To Be Broadcast Online - MyHeritage's One-Day Genealogy Seminar October 29 in Israel


MyHeritage is proud to announce its first One-Day Genealogy Seminar, to be held on October 29, 2017 from 7am to 3pm EST. It will feature the participation of experts in the fields of DNA, Jewish genealogy, general research techniques, and technology trends for genealogy. The lectures will be broadcast from the MyHeritage headquarters in Israel. The public is invited to join the lectures via Legacy Family Tree Webinars from anywhere in the world for FREE. Later, the recordings will be available to view for free on demand. To register, click here.

Times, topics, and speakers:

7:00AM Eastern - "Filling in the In-Between of the Jewish BMD" by Rose Feldman

8:00AM Eastern - "Jewish Family Research Challenges" by Garri Regev

9:15AM Eastern - "Introduction to the Use of Autosomal DNA Testing" by Tim Janzen

10:15AM Eastern - "Google for Genealogy: Search Tricks to Tease Out Information" by Jessica Taylor

11:15AM Eastern - "Discover Your Family History with MyHeritage's Unique Technologiesby Daniel Horowitz

12:30PM Eastern - "How to Pass Your Ancestors' Legacy to Your Grandchildren" by Jessica Taylor

1:30PM Eastern - "Advanced Autosomal DNA Techniques used in Genetic Genealogy" by Tim Janzen


Register for the Online Broadcasts

All seven classes will be broadcast online by Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Visit to sign up individually (free), or click here to sign up for multiple classes at once.


Legacy and MyHeritage: More FAQs answered

Below are more answers to questions you have asked us over the past several days regarding the Legacy-MyHeritage acquisition.

More Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Will Legacy continue to be stand-alone, offline software?

A. Absolutely! Legacy will always remain as it is. Legacy users can count on using Legacy in the future exactly as they have been using it for the past 20 years, on their personal computer, disconnected from the Internet, with the tree data stored only on their computer. When Tree Sync becomes available in the future, it will be completely optional, and under no circumstance will anyone's tree by synced online unless that is the express desire of the user.

Q. Will I have to have a MyHeritage membership to continue using my Legacy software?

A. Nope. The acquisition leaves Legacy independent. A subscription to MyHeritage is not and will never be required to use Legacy. You can use Legacy forever without any ties to MyHeritage. Legacy does have matching with MyHeritage and other sites, but your tree is not nor will it ever be transferred to these services through this matching feature. The matching exists to help find matching records.

Q. I've backed up my Legacy file to the Legacy Cloud. Will my backup remain mine or will it be shared with new ownership?

A. Backing up your tree to the Legacy Cloud stores a private backup copy of your Legacy family file on our secure servers. Nobody will ever have access to these family files. They are yours.

Q. What about Legacy for the Mac?

A. This is now our number one priority. Now that our team members at MyHeritage will be taking over our accounting, taxes, and other busy work, we can get back to completing the Mac project.

Q. I have a current annual webinar membership. Can I extend my membership with the current half-off offer?

A. Yes! Visit and add the yearly membership to your cart. Make sure you are logged in at checkout. The purchase at the sale price will extend your membership by another year. Don't wait though - the sale ends Sunday evening, August 13 (Geoff's birthday!!).

Q. Will you please convince MyHeritage to use maiden names in their trees instead of the person's married name?

A. This option is already available. In the Family Tree view at, click on the options button in the upper right (looks like a small gears icon). In the Name Preferences section, select Maiden name. Done!

Q. Where can I learn more about MyHeritage?

A. We've done a few webinars with MyHeritage. They are free to view at  You could also visit their site at

Many more frequently asked questions are listed in our original announcement. If you missed it, click here for all the details and scroll down to the FAQ section.

More thoughts from Geoff

Originally posted in our Legacy User Group on Facebook:

It's certainly been an eventful day today. In a few minutes, I will go finally eat some lunch. I've learned much from your comments today and would like to conclude my day with a few additional of my own.

Naturally, change brings uncertainty. Past experiences, negative or positive, shape our feelings of the unexpected and the unknown. I have personally felt a roller coaster of feelings as, although I like innovation and new ideas, I'm also most comfortable with no change.

Some have stated that our decision to partner/be acquired by MyHeritage must be about the money. Yes, it is - your money in fact. I don't want a single person putting any money or time into our software if we knew that it wouldn't be able to be with you for a very long time. I've put my last 20 years into Legacy, not just developing it to have a job but because I use it and love it, and sincerely depend on it. I would never be on board with an acquisition like this unless I was sure of many things. True, we can't ever be 100% sure of anything, but we've invested everything into ensuring that this move is in the best interest of you, our loyal customers. I'm a customer too.

This next paragraph is going to get very personal, so maybe skip over it. I personally believe that I can receive answers to my prayers, and this decision of ours has been one that each of us - Dave, Ken, and myself, have spent many hours on our knees seeking divine guidance. The answer to my personal prayer came as I sat in an empty ballroom at RootsTech earlier this year. The answer was one of complete peace about this decision and the future of both our Legacy software and our customers. If ever I question whether this was good, I can easily recall the feelings I had that day.

