|Guiding the team to customer service excellence|
We wanted to tell you about some important improvements we've made behind the scenes to further improve customer support. We grew our support team, got everybody involved and set up a new "trouble ticket" system to help us keep better track of support requests and make sure that none of your inquiries remain unresolved.
You might have never thought of contacting our support team, especially if everything runs smoothly on your family site. Well, that's the way it should be, but in case you have any question, problem or general feedback, you'll be happy to know that we're there for you. Most common questions have detailed answers with helpful step-by-step images in the Help Center that we started about a year ago. Having a look around there might get you an answer really quickly, if what you want to know is a "frequently asked question" (or FAQ).
|Ran and his team at work|
If your question or problem is unique, or you have some individual feedback, you can always get in touch with our support team directly. This is where the new system comes into play and helps us organize and track all communications that reach us every day, until they are resolved.
In order to immerse the entire company with the new support system, we've just completed our first customer support day (actually, it was two days long . In this special event we brought together all employees of the company into our spacious "villa" workplace, where all of us did nothing except answer support emails. It was to remind everybody that the needs of you - our users - should always be at the center of our efforts. We feel we're better in touch with your needs now and you can be sure that everybody at MyHeritage.com is aware of the importance of high quality customer support.
And finally, a warm welcome to the excellent new folks who've joined our support team: welcome Arbel and Leonardo to the MyHeritage.com family!
|Elijah Brookes after his inventing successes|
Tom Langley, from the UK, is one of MyHeritage.com's youngest users. At 17, he's already done extensive research into his family's past. Here Tom shares some of his genealogical findings with us, and in particular the story of his ancestor Elijah Brookes- s prominent inventor from the Nineteenth Century.
I first became interested in genealogy in primary school, when I was chosen to go on a history day to the local records office in Chester. We were asked to find out about our family before 1901 and to search the census records which were available there. Ever since then I've been asking questions about family history, and about four years ago I started seriously looking into it.
Early on in my research I found out that my great-grandfather was illegitimate, and that because of that my family name should be 'Broughton' instead of 'Langley'. I also discovered that my great-grandmother, Olive Knox, had been abandoned by her mother (who had her when she was 16)and was raised by her aunt, uncle, and anyone else in the family who could help out.
East Coast Turkey
Thanksgiving is a day thick with plenty. The penultimate November Thursday marries history, tradition, and myth in commemorative indulgence. Its goals are less commercial and Puritan-stiff than many a holiday, and it thumps with seasonal and human spirit.
The history of the day of thanks trickles down from early American settlers. It was to be a day of rest from battle with Native Americans, and the gruesome winter, which took the lives of nearly half of the early pilgrims. The first account of Thanksgiving dates to 1623, chronicled in Eliot's New-England History, and tells of Governor Bradford who "sent out a company for game [turkey which was of plenty in the are]...and abundant materials for a feast...and they feasted Massasoit and ninety of his Indians, and they thanked God for the good and the good things in it. So they kept their first Thanksgiving."
DNA testing can be a wonderful way to explore your family's history: it can give you details about your ethnic and geographic origin or help you to find out if you are really related to someone of the same name from another country. Especially if there are no written records, DNA testing can really help you advance your genealogical pursuits.
In the Netherlands a more controversial DNA testing has now taken to the screens; 'DNA unknown'. This TV series focuses on unravelling family secrets with the help of DNA tests; it follows people involved in adoption cases or who have doubts about their paternity. Presenter Caroline Tensen then takes these people along for a DNA test in order to get the truth.
As you know we recently launched the fourth version of our free genealogy software, the Family Tree Builder. It had a lot of exciting new features, such as more photo options, family chat and a family toolbar and a feature to map your family's migration patterns.
The news about the new Family Tree Builder didn't go unnoticed; many of you wrote about the launch or reviewed the program. Therefore we would like to show our appreciation for the attention you've given to the news and share some of the best coverage here.
A big thank you to genealogists, journalists and bloggers:
Ayelet Noff - Blonde 2.0
This week the media drew attention to a dark page in the history of Australia and the United Kingdom. Many of you know about the convicts that were shipped from the UK to Australia, but what came to light in recent weeks was that this wasn't the last wave of forced migration; seven thousand English kids from deprived backgrounds were also sent to Australia after the Second World War. In total 150,000 British children are believed to have been sent to Commonwealth countries.
Australian premier Kevin Rudd apologized this week to the British children, most of them from deprived backgrounds, who were sent to Australia, often to be put in foster homes or forced to work on farms. UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown will do the same in the new year.
MyHeritage.com is a lot more flexible than you might expect, as we offer a vast range of functionalities for the family researcher. If you're the Site Manager of a Family Site, you can find an array of tools and functions to help you out in the Settings tab, located in the main menu.
Take a look through the pages of this section and you'll be amazed by the power you actually have to make MyHeritage's platform work the way you want, and look the way you want it to.
Green Oasis in Brooklyn
Recently I spoke with Paul Schwartz of Planned Television Arts, a media publicity company representing Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York. This verdant cemetery has been labeled a National Historic Landmark and dubbed an 'oasis for the refreshment of the city's soul and body' in the recently published book Green Oasis in Brooklyn. A green oasis it is; the grounds meander 225 manicured acres, jogging back and forth between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The cemetery was designed by influential period architects, Alexander Jackson Davis and Andrew Jackson Downing in 1849 as a non-sectarian burial ground.
Phil Wood, 64, from Whittington, England, has been with MyHeritage.com now for quite a few years. Having done extensive research into his family history, he's come across a number of interesting stories, including a rather dark tale from his family's distant past. He shares this story with us here.
|Phil Wood at age 7|
A very distant relative of mine, John Westwood, was born 1802 in Hammerwich and married Sarah Parker at the age of 20. The couple subsequently had seven children so life was hard, and making ends meet was a daily task. Thus, to help with their money John and Sarah rented out a room to a lodger, Samuel Phillips - a Nailor who was employed as a farm labourer come harvest time. Years went by and the family was on good terms until one day John found out Samuel had been romancing his wife. A fight ensued, witnessed by the whole neighbourhood, which John won. Afterwards he became possessive, ordered his wife to stop going with Samuel, and tried locking her indoors. But Sarah proved a defiant wife, swearing at John, threatening to leave him and continuing to see Samuel.
|Life Expectancy in Ages Zone|
Have you ever wondered who is your oldest living relative, or what is the most common birth month of your family? How about who married the youngest, who had the most children, and whose marriage didn't make it?
Now you can access all this information easily with Family Statistics, MyHeritage.com's new analytics feature. This new feature puts at your fingertips 45 original metrics to breathe new life into your family tree and help point out errors in its data. The Family Statistics feature is 100% free and is easily accessible from both your home page and the reports page of your family site, providing visually appealing trends both numerically and in colorful charts and graphs. Best of all, the more your tree grows the more interesting and impressive the stats become.
So what can you do with the new stats?
Click on the Family Stats button (see image on left) on the home page of your family site to access the stats overview page. Here you will get a taste of the valuable information of the stats feature.
Find out about the family's gender divide, the living versus deceased in your tree, even chart the relationship status of your entire family tree. Your overview stats page also acts as a portal to six additional zones: places, ages, births, marriages, children, and divorces. Click on the links and explore more stats.