It's that time of the year again, when we give thanks to all our volunteers.
During 2010, our small army of some 100 volunteers helped us translate the MyHeritage website and our software program Family Tree Builder into about 25 of the currently available 36 languages.
Thanks to our dedicated volunteers, new languages - like Latvian - are about to be released on the website, and Afrikaans is expected very soon.
We are already working on many additional projects, such as translating the Family Tree Builder User Guide into more languages. A small group of people have also begun helping in the forums, providing answers to common questions posted there.
Our volunteers are a great help for us and we really appreciate their assistance, and we recognize them by the special icon next to their names throughout the website!
Would you like to join this group of special peope? If so, please send an email to email@example.com.
The renowned Southern Californian Genealogy Society runs the popular Jamboree in Burbank, CA, this weekend - one of the largest regional genealogy conferences in the US. We've set up our booth at the side entrance to the main hall. If you are in the area today or tomorrow, make sure you drop by at the Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, visit us at stand #138. It was very busy yesterday and today will be busier. In addition to the packed exhibit hall featuring booths for all major genealogy industry companies, there are great talks to listen to in the 11 lecture halls.
MyHeritage's Daniel Horowitz will be speaking today at 11:30am about "face recognition technology" and at 3:30pm about "Family Tree Builder" and our Schelly Talalay Dardashti will be on the panel during the "blogger summit" at 11:30am and then talk about the "Iberian Ashkenaz DNA project" at 2:00pm.
Due to the recent holidays, we organized a Cooking Contest at the head office of the company. We were very impressed by the cooking skills that the team showed and the food didn't only look great, but was also delicious.
This is how it worked: everyone had to bring either a first course or dessert, the heads of each department made up the jury and had to try a bit from each dish and assign a score to ultimately select the winner of each category. The winners got a prize and of course everybody enjoyed the food and we had a great time, as you can see in the pictures!
Last week we announced some big news about joining forces with German family site network OSN - news that has spread around the world by now.
This week we're announcing a smaller yet important development, which is that we are now also welcoming all users of the Dutch family network ZOOOF.com.
Zooof.com is an Amsterdam-based international family network which has the vision to ultimately unite everyone in one family. Co-founder Jean-Paul Busker came up with the idea for Zooof.com in 2004 as a project to investigate the concept of ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ for families in the world. Partnering with co-founder and computer science expert Stefan Leenen, he launched ZOOOF.com later that year. And now they'll be joining their network with MyHeritage.com, so users can benefit from the technologies and features that our site has to offer.
Zooof is a great community with users from all over the world, even if their is a large part of Dutch users. The network has a really friendly spirit that impressed us and which we’ll do our best to carry over to MyHeritage.com.
Important for you is that as the site has a large contingent of Dutch users, which is strengthening the Dutch part of our Family Graph. That means that it will become easier for you to discover your Dutch ancestors and relatives through our Smart Matches™ because we have more data about Dutch genealogy now. After all, the history of the Dutch as explorers and merchants means there are people around the world with Dutch roots, so you may be amongst them!
|The OSN team celebrating the merger|
Today we're announcing some very special news...We're branching out! We're going where we haven't gone before; we're growing and sowing the seeds to connect families in every single country around the world.
We're delighted to let you know that we've now joined up with German family networking group OSN (Online Social Networking GmbH). It's great news for everybody as we will be integrating both platforms to offer new features to everyone and the combined database becomes even better in connecting you with relatives or ancestors. We'll now have a whopping 47 million users worldwide.
|The MyHeritage.com team|
It's a great combination really, as not only will we join up with ten market-leading family sites, we'll also be getting some new colleagues from OSN who will bring us the creative and innovative spirit that characterises the group. Together, we can better help you bridge gaps of geography, language and time and make your online family life easier and more enjoyable!
The really good news for you is that with this formidable user base get more Smart Matches that help you find long lost relatives. With 530 million genealogical profiles you’ll be able to further your research conclusively and connect with more relatives online. And it's important to us to mention again that you can do so privately and securely.
|Guiding the team to customer service excellence|
We wanted to tell you about some important improvements we've made behind the scenes to further improve customer support. We grew our support team, got everybody involved and set up a new "trouble ticket" system to help us keep better track of support requests and make sure that none of your inquiries remain unresolved.
