MyHeritage is the leading global destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. Our platform and DNA kits make it easy for anyone, anywhere to embark on a meaningful journey into their past and treasure their family stories for generations to come.
Every now and then, something happens which creates a lasting memory. There are historic events that everyone remembers, along with exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about them. These are called flashbulb memories, because they are events that are so powerful and impactful that the effect is as though a flashbulb went off in your mind, fixing a mental image like a photograph that you will forever associate with that historic event.
Here are some impactful events in recent history. Do you remember where you were when you heard about them? If you weren’t alive yet, have any family members recounted these events?
The assassination of Martin Luther King We recently observed the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination. As the leader of the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King inspired generations of Americans to fight for human rights and civil liberties through his legacy of peaceful protests. When he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968 it seemed like the hopes and aims of an entire movement were shot as well. It was a moment so fraught with shock and grief that every American found themselves asking, “Where were you when Martin Luther King was assassinated?”
Moon Landing Flashbulb memories tend to be dominated by bad news and upsetting events – which isn’t so surprising because tragic events bring more shock and astonishment than happy ones. But the 1969 moon landings are a positive flashbulb memory. Almost the whole country (and much of the rest of the world too) stayed home from work and school to watch the television broadcast of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin step out of their lunar module and tread on the moon for the first time in history. To everyone watching it was more than a historic event; it was a landmark moment that affirmed that anything was possible and no dream was too big. A generation of children learned that they could shoot for the moon and succeed.
The assassination of John F. Kennedy
95% of Americans who were aged over 8 at the time, remember where they were when they heard that President Kennedy had been shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy was a very popular president whose death seemed to represent the death of an entire zeitgeist and has been the subject of countless conspiracy theories.
The sinking of the Titanic
In 1912 the Titanic was called “the unsinkable ship.” Everyone in both England and America believed that it couldn’t possibly sink. When the news that the Titanic had struck an iceberg arrived in England, no one was concerned, which made the shock even greater when the news came that it had sunk. Early morning headlines in the newspapers that 1,517 people had died and only 700 survived brought complete shock, astonishment, and disbelief to the entire country.
The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand
Called “the shot heard around the world,” when Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo in 1914 it became the spark that lit the fire of World War I. Although many members of European aristocracy had been assassinated in the previous few months, it was the death of Archduke Ferdinand that had a long-lasting impact, and that created the most flashbulb memories for people at the time. While many people who experienced this are no longer living, it is still referred to as a classic flashbulb memory.
The End of WWI
After believing that the war would be over by Christmas of 1914, the British public settled into the routine of a long, hard war. Although there had been news that armistice talks were going on, the actual peace came as something of a surprise. The announcement of Armistice at 11am on November 11th, 1917 brought joy, celebration and relief to the entire United Kingdom, France and Belgium and all their allies. At the time, people all around the world asked each other, “Where were you when the peace was announced?”
On December 7, 1941, America woke up to the news that she wasn’t safe from attack on her home soil. In the words of then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt, it was “a date that will live in infamy” and for millions of Americans, it was a rude awakening to the threat of war. The next day, America declared war on Japan.
Fall of the Berlin Wall
An entire generation of Germans grew up in a city divided between two world superpowers, and the rest of the world grew up with this most visible symbol of the dangers of Communist Russia. The possibility of Russia firing a nuclear bomb was a real and present fear throughout the 1960s and 1970s. On November 9, 1989 Germans civilians began to break the wall down without any interference from government authorities. The Fall of the Berlin Wall represented the end of Communism’s reign of fear across the world. The sight of millions of happy, reunited people tearing down the Berlin Wall was shown on TV screens around the world and remains an iconic image today.
The 9/11 Terrorist Attack on the World Trade Center It was the biggest terrorist attack on American soil; 2,606 people were killed and thousands more were injured when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The shocking sight of the mighty towers crumbling into ash was broadcast around the world and remains seared into the memories of everyone who saw it. 97% of Americans remember exactly where they were and what they were doing at the time.
The Royal Weddings The British public were given a day off to celebrate the weddings of Prince Charles to Diana Spencer in 1981 and Prince William to Catherine Middleton in 2011 so that they could enjoy the festivities surrounding the momentous events. Almost 23 million viewers in the U.S. watched the coverage of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, outnumbering the estimated 17 million who tuned in for Prince Charles and Diana’s wedding.
Some flashbulb memories are generational, like the death of Michael Jackson which meant more to those who’d grown up with his music; geographic, like the Oklahoma City or Boston Marathon bombings; or specific just to some religious groups such as when Pope John Paul II was shot in May 1981, which resonates in the memories of Catholics worldwide.
Every individual will have their own personal flashbulb memories too, like when you hear that a loved one has passed away or the moment of your first kiss.
What are your flashbulb memories? Tell us in the comments below.
