6    Oct 20112 comments

Guest Post: How a Professional Genealogist uses MyHeritage

Professional genealogist Sandra Underwood (APG and AGRA) has written this guest post. She provides family history research services in Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire and Scotland.

I became a member of MyHeritage.com in 2009 when I was undertaking my own family history research. I looked at the site after reading an article and uploaded my family tree to see what would happen. Within a short time,  an e-mail arrived advising me of possible “Smart Matches” in my tree. I was able to confirm them, and from then on, I was hooked.

Through the site, I have made contact with several living relatives across the UK and we have been able to share stories and photographs of our ancestors. Imagine finding a whole new set of relatives you knew nothing about!

In addition, I am a self-employed professional genealogist and have found MyHeritage.com a huge help as I can import my clients’ trees (GEDCOM), work on them and then invite the client as a member  so they can view  information I have located for them. Similarly, I have also been invited by clients’ to join their trees as members.  This has allowed me to export trees to my own family history program on my laptop. In turn, this allows me to access the electronic tree in my software program and update it when I visit various archives without wireless internet access. I can then export it to MyHeritage.com again so that that there is always an up-to-date tree online.

As well as searching for ancestors, I have also found that more and more clients are turning to me to try and locate any living relatives. This is where I feel Smart Matches’ comes into its own. I need only to wait for an e-mail advising of possible Smart Matches in the relevant tree and click the link or I go straight to MyHeritage.com and view them. I can then either confirm or reject the matches, as appropriate.

For confirmed Smart Matches, I have the option of contacting the tree’s owner to request membership to their tree. This allows me to advise them I am undertaking research on behalf of a client looking to contact living relatives. After receiving permission, this allows for photographs of family members to be swapped and shared in trees. It’s great adding ancestors to a tree, but it’s even better when a photograph can be added. Clients particularly like to compare photographs for family resemblances.

Another great aspect of the site for professional genealogists is the wide range of Family History Charts and Reports that can be produced. I particularly like to print and frame a chart before giving it as a gift to my client upon completion of their research. It’s very simple, but very memorable.

The Family History Book is another great item as this can be customised to suit individual needs and then printed and saved as a PDF. My clients love them!

I  always recommend MyHeritage.com to clients. In my opinion, the Smart Matches function is much better than anything similar or available elsewhere. I would recommend anyone reading this post to put their tree on the site and wait for those Smart Matches to arrive in your inbox! Happy viewing!

Sandra's company’s services (www.ances-tree.co.uk) include full family history research, archives and records lookup, headstone photography and transcription and she has a 100% living relative success rate.

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Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Your story is inspiring. I too share an interest for geneology and use MyHeritage extensively. I've built trees for several family members and friends. There is nothing like that Eureka! moment when "SmartMaches" show up. MyHeritage makes it so easy. Sure would love to make this into a business and help those folks that don't have the time or inclination to find long lost relatives themselves. Any ideas?
  2. Thank you, Anne Marie.

    I would say, "Go for it". You can look to join an organisation such as the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG).

    As I specialise in family history research in Durham and Northumberland (as well as Yorkshire and Scotland), I am also a member of AGRA in the UK.

    I would also suggest you look at running your own website.

    Hope this helps.

    Good Luck!

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