Meet the Team: Marianne

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marianne-againDutch-born Marianne Melcherts has been working with the customer support team at MyHeritage since 2010. The way she describes it, it feels both like forever and like no time at all.

As a child, Marianne was already quite interested in discovering her roots. She grew up in a small village in the Netherlands, located between Amsterdam and Utrecht. She was interested in history and archaeology. Marianne’s family is very well read, and reading was a big part of her upbringing. From an early age, she would often read books that had to do with historical research.

Photos of the family’s ancestors were hung on the walls in the living room of her parents’ house. They depicted her grandparents, great-grandparents, and there was even one of her great-great-grandfather. As a child, Marianne was mesmerized by the people in these photos and was curious to know more.

My paternal ancestors came from Friesland, the most northern province of the Netherlands and, in some photos, the women wore the traditional costume. I remember my father and grandparents speaking Frisian. I am very proud of my Dutch heritage.

For many years Marianne was an active board member of the Dutch Forum, organizing cultural events for Dutch professionals in Israel. They would routinely receive requests from companies looking to hire Dutch-speaking employees. One day, she came across a job description for a MyHeritage position that caught her eye. After reading it, she knew immediately that it would be an excellent fit for her. Marianne began learning more about MyHeritage by downloading MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder software, and she fell in love. She was excited about the features it offered and about the focus of the company in general, which aligned so closely with her own interest. So she sent in her resume — and the rest is history.

It’s not very surprising that here I am in the end, at MyHeritage!

Marianne remembers telling her parents about the company when she started working with us, and her mother said, “Why am I not surprised at all?”

The MyHeritage support team is made up of over 25 people, all with different backgrounds and from different countries.

As an international team, we can give a personal service in many different languages. The fact that MyHeritage users can communicate with us in their native language is a real advantage. There’s also a very positive and creative energy in and out of the workplace, and great friendships have formed among us.

Marianne has many responsibilities as a senior member of the MyHeritage Support team. She is in charge of responding to Dutch users in their native tongue, she trains new support representatives, and she is actively involved in other large projects such as the recently-launched DNA Matching service. The fact that she’s doing what she loves is reflected in the projects in which she is involved.

One project Marianne was deeply involved in and that made a significant impact on her was the pro bono project of discovering heirs for unclaimed assets confiscated during WWII.

Back in 2013, Gilad Japhet, MyHeritage’s Founder & CEO, read an article concerning compensation for Jewish-owned German property that had been confiscated by the Nazis during World War II. The article described the “Late Applicant Fund” and linked to a list, compiled by the Claims Conference, of around 45,000 property owners and their properties (homes, buildings, stores, and factories) located in former East Germany. The descendants of these property owners are entitled to compensation.

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. Our database of millions of family trees, billions of digitized historical records and innovative matching technologies were what made the project possible.

Gilad put together a team to work on the project, and Marianne was asked to join. She helped with researching possible descendants of property owners, and personally contacted hundreds of MyHeritage users whose trees contained their names. Marianne felt blessed to be a part of this project.

The purpose of this project was to do justice. The people we contacted were so appreciative of what we did. They would often write back with personal stories, memories of the person we were writing about, often accompanied by photographs. It was a project that was very close to my heart, and it highlighted to me what differentiates MyHeritage as a hi-tech company with a personal and human touch.

Marianne’s own family site on MyHeritage is currently managed by her aunt, who dedicates a lot of time to researching their family’s history. Their family tree has grown to more than 3,000 people, and it is well-documented with family photos and records.

After guiding so many users on their family history journey, Marianne has some advice to new users who are just starting out:

  • Take advantage of our platforms and features to research your family history: the MyHeritage website, Family Tree Builder, and the mobile app.
  • Be passionate about it, share your family history with your family members, and work together with other MyHeritage members to learn and discover more. Connecting with your family’s history will teach you a lot about who you are today.

We hope you enjoy getting to know some of our team members. Just like our millions of diverse users around the world, our team includes people with many different backgrounds whose mission is to help provide you with a great experience at MyHeritage.

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  • Adriaan Lahnstein


    November 12, 2016

    Hi Marianne , ik heb net jouw verhaal gelezen , aangenaam om kennis te maken . Mijn naam is Adriaan Lahnstein geboren in ‘s Gravenhagen [ Den Haag ] , m’n vader is geboren in Delft waar 4 broers woonden mijn groot vader stierf toen mijn vader 9 jaar was , mijn grootvader werkte voor de Machine Fabriek Rijneveld ? z’n Broers beheerden een Bakkerij, Slagerij en een Cafe , maar hoe de Duitse familie in Delft is gekomen weet ik niet ???!!!
    Ik woon vanaf 1971/ september 17 in Brompton SA 5007