Matching. And just this morning I made another big discovery thanks to their newest innovation - Book Matching.

First, the smart matching and record matches. At www.MyHeritage.com, I clicked on the GEDCOM option in the Family Tree menu.

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It then imported the small GEDCOM file I created from my Legacy family file. (In Legacy, go to File > Export > GEDCOM.) I imported four generations of ancestors beginning with my great-grandfather, Kenneth BROWN. A few minutes later I received this email, notifying me that my tree is now ready to view:

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Sure enough it was. I've zoomed out here to show you the entire tree, plus I added my grandmother, mother, and myself so I would also be linked.

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Less than two hours later I received the next email with this subject line:

Geoff Rasmussen, you've got Record Matches!

Cool! And while the most of the initial record matches were census records I had already located elsewhere, it did have a few nuggets like a tombstone image and a newspaper article I didn't previously have.

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The next day I received an email notifying me of my first set of Smart Matches.

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These are potential matches in other researchers' trees that appear to overlap someone in my tree. In the olden days of Internet genealogy, we had to seek out our relatives and living cousins - now they get emailed to me while I'm sleeping. :) Today, just three days after importing my tree, I now have 2,470 smart matches and 159 record matches to review. All this from my tree of just 159 individuals.

Book Matching

But it's what showed up as a record match for my Hezekiah Bond this morning that I'm really excited about! 

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This didn't take me to a list of hundreds of books with the names Hezekiah and Bond on the same page. Rather, it located the one book with my Hezekiah Bond.

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My previous experience with searching for my ancestors in digital books has usually returned hundreds, if not thousands, of results, and most of the time the books do have a Hezekiah and a Bond on the same page, or if the two names were back-to-back, they don't usually refer to the right guy. This is what makes MyHeritage's new Book Matching technology so unique. In fact, MyHeritage described Book Matching as this:

"...perhaps our best technology yet."

Further, they explained,

"Book Matching automatically researches individuals found in family trees on MyHeritage in our vast collection of digitized historical books. Unique to MyHeritage, the innovative new technology uses semantic analysis to understand every sentence in every page in the digitized books, in order to find matches with very high accuracy. Book Matching has already produced over 80 million new matches for our users! Every match is a paragraph from a book specifically about the person in the family tree, providing direct access to that paragraph and the ability to browse through the rest of the book.

MyHeritage located the right Hezekiah Bond married to my 4th great-grandaunt, Ann Hough in the book Bond Genealogy: A History of the Descendants of Joseph Bond, told of his service in the Civil War, and gave me the names of two children I had previously overlooked:

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New Webinar

So...what do I usually do when I get really excited about something? I turn it into a webinar. I've invited Mike Mansfield of MyHeritage to demonstrate their new Book Matching technology to a live webinar audience. Mark your calendar for Friday, April 29, 2016 at 2pm eastern U.S. time for the free class.

Registerbut 

My first experience with using MyHeritage certainly won't be my last. And while I'll continue to keep my main tree in my Legacy Family Tree software, I'm happy to have discovered this new tool for my genealogy toolbox.

Comments

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If you imported your whole tree, you would get many more Record Matches and Smart Matches. I've been trying to catch up with all of mine for four years now. With a 40,000 person tree, I have about 99,000 Record Matches, including newspapers and book matches. The technology is amazing. I prefer the listing by database rather than by person - it's easier to source records one source at a time.

I was able to find 5-8 generations back in Portugal. A serious breakthrough! Looking forward to the seminar and hoping life doesn't get in the way!

Geoff, How would you compare your experiences so far with Ancestry.com? It sounds somewhat better, but with limited budget for Genealogy, I'd like a bit more info before jumping on the wagon.

I"ve just signed up for MyHeritage and as in the beginning stages of learning how to use it. Without uploading a GEDCOM I've already found newspaper articles about one of my relatives who lived in another province.

I'd love to view the webinar but will be at work at the time shown. Will this webinar be available at another time?

Lynn

The death date shown for Hezekiah Bond seems to be incorrect.

Salisbury Prison was evacuated in Feb 1865 ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salisbury_Prison ...

The Civil War ended in Apr 1865.

I started a family site on My Heritage several years ago, which I let lapse because of the cost. Facing choices on a fixed budget, I opted for Ancestry. I didn't delete my tree, and I still get notifications concerning Smart Matches. Many mention newspapers or books which I can find online through other sites I am a member of, or via my library. After reading your comments, Geoff, I checked back on my site that's on My Heritage, just to see what renewing my subscription would cost. And I decided less than two minutes later, when I received a phone call from a rep at My Heritage, that they don't stand a chance of seeing me renew. I don't like pushy people or pushy businesses, and I won't do business with them. Every single time in the last few years, since my subscription lapsed, I have had the same experience - within a couple of minutes of browsing the site, they call me. Nope, not happening. If I were in a store and a clerk glommed on to me and followed me around, I'd be out the door. And I am.

Sonji - I've found that different sites have access to different records. My practice is to add my data to various sites - FamilySearch, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, etc. Each have their strengths and weaknesses.

Lynn - the webinar's recording will be available in the Webinar Library at www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com shortly after the live broadcast.

Well Geoff, it took me just 10 minutes on Google to find all that information and more about your Hezekiah Bond, including that same book, and his findagrave, and his military service, and his letter home, and what he died of, and his photo, and about his children. So, if that is the best a paid MyHeritage subscription could do for you, that you could well have bettered yourself for free ... well, enough said!

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