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.
We’re happy to announce that we’ve added 900 million global historical records to SuperSearch bringing the total number of records on MyHeritage to over 6 billion.
The new content has been made available thanks to MyHeritage's partnership with FamilySearch and consists primarily of family tree profiles that have been submitted by more than 22 million FamilySearch users. Integration ensures that this data is refreshed on MyHeritage on a daily basis as it is updated on FamilySearch.
Adding this data to MyHeritage alongside the 27 million global family trees submitted by MyHeritage users, brings together for the very first time 2 of the world’s 3 largest family tree collections.
MyHeritage matching technologies are currently comparing the huge FamilySearch and MyHeritage trees and generating matches between them that will be sent to MyHeritage users during the next month or two. Comparing about 900 million profiles (FamilySearch tree) to about 1.6 billion profiles (MyHeritage trees) is a substantial undertaking. Millions of users stand to gain a lot of new information from the matches.
As of today, users of MyHeritage partners such as RootsMagic and Family Historian - these are desktop programs that use the MyHeritage matching APIs - will receive matches with the FamilySearch tree via MyHeritage (the copy that is on MyHeritage that is) without having to have an account on FamilySearch. That's another benefit of the FamilySearch tree being on MyHeritage.
Geni.com users will also enjoy matches with the FamilySearch tree too, via MyHeritage.
This significant addition is part of MyHeritage's goal to continually add global historical records and family tree profiles, and by combining advanced technology with massive amounts of data, we’re making it easier for people to unravel their family history.
We're happy to announce that MyHeritage is adding millions of Danish historical records to SuperSearch, with some collections dating as far back as the 1600s.
MyHeritage has entered into an agreement with the Danish National Archives to index Census and Parish records from 1646 to 1930, content that was not previously digitized. This partnership will provide access to significant sources of family history information in Denmark and enable MyHeritage users to learn more about their Danish ancestors and the lives they led. The collections follow fascinating periods throughout history such as the Napoleonic wars, liberalism and nationalism of the 1800s, the Schleswig Wars and industrialization.
The records will also illuminate the lives and times of noted Danish historical figures such as Kierkegaard and Niels Bohr. Celebrity fans will be able to look into the family history of Danish Americans such as Scarlett Johansson and Viggo Mortensen for clues on their success. Many of the records will be made available on MyHeritage as early as April 2015 and the rest will be added during the year.
We are pleased to announce two strategic partnerships with Dutch genealogy services, Aldfaer and Coret Genealogy. These partnerships will help advance family history research for anyone with Dutch ancestry and relatives.
Aldfaer, founded in 1998, is a popular free genealogy program produced by the Aldfaer Foundation. As part of the agreement, MyHeritage will support the Aldfaer Foundation to allow its continued operation. Aldfaer users will have access to MyHeritage's unique matching technologies, Smart Matching and Record Matching, receiving automatic discoveries from SuperSearch, MyHeritage's database containing 5.6 billion historical records.
We're excited to announce today an important new collaboration and product integration between MyHeritage and leading personal genetics company 23andMe.
23andMe pioneered autosomal DNA analysis which can find relatives across all ancestral lines, and have built the largest autosomal DNA ancestry service in the world. 23andMe helps people access and benefit from the human genome, offering them a deeper understanding of how their genes relate to their ancestry.
DNA analysis can provide new information about your ancestors and your geographic and ethnic origins. It can also connect you with unknown relatives descending from common ancestors who lived centuries ago, who you may not have discovered otherwise.
MyHeritage's 5.5 billion global historical records, 1.5 billion family tree profiles in 27 million family trees and innovative matching technologies, combined with 23andMe's DNA analysis, will provide users with an integrated and enhanced experience to uncover their family history. Combining documented genealogy - family trees, family stories and family memories - with DNA-based ancestry is the next evolution in family history research. While DNA testing can find relatives from shared ancestors, it's the family trees and historical records that are critical to fully map and understand these connections.
Watch the announcement made live on Bloomberg TV earlier today, in an interview with MyHeritage's Founder & CEO, Gilad Japhet, below: