New! Family Graph API and Best Family App Contest


The Family Graph API (click to enlarge)

The Family Graph API – making the web a better place for families.

We’re very excited to release our Family Graph API in beta – a major new addition that evolves from a website into a platform, and allows more developers to create useful services for the users of


Read on to find out more about how this can benefit you if you’re a family history fan, a developer or simply someone who enjoys spending time online with their family. Not to mention our $10K prize for the best family app……

So what is our Family Graph API?

An API, or Application Programming Interface, is just a technical term for enabling applications across web and mobile to interact with a particular website.

We’re thrilled to open up our own API – The Family Graph API – to developers all over the world, so that new apps and services can be created around family relationships and family history; your favorite apps can now become more family-friendly and you’ll be able to do some amazing things with your family history research.

What does this mean for you as a user of

First and foremost, rest assured that ALL your family tree information, photos and memories stored on are completely private and secure, only you can access this information. The API is bound to the strict privacy protections on and there are no exceptions.

Our new API allows developers to write applications that you, as a user of MyHeritage, may choose to use if you wish.  Those applications can extend the current functionality of to new and exciting areas.

For example, two companies have already teamed up to use our new API to prepare a family calendar service for users. So if you’re interested in having a printed calendar, in due course you’ll be able to get one in a few clicks, fully personalized and automatically filled with birthdays and photos of your own family members.

Many other great new things will be possible for users with family trees.  Imagine seeing how you are related to almost any celebrity in one click, printing your tree on a T-shirt, locating your ancestors on a Google map or making your family tree into a movie clip for your next family reunion… the possibilities are endless and some we can’t even imagine yet. Keep an eye on our blog to find out about some of the debuting apps that will bring to life your unique family history.

Great news for developers, too

If you’re a developer, or a website owner catering for the family audience – our Family Graph API, available in beta version at, opens the door for you to the world’s largest family network. Millions of families around the world have generated and uploaded over 800 million profiles in 20 million family trees.

The Family Graph API - information for developers (click to enlarge)

A few examples of how developers can use the API are listed below, and don’t forget that each app is subject to user consent:

  • E-commerce websites can obtain information about upcoming birthdays and anniversaries of close relatives, and offer quick purchase of personalized gifts or greeting cards for the current user.
  • Photo-sharing websites can enable their users to browse previously unseen photo albums of their close relatives.
  • Social networks can use the Family Graph to provide their users with their family members as new connections.
  • Family history websites can create data bridges between and other family history products, databases or websites, and provide users with valuable Smart Matches™ from
  • Mash-ups with other services can be formed to add new value for users. For example, mobile apps can pull information from a family tree and show where family members reside on a map, and allow quick chat and photo sharing between them.

Click here to view more sample applications.

Got you thinking about what you could create? Well to get your creative juices flowing we’re announcing today a best family app contest with a whopping $10000 prize.

The contest begins today, September 1, 2011, and submissions will be accepted until midnight on November 15, 2011. The submitted apps will be evaluated by a judging panel consisting of seasoned industry experts in the tech and family history fields and – following a public vote – a winner will be announced on December 15, 2011.  Don’t waste any time, go put your thinking caps on – the next killer app for families is in your hands. Information on how to participate is found on the Family Graph API contest page.

For more technical information on the API, including documentation and sample apps or to apply for free access, please visit

We look forward to seeing you unleash your creativity and help make the Web a friendlier place for families.

UPDATE: Following requests from participants, all dates mentioned above have been pushed forward by 3 months to give teams working on the apps more time to complete them.

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  • Robert Chapin

    September 5, 2011

    I would like to see MyHeritage guarantee family site authors the ability to block the new platform from each site. As I understand the system now, each member will be allowed to opt-in to applications that would deliver family tree information to third parties, thus bypassing the existing privacy controls.

  • MV-fr

    September 5, 2011

    pourquoi ote sa genealogie, je ne comprend pas; moi je met la mienne pour tous ceux qui sont de ma famille, mais aussi pour ceux qui cousin avec ma famille ou ceux qui le sont par alliance c’est dire par mariage.
    je pense que la genealogie apporte beaucoup, non seulement en terme de connaissance de vie de nos ancetre, mais surtout par le partage sinon,que pour soit cela ne donne rien un coup les ancetres les plus ancien trouves.
    dans le partage c’est mieu et cela permet aussi d’avancer en offrant aux autres des donnees comme ce fut le cas d’une personne qui recherchait son ancetre qui avait fait partie des compagnons et donc avait beaucoup voyage avant de s’intaller.
    allez bon courage a tous.