Last month we launched DNA Quest, a new pro bono initiative to help adoptees and their birth families reunite through genetic testing.
The initiative, initially launched in the USA only, received an amazing response. More than 10,000 applications were submitted so far to receive free DNA kits, from the quota of 15,000 free DNA kits pledged by MyHeritage, worth more than one million dollars.
Being that the deadline for submissions is the end of April 2018 and there are still about 3 more weeks to go, and in light of the many requests we received from the community to expand DNA Quest worldwide, we decided to increase the scope of the project, as of today, from USA-only to global. This means that people are now eligible to participate in DNA Quest regardless of their place of residence and regardless of where the adoption took place.
DNA Quest is brought to you by MyHeritage, in collaboration with a top-notch advisory board, which includes top experts in the fields of genetic genealogy and adoption.
Information about the DNA Quest initiative including a detailed FAQ and an application form are available on the project website, https://www.dnaquest.org/.
Watch the initial announcement of DNA Quest in this video:
MyHeritage Announces DNA Quest at RootsTech2018 - YouTube
Who can participate
Participation in DNA Quest is open to adoptees seeking to find their biological family members, or anyone looking for a family member placed for adoption. Preference will be given to those unable to afford genetic testing, and to those who apply first.
How to apply
Adoptees and family members searching for their biological relatives can apply for a free MyHeritage DNA kit at DNAQuest.org through April 30, 2018. Participants will be selected, and their free DNA kits will be shipped to them by the end of May 2018. Results are expected as early as July 2018.
If you have already taken a DNA test with another company, you are invited to upload your DNA data to MyHeritage for free and participate in this initiative as well.
Summary We are very excited to expand DNA Quest globally, in order to help families reunite through the power of genetic genealogy. We look forward to the life-changing reunions that will surely take place as a result of DNA Quest.
Please help us spread the word on social media, especially with the news about DNA Quest going global, and include a link to the www.dnaquest.org website to make this dream a reality for families around the world.
March was a busy month for the MyHeritage conference team. The marathon month kicked off with RootsTech 2018, with a team from MyHeritage HQ heading out to Salt Lake City, Utah, for the world’s biggest family history conference. This was the largest RootsTech in its eight-year history, attracting 14,000 attendees, plus over 100,000 people watching sessions online from around the world.
MyHeritage unveiled a brand new booth design at RootsTech this year, with a large DNA sales desk, comfortable tables and stools for taking our cheek-swab DNA test, and a giant video wall showcasing families we have reunited.
Here are some highlights of the four-day conference:
MyHeritage was proud to be the RootsTech General Session Sponsor on Thursday, March 1, 2018.
During the opening session, MyHeritage’s VP of Marketing, Aaron Godfrey, gave a keynote address. He spoke about what an incredible year it has been for MyHeritage and introduced two half-siblings reunited through MyHeritage, Morgan and Jennisara, live on stage, before announcing the launch of our new adoption project, DNA Quest. This project involves MyHeritage giving away 15,000 DNA kits to help adoptees find their biological family.
Some reactions on Twitter to our announcement of DNA Quest:
Some of the audience in anticipation of Gilad’s speech
Watch MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet’s, RootsTech full presentation.
Perspectives on Combining Genealogy and Genetics - YouTube
On Friday night MyHeritage hosted an exclusive RootsTech VIP after-party.
More than four hundred of the industry’s movers and shakers joined us at our Roaring Twenties party. Many of them took a turn on the dance floor, decorated their own headbands and fedoras, challenged each-other at giant checkers or just relaxed in front of a Chaplin movie with a RootsTech Rejuvenator cocktail in their hands.
Watch this clip from our Roaring Twenties RootsTech After Party
MyHeritage Roots Tech After-Party 2018 - Vimeo
Throughout RootsTech — including every afternoon at our main booth, at our sponsored lunch and at the VIP party — we ran raffles giving away DNA kits, Amazon Echos and even an iPad mini. Attendees also had the chance to win a free DNA kit at our pop-up cornhole/ bean-bag toss booth.
Saturday was also Family Discovery Day at RootsTech, so we had the kids working hard completing a family-themed Word Search in order to win a frisbee. Once the giveaways were all gone it was time to pack up the booth and take the long journey back to head office.
There was no time to rest after our return from RootsTech, as the Sydney Congress in Australia, Historiske Dage in Denmark and Suku Finland conferences were lined up for the following weekend.
Tony and Karen hard at work at the MyHeritage booth in Sydney
At the 15th Australasian Congress on Genealogy and Heraldry in Sydney, Australia, we ran a table staffed by Golan Levi, our UX Expert, and three super-user volunteers, Tony, Karen and Caroline. They did an excellent job of demonstrating and explaining MyHeritage and helping people take their DNA tests. Golan also gave an in-depth presentation about techniques used to build the family trees of tribal people during MyHeritage’s pro bono Tribal Quest project.