Geoff's feelings aren't going to persuade anyone to love something they already dislike. I will never like squash. I've tried to like it, but have concluded that it won't be for me - ever. MyHeritage may never be for some of you, and that's fine. You might consider giving it a second chance every now and then, yet nothing in our announcements or our future plans have or will infer that you will be forced to use it. Legacy will continue, and only because we have partnered with MyHeritage do I believe it will continue to flourish. We had to announce the acquisition to be transparent with everyone, but even if we hadn't, I believe you would begin to notice significant developments and unexpected longevity with both our software and our webinar series - solely because now we can spend more of our time working on Legacy and none of our time doing all the small business tasks of accounting, taxes, and on and on. Now we'll be able to do what we love the most.

We know that we would be nowhere without each and every one of you. We'll sadly accept that some feel betrayed by this acquisition and will always continue to wish you the best. We are optimistic about the future and cannot wait to begin this new journey with I hope most of you.

Great, now I'm smelling dinner cooking. I'll sign off now for the evening, but look forward to a future of finding lots and lots of ancestors with all of you!

Geoff Rasmussen

Legacy Family Tree has a new home with MyHeritage


Pressing the “Publish” button for this blog post was one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking, and exhilarating things I’ve ever done and is indeed the biggest step forward we’ve ever made with our company. You read the title correctly – we have merged with MyHeritage.

While Legacy has a new home – everything is staying the same…just better. In our new home the walls are whiter, the ceilings are taller, and the views are greater. Putting aside the analogies, our Legacy software and webinar series will continue just as they always have. But from this point forward, we now have access to the manpower, financial resources, and a customer base of more than 91 million users. We now have everything we need to ensure that Legacy and our webinars will continue to flourish in the years ahead.

Below you will find the official announcement plus answers to questions we thought you would have.


Dear Legacy user,

We are proud to share with you the biggest step forward we have ever made with our Legacy Family Tree software and our webinar series. We have entered into an acquisition agreement with MyHeritage, a leading global destination for family history and DNA with 91 million users in 196 countries. The acquisition will provide the resources and cutting edge technologies to advance and expand both our #1 rated software and our #1 rated webinar series. Think Legacy is good now? Watch out future – here we come!

How will all this affect you? Entirely positively. Here’s a flavor of what you can expect in the future:

  • A host of new features in Legacy software – we will be developing future versions of Legacy together. We have already started working on the new Tree Sync feature (to optionally have your Legacy file in a private or collaborative tree at MyHeritage)
  • Improved webinar platform to surpass the 1,000-virtual seat limitation we currently have
  • Significant discounts on MyHeritage services and DNA kits for Legacy users and webinar viewers not available anywhere else
  • Most importantly, you can expect the same high-quality support and service that you have come to expect from us. The entire Legacy and webinar teams will continue on at MyHeritage in our existing roles.

“The more I’ve learned about and experimented with MyHeritage, the more I have felt we need to partner together,” said Geoff Rasmussen, founder of the webinar series and “the face” of Legacy Family Tree software. “The technology behind their online trees and historical records is incredible – second to none. MyHeritage has positioned itself to become the leader of the future of the genealogy industry and we can be a part of it. It’s the perfect match – our software and webinars combined with their resources, technologies, and international reach will help both of us accomplish our mission – to help the world find their ancestors.”

Just as we are excited to contribute to the success of our new owners at MyHeritage, they, too, are anxious to elevate our Legacy software and webinar series to levels that have been beyond our reach.

To celebrate the acquisition, we are offering a limited time, never-offered-before discount on Legacy 9 software and annual webinar memberships. Through Sunday, August 13 (Geoff’s birthday), take 50% off:

Legacy 9 software – from $34.95  $17.48

1 year webinar membership (or extension) – $49.95  $24.98

Click here to get Legacy software or webinar membership at 50% off.

Thank you all for your continuing support as we enter this exciting new chapter in the Millennia story.

Best regards,

Dave, Ken, Geoff, and everyone at the Legacy Family Tree / Millennia team


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is this a friendly or hostile acquisition?

A. Friendly, in every way. Both parties were keen on doing it and consider it a great combination. MyHeritage is interested in expanding its services to the Legacy users; and after operating independently for 20 years, Legacy is interested in the stability, financial security, and expanded technical resources that MyHeritage provides.

Q. Why did Legacy sell to MyHeritage and not to someone else?

A. The Legacy founders Dave, Ken and Geoff saw MyHeritage as a perfect fit, a company that shares their vision and care for genealogy. Another potential buyer,, shut down their Family Tree Maker product, later found a buyer for it in Ukraine, and then sold it off. We wanted to ensure that our future partner had as much care for our software and our customers as we do. MyHeritage believes that genealogists deserve to be cared for and continues to maintain and improve its own desktop software, Family Tree Builder. They were the best fit.

Q. What happens with the Legacy Family Tree team after this acquisition?

A. MyHeritage is retaining the entire Legacy team and giving them better terms so they could focus on improving Legacy. No more accounting and payroll for Dave! No more server maintenance headaches for Ken! They can now concentrate fully on improving Legacy without the countless distractions a small business has to cope with. Just like Geni -- MyHeritage acquired Geni 5 years ago, and many of the original Geni team members are still on board today and have been happily improving Geni ever since.

Q. Is MyHeritage acquiring Legacy Family Tree in order to kill it?

A. No. Legacy Family Tree will continue and is already planning together with MyHeritage the next version, Legacy 10.

Q. What will Legacy version 10 include?

A. It's still being planned but one of the contemplated features will be a tool to optionally to sync trees with a private or collaborative tree using the MyHeritage tree platform.

