Checking Out MyHeritageWiki

Disclaimer: I receive a complimentary full subscription to MyHeritage, but receive no other compensation and my opinions are my own.

Did you know that in December 2023 the brand new MyHeritageWiki was launched? I love wikis as they are an excellent source of detailed information on a variety of subjects that can be found with very few online clicks.

Because wikis take a lot of time to develop and expand, I’ve waited a few months before taking a deep dive into the articles that are already posted.

So, what did I find?

The wiki home page is clean and simple to navigate. There is a search box and a short list of categories that have so far been created and have articles submitted – Genealogy Research by Location, Genetic Origins, Naming Traditions, Primer on Historical Records, and How-to Guides.

In my mind, these categories are listed in order based on estimated visits with the more popular categories introduced first.

What types of articles can be found in each category?

Let’s start with How-to Guides and work back up the list. Two of the articles are Guide to Abbreviations and Key Genealogy Terms, written by James Tanner, a well known genealogy blogger. Another article is How to Evaluate Your Genealogy Research by another well known genealogist, Thomas MacEntee. Both articles are well written and presented in a way that won’t overwhelm beginners.

Next, we have Primer on Historical Records and I chose Archives to read by Melissa Barker, who is the Houston County, Tennessee county archivist. Melissa defined “archive” and then suggested various types of archives where records might be stored. Another well written article, which included additional related links at the end, including how to research Eastern European archives online, contributed by Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

The third category in the wiki is Naming Traditions. My choice in this category was Danish Surnames, written by Maor Malul, given that my maternal great grandmother was from Copenhagen.

The author presented a short history of Danish surnames, first mandated by the king in 1526 when noble families were obligated to adopt a surname. Scandinavian surnames in general, because of the patronymic naming system (e.g. Iverson = son of Iver) which changed with each generation, can be confusing. There are excellent examples of the types of surnames created and how the Danish naming system has been updated through the years.

The final two (current) categories on the Wiki will undoubtedly be the most visited. Genetic Origins encompasses all of the DNA information. Autosomal DNA, my article of choice in this category, has no attributed author. Exactly what autosomal DNA is and what it can tell researchers is described and adds suggestions, such as testing the oldest members of a family first. There are additional links to Y-DNA and mtDNA.

The final category in the MyHeritageWiki is the first in the list and will likely be the first stop of visitors to the wiki – Genealogy Research by Location. Although the introductory paragraphs highlights popular articles on Germany, Finland, France, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland, don’t be fooled into thinking that is all there is. The category title is actually a live link that opens a lengthy list of countries that are already written up.

There are about 70 countries, but note that The Netherlands The Balkans are indexed under T (the THE), not under N and B.

The United States page has a robust number of article categories, including several way-less-common articles:

Articles have been submitted about the Kaw Nation, a Native American tribe in Oklahoma, researching ancestors who died at sea, and researching religious excommunication records. These are not common topics and are a boon to those interested in these research paths.

My first impressions?

MyHeritageWiki is small, but mighty, and a work in progress. The articles posted so far are well written, providing a good overview of the topic with relevant details for a genealogy researcher. Over time, the MyHeritageWiki will become a powerful resource for genealogists.

Take some time to look around the website. You may well find an article that pertains to your own research and opens the way to new strategies.

If you would like to contribute an article, or two – or more! – it’s easy to sign up. In addition to writers, other volunteers are also needed:

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