Susanne and support rep Daniella at Historiske Dage in Denmark
At Historiske Dage (Historical Days) in Copenhagen, Denmark, more than 10,000 people came to celebrate the past with costumes and vintage vehicles. Many attendees also joined us at the MyHeritage booth where super-user Ole demonstrated MyHeritage and Susanne and MyHeritage’s Daniella assisted people with questions and sold DNA kits. After Aaron Godfrey’s on-stage interview on Sunday lunchtime, there was such a high demand, we sold out of DNA kits. One lucky raffle winner didn’t need to worry though as she snapped up the last kit!
Support representative Eve, Finnish country manager Annikka and super-user Seppo at Suku 2018
Over at Suku in Tampere, Finland, the team was assisting users with super-user Seppo on hand for detailed questions and demonstrations. Finnish country manager Annikka and Eve from the MyHeritage support team helped people to swab and to solve any queries attendees had.
That busy weekend for MyHeritage was followed by the last European conference of March — Genealogiebörse in Cloppenburg, Germany on 18 March, an event that last ran over 14 years ago. More than 500 people came to visit the event which featured local genealogical societies and genealogy companies.
German country manager Silvia at Genealogiebörse
We then ended March with the Family History Expo at The Villages in Florida, USA. The Villages community boasts over 55,000 households over the age of 55 and a thriving Genealogical Society. MyHeritage’s jam-packed booth demos and an enthusiastic audience made for a very exciting and successful event.
Mike Mansfield’s lecture on MyHeritage DNA
March might be over but we have a full conference schedule planned for this year. Be on the lookout for the MyHeritage team at your next conference. We are looking forward to meeting you in person!
The MyHeritage conference team – Kiara, Daniel and Mia
Surnames or family names are the part of a person’s name that is passed down through families, or given according to law or custom. Many cultures have different customs for how names are passed from generation to generation.
Surnames originate from the relatively “recent” medieval custom of bynames, or names given to differentiate people.
There were four different types of bynames typically given:
• Patronymic – describing you as your father’s child
• Locative – describing where you live, were born, your place of work, or what land you own
• Occupational status – describing your occupation or rank
• Nicknames – could be many things, such as a trait, or common tool that you used
During the Middle Ages, bynames became less common and inherited surnames became the norm throughout Europe and western culture.
In Greece and Slavic countries, males and females are given different variations of the same family name.
According to the European tradition, children took their father’s surname. In recent years, this tradition has changed , as the trend has been towards women retaining maiden names and not taking a husband’s family name. Children are not automatically given their father’s surname, and they take their mother’s or father’s surname or a combination of both those surnames.
According to a United States Census Bureau study, the most common last name in 2000 was Smith, held by about 2.3 million people, or almost 1% of the population. An additional six names were used by over 1 million people each (Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller and Davis). These top seven names are about 4% of the US population, or one of every 25 people.
While, to most English speakers, Smith sounds like a common last name, in Vietnam, according to tradition, there are only 100 surnames!
A study conducted in Bac-ninh province of North Vietnam estimated that some 40% of Vietnamese people bear the surname Nguyen.
We’re delighted to announce the addition of 27.1 million historical records to SuperSearch, bringing the total number of records available to 8.96 billion.
Number of Records
Exclusive to MyHeritage
Link to Search
New York City Marriage License Index 1908-1972
This collection is an index to marriage licenses filed at the New York City Clerk Offices from the five boroughs from 1908 to 1972. The index contains the given names and surnames of both the bride and the groom, the date of the license application, and the license number. Images provided by Reclaim the Records.
6,631,396 new records added, bringing the total in this collection to 9,516,708
Records of births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, and other records kept by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark. Church records are extremely important for Danish research as vital events of virtually every individual who lived in Denmark during the time period covered by this collection were recorded in these parish registers or church books (kirkebøger).
A significant update to this index of marriage licenses — from the New York City Clerk Offices from 1930 to 1972 — adds 6.6 million additional records to the 2.9 million records we released just a few months ago. Images of the records were provided by Reclaim the Records. We thank this organization, led by Brooke Schreier Ganz, for its important work bringing public records to the public.
The marriage records are from all five boroughs of New York City. The index contains the given names and surnames of both the bride and the groom, the date of the license application, and the license number. The images are split by borough, bride and groom, and then sorted alphabetically. We have linked the bride and groom together, when possible, using the license number.
A record of American businesswoman, writer, and television personality Martha Stewart’s marriage license from the New York City Marriage License Index. Note she is listed by her maiden name Kostyra.