Q. Will Legacy version 10 support Unicode?A. Sadly, no. That would require a complete rewrite of the Legacy software from scratch and such a rewrite is not planned. Version 10 will include improvements and features requested by users, not inside-out changes.

Q. Will Legacy users enjoy any benefits from this acquisition?

A. Yes! Legacy users will receive discounts on MyHeritage DNA and MyHeritage subscriptions not available to anyone else, and which have never offered before – anywhere. These will be announced separately next week. Additionally, Legacy is celebrating the news by offering discounts on Legacy 9 to everyone, starting today.

Q. What will happen to the Legacy webinars after the acquisition?

A. MyHeritage is planning to improve the webinars. For starters, deploy improved infrastructure that allows more concurrent users. MyHeritage will promote the webinars to its own users and increase their audience, and will have more resources to bring on speakers, who will receive more exposure thanks to the increased audience, and higher royalty rates. The webinars will remain as Legacy webinars, managed by Geoff. They will not become a voice of MyHeritage. Although they are expected to include more content about MyHeritage than before, the webinars will continue to include a wide range of topics of interest to genealogists.

Q. Is MyHeritage changing things around at Legacy?

A. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. This is MyHeritage's approach with Legacy. Minimum changes. MyHeritage did ask Legacy though to stop selling external products unrelated to genealogy such as magnabrite readers, to improve focus.

Q. Will Legacy continue to participate in genealogy shows/seminars?

A. Yes.

Q. Will Legacy operate the cruise promised for 2017?

A. Yes.

Q. I have another question not listed here. Where can I ask it?

A. We'll host a webinar about the acquisition in a few more weeks, and anyone is welcome to join, ask any question and get candid answers.

Hands-On with Legacy Hints: Using MyHeritage Record Matches and Smart Matches


The recording of today's webinar, "Hands-On with Legacy Hints: Using MyHeritage Record Matches and Smart Matches" by Geoff Rasmussen and Mike Mansfield is now available to view at for free for a limited time.

Webinar Description

Legacy Family Tree 9 sifts through billions of records from the key websites to bring you relevant and promising matches for your ancestors. In this webinar, Legacy’s Geoff Rasmussen will review – LIVE! – some of the Legacy Hints that are waiting for him in his personal family file. This time, he will explore possible Record Matches and Smart Matches that has discovered for him.

On hand to walk Geoff through his results will be MyHeritage’s Director of Content Operations, Mike Mansfield. He will also give an insider’s perspective into the technology that makes MyHeritage’s Smart Matching and Record Matching so effective.

View the Recording at FamilyTree

If you could not make it to the live event or just want to watch it again, the 1 hour 43 minute recording of "Hands-On with Legacy Hints: Using MyHeritage Record Matches and Smart Matches" is now available to view in our webinar library for free. Or watch it at your convenience with an annual or monthly webinar membership

Webinar Memberships/Subscriptions

Webinar Members get:

  • On-demand access to the entire webinar archives (now 513 classes, 717 hours of genealogy education)
  • On-demand access to the instructor handouts (now 2,415 pages)
  • On-demand access to the live webinars' chat logs
  • 5% off all products at (must be logged in at checkout)
  • Access to all future recordings for the duration of their membership
  • Chance for a members-only door prize during each live webinar
  • Access to register for bonus members-only webinars
  • Ability to view which webinars you are registered for
  • Use of the playlist, resume watching, and jump-to features

Introductory pricing:

  • Annual membership: $49.95/year
  • Monthly membership: $9.95/month

Click here to subscribe.

Register for our upcoming webinars (free)

