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.
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.
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:
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.