2017 Year in Review

Comments7

2017 has been an exciting year filled with new technologies and innovations, incredible family reunions, and much more. Thank you for joining us for the ride!

As we approach the end of the year, now is a great opportunity to look back at everything we did in 2017, as we prepare for even bigger developments in 2018. Don’t miss the scoops at the bottom of this post where we reveal new announcements for the first time!

The highlights of 2017 at MyHeritage

In early 2017, we focused on getting new tools and technologies out the door. In January, we released DNA Matching enhanced with new features making it even easier to find and connect with relatives based on shared DNA.

In February, we introduced the new and improved Discoveries pages. All Smart Matches™ and Record Matches were unified and organized on two main pages: Matches by People and Matches by Source. We also launched the “Value add” feature which describes the incremental information which any match can add to your tree.

We then released the Consistency Checker, which helps you make your online family tree more accurate than it ever was before. Use this tool to scan your family tree and to identify mistakes and inconsistencies in your data. Our users love the Consistency Checker and in 2017 it has led to the fixing of millions of errors in online family trees on MyHeritage.

Later in February, we released Photo Discoveries™ – taking the innovative technology behind Instant Discoveries™ one step further and applying it to photos. Photo Discoveries makes it easy to add photographs to people in your family tree for whom you did not have photos. MyHeritage is the only service offering such a feature. Since its release, MyHeritage users have been using Photo Discoveries™ to add about half a million missing photos to their trees every month.

February was filled with innovations and we also had a blast at RootsTech, the most important genealogy conference of the year, held in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the first time, we had a DNA-themed booth.

We hosted our second annual RootsTech After-Party in 2017. The rocking party was hopping, with delicious food, drinks, magicians, fun games, prizes and entertaining karaoke throughout the night. Genealogists know how to party!

In March, we went on another Tribal Quest expedition — this time to Siberia! Tribal Quest is a MyHeritage pro bono initiative with the goal of documenting family stories of tribal communities around the world. We’re helping tribes digitally preserve their family history for future generations. Siberia was our third Tribal Quest expedition, following previous expeditions to Papua New Guinea and Namibia.

MyHeritage team members Shahar and Golan sharing a moment with Nenets children in Siberia.

Our team of six employee volunteers spent a month documenting the stories of the Nenets people living on the Yamal Peninsula in Siberia.

Our Tribal Quest team with the Nenets tribe in Siberia

Here is a short video showing highlights from Tribal Quest Siberia:

Thanks to MyHeritage DNA which was launched at the end of 2016, we have been fortunate to facilitate amazing family reunions. For example, in March, two sisters finally found each other. Morgan Reynolds found her half-sister Jennisara after taking a DNA test — both sisters had searched for each other all their lives. Watch the heartwarming video of their reunion below:

In May, we had another incredible reunion between a daughter and her biological mother, after they took MyHeritage DNA tests. Robin never forgot the daughter she gave birth to at the age of 15. Becky wanted to find her birth mother from the time she discovered she’d been adopted. She wanted to know where she came from. Watch their reunion below:

To see more of the amazing reunions we’ve had in 2017, keep reading. You can also learn more on the MyHeritage Stories site.

In March, we were very excited to be featured on Fox & Friends! We helped each host learn more about their origins. We provided genealogical research and fascinating historical documents discovered by our Research Team.

The most amazing part about this segment was that a viewer, Suzanne Colton, was watching Fox & Friends that morning, and decided spontaneously to order a MyHeritage DNA test. Suzanne, 64, always yearned to find her biological mother. She received her results on Mother’s Day in May and, within 90 minutes she was speaking with her biological mother! Watch Suzanne meet her mother for the first time:

We introduced a much-requested feature in May — our Collection Catalog. This section on our website lists the historical record collections indexed and available in MyHeritage SuperSearch™, making it easy to see what’s new. Explore the Collection Catalog.

In June, we released our new DNA Ethnicity Analysis. MyHeritage DNA provides users with a percentage-based estimate of their ethnic origins covering 42 regions with percentages, more than any other major DNA company, with many ethnicities only available on MyHeritage. The Ethnicity Estimate is interesting, and also fun to see and share.

In August, we announced that we had surpassed 8 billion historical records on SuperSearch™! This is an important milestone, and we look forward to reaching even more milestones in the future as we continue to add millions of new records to SuperSearch every day.

Later in August, we announced the acquisition of the Legacy Family Tree software and webinar series. All twelve employees of Millennia corporation joined MyHeritage and they are busy taking care of the Legacy Family Tree customers and developing new improvements in the Legacy software that will be released in 2018 as part of a new Legacy Family Tree version 10.

Also in August, we introduced the DNA Match Review Page. This helps you better understand how you are related to your DNA Matches. To learn more about the discoveries you can make with the DNA Match Review Page, read our blog post here.

We attended all the major genealogy conferences in 2017. In September, we attended FGS (Federation of Genealogical Societies), in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Some lucky VIPs, wearing MyHeritage baseball shirts, attended the Pittsburgh Pirates game. “Welcome, MyHeritage VIPs” even appeared on the game’s big screen!

We attended conferences around the world in Finland, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany, Holland, UK, and more. We hope to see you soon at a conference near you in 2018!

In October, we revealed shocking DNA results to British TV personalities, Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, on the popular British morning show, “Good Morning Britain.” Watch Piers and Susanna learn about their heritage and meet some of their MyHeritage DNA Matches.