Marriage records are an important genealogical record as they not only include information about the bride, the groom, and their residence when the marriage occurred but often contain additional information such as birth dates, birth places, occupations, and whether they were single, widowed, or divorced at the time of the marriage. Often a marriage license will also contain information about the parents of the bride and groom including their names and birthplaces. Copies of the original marriage records in New York City are available to order for a fee from the Office of the City Clerk. Marriage records that are 50 or more years old are classified as public documents and are available to all researchers. Marriage records from less than 50 years ago are restricted and only available under certain circumstances that are outlined at the webpage linked to above.
Details of Martha Stewart’s marriage license in our record index
This is a collection update to the existing Denmark Church Records collection: About 17.7 million of these records are from the years 1576–1814 and about 1 million are from 1814–1919. This is an exclusive collection you can only find on MyHeritage.
Significantly, this new set includes three new types of historical records the original collection did not have: Communion, Introduction, and Absolution records.
Baptism records from the new Danish Church Records collection; image provided by the Danish National Archives
Communions (Confirmerede): These records show the individuals who received communion on a given date. Sometimes individuals were recorded in family groups with only the head of the family listed by name, and the other individuals in the family being referenced by number and relationship to the head. For example, “Hans Jensen and wife and 2 sons and a daughter”.
Introductions (Introduserede): These records show the women who were reintroduced into the congregation by their husbands, after childbirth. At the time, after a woman gave birth, according to the Denmark Church, she was considered “unclean” and had to be reintroduced into the congregation. The woman may be listed directly (by her name), or indirectly (by her husband’s name, e.g. “wife of ….”).
Absolutions: These records show absolved individuals. At the time, according the the Denmark Church, certain transgressions had to be absolved by the Church. The most common absolution was for pre-marital sex resulting in a pregnancy, in which case both parties had to be publicly absolved before they could return to the congregation. Other transgressions that could be absolved included failing to receive communion regularly, public drunkenness, violence, blasphemy, theft, and murder. These records were kept up until about 1767.
This exclusive collection includes about 371,000 records published in newspapers from various cities and towns in the state of West Virginia from the years 1930–2009.
A sample record from the new West Virginia newspapers collection with an article honoring Charles “Chuck” Elwood Yeager, the first person to break the sound barrier by flying faster than the speed of sound
Newspapers are an important resource for genealogy and family history research as they contain obituaries and other vital record substitutes such as birth, marriage, and death notices. Additionally, society pages and stories of local interest contain rich information on activities and events in the community and often provide details about the persons involved.
These two newspaper collections join a number of important U.S. newspaper collections we released in the last few months.
All of these newly digitized and updated collections spanning 19.5 million records are now available on MyHeritage SuperSearch. Much of this content is exclusive to MyHeritage and cannot be found on any other major genealogy service. Searching is free. A Data or Complete subscription is required to view the records.
Keep an eye out for Record Matches! Our Record Matching technology will automatically find relevant historical records for people in your tree.
We hope you enjoy searching through these collections and gain new insights into your family history.
This blog post is part 2 of our latest mobile app features announcement. Part 1 introduced the Inbox. In this second part, we cover the Scanner.
The new Scanner feature in the MyHeritage mobile app allows you to scan historical documents, as well as printed photos from old (or not-so-old) photo albums, easily and quickly. Whatever you scan in the app will be automatically uploaded to your family site on MyHeritage. Scanning documents and photos in the app preserves them in a digital form, protecting them from physical damage and backs them up online so that you won’t risk losing them. It also allows you to tag items with individuals in your family tree for more organized record keeping.
Accessing the Scanner
Navigate to the Scanner from the app’s main menu, under “Photos”.
Tap on “Scan photos & docs” under “Photos” in the main menu to open the Scanner
You can also tap on “Photos” from the home screen of the app.
Tap on “Photos” on the home screen of the mobile app to open the Scanner
Then, once in the Photos section, tap the plus sign in the bottom corner.
Tap the plus sign in the Photos section to start scanning an image
Next, select “Scan photos”
The third way to open the Scanner is directly from a tree profile: tap on the profile; then tap the plus sign; and select “Scan photos”, as shown below.
Scanning a photo from a tree profile
Using the Scanner
Once you’ve reached the main page of the Scanner, simply point and shoot as you would with your device’s native camera.
Point and shoot to scan a record or photo
The Scanner will show an orange mask over the photo or document it detected and will capture the image automatically if the frame is “stable”. You can also tap the capture button to capture the image manually. Tap on the lightning bolt icon in the upper left-hand corner to turn the flash on or off.
An orange mask over the photo or document shows the image it detected
The Scanner will attempt to detect the corners of your photo or document automatically. Press on any of the corners of the mask and drag them to make any desired adjustments, and to make sure the image will capture the item exactly the way you want. Crosshairs will appear to help you zoom in on the exact edges of the image.
Drag the corners of the orange mask to frame the image to capture it exactly as you want; crosshairs make it easier to frame the image precisely
When you are satisfied with the frame, tap “Next”. If you are not satisfied you can tap “Retake” and start again.
