7    Sep 20131 comment

Family Heritage: Patriots, spies and other surprises

While some genealogists have been at it for only a few years, MyHeritage member Gary Fenton Kemp, 76, has been researching for decades.

Gary became interested in computers in the early 1970s.  He also observed his parents, then in their 70s, trying to put together their genealogy by typing and writing everything out by hand. He knew that there had to be some way to use computers and began searching for a program that would be able to organize the data.

I found PAF and started using it. In 1987, I went to my parents’ home and spent three days entering data for 752 names.

Gary has many interests in addition to family history, such as surfing, fly fishing, geocaching, glider racing and lifting weights. He’s been an educator from kindergarten through university, and conducted teacher training programs in Fiji and elsewhere. Although now retired as a teacher, coach, high school principal and school district superintendent, he is still active, serves as a local school board member and as a Boy Scout merit badge counselor.

The San Tan Valley, Arizona resident has been married to Nancy for 54 years, has four children, 13 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and four more on the way.

Gary's paternal grandparents' wedding photo,1881

He’s discovered so many exciting and interesting things about his family history. Continue reading "Family Heritage: Patriots, spies and other surprises" »

29    Jul 20134 comments

MyHeritage discovers heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated during WWII

We have often discussed the importance of building family trees and how genealogy can be used to make exciting family discoveries.

Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage's Founder & CEO, read an article a few months ago concerning the compensation for Jewish-owned German property that had been confiscated by the Nazis during World War II.

The article linked to a list compiled by the Claims Conference of around 40,000 properties (homes, buildings, stores and factories) located in former East Germany. The descendants of these property owners are entitled to compensation.

MyHeritage notified Cati Holland that she was eligible for compensation (Credit: Oded Balilty/AP)

Gilad initiated a project to use MyHeritage resources to try and match the people on this list, the original property owners, with their living descendants. Continue reading "MyHeritage discovers heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated during WWII" »

12    Jul 201313 comments

Family reunion: Relatives reunite in Denmark

It began in summer 2011 when MyHeritage user Patricia Skubis (Madison, Wisconsin) stumbled upon a family discovery. Some two years later, she was in Denmark  on the way to meet her Danish family.

Birgit Thygesen Moses (left) and Patricia Skubis meeting for the first time at family party in Vejle. Image credit: Peter Friis Autzen lokalavi-sen.dk

For more than 30 years, Patricia searched for her Danish roots. She had tried various ways to connect the family history, but never managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Patricia’s relatives had immigrated to the US in 1888 , and another branch had been in Australia since 1873. Twenty-seven years ago, Patricia, now 75, had connected with Alison Rogers from the Australian branch. However, Alison was also unable to find the Danish missing links.

One day, Patricia received a new Smart Match on her MyHeritage website. Her grandfather, Martin Thygesen, had appeared in another member’s tree, but not all the information matched completely. Her curiosity peaked, and she wrote directly to MyHeritage member Tage Therkildsen Thygesen for more information. Continue reading "Family reunion: Relatives reunite in Denmark" »

5    Jun 20131 comment

Our Stories: A family reunion in the Netherlands

A group of MyHeritage users from Holland and Canada met for the first time in Haarlem, Netherlands, in May.

Family photo outside the North Holland Archives

Joining them was our Netherlands country manager Denie Kasan, who documented their reunion at the North Holland Archives in Haarlem. Following is a translation based on his original post.

Continue reading "Our Stories: A family reunion in the Netherlands" »

16    May 201326 comments

Introducing Record Detective™: A breakthrough technology for family history

MyHeritage is excited to announce the launch of Record Detective™. It is the first technology of its kind to automatically extend the paper trail from a single historical record to other related records and family tree connections.

Here's a short video which explains how it works:

Record Detective™ generates new leads and discoveries by turning a single record into a door to more. For example, a record discovered in MyHeritage’s digital archive, SuperSearch, will now automatically include a summary of additional records and individuals in family trees relating to it, providing new information and clues to take your research to new directions.

Continue reading "Introducing Record Detective™: A breakthrough technology for family history" »

17    Apr 2013105 comments

New Release: Family Tree Builder 7.0

We're pleased to announce the release of MyHeritage Family Tree Builder 7.0 - the latest version of the world’s most popular free genealogy software - which combines innovative technologies with easy-to-use features.

