One of the great things about genealogy blogging is that we have so many talented colleagues who focus on different aspects of our passion for family history. Some of us concentrate on history, on family stories, on photographs.
Some of my colleagues are in the techno wiz category. Their special talents include careful analysis and step-by-step guides to walk the rest of us through new resources. Their expertise and insight help everyone.
MyHeritage.com recently released Family Tree Builder 4.0 with a host of exciting and easy new features designed to make connecting, re-connecting and communicating with our families and preserving our family histories easier and more fun. And, with so many languages supported, we can easily connect with family around the world, whether they are in the US, Italy, Israel or Russia.
The exciting major innovations include a great map feature, to illustrate where your family came from or their lives today; photo albums, to organize media files for the whole family; slideshow and screen saver to showcase photo collections; and the family toolbar, to access family chat and get direct access to your family sites at MyHeritage.com
I am not a techie and I know that there are many family historians and genealogists just like me. This means we rely on colleagues to help us through much of today's innovation. One of the best people I know in this talented group is my blogging buddy, Randy Seaver, who writes the Genea-Musings genealogy blog.
Randy has written a series of posts offering a careful analysis of our new Family Tree Builder 4.0 release. He has already covered GEDCOM upload, navigation, data entry, sources, maps, reports, charts and photos, indicating more will be added. Along with the explanations, he includes great screen shots of each step.
Did you know that MyHeritage offers an advanced search? It provides more specific, more relevant results, and makes searches quicker and more efficient.
Here's how to find it:
Go to the Genealogy tab -> Research -> New Research -> Advanced Search, and see this box:
With the Advanced Search option, users can add birth and death dates and also specify the country in which ancestors were born or died. This filters the results, making the retrieved data more relevant, and making searches quicker and more efficient.
Always store and annotate your searches, so they are available for future reference and you can avoid multiple, duplicate searches on the same names. This feature is available in Advanced Search. Another useful feature is that searches can be scheduled automatically for new information as databases are added, saving more time. Even better, MyHeritage members can link from Family Tree Builder directly to MyHeritage Search.
Researchers can perform a name search using an exact spelling match, Soundex spelling or our unique Megadex spelling variations. Megadex lets you choose commonly used surname spelling variations, reducing the time needed to research different spellings. Searching (below) for Talalay provides a listing of common variants. Our name seems to be relatively simple, phonetic but notice how many variations exist. My research has turned up some 30 spellings of relatives in records of all types. This example shows what may be discovered:
Megadex is free, but viewers must register to use it. Once registered, viewers can utilize all the features of this powerful tool, including store and annotate and automatic searching.
MyHeritage believes that these features will make it even easier to research your family history and add to your family tree.
We are always interested in learning what you think and how your experience with these features has helped you achieve success.
I'm looking forward to reading your comments.
MyHeritage Research - our genealogy search engine - has been improved and expanded.
Currently, it includes 1,526 genealogically relevant resource databases - representing more than 12 billion names - to provide usable information to family history researchers.
Even better, MyHeritage members can access the search engine directly from Family Tree Builder.
The latest edition includes 156 new sources. Among them:
Spock people finder Michigan Census German Emigrants Database BMD Registers UK USA Gov search Western Michigan Newspapers Digg Palatines to America US Social Security Death Index Prague Police Headquarters Conscriptions (1850-1914) Consolidated Index of Sephardic Surnames Arizona Birth and Death Certificates European Patent Office
Some sites are free, some require subscriptions. For a paid site search, MyHeritage viewers will see the details that the subscription site provides on its free search. To see more than that, however, a subscription to that site is required. In the US, many public libraries offer free access to some major subscription-only databases.
Using MyHeritage Research accesses only genealogically relevant resources which helps researchers find those websites and databases most relevant to their unique family histories.
Even better, MyHeritage members can access the search engine directly from Family Tree Builder.
We are always interested in how members have used new or expanded features. What have you found in the latest database that has helped you add leaves to your tree?
I look forward to reading your comments.
Genetic genealogy - searching for family history utilizing DNA tools - is this decade's most fascinating innovation for family researchers.
MyHeritage recently partnered with FamilyTreeDNA, which has the largest DNA database of any of the companies in the field as as well as the most extensive DNA information, to help MyHeritage members learn more about their ancestors.
FamilyTreeDNA.com, whose founder and CEO Bennett Greenspan established this pioneer company, has enabled many people to find their genetic cousins and to unravel their unique family histories using the building blocks of life.
As some genealogists like to say: documents may be lost, papers may perpetuate myths, but blood doesn't lie.
If you match someone genetically, you are genetic cousins and have a common ancestor. The only thing to be determined is when your most recent common ancestor lived.
The basic tenet of DNA research for genealogical purposes is to test against the largest possible database to find genetic matches. Testing against a small database will find few if any matches, while testing against the largest database may find more than a few genetic cousins.
Genetic genealogy tests are not paternity or forensic tests, for those who might have questions. Those tests use different DNA components than those for genealogical testing.
Several types of tests are available, from the lowest resolution of 12-markers up to 67 markers for male Y-DNA and tests for female mtDNA. If two people match at 12 markers, they do match, but the common ancestor is deeper in time. If two people match at 67 markers, the common ancestor may well be within a within a contemporary time frame.
DNA helps to determine if different branches are connected, helps to avoid wild goose chases with lines that are not biologically connected, and also helps to determine the truth in history's mysteries.
Researchers often ask if everyone with a certain surname is related. Usually, this is not true, as surnames are relatively recent innovations in Western and Eastern Europe and were adopted fairly recently, some not adopted or required until the early 1800s. In Spain, however, surnames were common back in the 10th century.
In any case, there are various reasons why families with the same name are not related. These may be due a name based on geography, occupation or different type of name. People of different religions and occupations came from one town and took the town name as their surname when they moved elsewhere. Someone whose name meant shoemaker could have come from any town, but not that all shoemakers were or are related.
Working with genetic maps indicating areas of origin for those with different haplogroups (a method of genetic classification) helps researchers understand where his or her family originated.
If you've ever wondered who you are and what your origins may be, a genetic genealogy DNA test may provide some tantalizing answers ... and also raise more questions..
Have you had your DNA tested? Have you discovered genetic cousins or made an exciting discovery using DNA testing? I'm looking forward to reading your comments.
What could be better than making it easy and fun for people around the world to stay connected, organize events, share memories and strengthen family ties?
The acquisition by MyHeritage of Kindo aims to do just that, in an announcement made early Tuesday morning.
"Adding the Kindo team to MyHeritage puts the company in an even stronger position to realize its vision of connecting families around the world," says MyHeritage founder/CEO Gilad Japhet.
MyHeritage.com has taken this important goal of connecting families a step further with today's announcement of its acquisition of Kindo, the UK-based social networking site. It will help MyHeritage - with 25 million international members - realize its vision to be Facebook for families.
MyHeritage's powerful technology which helps people research and connect - along with Smart Matching and automatic photo aging - will be combined with Kindo's social networking skills
Both sites have a common vision for the future of families online.
Combining MyHeritage - known for powerful technology that helps families research their history and stay connected, along with Smart Matching and automatic photo tagging - with Kindo's social networking and marketing expertise is a recipe for success.
Find a video introducing the new photo tagging features here.
Become part of the excitement and get started today on connecting your family branches.
I'm looking forward to reading your comments and answering your questions about these new developments.