MyHeritage Wraps Up Amazing First-Ever User Conference in Oslo

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We’re back from an amazing whirlwind weekend at MyHeritage LIVE, our first-ever user conference. Hundreds of MyHeritage users from 28 different countries around the world joined us in Oslo, Norway, for a unique and internationally diverse genealogy experience. Tens of thousands of others tuned in to sessions through live streaming on the conference website and via our Facebook live streams. It was a pleasure meeting MyHeritage users and guiding them through their DNA and genealogical journeys.

The conference proved that exciting times lie ahead for the genealogy world, and especially for MyHeritage. The crowds were left speechless when they learned about the new tools and innovations that we have in store for them. Can a genealogy company really make all these advancements? Yes, we can!

MyHeritage LIVE was held at the Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel in Oslo, Norway, located in the center of Oslo, near the Royal Palace and its magnificent gardens.

Attendees enjoyed a well-organized, educational event with three different tracks: DNA, genealogy, and hands-on workshops.

MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, kicked off the conference with an inspiring keynote address which is available to watch online.

Gilad began by describing his personal genealogical journey.

He then shared the roadmap of MyHeritage’s future plans, describing products and features that are on their way.

Gilad made some exciting announcements, heard first at the conference.

A new feature, Shared Ancestral Places, is now live. This is an interactive map of the location of significant life events (birth, death, etc.) of you and your DNA Matches, which can be very useful if you are trying to determine how you are connected to a DNA Match.

Gilad announced that MyHeritage will soon be able, through a partnership with a specialist company, to process the DNA from stamps and old envelopes and then link the DNA to the ancestor, providing you with DNA results for your deceased ancestors, right on MyHeritage. Gilad himself is trying to extract the DNA of Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill from original letters in his collection.

Gilad also announced plans to recreate our ancestors’ DNA through segment escalation. This means that if multiple descendants of a particular ancestor test their DNA, we will create a virtual kit for your ancestor and combine the segments from the multiple descendants of that ancestor.

Patti from the U.S. wrote to let us know how much she enjoyed Gilad’s keynote: “I’ve teared up about 5 times already. Heartbreaking, but a wonderful telling by Gilad, of his family. I hadn’t known him at all. Thank you! Looking forward to the rest of the video!”

Maya Lerner, VP of Product at MyHeritage, then delivered a session about MyHeritage’s roadmap, describing the Theory of Family Relativity, which will help our users easily how their DNA Matches are related to them, by using MyHeritage’s vast database of historical records and family trees. This announcement was very well-received by the audience.

Maya Lerner, VP of Product at MyHeritage

Other leaders in the field such as Thomas MacEntee, Lisa Louise Cooke, Dick Eastman, Diahan Southard, Roberta Estes, Mike Mansfield, Daniel Horowitz, and Geni’s Mike Stangel all captivated their audiences with their talks.

Thomas MacEntee, Founder of Abundant Genealogy
Vidar Øverlie, Norwegian Expert Genealogist
Lisa Louise Cooke, Founder of Genealogy Gems
Diahan Southard of Your DNA Guide
Mike Mansfield, Director of Content Operations at MyHeritage
Mike Stangel, General Manager of Geni.com

Audience members were encouraged to ask questions and learn from the experts.

The expo hall, with representatives from genealogical societies and various vendors, was buzzing with activity.

For hands-on workshops, users were asked to bring their own laptops so that they could get walkthroughs for MyHeritage tools and features, and receive real-time advice.

MyHeritage staff provided comprehensive support, assisting users throughout the conference.

Our representative Daniel assisting a participant who flew in from Martinique

At the end of the first day of lectures, we hosted a Eurovision-themed party, complete with live entertainment, to celebrate MyHeritage’s sponsorship of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest. Genealogists sure know how to party, and MyHeritage knows how to host a great party!

Norwegian folk dance champions, Bulder og brag, captivated the audience with traditional Norwegian folk dances, including the famous Halling dance where they kicked a hat off a high stick.

Bjorn Againthe world’s Number One ABBA Tribute Show wowed everyone with their singing and dance moves.

Well-attended lectures continued on day two.

Christina Sagersten, Founder of Christina Sagersten – Finding Family
Dr. Daphna Weissglas, Senior Bioinformatician Scientist at MyHeritage
Geoff Rasmussen, Founder and Host of Legacy Family Tree Webinars

Panel discussions, led by moderators who asked insightful and interesting questionsprovided plenty of food for thought.

Panel on DNA, Genealogy, and Privacy with (left to right) Dr Yaniv Erlich, Roberta Estes, and Thomas MacEntee
Panel on What’s Next for Genetic Genealogy with Aaron Godfrey, Dr. Yaniv Erlich, Roberta Estes, and Dick Eastman

The conference concluded with a closing session which highlighted some of MyHeritage’s pro bono activities, and how the technologies we’ve created are used for good in the world.

Here is a taste of some of the feedback that we’ve received:

“I liked everything, from the coffee to the chromosomes! The party on Saturday was great, and we have got a lot of new friends.”

“I am attending MyHeritage Live in Oslo, Norway. This first day has been truly fantastic.”

“Words cannot say how well done and interesting this program is. Enjoying the live streaming here in Atlanta, GA. Wonderful first day!!! Looking forward to getting up early again tomorrow, now for a nap. Every session was great, could not rate them in order of importance. They are ALL important, well presented, and helpful. I have a much better understanding of MyHeritage products. If someone is just finding out about this live streaming, works wonderfully in Atlanta. Looking forward to tomorrow!”