  • Remember Me: Lifestreaming and the Modern Genealogist by Thomas MacEntee. May 17.
  • WikiTree: Free for All without a Free-for-All by Eowyn Langholf. May 24.
  • The Great War: Researching Your World War I Ancestors by Michael L. Strauss, AG. May 31.
  • Researching Your Minnesota Ancestors by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. June 7.
  • How Harry Potter Can Teach You About DNA by Blaine Bettinger. June 14.
  • What Now? Your Next Steps with Autosomal DNA Testing by Diahan Southard. June 16.
  • Beating the Bushes: Using the GPS to Find Jacob Bush's Father by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. June 20.
  • Virtual Family Reunions: Super Easy, Super Fun by Pat Richley and Russ Worthington. June 21.
  • Canada's Top 10 by Kathryn Lake Hogan. June 28.
  • Censational Census Strategies by Mary Kircher Roddy. July 5.
  • Google Books: the tool you should use every day! by Lisa Louise Cooke. July 12.
  • Tips for Snapping Pics: How to Take Perfect Family Photographs by Jared Hodges. July 14.
  • Analyzing Documents Sparks Ideas for Further Research by Angela Packer McGhie, CG. July 18.
  • The Firelands, The Connecticut Western Reserve, and the Ohio Territory by Peggy Clemens Lauritzen, AG. July 19.
  • Family History Adhesive: The Science of Why History Binds Families and the Simple Tech of How to Do It by Janet Hovorka. July 26.
  • Tracing Your West Country Ancestors by Kirsty Gray. August 2.
  • A Taxing Matter: Using Tax Lists in Genealogy by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. August 9.
  • Using Pictures with Legacy Family Tree by Geoff Rasmussen. August 11.
  • Analyzing Probate Records of Slaveholders to Identify Enslaved Ancestors by LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG. August 15.
  • Finding Your Ancestors in German Directories by Ursula C. Krause. August 16.
  • How to do Mexican Research and Be Successful by Jonathan Walker. August 23.
  • Getting Started with Evidentia by Edward A. Thompson. August 30.
  • Top Tech Tips for the Technologist and the Genealogist by Geoff Rasmussen. September 6.
  • Finding Isaac Rogers by Nicka Smith. September 13.
  • The ABCs and 123s of Researching Your Ancestor's School Records by Melissa Barker. September 15.
  • When Does Newfound Evidence Overturn a Proved Conclusion? by Tom Jones, Ph.D, CG, CGL. September 19.
  • WolframAlpha for Genealogists by Thomas MacEntee. September 20.
  • Quick Guide to Texas Research by Deena Coutant. September 27.
  • No Easy Button: Using “Immersion Genealogy” to Understand Your Ancestors by Lisa Alzo. October 4.
  • Southern States Migration Patterns by Mary Hill, AG. October 11.
  • Is Your Society Growing? Social Media may be your saving grace by Pat Richley. October 13.
  • Databases, Search Engines, and the Genealogical Proof Standard by David Ouimette, CG. October 17.
  • The WPA: Sources for Your Genealogy by Gena Philibert-Ortega. October 18.
  • Midwestern & Plains States Level Census Records by Paula Stuart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA. October 25.
  • Is this the End? Taking Your German Brick Walls Down Piece by Piece by Luana Darby and Ursula C. Krause. November 1.
  • New York City Genealogical Research: Navigating Through The Five Boroughs by Michael L. Strauss, AG. November 8.
  • Using Non-Population Schedules for Context and Evidence by Jill Morelli. November 10.
  • British and Irish research: the differences by Brian Donovan. November 15.
  • Research in Federal Records: Some Assembly Required by Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG. November 21.
  • Understanding Alabama by Rorey Cathcart. November 29.
  • Finding Your Roots in Catholic Records by Lisa Toth Salinas. December 6.
  • I Thought He Was My Ancestor: Avoiding the Six Biggest Genealogy Mistakes by James M. Baker, PhD, CG. December 13.
  • Finding Your Nordic Parish of Birth by Jill Morelli. December 15.
  • The Law and the Reasonably Exhaustive (Re)Search by Judy G. Russell, JD, CG, CGL. December 19.
  • Palmetto Pride - South Carolina for Genealogist by Rorey Cathcart. December 20.
  • Problems and Pitfalls of a Reasonably Shallow Search by Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL. December 27.

Print the 2017 webinar brochure here.

See you online!

Register for Webinar Thursday - Hands-On with Legacy Hints: Using MyHeritage Record Matches and Smart Matches by Geoff Rasmussen and Mike Mansfield


Legacy Family Tree 9 sifts through billions of records from the key websites to bring you relevant and promising matches for your ancestors. In this webinar, Legacy’s Geoff Rasmussen will review – LIVE! – some of the Legacy Hints that are waiting for him in his personal family file. This time, he will explore possible Record Matches and Smart Matches that has discovered for him.

On hand to walk Geoff through his results will be MyHeritage’s Director of Content Operations, Mike Mansfield. He will also give an insider’s perspective into the technology that makes MyHeritage’s Smart Matching and Record Matching so effective.

Join us, Geoff Rasmussen, and Mike Mansfield for the live webinar Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 2pm Eastern U.S. Register today to reserve your virtual seat. Registration is free but space is limited to the first 1,000 people to join that day. Before joining, please visit to ensure you have the latest version of Java which our webinar software requires. When you join, if you receive a message that the webinar is full, you know we've reached the 1,000 limit, so we invite you to view the recording which should be published to the webinar archives within an hour or two of the event's conclusion.


Or register for multiple webinars at once by clicking here.

Not sure if you already registered?

Login to view your registration status for this webinar (available for annual or monthly webinar subscribers).

Test Your Webinar Connection

To ensure that your webinar connection is ready to go, click here.

Can't make it to the live event?

No worries. Its recording will be available for a limited time. Webinar Subscribers have unlimited access to all webinar recordings for the duration of their membership.

About the presenters

GeoffRasmussen-144x144Geoffrey D. Rasmussen is the father of four budding genealogists. He graduated with a degree in Genealogy and Family History from Brigham Young University and has served as director and vice-president of the Utah Genealogical Association. He is a dynamic genealogy speaker on all forms of genealogy technology, and as host of the Legacy Family Tree webinar series, has spoken virtually to nearly 100 different countries. He has authored books, videos, articles, and websites, and develops the Legacy Family Tree software program. On a personal note, Geoff enjoys playing the piano, organ, cello, basketball and bowling. His favorite places are cemeteries, the ocean, and hanging out with other genealogists. He met and proposed to his wife in a Family History Center. He is the author of the recently-released, Kindred Voices: Listening for our Ancestors, and the popular books Legacy Family Tree, Unlocked! and Digital Imaging Essentials.