Once you’ve dragged the corners of the frame to the where you want them, tap “Next”
The Scanner will automatically straighten out the object you’ve captured. Next, you can rotate the image or apply a filter using the icons at the bottom of the screen and tap “Save”.
An image that has just been captured and automatically straightened out
Use the “Document” filter to make images of documents more legible
Use the “Vivid” filter to make photos look livelier
Tap on the left-most icon to rotate the image, if necessary. Tap the image in the center to apply a filter. Tap the right-most icon to revert any changes you have made. When you are satisfied with your image, tap “Save”.
After saving, you will automatically be prompted to tag the photo. If you ignore the prompt it will disappear after a few seconds. Tap “Tag photo” before it disappears if you want to tag right away; you can also tag later if you prefer.
Tap “Tag photo” when prompted to tag the photo you just scanned
Many times, faces will be identified automatically by the MyHeritage app’s face detection feature. You can also tap manually on any face you would like to tag that was not detected automatically. Drag the corners of the frame to better fit the face in the image if you wish.
Drag the corners around the face of the individual you want to tag
In the search bar at the top of the screen, start entering the individual in your family tree that you would like to tag in the photo. A list will appear of relevant individuals. Select the right one.
Start typing the individual’s name you want to tag and then select the right person from the list that appears
The tag (name) will then appear directly on the photo. Continue tagging additional individuals in the image, or tap “Save” to finish. You can also tag individuals in the image later, to associate it with their tree profiles. Simply tap on the “tag” icon in the upper right-hand corner of any photo in an album.
Tap the “tag” icon to tag additional people in the photo later
The image will then be saved to the photo album or profile in your family tree, from which you invoked the Scanner. To add additional meta data about the image you scanned, tap on the ellipsis (…) on the upper right-hand corner of the screen and select “Edit photo info” from the menu that appears.
Add additional details about the photo: part 1
Fill in details about the photo, such as a title, date, place and description, and when you’re finished, tap “Save”.
Add additional details about the photo: part 2
Repeat until you have scanned all of the documents and/or photos you want in the given album.
A complete album digitized lovingly to preserve it for future generations and kept in the context of your family tree
The new Scanner feature is ideal for scanning your old photos and documents. Many of us have precious and frail old family photo albums at home, waiting to be digitized, and fading away with every year that goes by. Now you can finally take care of that, over an upcoming weekend. Using the Scanner will upload everything to MyHeritage where you can easily associate the photos and documents with the relatives in your family tree in one go. Your precious content will be backed up, and will be less vulnerable to fire, flood or aging over time, once it is eternalized digitally.
If you don’t yet have the MyHeritage mobile app, get it now, it’s free.
Last but not least: Contest announcement
To celebrate the release of the new Scanner feature, we’re offering three lucky people the chance to win a free MyHeritage Complete subscription for one year! To win, send us a special photo or document that you scanned with the new feature. When viewing your scanned document or photo in the app, tap the “Share” icon and then choose your email app from the menu that appears.
Share scanned records
Send your scanned item, and the story behind it, to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 6, 2018, for a chance to win. We’ll post the top entries on the blog.
We’re happy to announce two new features in the MyHeritage mobile app to help you improve your family history research:
Inbox — a comprehensive email-based messaging feature to communicate with other members of MyHeritage, including your own relatives, regarding DNA Matches, Smart Matches and other topics of genealogical collaboration. Scanner — a useful feature that utilizes your smartphone’s high-resolution camera for scanning old photographs and documents directly into your family site on MyHeritage to preserve them digitally.
About the mobile app
The MyHeritage mobile app makes it easier than ever to explore and share your family history on the go. Capture and share family photos and memories right from your mobile device, update your tree at family get-togethers and invite family members to contribute to your family tree. The MyHeritage mobile app is available for free on iOS and Android and works great on smartphones and tablets. If you haven’t done it already, install the mobile app now.
This blog post is part 1 of our mobile app features announcement and will introduce the Inbox. In part 2, we cover the Scanner.
The new Inbox feature on the mobile app allows easy collaboration with your family site members, and with other users with whom you have DNA Matches or Smart Matches. You can use it to send and receive emails, to explore your connection with other MyHeritage members and discover more about your family history together. We recently announced that it’s free to contact your DNA Matches in all contexts, so the Inbox is now even more useful. Collaboration is an important part of successful genealogical research and so we are developing tools to make that easier for our users. The Inbox functionality already exists on the MyHeritage website but now there is an interface to use it from the mobile app, and the mobile version is even easier to use. Correspondence that you initiate with your DNA Matches or other MyHeritage members can be continued wherever you are through the mobile Inbox, even if you started it on the desktop. We believe this is the best inbox messaging feature available from any genealogy service today: it has the functionality we’ve heard from our users that they want and it’s intuitive and easy to use.
