MyHeritage hits 1 billion profiles and announces new features for historical research

MyHeritage hits 1 billion profiles and announces new features for historical research

MyHeritage, the family tree maker’s website, has hit one billion profiles. To celebrate that announcement, the site is also releasing some interesting new features for genealogical research.

MyHeritage went live in 2005, providing a method for people to input data about their genealogical history to create a family tree. Now there are 63 million members who have created 23 million family trees and on those trees there are one billion profiles.

The site now works in 38 languages and users from around the world have uploaded 150 million photos and images to illustrate their family history. One in twenty Brits now uses MyHeritage to track their origins.

Founder and CEO of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet gave a presentation with the latest stats and pointed out that his company grew from a business he started working on from home.

There are some neat new features coming to MyHeritage users. The company acquired family history sites WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink in November 2011 and in April this year it started providing access to the 1940 U.S. Census free of charge.

Families in context

The main focus of the MyHeritage’s next moves will be to make those resources more useful. Super Search is currently available in beta where users can search the catalogue of historical archives. With so much more data now available on the site, this is an important improvement.

What will really help people along though is the upcoming service called Record Matching. As mentioned there is a lot of historical data available, Record Matching will allow users to search newspaper archives and yearbook entries for added information. There will also be linguistic translation of names so users can track the international spread of families too.

Thinking on those additions, newspaper articles can often add more detail about family members than you might find in a search of records that may only list births, deaths and marriages. Images may appear along with dates and contextual details. Articles may also provide the names of other family members and friends which can in turn be added to a family tree.

Japhet said that in testing the Record Matching service returned results that were 98% accurate. That’s pretty impressive given that some of the archive data can go back hundreds of years.

The newspaper records provide a collection of 120 million pages and there are 4 billion records over all.

There’s a lot of development possibilities ahead for MyHeritage. The company raised $15m from Index and Accel back in 2008 and has raised $24m to date. Japhet said that it is likely that he will be looking to raise more capital as these newly released features will be needing cash to be processed properly.

There’s plenty of family tree software available online. Initially the process may have been intriguing to present and visualise your lineage. Today though with more data around on the Web, context and colour are key for explaining who we are and where we come from.

MyHeritage works on a freemium basis, but with so much available as an archive to create a more colourful picture, the company looks to be heading in the right direction to supply the information and get paid along the way.

Check out how the company’s own history in the video below:

Image Credit: Citrus.Sunshine

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