Well, it’s definitely been a busy few weeks for UK genealogy. As I’m sure most UK-based people will relate to, we tend to keep many things for the summer months- and genealogy and family history interests tend to subscribe to that notion.
On the 10th August series 8 of the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ kicked-off with June Brown, otherwise known as Dot Cotton from Eastenders. The programme is often lauded with sparking a genealogical revolution in the UK and definitely hasn’t lost its edge over the last 7 series. The first installment didn’t disappoint with a bare-knuckle fighter, persecution and the Spanish Inquisition all components of June’s fascinating family history.
I’m told that the next episode (showing tomorrow on BBC1 at 9pm) charts the family history of JK Rowling and her French roots, including a ‘shocking’ revelation about her great grandfather - definitely one to watch.
Another bit of excellent news is that The Society of Genealogists’ Summer Membership Special Offer is now on. They are offering to completely waive the joining administration fee, which should make membership more accessible for many.
And finally, as if we didn’t need reminding about how popular genealogy is at the moment, the West Glamorgan Archive Service has just released figures that show that they’ve had their busiest year ever. According to Archive staff, the rise in popularity has in part been due to the popular BBC Wales series ‘Come Home’, on which celebrities trace their Welsh heritage for all to see.
Blimey, this genealogy stuff is getting more popular by the minute.
MyHeritage is on the road once again - this time to Washington DC for the 31st IAJGS International Conference on Jewish Genealogy, August 14-19.
This time next week, Chief Genealogist Daniel Horowitz, Genealogy Advisor for the UK Laurence Harris and myself (Genealogy Advisor for the US Schelly Talalay Dardashti) will be attending, presenting programs and staffing the MyHeritage display booth.
We look forward to meeting with old friends, with happy MyHeritage users and making many new friends.
In addition to our new MyHeritage Challenge - read below for how you can participate - we are all speaking at the week-long event.
Another language was added to MyHeritage.com this week. Your family site can now be displayed in 37 languages. As you’ll see in your language options, Latvian is now available.
It should prove useful for users in both Latvia and Lithuania, making it a little bit easier to connect on MyHeritage.com.
Since our previous UK Community Manager, Robert, has now flown from the MyHeritage nest, now is probably an excellent time to introduce our new, shiny and eager UK Community Manager, James.
I like to think of this blog as your opportunity to interact with us, so if you have any comments, a great family story or would just like to say hello then you can do so in the comments or on our twitter page (@myheritage) or even at facebook.com/myheritage.
I have spent most of the last few years working in Journalism and Marketing, but I also consider myself to be an amateur genealogist. I started researching my family history around 7 years ago using some (very) basic methods. Recently I placed my tree on MyHeritage.com and it quickly grew to 640 people from 400 using Smart Matches™. The next logical step was, of course, to join the team.
We're pleased to introduce Family Goals, enabling you and your family to split the bill on Premium and PremiumPlus subscriptions at MyHeritage.com. By allowing other family members to chip in to help meet the costs of a subscription - family history becomes more affordable and this also encourages the wider family to become more engaged in exploring its past.
If you're not already a member of MyHeritage.com, sign up for free and start your Family Goal today. Visit MyHeritage.com and start a new family tree, or import an existing tree by uploading a GEDCOM file.
Now let's take a look at how Family Goals work.
The annual awards give credit to the best resources on the web for family historians and genealogists. Family Tree Magazine highlighted MyHeritage.com’s usefulness for storing and sharing information, and also said that:
"Recently updated with cool charting tools and an upgraded SmartMatching system, this site not only hosts your family tree, but constantly scours its 17 million trees for people who might match your ancestors."
Family Tree Magazine is America’s most popular genealogy publication, and you’ll be able to pick up a copy at any large newsstand nearby. In the meantime, you can view online the full list of Best Websites for 2011.
Speaking of Family Tree Magazine, check out our joint family reunion themed competition with them! It could be your family reunion of a lifetime!
Today MyHeritage is pleased to announce the acquisition of the popular Polish genealogy website, Bliscy.pl, in a move that will open a new range of possibilities in Polish family research -- for those in Poland or part of the greater community of Polish descendants worldwide.
With the acquisition of Bliscy.pl, half a million new users have been added to MyHeritage -- expanding our international family network to over 56 million people and 760 million profiles! Combined with last year’s acquisition of the Polish website MoiKrewni.pl, MyHeritage.com is now an excellent resource for anyone researching their Polish family history.
This week we’re pleased to announce an updated version of the most popular free genealogy software program, Family Tree Builder.
Family Tree Builder 5.1 includes all the great new features introduced in version 5.0: enhanced, better-looking family tree charts; built-in poster printing for charts, tree consistency checks, and much more. For more details about the features of Family Tree Builder 5.0, click here.
If you're one of our many loyal users who are already enjoying Family Tree Builder (version 3.0, 4.0 or 5.0), download the new version 5.1 and install it on top of your existing version. Updating to version 5.1 will not affect your family tree data and is safe, recommended and free. The new version also incorporates many bug fixes so it is a recommended update for all users.
We're excited to unveil the all-new MyHeritage.com in 100 seconds video, a glimpse into the many features we provide for families to connect, build their family tree, and preserve special moments.
To learn more about the new features, please take a look at the recent guides for creating beautiful charts, adding source citations and profile enhancements, collaborative Smart Matching, and the December post on new releases.
We hope you enjoy the video and share it with your friends and family!
We’re pleased to introduce a significant update of our Smart Matching technology. The new enhancements, unveiled on the website this week, include an overhaul of all Smart Matching pages, new collaboration features and easier management of Smart Matches, making this technology even more powerful and easy to use.
Smart Matching was originally acquired by MyHeritage.com from Pearl Street Software. We first released this innovative technology on MyHeritage.com in 2007, and have been improving it ever since. The technology matches between the people in your family tree and more than 680 million people in 17 million other family trees on MyHeritage.com. This can help you discover ancestors and relatives, by harnessing the vast collective knowledge of the 54 million registered users on MyHeritage.com. Smart Matches automatically find people from your tree in other trees, so that you and the other tree owners can learn from each other and also get in touch. The matching technology is sophisticated and bridges differences in spelling, phonetics and relationships that may exist between the trees, to locate as many matches as possible without sacrificing accuracy. Why is this so important? Because it can take just one Smart Match to bring a breakthrough in one's research and even change the life of a family, as you can see from many heartwarming user success stories that are posted here on the blog.
If you, dear reader, are not already signed up on MyHeritage.com, you can receive Smart Matches on your family tree for free. Go to http://www.myheritage.com and start a new family tree, or import an existing tree by uploading a GEDCOM file, and you will receive a notification on the discovered Smart Matches by email. We're sure you'll be intrigued by the results!
Let's dive in and look at the new improvements added this week in more detail.