7    Nov 20110 comments

MyHeritage: Creating trees at family history fair

The first-ever World Festival showcasing diverse Jewish communities around the world and their unique traditions took place in the Mediterranean seaside resort city of Netanya – often called the Israeli Riviera.

Thousands of families flocked to the three-day festival from Sunday-Tuesday, 16-18 October. The timing was significant as it took place during Sukkot – the Feast of Booths – and a holiday of festivals took place throughout the country.

The festival especially attracted young families looking for a free, fun outing during the national holiday. More than 20 countries - including Canada, Ethiopia, Slovakia, Peru, Ukraine, South Africa, France, United States, Bulgaria, Argentina and Finland, among others - hosted traditional booths and displayed a hands-on approach to their individual ways of celebrating .The holiday features the common tradition of living in temporary structures during the week-long harvest holiday.

MyHeritage set up a large pavilion with 50 computer stations where visitors could create their own family trees, research their family roots and enter their family history to be included in a special “You are part of the story” integrated database at Beit Hatfutsot, the Museum of the Jewish People.

The three-day event led to the creation of more than 1,300 family trees and more than 20,000 profiles. The numbers grew by the minute at the festival and are still growing as families returned home to add even more information.

Generations of all ages shared family history stories and anecdotes while building their family trees at the MyHeritage pavilion. Some families made interesting discoveries thanks to the MyHeritage Smart Matching technology which compared their family trees to more than 20 million trees from around the world, revealing potential matches.

For one visitor – a woman, 58, born in Acre, a city in northern Israel - building her family tree was an eye-opener. Her father was a police officer and her mother was a social worker. At the MyHeritage pavilion, she began working on her family tree, entering details about her family. As soon as she entered her mother’s details and her closest relatives, she immediately discovered a Smart Match from a MyHeritage member related to her mother. She was able to view accurate details about her parents and other relatives which, in turn, helped her add to her family tree and communicate with others around the world researching the same family. Her family tree at MyHeritage continues to grow as more Smart Match discoveries are revealed and she learns more about her family history.

A team of 15 enthusiastic MyHeritage staff members was on hand throughout the festival to assist families with building their trees. They worked with thousands of people of all ages to unlock the past and make discoveries.

MyHeritage is all about uniting families - whether it’s finding new relatives or building a family tree together. The MyHeritage pavilion was a great way to stimulate the younger generation’s interest in family history.

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