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.
Last month, we announced that Instant Discoveries™ are now available to all MyHeritage users, allowing our users to add entire branches to their family tree in just a few clicks. Many of our users have already been enjoying these Discoveries every day, and you can see this in near real-time using our exciting Discovery World Map.
Today we are introducing a useful new feature that lets you see the Discoveries available for you right in your family tree, in their exact context. For example, if a branch connected to your great-grandmother, which includes her father or mother, is missing in your family tree, but found by MyHeritage in another tree, you’ll see a special yellow card above your great-grandmother’s profile labeled “Discovery!”
Hover over the Discovery card to learn more about it: a tooltip will open describing the Discovery and specifying how many missing relatives it can add to your tree and the source of the information.
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.
After 60 years of searching, MyHeritage found the connection – in just two months - between Australia’s Ann Clare Meagher’s mother Hilda Welchman Moss, and Ann’s previously unknown maternal uncle, John Welchman, in the UK.
Ann’s mother, Hilda, died at 32, leaving six children, when Ann was nine. Her father, Fred Moss, was a British Army major posted to India, and Ann was born in Lahore (now Pakistan) in 1945. Her mother Hilda Welchman had travelled to India from England and she married in 1941.
As a teen, I often wondered about my grandparents, as I had no knowledge or contact with them. We moved to Melbourne, Australia in 1962. I became a nurse, and have been happily married for 43 years, with a wonderful husband and three sons.
Ann had spent years looking for any relative of her mother without success until she became a member of MyHeritage and found her previously unknown uncle. She discovered a story he had written about his life and was dumb-founded that he had been looking for his sister’s family for 60 years. He lives in Dorset, England.
MyHeritage has some of the most fascinating members. We were delighted when we received the story of Anneliese Horst, 81, who was born in Chile and now lives in the US.
She has a law degree, a foreign language teaching certification, and teaches Spanish at Queens University (Charlotte, North Carolina, USA).
I was born in Santiago de Chile into a very large family; my parents were Mario Horst and Erna Pretzer. We spoke Spanish and German at home and went to school in Valdivia, Chile, a beautiful city in Chile’s Lake Region.
I studied law in Santiago and, in 1961, spent a year in Bonn, Germany studying criminal law. In 1962, I married Ernst J. Foerster, moved to Lima, Perú, where our son Hans was born. In 1969, we moved to Mexico City, and a year later to St. Croix, US Virgin Islands where our daughter Andrea, was born.
Send us your user story at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win a Kindle!
In two of the wonderful user stories we've recently published on our blog, Mike uncovered his friend's ties to Queen Elizabeth II and Janice finally discovered what happened to her Irish great-grandfather who went missing in 1885.
We search through census and index records. We check postcards and old letters for hints. We view old photographs, paying attention to details such as dress, style of posing, or design of the studio. We will do anything to find clues about the time period that our ancestors lived in.