We held our first ever One-Day Genealogy Seminar in October. The seminar provided presentations by experts in the fields of DNA, Jewish genealogy, general research techniques, and technology trends for genealogy. The lectures are available on-demand, for free, at Legacy Family Tree Webinars. Watch the lectures now.

In November, we released the new Do-it-Yourself Historical Record Fixes feature. This allows users to suggest alternative names in historical records on SuperSearch if a name is misspelled in a transcription or in a record. To learn more about why this feature is important and how it can connect you with other MyHeritage users, read our blog post here.

In November, we also added Ellis Island and other New York Passenger Lists, 1820–1957 to SuperSearch™, with unique content never before searchable. The new collection offers 94 million names. This includes 26.6 million names of passengers’ relatives which are not found on any other genealogy website! We’ve also stitched together double pages into single images for the first time, overcoming a problem that genealogists have faced for years on other websites, of missing key information.

We had another incredible reunion between an adopted daughter and her biological mother in November. Thanks to MyHeritage DNA, Meribeth met her biological mother, Angie, for the first time, live on Good Morning America! Watch the tearful reunion below:

First scoop

In the last few days, we released an extensive collection of U.S. Yearbooks, 1890-1979. This is one of the largest collections of digitized US yearbooks in existence, providing unprecedented genealogical coverage of individuals who went to high schools in the United States throughout a period of 90 years. Yearbooks are excellent genealogical records that include personal portraits and group photographs. We’re working on some amazing new technologies that will allow the extraction of even more value from the yearbooks and will be releasing those separately in the next few months.

Brad Pitt pictured in the center. Kickapoo High School Yearbook, 1979. MyHeritage U.S. Yearbooks, 1890-1979 Collection

DNA reactions

As we’ve grown MyHeritage DNA over the year, it’s been great to see people uploading videos of their experiences. Watch some of the reactions of people taking a DNA test:

Facts featured funny Irish people taking a MyHeritage DNA test. This great video has been viewed more than a million times:

Alexis takes a MyHeritage DNA test to see what her racial makeup is:

Ally thought she had only English roots but she learns about her true ethnicity after taking a DNA test:

We would love for you to send us your reactions after taking a MyHeritage DNA test — let us know what surprised you the most!

MyHeritage Surveys

Our Science Team recently released the Surveys research project to help us investigate how genetics affects various aspects of our lives, with the cooperation of the MyHeritage community.

We invite all MyHeritage users who took a MyHeritage DNA test or uploaded their DNA data to MyHeritage, to take part in this project. Begin taking some surveys now. 

Many thanks to those of you who have taken the surveys — we’ve received over 2 million answered questions so far! Our Science Team has already made some initial discoveries using the survey responses. For example, we found a correlation between a person’s body mass index (BMI) and their history of heart attacks. Learn more about our discoveries here.

Second scoop

We are happy to announce that MyHeritage DNA surpassed one million people in the DNA database! We’re already at 1.05 million, in fact. This grew very quickly from the 670,000 figure we announced in the middle of November. The one million is roughly comprised of about 80% MyHeritage DNA customers and 20% of people who uploaded DNA data from other DNA services. We’re proud to be the fastest company to get there, i.e., the company that took the least time to reach the size of one million people from the launch of its DNA product.

What does our fast growth mean to you? That on MyHeritage DNA, you will have an excellent chance to be matched to other people who are not using any other DNA service, especially leveraging MyHeritage’s strong international coverage outside the United States due to its availability in 42 languages.

You can count on MyHeritage DNA to continue to grow rapidly and improve in accuracy and features. We are working on a major revamp of the matching algorithms which will correct old problems, add a preliminary Chromosome Browser and put accuracy at an unprecedented high level, and this will be released in early January 2018.

Order a MyHeritage DNA kit or upload your DNA data now.

Statistics

Here are some statistics from this past year at MyHeritage:
Over 553 million new historical records added.
Over 685 million new family tree profiles added.
95 employees joined the company in 2017 (we went up from 325 to 420).

2018, here we come!

What a thrilling year 2017 has been! We can’t believe we managed to achieve so much in just one year. And the best part is that we had so much fun doing it. As we begin a new year, we are resolved to continue to innovate and to develop new and improved technologies for you, to benefit family history. We have a huge roadmap full of exciting features, digitized historical records, and more surprises in store. We are very excited about what is to come in 2018 and we are grateful to have you with us on this journey.

We wish you and your family a Happy New Year!

Leave a comment

The email address is kept private and will not be shown

  • Bonnie Kincaid Heath


    January 3, 2018

    I find this so exciting and would love to know my ethnic background too. Will sign up and order dna as soon as I can afford it. So anxious to learn MyHeritage and see how far back it can go for me and my husband.

  • Eileen R, Johnston, Bledsoe


    January 11, 2018

    It all sounds great

  • Alexandre


    January 11, 2018

    Congratulations to My Heritage for its deserved success.
    Eager to see which fixes and new ethnicities the upcoming MyHeritage DNA update will bring.

  • MICHAEL


    January 12, 2018

    All these changes are awesome!

  • Janice


    January 13, 2018

    Thanks for all the good work you are doing! Especially enjoy the DNA stories and the new features available to view DNA matches.

  • David Charbonneau


    January 14, 2018

    Very impressive genealogical history so far working with MyHeritage. My family has really benefited from your website. We are looking forward to submitting our DNA and discovering even more details of our ancestors. Many thanks!

  • MN Smith


    January 15, 2018

    My husband met a sister he did not know he had and several cousins,etc. learned his father he hadn’t seen since he was about 3 had died in 1987. He is 74 and just learned all this through DNA testing through your organization.