Accessing the Inbox
To navigate to the Inbox, tap on the new envelope icon on the upper right-hand corner of the mobile app’s screen. If you have unread messages, there will be a badge on the envelope indicating how many unread messages are waiting for you.
Click on the envelope on the home screen of the app to open the Inbox
You can also navigate to the Inbox from the menu of the mobile app:
Click on “Inbox” in the main menu to open the Inbox
Tapping on the envelope icon or the Inbox in the menu will take you to the Inbox.
The main page of the Inbox lists the email threads you have with other people. Threads with more recent messages will be listed first. Threads with unread messages will appear in bold. This is the same list that you’ll see on the desktop version of the Inbox. In the mobile Inbox you can initiate threads with members of your family site and continue threads that were initiated through the Contact links or buttons in the DNA Matches and Smart Matches features. You cannot search for or contact other MyHeritage members arbitrarily. This is a safety feature to protect our members from spam.
To start a new thread, tap on the pencil on the bottom right-hand corner of the Inbox main page.
Inbox: main page
Then tap on the plus sign in the “To” field.
Add recipients when composing a new message
Start typing the name of the recipient and then select the intended individual from the list that appears. You can choose up to six recipients in case you want to start a group thread.
Choose the MyHeritage member you want to send the message to
Start composing your message and tap “Send” when you’re done.
Tap “Send” to send your message
When a message is composed and sent, MyHeritage dispatches an email to the recipient. The email doesn’t give your email address; it is sent from MyHeritage on your behalf, and the recipient can respond to it through MyHeritage, which will then send an email to you.
Swipe any thread to the left on iOS or do a long tap on Android to mark as read or unread. Tap on “More” to reply, archive, or delete the thread. If you want to clean up your inbox without deleting your threads, you can archive them. When you archive a thread, it gets moved from your main inbox to a separate archive section.
Actions on a thread, accessible by swipe or long tap
To filter your message threads, tap on the filter icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen – it’s the icon that looks like a funnel. A panel will open from the right side of the screen where you can choose to view only messages that are unread, archived, or that you have sent.
Using the filter to control which threads will be displayed
Tap on any thread to see the most recent message. You can also tap on previous messages in the thread to expand and read them.
Example of an expanded message
Reply to a message by tapping on the arrow in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. Tap on the ellipsis menu (…) in the upper right-hand corner to reply, archive, mark the message as unread, or delete it.
We don’t expose email addresses, but we do tell you for each person you’re corresponding with, the name of the family site they manage, which can be helpful. In the near future, for any correspondent who is a DNA Match of yours, we plan to display information about your DNA relationship, which may come in handy, right in the context of the Inbox.
You will be notified when you have new messages directly on the home screen of your mobile device.
Notifications on the home screen of a smartphone showing 1 new message
You can opt out of push notifications if you do not want to be notified this way, though we recommend leaving it on because incoming messages from other users can be very important. To opt out of push notifications on iOS, go to the settings menu on your device, select “Notifications”, tap on the MyHeritage app, and disable “Allow Notifications”. On Android, go to your device’s settings and continue according to the device-specific process for opting out of such notifications.
The new mobile Inbox is a great way to keep your genealogical collaborations in one place. It was built to feel very familiar for people who are used to working with email applications, while preserving your privacy by not revealing your personal email address to MyHeritage members you correspond with. We hope the new mobile app Inbox will make it easier and more enjoyable for you to collaborate with other members.
We have continued to listen to our users and have implemented improvements to the recently released One-to-Many Chromosome Browser, that our users have requested! Three new additions make it easier to use the Chromosome Browser pages and provide additional information about your DNA Matches to make the experience of working with your DNA Matches easier.
New: Easily reference your comparison set at all times
On both desktop and tablet, on the page where you select your comparison set, and on the main page of the Chromosome Browser itself, the DNA Match cards will remain docked at the top of your screen as you scroll down the page. This allows you to see the DNA Matches you selected, and the colors associated with each one, as you review the rest of the page. On the page where you select your comparison set, you can also remove the DNA Matches that you have already selected for comparison using the docked header.
On the page where you select the comparison set, DNA Match cards remain docked at the top of your screen as you scroll down
The docked row serves as a useful legend for the segment colors.
On the main page of the Chromosome Browser, DNA Match cards remain docked at the top of your screen as you scroll down
New: Review and contact DNA Matches right from the Chromosome Browser
On the main page of the Chromosome Browser, when you hover over each DNA Match card, three dots will now appear in the upper right-hand corner of the card. When you click on the three dots, a dropdown menu will appear, giving you the option to go to the DNA Match Review page for that DNA Match where you can learn more about the DNA Match such as shared surnames, shared ethnicities, and more. The dropdown menu also has the option to contact the DNA Match. In the case that the DNA Match is not the manager of his or her own kit, you will also have the option to contact the manager of the DNA Match’s kit. Contacting DNA Matches is free for all users.