You might have never thought of contacting our support team, especially if everything runs smoothly on your family site. Well, that's the way it should be, but in case you have any question, problem or general feedback, you'll be happy to know that we're there for you. Most common questions have detailed answers with helpful step-by-step images in the Help Center that we started about a year ago. Having a look around there might get you an answer really quickly, if what you want to know is a "frequently asked question" (or FAQ).
|Ran and his team at work|
If your question or problem is unique, or you have some individual feedback, you can always get in touch with our support team directly. This is where the new system comes into play and helps us organize and track all communications that reach us every day, until they are resolved.
In order to immerse the entire company with the new support system, we've just completed our first customer support day (actually, it was two days long . In this special event we brought together all employees of the company into our spacious "villa" workplace, where all of us did nothing except answer support emails. It was to remind everybody that the needs of you - our users - should always be at the center of our efforts. We feel we're better in touch with your needs now and you can be sure that everybody at MyHeritage.com is aware of the importance of high quality customer support.
And finally, a warm welcome to the excellent new folks who've joined our support team: welcome Arbel and Leonardo to the MyHeritage.com family!
|Life Expectancy in Ages Zone|
Have you ever wondered who is your oldest living relative, or what is the most common birth month of your family? How about who married the youngest, who had the most children, and whose marriage didn't make it?
Now you can access all this information easily with Family Statistics, MyHeritage.com's new analytics feature. This new feature puts at your fingertips 45 original metrics to breathe new life into your family tree and help point out errors in its data. The Family Statistics feature is 100% free and is easily accessible from both your home page and the reports page of your family site, providing visually appealing trends both numerically and in colorful charts and graphs. Best of all, the more your tree grows the more interesting and impressive the stats become.
So what can you do with the new stats?
Click on the Family Stats button (see image on left) on the home page of your family site to access the stats overview page. Here you will get a taste of the valuable information of the stats feature.
Find out about the family's gender divide, the living versus deceased in your tree, even chart the relationship status of your entire family tree. Your overview stats page also acts as a portal to six additional zones: places, ages, births, marriages, children, and divorces. Click on the links and explore more stats.
Marriages are happy occasions. Time to gather the family and unite around the love of two people for another.
We at MyHeritage.com like to think of ourselves as one big family and so when our members decide to get married, well, everyone is invited.
David Melamed is one of our web developers and he and his (now) wife Sarah got married a little while ago in a nice place in Herzeliah, close to Tel Aviv. It was a wonderful day and all of us were happy to be there to share the moment with them.
But the celebrations wouldn't have been complete without some dancing in the honor of the bride and groom and we're happy someone captured these moments for you on picture:
Daniel Horowitz – Genealogy and Translation Manager of MyHeritage.com – August genealogy USA tour. Part I of II
After a month and a bit more on the road, I'm now back home. It's time to take a break before my interview on Sep. 15 with Susan E. King and tell you all about my genealogy tour in the US during the month of August.
My first stop was in New Jersey where I spoke to the Genealogical Society of Bergen County in Ridgewood. More than 50 people heard about the latest MyHeritage.com tools to help genealogists with their research and families to better stay in touch.
The public library where the society meets has a large genealogy section with old phone books, genealogy magazines (old and new), a nice collection of books with family information, and many computers, printers and copy machines. The library is about to redesign the space to give researchers more space and to access additional materials.
A few weeks ago, inspired by our outing to The Breakfast Club, we decided to have another staff lunch, only this time, we went for an Indian. Based on some strong recommendations from some well informed friends, we decided to check out Tayyabs, an Indian restaurant a short walk from our office here in London. It was especially recommended for it's authentic Indian Cuisine, and considered a favourite by all my Indian friends.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, even though it was only 12:30pm, and we'd passed many empty Indian restaurants along the way, this place was already packed. In true Indian style, we were squeezed into a corner, behind a table of what must have been a party of 20 or 30, presumably there to celebrate a wedding, since everyone seemed to be dressed in fine clothes, and clearly it was an extended family of some sort, with grandparents, and younger children too