Mike Mansfield is Director of Content Operations at MyHeritage since 2013. In this role he is responsible for defining the company's strategy for growing its collection of 6.3 billion historical records, and supervising all operations of content acquisition. Previously, Mike held a Senior Product Manager role at FamilySearch. Mike's professional career has been heavily focused in electronic publishing, search and retrieval, and content acquisition and strategy. After completing his B.S. in Computer Science at Brigham Young University in 1994 he worked for Folio Corporation, a Provo, Utah based technology company which developed cutting edge CD- ROM publication and search technology. Mike joined Ancestry in 1999 and held key rolls in its development of the search engine and publication platform still in use today. As the Senior Director of Search and Content he led the team that created the record Hinting system which helped to revolutionize the way in which users interact with online genealogical records. Mike continued to develop his expertise in his roles in FamilySearch and MyHeritage.

Add it to your Google Calendar

With our Google Calendar button, you will never forget our upcoming webinars. Simply click the button to add it to your calendar. You can then optionally embed the webinar events (and even turn them on and off) into your own personal calendar. If you have already added the calendar, you do not have to do it again - the new webinar events will automatically appear.

Webinar time

The webinar will be live on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at:

  • 2pm Eastern (U.S.)
  • 1pm Central
  • 12pm Mountain
  • 11am Pacific

Or use this Time Zone Converter.

Here's how to attend:

  1. Register at today. It's free!
  2. You will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the webinar.
  3. You will receive a reminder email both 1 day and 1 hour prior to the live webinar.
  4. Calculate your time zone by clicking here.
  5. Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed on your computer. Check at
  6. Check your GoToWebinar connection here.
  7. Click on the webinar link (found in confirmation and reminder emails) prior to the start of the webinar. Arrive early as the room size is limited to the first 1,000 arrivals that day.
  8. Listen via headset (USB headsets work best), your computer speakers, or by phone.

We look forward to seeing you all there!

Geoff's MyHeritage experiment post #3 - Smart Matching part #2

My personal in-depth exploration into the site has taken a new twist. With Legacy 9's new Legacy Hints, I can now receive Smart Matches to other MyHeritage trees right from within Legacy. If you've missed the previous posts, here they are:

The more I learn about the technology behind MyHeritage, the more enthusiastic I have become about trying it out. Most recently, I have been checking out the hints in the new Legacy 9. Notice below, Joshua Brown's new Hint icon shows the number 9+ indicating that there are at least ten newly-found hints waiting for me to check.


Clicking on the icon brings up the Hint Results screen, which in this case, shows that of the four major sites (MyHeritage, FamilySearch, FindMyPast, and GenealogyBank) only MyHeritage found something. Not only did it find something, it found 29 somethings!


Clicking on it opened the Matches screen at MyHeritage. While I'm curious to see what others have published about my Joshua Brown, I was surprised to see that the first Smart Match came from the Rasmussen Web Site - that's MY tree!


In my first post I showed how I uploaded the tree from my Legacy software to MyHeritage. I guess it makes perfect sense that Legacy would find my tree and thus provide me with a Smart Match in Legacy Hints. But...I probably don't really need that clue, do I?

So...knowing how responsive MyHeritage has been with my past emails to them, I thought I would send in a suggestion. Thinking there was no way to turn off smart matching to my own tree, I recommended that they consider an option to prevent this from happening. Less than three hours later I received a response telling me this could already be done. I'm liking them more and more....

If you have your tree at MyHeritage too, and want to avoid Smart Matches to your own tree from within Legacy, follow these steps:

  1. Login to your account at and navigate to My Privacy in the pull-down menu of your account that appears in the top right corner of any page.
  2. Your family sites will be listed on the left. Click Content below the relevant site.
  3. Turn off the checkbox labeled Enable Smart Matching with other MyHeritage websites and partners and click Save at the bottom of the page.


Then I went back to Legacy, and clicked on the Refresh icon on Joshua's Hint Results screen and waited about a minute.


After closing the screen and reopening, it now showed just 28 possible matches! My site was now removed from the results. Well done MyHeritage!


Now I'm looking forward to reviewing the remaining 28 Smart Matches. 

New Webinar

I'm also looking forward to seeing if there's even more that I might be overlooking. I've invited MyHeritage to join me for a live webinar next Thursday, May 18 to explain the behind-the-scenes of their technology and how it interacts with Legacy. Here's its description:

Legacy Family Tree 9 sifts through billions of records from the key websites to bring you relevant and promising matches for your ancestors. In this webinar, Legacy’s Geoff Rasmussen will review – LIVE! – some of the Legacy Hints that are waiting for him in his personal family file. This time, he will explore possible Record Matches and Smart Matches that has discovered for him.

On hand to walk Geoff through his results will be MyHeritage’s Director of Content Operations, Mike Mansfield. He will also give an insider’s perspective into the technology that makes MyHeritage’s Smart Matching and Record Matching so effective.

Click here to register (free).

Introducing MyHeritage DNA - free webinar now online

While MyHeritage DNA may be the newest player in the genetic genealogy community, they have made a strong case for using their DNA services. I met up with their Director of DNA, Yoav Naveh and Product Manager, Dana Drutman this past week and recorded a webinar, "Introducing MyHeritage DNA" which is now available for free in the webinar library here.

The webinar includes:

  • An overview of MyHeritage DNA
  • A background to DNA,
  • How to take the MyHeritage DNA test (or upload raw DNA files),
  • Understanding your ethnicity breakdown results,
  • Understanding your DNA matches
  • The Future

Large international audience

The DNA results they present are similar to other testing companies - they present you with your ethnicity results and your DNA matches. What separates them from others is their large international customer base and their cross vendor matching. If their claims of having the largest international audience are true (and from what I know I have no reason to doubt this), there is a good chance that I will find new DNA cousins who still reside in the countries from where my ancestors left.