“Good morning to Oslo. Great way to differentiate and give back to the community. Much appreciated, MyHeritage!”

“Thank you, MyHeritage, for providing great content for insomniacs in the U.S.!”

“I am really loving watching this amazing live event. I am in Essex, England.”

I am truly enjoying all the presentations and speakers!”

“I’m loving MyHeritage more and more all the time!”

“Fabulous conference! Please tell the powers that be at MH thank you! Thank you for the live feed! It is SO appreciated.”

“Great conference. I learned so much, and am inspired to “do genealogy,” and all before breakfast. Thanks.”

“Fascinating panel discussion about where we will be with genetic genealogy in 25 years’ time.”

You can read summaries by bloggers Roberta Estes (Day 1, Day 2), Dick Eastman and Geoff Rasmussen (Day 1, Day 2).

After all the hard work and planning that went into MyHeritage LIVE, we’re thrilled that it was such a raving success. The conference was attended by hundreds in person and thousands more from all around the world who tuned in to watch lectures online. The conference is a testament to the dedication we have to our users. We are constantly listening to our greater community and innovating and developing new tools in response to their requests.

To watch recorded videos from our live streaming of the conference, please see our Facebook page. We’ll soon be releasing all of the informative lectures online. Stay tuned also for our highlights video still yet to come.

Thank you to everyone who joined us! Given its great success, we are thinking favorably about making MyHeritage LIVE into a recurring event and will update you soon with further information about this.

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  • Sharyn GUTHRIE


    November 7, 2018

    Loved it all, thank you My Heritage. This showed me that I am still missing out using some of your amazing technology. I have been astounded by all that you have added to the DNA matching since I uploaded my kits. Love the many tools and just want more people to either test through you or upload too.

    The lectures were great with Diahann SOUTHARD being my overall favourite!

    I particularly like My Heritage’s philosophy and altruism. Thanks
    Sharyn

    • Esther


      November 7, 2018

      So glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Sharyn!

  • Gershon Markowitz


    November 12, 2018

    Are there any plans to make any of the presentations available for viewing for those who were unable to attend?

    • Esther


      November 12, 2018

      Hi Gershon,

      We’ll be releasing all of the presentations available in the coming days. In the meantime, you can view the recordings of the live streaming here: http://www.facebook.com/myheritage/videos/

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Elsebeth Paikin


    November 14, 2018

    Unfortunately I had to cancel my attendance in Oslo because of Ullensvang in the family.
    Will any of the sessions be available online? I would very much appreciate it, and this get a little bit for my registration fee.
    Best regards
    Elsebeth Paikin

    • Esther


      November 14, 2018

      Hi Elsebeth,

      Sorry to hear that you missed it. The recordings will be available soon. In the meantime, you can view the recordings of the live sessions here: http://www.facebook.com/myheritage/videos.

      Best, Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Ruth Archer


    November 14, 2018

    Thanks so much for making your amazing videos available to watch live from around the world. It will be wonderful to watch the ones I missed when they become available. It will also be well worth watching them all at least twice, as there is so much useful information to truly absorb.

  • Sandra Gustin


    November 14, 2018

    I’ve been watching some of your LiveStream videos on Facebook. WOW!!! They are all top-notch and I am learning much from them. I had my DNA tested by you in March at Rootstech, but haven’t had a chance to do much with the results yet. That will change soon. Thank you for sharing the videos! What a fantastic way to let us learn more about MyHeritage and its many fantastic products!!! You are quickly gaining more prominence in the world of genealogical resources. Looking forward to a closer relationship with your company throughout my continued search (family historian since 1970)!!!

  • Carole Feinberg


    November 15, 2018

    Currently, I am a non paying member of MyHeritage. The only carrot you can dangle in front of me to entice me to join at a paying level is to load to your database the obituary data from the USA, particularly New York City’s Yiddish newspapers! In 1958, I lost my handbag, which contained my wallet, which contained my father’s two year old obituary, from the Forverts. I’ve never recovered from that loss. I suspect such a database will include the names of my grandparents I never knew. I’m impressed with the amazing work MyHeritage is doing–DNA the Jewish way, meaning from the kishkes. You know what that means? All the best, Carole, aka Chaya Sura. Omigosh, I just thought of another source you need to explore–Hebrew book approbations!!!!! I learned that my family is descended from a Rabbinic dynasty (Friedman). But, I haven’t been able to uncover a smoking gun. Approbations could help. I think I’ll quit before I run out of steam.

  • Toni


    November 15, 2018

    I haven’t been able to watch. Facebook wants me to join and I don’t want to. youtube would have been a better choice.

    • Esther


      November 19, 2018

      Hi Toni,

      We’ll soon be posting on our blog with a link to each talk. Stay tuned!

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Rosemary Cutler


    November 18, 2018

    Congratulations on the success of your first-ever User Conference. It certainly did look amazing! I am sorry I was unable to attend. Will you be having another one next year? If so do you know when and where? I would very much like to attend and don’t want to miss the next one. Regards Rosemary

    • Esther


      November 18, 2018

      Thanks, Rosemary. Stay tuned to our blog for news about upcoming events, as they become available.

      Best, Esther / MyHeritage Team

  • Shellie


    November 24, 2018

    Are there any plans to hold conferences in 2019? If so, when can we expect to see the dates and locations posted?

    • Esther


      December 16, 2018

      Hi Shellie,

      Nothing has been announced as of yet, but you can stay updated by following our blog!

      Best,
      Esther / MyHeritage Team