Lots of News from MyHeritage

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

As most of the genealogy world knows, RootsTech 2024 took place this past weekend. Many companies wait for this conference to make major announcements and MyHeritage, I think, had the most exciting news with multiple announcements.

It’s also been a while since I focused one blog post on one company, and some of what I’m sharing aren’t new features, but are capabilites unique to MyHeritage.

First, it’s hard to believe that it’s been two decades, but MyHeritage is now 20 years old and celebrated with a multi-part documentary, tracing its history, accomplishments and it future:

MyHeritage Documentary Part 1: The Early Years – A Dream Takes Root

MyHeritage Documentary Part 2: Starting Up – Turning Vision into Reality

MyHeritage Documentary Part 3: Getting Noticed – The World Begins to Watch

MyHeritage Documentary Part 4: Leveling Up – Expanding Horizons

MyHeritage Documentary Part 5: Making An Impact – Changing Lives Worldwide

MyHeritage Documentary Part 6: Stepping into the Future – The Next Chapter

As for recent announcements, the biggest and most important – BECAUSE THE OFFER EXPIRES TODAY – is by uploading new DNA results to MyHeritage, you will have FREE access to ALL DNA features FOREVER!!! Yes, free FOREVER!!! That definitely is not true anymore of the other big company, which recently announced a fee-based plan.

More big news included the announcement that MyHeritage has just released OldNews.com, giving researchers another option for finding just the historical newspaper article that they are seeking. FYI, newspapers that are currently in a MyHeritage subscription, will remain accessible. NEW historical newspapers in the OldNews collection will require a separate subscription.

The third big piece of news from MyHeritage was the access to the ALL NEW Profile Page with HINTS! Here is the new Profile for my great grandfather, Michael Scerbak:

Notice the hint to give a more complete name. In Michael’s case, he had no middle name, so the name entered is already complete. There are 21 matches for me to check out. His biography is auto-generated, but does include this snippet: Michael departed from Hamburg, Germany on 18 May 1890 on the S.S. Bohemia, a steamship. It was part of the Hamburg-Amerikanische line. The ship’s captain was Leithauser. Michael traveled in steerage. There are also three images for me to review and a Sources tab to add citations.

This format is easy to navigate and facts are clearly presented.

Those were the main updates shared at RootsTech 2024.

However, I’d like to mention some of the other innovations that MyHeritage has released over the last few years.

It’s been several years now, but since I have late 19th and early 20th century immigrants in the paternal side of my family tree, Ellis Island records are an important resource for me. I used to go directly to the Ellis Island site until they “updated” and redesigned option tabs. That produced incorrect links to passenger lists for every name I searched.

MyHeritage came along and greatly improved access to the records.

Just click on the Research tab on the home page for the drop down menu, which includes Immigration Records. Not only are the links to the passenger lists correct, but MyHeritage added one of my favorite features of all time. Part of the index system includes the NAME of the person with whom the immigrant was going to live! That option allowed me to prove that my great grandfather (Michael Scerbak, above) did return to the U.S. after the family left in 1898 because in 1912, his brother-in-law was traveling to live with him (found in the index) in Garfield, Bergen, New Jersey! My grandmother said her father returned at least twice, but he came in between census years and isn’t even found in the city directories.

Another feature I love on MyHeritage is the Photo Dater, introduced in August 2023. I use the Photo Dater a lot to narrow down when the picture was taken and, for older photos, to identify possible people in the pictures. It’s really easy to use.

Photo Tagger is also easy to use, so identifying people in the pictures won’t be an issue for future viewers.

Along with dating photographs, MyHeritage in Color makes it simple to colorize black and white photos and to use the Enhancer to restore photos. Since I don’t have Photoshop, or the skills to use its advanced features, I find that MyHeritage meets my needs well.

These photo options were followed by Deep Nostalgia, which not only animates a photo, but a voice can tell the life story of the person in the picture. I like the animation, but I have to admit I am a little creeped out by the voice, at least when it is used with a family member I knew because the voice I remembered obviously doesn’t sound at all like the person I knew. However, for great grandparents and earlier ancestors, it’s an interesting way to catch the attention of the younger generation.

Last, but certainly not least, MyHeritage has launched its WIKI, which is a work in progress. New contributors are welcomed!

I haven’t even touched on all the records housed at MyHeritage:

One last word about MyHeritage – its competitor has a huge American base. I have found, though, that searching for my ancestors and distant cousins still living in Europe (for me, that includes Denmark, Sweden and Slovakia), I am able to access those records I need for my research on MyHeritage. Also, I have many more European matches to my DNA results than on other websites. I believe that is because MyHeritage is based in Europe and has many more European subscribers than other big genealogy companies.

I think I’ve caught up sharing all the more recent features of MyHeritage that I love.

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