Introducing Instant Discoveries™

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We’re delighted to announce the launch of Instant Discoveries™, a new, free experience that makes it easier for new users to embark on their genealogical journey.

Imagine – if at the very moment you signed up to MyHeritage – you were handed a never-before-seen photo of your great-grandmother? Or, if you were given a family tree branch with many of your ancestors, just by entering some basic information? Discoveries can be magical and help engage newcomers to family history and introduce them to this fascinating activity.

With Instant Discoveries™, it takes only seconds for people who sign up to MyHeritage to discover ancestors and create an online family tree with many relatives and photos. After perfecting the technology, we took Instant Discoveries™ to the streets of New York and successfully demonstrated it to passers-by. It was incredible to see their emotional reactions which you can watch in the short video above.

Until now, signing up for MyHeritage involved building a tree from scratch. It took some time for matches to arrive and going over them was a very detailed and scientific process, in which information could be added to one’s tree bit by bit. It was not possible to add an entire branch to one’s tree in a single click even if you completely trusted the source of information. With our new Instant Discoveries™ experience, new users who sign up to MyHeritage and do not have an existing tree, are asked to optionally enter basic information about the seven closest individuals in their tree  – we call these the “Magic 7” (the user, his/her 2 parents and 4 grandparents) – and then they automatically receive Instant Discoveries™ about their ancestors and relatives, allowing them to expand their family tree on the spot. MyHeritage quickly matches their tree to the billions of family tree profiles and historical records on MyHeritage, in high accuracy to minimize false positives, finds where there is the most incremental information and offers it to the user as an Instant Discovery™. The user can accept it in a click, for free, or skip and be offered another discovery. All former matching technologies on MyHeritage including Smart Matches, Record Matches and the Record Detective are still fully available.

How does it work?

Instant Discoveries™ are based on our Smart Matching™ technology and we’ve made them very simple to use. We have enhanced this technology to filter out incorrect matches automatically and to allow users to add large portions of data to their tree without creating duplication. To protect the privacy of other users, discoveries never bring information on living people, and source citations are created in the target tree to document exactly where the data came from.

Not everyone is guaranteed to get a discovery upon signing up. It depends on how much information is initially entered (adding more names and more dates helps) and where your ancestors came from. We have found so far that in some countries 35% of the users are getting a successful discovery and so far 78% of the users who were offered a discovery, found it useful and applied it. The success rate of this technology is improving every day as MyHeritage grows its huge database, with more than one million tree profiles and 5 million historical records added daily. We hope that one day it will work for almost every person.

How do I start?

New users can simply sign up to MyHeritage for free and enter basic information about themselves and their close family. Instant Discoveries™ also work great if you’re using a tablet or smartphone, or on the free MyHeritage mobile app.

New member sign-up
Step 1: Signing up at www.myheritage.com
Step 2: Entering information about maternal grandparents
Step 3: Entering information about paternal grandparents

Once you’ve entered the information you know, click Done.

That’s when the magic begins, and we set to work researching your family for you!

After researching through 1.5 billion profiles in over 27 million family trees, which takes only a few seconds, we have a great chance of finding your first discovery for you.

In one click you can indicate if the match is correct and, if so, you can view this person’s family connections, their profile photos, and add this branch to your new tree.

Want this discovery?

After adding people to your tree, you’ll get another Instant Discovery™ or be taken to your family tree to continue growing it.

Discovery was applied

And this is what the tree looks like after applying the discovery:

Family tree enriched with new information (Click to zoom)

Instant Discoveries™ allow new users to progress from small tree seedlings, with only a handful of individuals, to large blooming trees with many branches, in just minutes. From then on users are well on their way to become hooked on family history.

We are now working on enhancing this technology to use data from Geni.com and from all historical records. We will also make this feature available for existing MyHeritage users, allowing them to add entire branches to their tree in one click, if they trust the source. We’ll also give power users advanced preview options to control what information to copy over to their tree. Easy-to-apply discoveries are useful not only for beginners but also for power genealogists who want to automate long manual processes.

We are committed to making family history more fun and more accessible to everyone. Instant Discoveries™ are an important step in this direction. We believe this will help more people discover the thrill of family history and are very excited about this innovation and similar ones we have in the works. Stay tuned!

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  • Janice


    December 13, 2014

    Very touching video – amazing how connecting with ancestors, seeing pictures of family, can be so emotional. I’m looking forward to the technology being offered to current MH members.

  • Swaminathan


    December 16, 2014

    interesting — i am waiting !

  • cherris savage


    May 24, 2015

    I am looking for a little information on wife of Danvell walker,born in Anson, Maine and where she may be buried..Maiden name was Childs,born in jay Maine.