Cross vendor matching

MyHeritage DNA also permits the importing of raw DNA data from other providers (FamilyTreeDNA, 23andMe, AncestryDNAtm), meaning, if you have already purchased and taken a test elsewhere, you can import those results and take advantage of the matching to this large international audience. And since this is a free service, there is no reason not to do it.

"Watch Geoff Live!"

In fact, while I'm thinking about it, I'm going to do it right now. Since I've already imported my tree into MyHeritage (described here) I'm ready to go. On my profile page, I will click on the "Upload DNA data" link.


It provides instructions on how to download the raw DNA data.


The first checkmark is required, and as always, you should read through terms. From what I learned in Blaine Bettinger's recent webinar on AncestryDNA's Genetic Communities, I'm going to also check the Consent Agreement option.


About a minute after clicking the Upload DNA data file button, I was brought to this screen.


While I can see the "In progress" button, I'm kind of left wondering - what's next? My guess is I will receive an email when it is done processing, but if anyone at MyHeritage is reading this, perhaps add a "What's Next" paragraph explaining what I should next expect. Right now, I'm left wondering. I'm looking forward to my first "You've Got DNA Matches" email.

The Future

In the webinar, Yoav and Dana also provided a sneak peak into MyHeritage DNA's near future. They plan on adding:

  • a Chromosome Browser
  • Pedigree Charts
  • and Common Ancestors' Places.

I will be anxiously awaiting the results of my DNA import. Stay tuned!

Geoff's MyHeritage experiment post #2 - Smart Matching, and a surprise at the end

In week two of my investigation into I will look into their Smart Matching technology. My initial post explained that just like I have experimented with other genealogy technologies, I felt it was time to give MyHeritage a solid look. Last week I described my experience of importing my Legacy-generated GEDCOM file into a new online tree. It went smoothly and I ended up with a private online tree.

Well, mostly private. This "mostly private" part concerned me enough that I sent an email to the company to get clarification. They responded nearly immediately. What I learned from their response not only satisfied my concern, but gave me great confidence in and respect for their Smart Matching.

What is Smart Matching?

Less than two days after importing my tree, I received the following email which 1) defines a Smart Match and 2) presented me with 45 Smart Matches:


I recognized one of the Smart Matches as being on my father-in-law's side. And since we're now living with him as we await the completion of the construction of our new house, maybe researching one of his ancestors will earn me some points.

This Smart Match shows that the Fanny Maria Stewart in my tree could be the same person as a Fanny Maria Stewart in a potential relative's tree. If I determine that they are identical, it looks like I may be able to add a photograph and quite a bit of personal information that I did not previously have.


I clicked on the Learn More button and was presented with this screen (click to enlarge):


Because I did not start with much information about Fanny, I was not able to determine if they were the same or not. In the absence of an "I'm not sure" button, I instead opened Legacy to take a closer look:


Sure enough, they are the same person. And even better, I chose someone who ended up in my state of Idaho! I had no idea my father-in-law had family here. I wonder if he knows....

Using Legacy's Relationship Calculator (Tools > Calculator > Relationship), I learned that Fanny is the wife of my father-in-law's great-granduncle. I love Legacy! Maybe MyHeritage has a similar relationship calculator. Good for them if they do!


After my closer look, I can with confidence click on the orange Yes button.


This took me to a Review Match screen where it compares what I have in my tree with what the other submitter has in their tree.


Scrolling to the bottom, it compares our trees in graphical format. Clearly, there is a lot that I could add to my tree from theirs. Yet, any good genealogist knows to use content from others' trees as clues and not as evidence or conclusions. Regardless, it looks like they've done a lot of work and I love the many photographs they have.


Before clicking on the Confirm Match button, I noticed an arrow to its right. Clicking on it popped up a message that I could save this submitter's data to my tree - "only New and Improved information will be saved." Like I just mentioned, I probably would not want to do that without verifying the data. Instead, I will just click on the Confirm Match button.


Not knowing for sure what or if anything would automatically be added to my tree, I was relieved when I saw the next screen. Although I probably will not use its functionality, it has arrows pointing from the right side to the left side indicating that I could copy bits and pieces of information if I desired. It's actually quite similar to the FamilySearch tools in our Legacy Family Tree software.


At the very bottom it showed two photographs that I could add to my tree, and since I love photos of my ancestors, to see how it works, I clicked on the copy button. Pretty easy.

Scrolling to the end, two buttons await my next click - "Extract all info" or "Save to tree." Clicking "Save to tree" I would expect that the only thing that would be copied to my tree would be the one photo. Let's do it.


The "Review Match" screen appeared along with a confirmation of when I confirmed the match.


Just below her picture, I am going to click on the "View in Tree" link.


Just like that, her picture now appears in my private online tree.


  • MyHeritage did a good job of correctly presenting me with a possible match to Fanny.
  • If I ever wanted to, it appears to be very simple to copy information from another tree to mine.
  • Yet is the ease of copying going to contribute to the duplication of inaccurate trees? 
  • I am still going to treat data like this as clues and follow up with solid genealogical research.
  • I will always be a believer that someone else may hold a missing piece of my family's puzzle and so I continue to believe that it's okay to look at others' trees.
  • In each step, there was a link to contact the submitter of the information. If I am looking to get in touch with a submitter, it seems to be pretty simple.