Used by millions of people worldwide, Family Tree Builder lets you build your family tree and enhance it with photos, historical records and more. The latest version, 7.0, is packed with exciting new features and improvements.

Download Family Tree Builder 7.0 for free now

We've been working hard for more than a year to enhance Family Tree Builder to make documenting and sharing your family history even easier. We're taken the time to ensure this release is as robust as possible and have just completed a successful two-month beta program with some of our power users. Enthusiastic feedback from the first users to use version 7.0 indicates that this is the best version we've ever released.

The new version now syncs your entire family history in both directions between your computer and your family site on MyHeritage, as well as smart phones and tablets, and opens new channels for discovering relatives and billions of historical records with our advanced matching technologies. This means you can now access your family tree securely not just from your computer but also from your online family site, smart phone or tablet device, and even grow the tree and add more information and photos to it, any time and anywhere. All additions and changes will sync back to your Family Tree Builder software on your computer. Continue reading "New Release: Family Tree Builder 7.0" »

19    Mar 20133 comments

Poll: Where are your ancestors from?

Genealogical research today is very different from that of a few years ago.

Sites like MyHeritage enable us to communicate with more people, faster and more easily, while reaching out to others worldwide.

Tools - such as Smart Matcheshelp you discover new ancestors and possible relatives with similarities in their family trees and who may have a direct relationship with you.

Today we'd like to know what you discovered when researching your family heritage. Where do your ancestors come from?

Tell us your stories in the comments below, or via Facebook , Twitter or Google+


20    Dec 20123 comments

South Africa: Fashion, photos and family history

Leigh Toselli with her sons (from left) Devin, Rowan and Kieran

Leigh Toselli with her sons (from left) Devin, Rowan and Kieran

Listening to family stories as a child sparked Leigh Toselli’s interest, but - for her - it’s all about photographs and their stories.

A South African fashion, beauty and decor stylist, Leigh, 52, lives in Johannesburg with her French photographer husband Patrick and three sons (Devin, 25; Rowan, 23; and Kieran, 20).

Her biography reads like an A-Z of fashion, and she’s worked on every facet of image in the industry. She authored a series of books on beauty and image, and was also co-presenter of the South African version of the BBC show, What Not to Wear.

A few years ago, Leigh was trying to find a way of restoring, filing and sharing old family photographs.

Old photographs that gather dust seem so sad; all too often these are neglected and the names and faces forgotten. So I started asking the older generations to put names and anecdotes to the photos.

Family trees didn't really interest me, as they were simply a list of dates and names. That is, until I realized I could put faces to the names! Suddenly, my family’s history became a fascination - seeing family resemblances and spotting faces in old albums became a bit of an obsession.

Continue reading "South Africa: Fashion, photos and family history" »

14    Dec 20121 comment

Family History Discoveries: Your stories


Many MyHeritage members have made remarkable discoveries through their family history research.

For example, David thought that an entire branch of his family had died in WWII. Through a MyHeritage Smart Match, he discovered that they had survived. Read about how the families were reunited.

Read about Howard who found a long-lost cousin living in his own hometown!

We also helped to reunite half-siblings Ronald and Anneliese.

We publish these stories because we think they're a great way to inspire all of us in our family history research. Who knows what story we'll uncover with the next relative we add to our family tree.

If you're interested in sharing your inspiring story or breakthrough, and having it published in this blog, send it to stories@myheritage.com.

The MyHeritage team

27    Sep 201236 comments

Expert reviews of Record Matching

Our Record Matching technology, launched last week, has made a big splash in the genealogy industry.

Check out what some of the most influential genealogists on the Web have had to say about it:

Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings post 1, post 2:

"I like the MyHeritage Record Matching technology - it is a step forward in helping researchers with online family trees find online records that can add content to their database in the quest for finding our elusive ancestors."

"This system of Record Matches is excellent - especially when there are too many matches to consume in one sitting."

"No other provider of record searches provides a similar service for newspaper articles - this one is unique to date."


James Tanner
, Genealogy's Star post 1, post 2:

"On my very first tries, I was impressed and that isn't very common. I don't usually do software reviews because I like all of the programs and I don't want to appear to hold favorites, but this turns out to be different. MyHeritage.com has come up with a new service that should impact many genealogical researchers in a way that hasn't happened previously."

"This is really significant -- MyHeritage.com Record Matches."

"In my opinion, this is a significant step forward for the online genealogical community."

Continue reading "Expert reviews of Record Matching" »

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