"I can't tell you what it means to finally meet my brother after 65 years."
At MyHeritage, we regularly hear from our users about life-changing discoveries they have made about their families using our website. Today we share with you a truly exceptional story, and one that we had the privilege of taking part in as it unfolded. This is the story of two brothers separated as young children in post-World War II Europe. They hadn’t seen one another in 65 years — until MyHeritage reunited them.
At MyHeritage, we're passionate about family, and our family-like work environment has always reflected this since our early startup days. To keep this atmosphere even as we expand, our offices have been designed to balance a fun and welcoming office environment, with a reflection of our commitment to the preservation of family history.
MyHeritage began in Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet's living room in Bnei Atarot, a village founded by the Templers. Then for several years the company's headquarters were located in a Templer family estate and farmhouse in the same village. This picturesque setting is where the company grew from 2 to 70 employees.
MyHeritage was featured yesterday on a popular Israeli TV show, HaTsinor. Their segment highlights the important work MyHeritage does to help people discover their long-lost relatives and to reunite families.
It includes coverage of the special reunion that MyHeritage helped organize on the Greek island of Ereikoussa with author Yvette Manessis-Corporon and the Hassid family. During WWII, residents of the small island risked their lives to save a Jewish tailor’s family from the Nazis. Yvette's grandmother was one of those brave people, and often spoke about Savvas (the tailor) and his family. After a long search, MyHeritage was instrumental in helping Yvette connect with the tailor's descendants, the Hassid family.
Click the video below to watch the full piece on HaTsinor (with English subtitles):
The year has come and gone in a flash, and what a year it has been! Here at MyHeritage, we had a busy 2015 full of exciting new features, useful historical content and much more.
We started off the year with a bang, launching the Family Tree Builder Mac Extension. We believe that people should be able to discover and preserve their family history on whatever platform they are comfortable with, and that there is value in the ability to work offline. The new Mac version joins our veteran Windows version available since 2005.
We recently wrote about the fascinating Secret of Ereikoussa, where the residents of a small Greek island risked their lives to save a Jewish tailor’s family from the Nazis during WWII.
In November 2013, Emmy Award-winning writer, producer and author Yvette Manessis Corporon contacted MyHeritage to ask for help in finding the descendants of the Jewish tailor - Savvas from Corfu, Greece - who had been hidden on Ereikoussa during the war. She had written a book inspired by her grandmother’s memories of the island, and the story of Savvas was an important part. For Yvette, the story was incomplete and she wanted to discover what happened to the family after the war.
MyHeritage accepted the challenge and embarked on a genealogical journey to uncover the mysteries of this long-kept secret. Starting with just five first names (Savvas, his three daughters Spera, Julia and Nina, and another child - Rosa) we were successful in locating descendants of the family in the U.S. and in Israel. Last month - at an official island ceremony - the families reunited to honor the island's residents for their courageous efforts.
We’re delighted to announce the launch of Global Name Translation™, a new technology unique to MyHeritage, to help break through those language barriers in the quest to uncover your past.
This innovation now makes it even easier to discover your global roots. The technology automatically translates names found in historical records and family trees from one language into another, at very high accuracy, generating all plausible translations, to facilitate matches between names in different languages. In addition, a manual search on MyHeritage's SuperSearch, will return results in other languages, automatically translated into the language of the query.
How can this benefit you? For example, perhaps your American family has Russian roots. Previously, you would have needed to search also in Russian to find all information available about your ancestors. Now you can search in English, and receive results in Russian, translated back into English for your convenience.
The technology covers given names and surnames and can tackle names previously encountered in the past, in addition to new names not seen before. It also utilizes extensive dictionaries built by MyHeritage to cover synonyms and nicknames.
MyHeritage was recently featured on Israel’s leading prime time TV news show which covered the story of how the inhabitants of Erikoussa, a small Greek island, had risked their lives in WWII to save a Jewish tailor's family from the Nazis.
The video below (with English subtitles) shows the remarkable story of the island, the genealogical discoveries made by MyHeritage and an emotional interview with Abraham, whose mother was among those saved on Erikoussa.
When the Nazis invaded Corfu, most of the Jewish citizens were sent to Auschwitz, but a tailor named Savvas managed to escape with his three daughters and another girl named Rosa, to the nearby island of Erikoussa. Savvas had customers and acquaintances there, but what was incredible was that the entire island joined forces - at risk of death - and gave refuge to Savvas and his girls, and kept their presence secret from the Nazis for the duration of the war.
We're delighted to announce that Instant Discoveries™ are now available for all MyHeritage users. Launched in December 2014, Instant Discoveries™ is a unique experience for discovering family history information and applying it to one's tree on MyHeritage with ease. Initially we released this experience only for new users - newcomers to family history - to make it easier for them to embark on their family history journey. By signing up at MyHeritage and entering some basic information about immediate family members, new users discovered ancestors, relatives and never-seen-before photos in just a few seconds. Following the successful launch we took Instant Discoveries™ to the streets of New York and demonstrated it to passers-by. It was incredible to see their emotional reactions.
As of this week, we've taken this breakthrough technology to the next level, by providing the Instant Discoveries™ experience to all users of MyHeritage, enabling multiple individuals and photos to be added to existing family trees in just a few clicks.
How does it work?
An Instant Discovery™ is a "package" of family history information that you can apply in one click. If an individual in your family tree connects to a branch in another family tree, you'll be alerted about this and can then choose to add everyone in that branch (up to 40-50 people) to your tree, who is not already there, in one go, rather than manually add people one by one, and amend the data piece by piece.
Every Instant Discovery™ is based on a match, which is found by our Smart Matching™ technology, and we filter out incorrect matches automatically. Instant Discoveries™ complement Smart Matches™ in how the information is applied to the user's tree. With Smart Matches™, information is added to the tree one fact at a time, one person at a time, manually. With Instant Discoveries™ an entire branch can be copied in a single click, along with all facts, events and photos, and source citations are automatically created in the target tree to document exactly where the data came from. To protect the privacy of other users, Instant Discoveries™ never bring information on living people.
We've already processed millions of family trees on MyHeritage for Discoveries out of the 28 million existing trees added by our users, and found that more than 50% of the trees will enjoy one or more Discoveries! The success rate increases as your tree grows (for example, a tree with 100 individuals will enjoy at least one Discovery almost always, and often many more). Even if your tree isn't growing, the success rate will still increase each day as MyHeritage adds millions of records and profiles every day, collecting more data to compare against your tree.
World map of Discoveries
MyHeritage users around the world have already begun enjoying Discoveries and adding them to their trees. To get a feel for the great things people are discovering, we've created a fun interactive map, showing the users making Discoveries on MyHeritage around the world, almost in real-time. Click the image below to view the interactive map.
We’re happy to announce millions of historical records have been added to SuperSearch. The new collections include military records, birth records and prison registrars.
The new records come from the United States and Scotland and help families uncover the stories of the lives their ancestors led.
We’re delighted to announce that we have started making good on our promise to digitize and bring online millions of exclusive historical records from Scandinavia. The majority of these records have never been indexed online before.
The records are searchable on MyHeritage SuperSearch and MyHeritage users will now automatically receive matches to those records relevant to their family tree.
Anyone with Scandinavian roots will be able to explore their family history and learn more about the lives of their ancestors with this robust searchable index of records published online for the first time.