More Smart Matches?

The email I received showed 45 possible Smart Matches. Clicking on the "Matches by People" option of the Discoveries menu shows that MyHeritage has been busy since they sent me the email. 


Check this out:


I don't know whether to be excited or overwhelmed by those numbers. Keep in mind, I uploaded my entire tree - my side, my wife's side, ancestors that I'm not currently researching, ancestors that I think about every day. Wondering if I could narrow the matches down, I clicked on the "Sort by" menu and then clicked on Relation.


This is where things started getting, in my kids' words, "sketchy." 


Among the first Smart Matches, when sorted by Relation, was my grandmother! It showed that there were three matches. How could there be Smart Matches to my grandmother, who is alive, when I thought my tree, and the living people in it, were private? This shows that Grandma is a Smart Match to someone in the "Fjeldsted Web Site," the "Reed Web Site," and the "McCall Web Site." 


Clicking on the orange Review Match buttons definitely shows that Grandma does appear in these other websites as a living person. Her personal details and the personal details of her children are there as well. This is where I became concerned with the privacy.

I sent an email to MyHeritage asking them to help me understand this experience as it relates to their privacy policy. My email to them was sent at 10:34am. Their response to me was sent at 11:39am. Impressive. I halfway expected to learn about some little-known "gotcha" fine print in their privacy policy. While they did point me to their privacy policy, the feeling I had after reading through it was that of amazement. What they are doing really is incredible - in a good way! Here's the copied/pasted policy from

What are Smart Matches™ and how do they affect your privacy?

Smart Matches™ is a technology developed and owned by MyHeritage to find matches between family trees, by looking for individuals that they have in common, and bridging across differences in spelling, phonetics, facts and languages. Smart Matches™ are very useful in that they facilitate discoveries of unknown relatives and reuniting families whose ties have been disconnected over time.

Other MyHeritage users may receive notifications regarding Smart Matches™ between individuals in their family tree and individuals in your family tree. Smart Matches™ may also be found on living individuals in your tree. If you are concerned about the privacy of your family tree, to the extent that you do not wish to allow potential relatives to find and view parts of it, you can disable Smart Matches™ for your family tree(s). See "Privacy Preferences" below. By default, Smart Matches™ are enabled.

With permission from MyHeritage, I also am including their follow-up comments to me:

It is very rare that we have people concerned by this, and their remedy is to turn off the Smart Matching. When others cannot match with your tree, you too do not get matches with other trees, so 99.99% of the people prefer to keep it enabled. The ability to match living relatives is very helpful, because many discoveries and family reunions happen that way. btw, if the other user didn't have your children in his tree already, he won't see their details in a Smart Match, to protect their privacy. If he does have them in the tree, he is very likely related to you, and he knows about them already, and in that case hiding information such as their age defeats the purpose of having matches.

So these three other trees in which my grandmother was listed as a Smart Match already had the living details about my grandmother and her children. So like MyHeritage wrote, they are likely close relatives, and someone I would probably actually want to communicate with. And if they did not already have the private information about Grandma, I never would have matched to their tree anyways. Without this explanation, or the careful attention to the explanation of how their Smart Matching works, some may be concerned, like I was. In my opinion, this is actually very good technology, and like they said, if it bothers you, you can easily disable Smart Matches.

Smart Matches in the Tree

I also learned that while browsing the tree in the chart mode, you can tell if a person has Smart Matches if they have a little green icon. Just give it a click and their list of matches appear.


Surprise at the end - Smart Matches in Legacy 9.0

For the first "official" time ever, I'm announcing here that the soon-to-be-released Legacy 9.0 will have built-in hinting. Instead of going out to sites like FamilySearch, GenealogyBank, or even MyHeritage, Legacy will do the searching for you! 


Above, Jeremiah Brown's new Hint icon shows the number of 9+. Clicking on it shows 39 hints from MyHeritage, 23 hints from GenealogyBank, and 1 hint from FindMyPast. Clicking on each one will present the results. While I could go visit each site each month on my own, Legacy is using some pretty advanced logic to find results that you may miss on your own.


Coming soon to Legacy 9.0!

What's Next

This post was a little longer than I intended it to be, but I think I now have a good grasp of the ins and outs of MyHeritage's Smart Matches tool and like what I see. Coming up next, I will report on the second of the seven unique technologies from the MyHeritage webinar - Record Matches. Stay tuned.

Geoff's MyHeritage experiment post #1 - starting my tree

There is an online genealogy service that for years I dismissed. I already have my data in Legacy Family Tree software AND manage a research-in-progress tree at both FamilySearch and Ancestry - do I really need my data in yet another tree? This is what I thought before viewing Mike Mansfield's excellent webinar, "7 Unique Technologies for Genealogy Discoveries at MyHeritage." Afterwards my opinion completely changed. I was impressed both with Mike as a speaker and with their technology. About a year later I published the "Top 20 Webinars of All Time" list, and was shocked to see that this class came in at number three - of all time! And now that MyHeritage has entered the DNA community, I've decided that they deserve more of my genealogical time and a solid look. 

This post is the first of a series where I will investigate and report on my use and impressions of each of the "seven unique technologies" that Mike introduced.

