Our Volunteers: A special visit

Our Volunteers: A special visit

Here at MyHeritage, we are privileged to receive the help of many volunteer translators, who help make our site accessible to our users in their native languages. We were recently delighted to meet one of our Russian translators – Yana Gourenko – when she visited our offices.

Yana, 29, and her husband live in Moscow, Russia. She studied translation at university, graduated as a translator in English and German, and also speaks a little French. She works for a forensic company doing technical support. Her interests include traveling and meeting new people. She is also an amateur photographer and loves the sea!

We asked Yana a few questions about her own family history, and how she came to translate for MyHeritage:

Where did your love for languages come from?

My love for languages started at school where I began learning English from the second grade. Three years later, I chose to learn French and fell completely in love with learning languages. Without any hesitation, I entered university aiming to become a translator in English and German.

At the time I graduated, the career of translator was not available. However, I was always happy to help with translation for different projects like video games, knowledge bases, mobile app interfaces, websites, etc. That is how I became a part of the MyHeritage volunteer team.

When did you start researching your family history?

I started to learn more about my family when I realized my Granny had the maiden name Fonstein. I was so charmed by the sound of it, and its German origin, that I started to talk to Granny about her relatives. The amount of information was so overwhelming that I had to find a reliable and simple solution for saving my family history and for building and organizing my family tree. MyHeritage was the most suitable project online because it is simple and user-friendly. It provided statistics, great infographics and records search. In 2009, I began to create my family tree.

One day, while doing my family research, I came across a Russian phrase on the website that looked strange to a native speaker. I realized I might be helpful as a volunteer for the site that gave me so much all these years. I love the communication and the portal for translation; everything is quite easy to use. Also, I want more people from Russia to become the part of the project and a Russian interface will make their journey through family history more comfortable and pleasant.

Yana and her husband with the MyHeritage Translations Team

Yana and her husband with the MyHeritage Translations Team

How has MyHeritage helped you with your family research?

After five years of gathering data from relatives and the Internet, I have expanded my family tree to 250 people. I have also started my husband’s family tree, and helped my mother-in-law learn many facts about her grandfather. I even helped her contact her grandfather’s long lost step-daughter, who now lives in Germany. My ancestors from my grandmother’s side are from different cities such as Baku, Smolensk, Kiev, Saint-Petersburg, Kamensk-Uralsky, etc. Now they are living mostly in Russia, but I do have several relatives in Israel, where I hope to come and live later this year.

Thanks to the great services offered on MyHeritage I was able to find several relatives and add new people to my tree. I even discovered that my great-grandmother’s sister’s husband’s nephew’s wife’s grandfather was a famous sculptor, Sergey Konenkov. It was also very surprising to learn that my husband’s ancestors on his mother’s side were all doctors, starting in the 1700s and only ending with my mother-in-law who chose not to study medicine.

We thank Yana for all her help in making sure that Russian speakers get the most out of MyHeritage products.

If you speak another language at the native level and you’d like to join our volunteer team, let us know! It’s a wonderful way to help families learn about their roots easily, with information available in their native languages.


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  • Norma K. Baron

    January 2, 2017

    I am having trouble with the map showing my Grandparents Birthplace. He always said Galatia Austria, Ukraine,

    I believe I have found the Ukrainian Spelling Skhidna Halychyna (Східна Галичина) (Ukrainian) … But, I can not change it

    Also, having a lot of trouble spelling Rosak, for my Grandmothers parents I believe related to Phillips but all could be spelled wrong! Also, Finding Tymo and Have no clue what it means. Recently for my Grandfather;s name was Thomas Rosak, His wife has Tymo or Timo for a Maiden name … Possibly Kupiack is in there some where. Trying to find out what children were with them on the ship over to Canada. My Grandmother Anna Rosak was 3 yrs old and her brother William T. Rosak may have been called Wahyl Rosak then. Much older than my grandmother. 2 more children once they moved to Canada.

    Grandpa Baron was Fred or Frederick and could have been Baran when he moved @ 18yrs old when he came to Canada via New Orleans. He went straight to Canada and eventually married my grandmother,

    In Ukraine my Grandfather was the older son of I think Stephan Baran. He was son of the first wife of that father. When his mother died. Not sure of name could be Catrina Kupiack.??? his father married and had more children. Grandpa left to be in Canada…

    When he married her he was about 30 yrs old and she was 15. She had 10 children.

    When she had 7 of her children the doctor told him she would die if grandpa did not move grandma south. She had 4 more children in Illinois,USA

    One of his brother’;s sons Stephan Beran, 1960s now Poland. I believe the brother was Stephan and possibly their father was Stephen Baran.

    While in Canada, Grandpa Frederick Baron, sent home for his Sister Maria (Mary) Baran to marry Thomas Kosterwewa a boyhood friend of his. Another sister married a Noga and had 2 children Mike Noga the son moved to Illinois, the sister moved to Toronto. She married a Jamanez sp.

    any help would be appreciated. I am such a mess there.