Previously it was not possible to do all this from the Chromosome Browser.
New options on each DNA Match card in the Chromosome Browser
New: Indication for triangulated segments from the DNA Match Review page
The third improvement was made in the DNA Match Review page. We’ve added an indicator for shared DNA Matches who have triangulated segments with you and the DNA Match you are reviewing. Triangulated segments are shared DNA segments that you and two or more DNA Matches all share with each other, and therefore likely all inherited from a common ancestor.
On desktop, you can hover over the indicator (a triangulated segment icon) and see in the tooltip how many triangulated segments exist. Clicking the indicator will take you to the One-to-Many Chromosome Browser where you, the DNA Match you were reviewing, and the shared DNA Match that you both have in common, will automatically be loaded as the comparison set. This allows you to review triangulated segments quickly and efficiently.
The new triangulated segments indicator appears next to any shared DNA Match that triangulates with you and the DNA Match you are reviewing
This new indicator feature provides a useful way to differentiate between shared DNA Matches that are worth exploring (as candidates of being descendants of a common ancestor) and those that are potentially less interesting from that aspect.
To utilize the Chromosome Browser, and the many other innovative MyHeritage features for genetic genealogy, you can order your own DNA kit or upload DNA data from another company. These enhancements, like many others we have released, were requested or inspired by the community. We hope these new features are helpful to you and we will be rolling out more, soon!
At MyHeritage we take customer support very seriously, and are happy to announce that we are now offering customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! We are probably the first and only family history and DNA company to provide round-the-clock support.
Our support team now includes 138 full-time employees, taking phone calls and handling support questions via email. We’ve spared no expense and doubled the size of the team in the past 6 months in order to scale up and provide shorter wait times for calls and tickets, as well as keep up with the huge growth of our business. We’re also experimenting with an online chat service and are testing other platforms to provide you with more ways to contact us and allow us to respond faster to your questions. Our support team members speak 18 languages fluently, to ensure that most of our global members could receive assistance in their native language.
There are millions of users on MyHeritage. Every month, more than 100,000 customers contact our customer support. About 45,000 of these queries are phone calls, which represents 100% growth since last year, and about 50,000 are ticket inquiries, which represents 15% growth since last year.
Here are some other ways in which we’ve recently improved our customer support:
The improved online Help Center is your first step for detailed answers to a huge number of possible questions.
It provides more than 700 up-to-date articles in English, and hundreds of articles in each of 8 additional languages. The Help Center was revamped and it now looks and works great on mobile. The Help Center prompts you to type in a question, and then automatically analyzes your question and provides a list of appropriate articles that we think can answer your question. This method successfully handles 87% of all questions we receive.
We have improved the voice-response system in our Support Call Center.
The system can now take your account number and, if applicable, your DNA kit number, to allow our representatives to provide immediate, personalized assistance. To call support, use our toll-free numbers (1-800-MYHERITAGE in the U.S.), and keep your account ID handy in case you are asked for it. You can find you account ID by clicking on the drop down menu by your name on the top of the screen, when you’re logged into MyHeritage.
Our refund policy is now friendlier.
We have updated our protocols to make it simpler and easier to request refunds.
We significantly increased the size of the Customer Support team. In addition to our Israel-based customer support center that currently employs 60 people, and our Utah-based support center with a team of 10, we have opened a new customer support center in Ireland, with more than 68 people helping customers around the clock. This enables us to provide drastically better support to our users.
Above: The MyHeritage customer support team – Israel (click to zoom)
Above: Part of the MyHeritage customer support team – Ireland (click to zoom)
Here’s an introduction to some of the people who lead our customer support teams.
Yakir Lasry, VP Customer Relations, Israel
Yakir Lasry, VP Customer Relations
Yakir manages all customer-facing activities at MyHeritage, which include customer support and sales.
Along with a strong foundation in sales, Yakir brings a sense of ingenuity to MyHeritage, shunning phrases like “industry standard” and preferring instead to reinvent systems in order to provide customers with the best possible experience.
In 2010, Yakir joined MyHeritage and single-handedly built the company’s call center. His impressive performance led to his promotion to head the customer support department, where he has been responsible for significantly improving customer satisfaction, and developing processes and materials for optimizing the customer experience.
When he’s not working, Yakir enjoys ice hockey and boxing, and he’s a star player on the MyHeritage soccer team.
Tabea Naeder, Phone Support Manager, Israel
Tabea Naeder, Phone Support Manager
Tabea was born in Germany but has lived in many countries. After graduating with a B.A. in Politics and History in Canada, she moved to Israel in 2011.
She has been working in the genealogy field since 2014, researching heirs of property that was confiscated in Germany during World War II. In 2015, she went from being a user of MyHeritage to working as a Technical Support Engineer in the then-new Tel Aviv office.