  1. Smart Matching
  2. Record Matches
  3. Newspaper & Free-Text Matching
  4. Record Detective
  5. Instant Discoveries
  6. SearchConnect
  7. Global Name Translation

Combined with the other two MyHeritage-related webinars...

...I have become very impressed with their technology. As with any other genealogy technology, when I learn a little of its potential, I try to make time for a thorough investigation. Previous investigations have resulted in my support and love for tech like AniMap, Google Photos, Flip-Pal, and GoToWebinar. Now it's MyHeritage's turn. Either I'll like it or I won't, and I look forward to giving you my honest opinions of what I learn.

In this first post, I will describe my thought and decision making process as I determine how I will use the site. Initial questions I have include:

  • Should I just use their search form to see if I get any matches in their trees or records, or like Mike suggested, should I first upload my tree to take advantage of their automated searching?
  • If I do upload my tree, should I upload my entire tree or just the branches I am currently researching?
  • How does MyHeritage protect my privacy?
  • What about DNA? Will they let me import the raw results of the DNA tests I've completed elsewhere? If so, is their pool of testers large enough to be of any value to me?

How Should I Start?

In a previous MyHeritage-related webinar I uploaded a GEDCOM that I created from Legacy to demonstrate how the process worked. It was simple. But because I am beginning my serious investigation into their site, want to begin fresh, and to be able to demonstrate for you the steps involved, I've gone ahead and removed anything I previously shared.

Next is the decision of "how should I start my tree?" The Family Tree tab at MyHeritage shows that I can manually start a new tree or import a GEDCOM. 


Since my time is valuable and because I already have my data in Legacy, I've decided to create and import a GEDCOM into their system. Should I import all 23,702 individuals, or should I import just the ancestors I am actively researching? A few minutes go by...I've decided to import my entire family file for this reason - DNA. Although I do not yet know anything about their DNA services, with my experience at other DNA sites, I've learned that the more I share the more genetic matches I find.

Good, another decision made. This is way easier than all the decisions I'm making about the new house we are building.


Since the file I will upload will contain information about my living family, I'd better check out MyHeritage's privacy policy. Hopefully they give me complete control over what is public and private. Reading their privacy policy here has given me the confidence that I can share my personal information without fear of it becoming public. I've pasted a portion of their policy below.

The user decides to what degree information on the family tree and other information from the family site will be visible to and discoverable by other users, by setting the Privacy Preferences (described in a detailed section below). The user decides whether to build the family tree on the Website on his/her own, or to make it a collaborative effort by inviting family members to assist, using facilities available on the Website for inviting members. If other members are invited, they make similar choices on entering information into the family tree. All information is entered into the Website directly and is not collected implicitly. The Website prevents information on living people from being disclosed to strangers, to protect privacy, and such information if entered will not be visible outside the family site or discoverable by search engines such as Google. It is often useful however to allow deceased people entered into the family tree to be visible to and searchable by other people, to allow one's distant relatives to discover it.

The personal information that you and other users enter is stored in the Website only for the purpose of delivering the Service to you and the other users, i.e. displaying the family tree, printing the family tree, searching historical records, and other genealogy features.

Creating the GEDCOM file

The first step is to create the GEDCOM file. This is done in Legacy Family Tree. Follow the steps below.

1. Go to File >  Export > GEDCOM file


To change WHO you will include in the file, click on the Record Selection button. To change any privacy settings for whom you will export, click on the Privacy Options button. I'm going to leave things as they are because of my reasoning above.

2. Click the "START EXPORT" button in the upper right, select the location (the desktop is a good spot) and enter the name of the file.


1 minutes 28 seconds later:


Importing the GEDCOM into MyHeritage

1. On the Family Tree tab at, click on the Browse button, locate and select the GEDCOM you just created, and click the orange Import GEDCOM button.

20 seconds later the upload was complete (1:28pm):


Thinking this would take a while, I got up to go eat some lunch. Then Pavlov's Theory proved true once again - I got the email notification sound on my phone which meant I immediately checked my inbox. It was just one minute later that I received the following:


Wow, that was quick.

Clicking the link took me to my tree where the first thing I noticed was the balloons - it's my son's 15th birthday in 12 days. Thanks for the reminder! 


Tree Settings

I next went to the Tree Settings page to make sure that the privacy settings are what I expected them to be.


Since I'm not certain what a "site member" is yet, I'm going to turn off the ability for site members to "download the family tree file" and for now I'm going to change the permissions so I am the only person who can edit the family tree.

Privacy Settings

The privacy settings are on its own page.


The first option of "include family tree in MyHeritage historical search engines" concerned me as I do not want any living individuals in my tree to be searchable. Hovering over the little information icon, it explained that only deceased individuals will be searchable and viewable to others.

So far so good.


At this point, I am comfortable with my tree and its privacy settings. It was easy to upload and the resulting tree looks appealing and easy to navigate. If I never do any more with MyHeritage, at the very least, I now have another backup of my entire tree just in case. I took a quick peek at the Discoveries page to see if it had found any Smart Matches or Record Matches yet. It hadn't, but I didn't expect it to be that quick. I'll check back in a few days to see what it has found for me.

What's Next

Coming up next, I will report on the first of the seven unique technologies from the webinar - Smart Matches. Stay tuned.

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

My explorations into the 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, I clicked on the GEDCOM option in the Family Tree menu.


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:


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.


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.


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


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! 


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.


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:


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.


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.