  • A. Serwo

    September 5, 2011

    I absolutely do not want the information, pictures, documents etc. available to anyone other than the people that I desngnate. How can I be assured that even though I will not authorize my info to be avail on this application, it some how appears? I am very concerned about this. While I had continued my Heritage site for the next two years, if I can not be positive that my information is safe, I will cancel it immediately. Please respond ASAP/


    September 5, 2011


  • Shannon

    September 5, 2011

    Umm… as I understand it all family site information is privacy protected – I don’t think anyone should be worrying about information being compromised. They are simply offering OPTIONAL applications to add to the experience, and even these applications, like they stated, will not be throwing your information everywhere.

    I’m pretty excited to see what gets made of this – will have to start following the blog to keep informed!

  • James – MyHeritage

    September 6, 2011

    Hi Robert, and everyone else.

    Thanks for your comments.

    I would like to address the issue of privacy which many of you have touched on

    Let me begin by saying that we value the privacy of our users extremely highly.

    Rest assured the user remains in full control of all his/her family tree data and information on his/her site.

    If a user wishes to use a specific app based on our Family Graph API he/she needs to provide their explicit consent in order to enable it.

    This is a personal choice – and the initiative must come from the user (it’s not possible for it to happen the other way round).

    If you do wish to try out an app, there will be an automatic prompt asking you for your permission when you try to use it for the first time – with strictly no information passed onto any additional third parties.

    Also, even once approved, the data that is revealed to an app does not include contact information such as phone numbers and addresses.

    Finally, if you decide that you don’t like that app you can deauthorize it at any time taking your information with you.

    I hope that explains things for you. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me via

  • Gilad

    September 6, 2011

    Hi Robert,

    Long time… Hope you’re doing well.

    Below I will extend the information provided by my colleague James, by explaining more clearly how the API works. I hope this will fully address your concerns.

    Soon, applications will become available that extend the functionality of MyHeritage. We even plan to host some of them on itself and make them accessible to our members.
    If interested, each member can opt-in and approve such an application, which would then allow that application
    to access and use family tree information *of that member only*.

    That would allow, for example, a partner like Progeny to create a charting companion app for MyHeritage. Once available, members who reach that app and wish to use it, will need to approve it. If approved, the app will allow those members to get more types of family tree charts from their own data on MyHeritage, and this will enhance their family history research.
    This does not allow any user or company to access family tree data of other users. So nobody can access your data, and you are safe.

    The only exception I can think of is if you have designated someone in your family as trustworthy and specifically invited him/her to be a member in your family site. Now that person can access your data. This is not new and was built for sharing tree information with relatives, and if you have no relatives you can trust or wish to share your tree with, then don’t invite any. Those members you designated and invited, can write down your data or copy it and post it elsewhere, so relatives pose some risk to your data, although very small if these are people you trust.
    In any case, such a relative that you invited to your family site could theoretically also encounter such an application that is using the API and authorize it to access the tree on your family site, in order to achieve its particular function.
    In case you have family members in your family site and you don’t trust their judgment, we’ve added a setting in the Settings>General>Administration page of any family site, available only to the site manager, called “Allow access to your family site using the Family Graph API” and you can turn it off for your site. This will prevent any apps from using the Family Graph API (even if you authorized them yourself) to access the data in your site. This is not recommended,
    but it exists for those who wish to use it. Also note that not everyone can write an app using the MyHeritage Family Graph API just like that. Every applicant or company wishing to use the API must be granted first an encrypted access key, and this is only done after they are screened and approved by MyHeritage, and if we find that any application isn’t kosher, for example, it claims that it will generate a family tree chart but it doesn’t do that, we will revoke its key immediately and it will cease to function. I hope you understand therefore why the API is important in allowing more developers to create valuable extensions that use family tree data, but it protects privacy and doesn’t grant anyone access to personal family tree data of other users. Everything is in your control, just like you control who can see your data on your family site. This is a guarantee from MyHeritage.

    Best regards,

    Hi A. Serwo and Diane,

    You are absolutely safe. Please review the answer above to Robert.

  • Robert Chapin

    September 6, 2011

    Thank you very much for responding, Jilad. I am glad there is an option to disable the API per site. I had been unable to find it by looking under the Privacy heading of the settings, and the explanation was not yet available. I will test these settings more to see how effective they are. If you are interested in my opinions of the platform and how our thinking differs I`m happy to discuss that. For now I will just say that having my family tree connected to a platform API conflicts with the way that I manage privacy.

  • Jaap Dee

    September 6, 2011

    Nice information about new app’s. But what about a “Mac version” of FTB?

  • marjetka

    September 28, 2011

    my family tree