After one year, she began managing the ever-growing Support Department in Tel Aviv. She enjoys the challenges of managing people from 17 different countries, giving dedicated support to users in many different languages.
Tabea loves the outdoors and can be found hiking or traveling to exotic destinations. She’s a fearless taster of foods and will not shy away from any dance floor.
Shlomi Ben Ami, Email Support Manager, Israel
Shlomi Ben Ami, Email Support Manager
Shlomi was born and spent his first 4 years in Israel before moving to Germany for the next 30 years. In Germany he worked in customer support for nearly 15 years for a small software company, spending 80% of his work-time traveling within Europe and occasionally North- and South-America, providing on-site support and running installation and implementation projects at banks and insurance companies.
He joined MyHeritage almost four years ago, as a technical support engineer. After the first week, he already felt the “click” and knew he had found the place to stay. A year and a half later, he was promoted and accepted the challenge of managing the Email Support Team.
Shlomi loves photography and in his spare time he travels to remote countries trying to capture their essence in a picture.
Daniel Scannell, Operations Manager, Ireland
Daniel Scannell, Operations Manager
Daniel, whom everyone calls Dan, has 5 years of experience in customer relations and has worked in partnership with some of the world’s most iconic companies. He now manages MyHeritage’s growing operation in Ireland which provides support via email, phone and social media to customers in English.
He believes that understanding the customer’s journey is the key to delivering beautiful customer experiences and that a fun and creative work environment where team members can learn, share insights and develop new skills is core in building an out of this world support team.
Dan is a numbers geek and admits that he loves nothing more than getting into a complex spreadsheet. He’s passionate about translating complex data into insights that help paint a picture and tell a story.
Simona Fedinova, Group Manager, Ireland
Simona Fedinova, Group Manager, Ireland
Simona has 10 years experience in the customer service industry. She started on the phone in the telecoms industry and worked her way up through several departments, such as training, quality, and retail support. She advanced through industries a number of times and chose to become a part of the MyHeritage management team in Ireland.
She is passionate about delivering beautiful customer experience not only to the customers but also employees. She is a problem solver and is not afraid to roll up her sleeves and get to work, no matter how challenging.
Born and raised in Slovakia, she has lived in Ireland for the past 12 years. She’s an avid movie-goer and if she’s not in the cinema, you can find her enjoying a cup of coffee while reading a good mystery novel.
Thanks for taking the time to learn about our team. It’s really important to us that our customers receive the very best support experience in the industry which is why we have focused on building such a strong department.
Our specialists are here for you, ready and available, whenever you need them.
At MyHeritage our users’ feedback is extremely important to us. We do our best to listen to the community to provide the best possible family history research experience. Today we released two new features that were requested by our users at the RootsTech conference in Utah in February (thanks Judy Russell, and others!), to make navigating in the list of DNA Matches easier. Following major updates and improvements to our DNA Matching in January 2018, MyHeritage DNA users are receiving 10 times as many matches as before. It’s therefore only natural that there is now demand for easier ways to work with this information and make the most of it.
New: Jump to page
With this feature, you can manually enter the page number you would like to go to, in the list of DNA Matches. From now on, if you are interested in DNA Matches that appear beyond the first few pages of your massive DNA Match list, you don’t need to click through the pages one by one. Simply enter the page number you would like to jump to in the “Go to page” field and then press “Enter”.
New: Increase number of DNA Matches per page
By default, 10 DNA Matches appear on each page of your DNA Match list. To increase that number, you can now select “25” or “50” on the bottom right-hand corner of your DNA Match list, and 25 or 50 DNA Matches, respectively, will appear on each page.
Increasing the number per page makes it easier for power users to use the list, but pages will be slower to load.
Note, that you can also export the entire list of DNA Matches and review them externally, for example in a spreadsheet program. For more details, see our former blog post.
Fix: Distant relationship estimates
We’ve implemented a fix regarding the suggested relationship of DNA Matches that appear to be very distant, based on feedback from the community.
Previously, some DNA Matches with relatively little shared DNA used to be displayed as “3rd cousin – 5th cousin”. This was confusing, because some of these matches were indeed appropriate for this relationship range, while others were much more distant, i.e. having very low cM value for shared DNA. Now, the more distant matches are listed as “3rd cousin – distant cousin”, which is more correct because in reality they might even be your 6th or 7th cousins. Typically, many of these distant matches will be labeled as Medium Confidence or Low Confidence matches, which means that some of them may be false positives. This fix is retroactive and was also applied on existing matches. It’s an important fix because it will help you separate between matches who are likely 5th cousins of yours, and other matches that seem to be more distant than that.
We hope you enjoy these two shortcuts for navigating your DNA Match list more efficiently. If you aren’t enjoying yet our full suite of genetic genealogy tools, order your MyHeritage DNA kit today, or upload your DNA data from another service which is still free.
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