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Friday, September 21, 2012

This is really significant -- MyHeritage.com Record Matches

NOTE: This post is now more than two years old. If you wish to vent about MyHeritage.com and/or any of the other companies, please do so elsewhere. If you have something to say and can document your accusations, I will be glad to respond. Otherwise, please comment on one of my more current blog posts.

Recently, there have been a significant number of posts about MyHeritage.com's Record Matches, most simply recording the facts as presented in the press releases. But I have had some time during the past week or so both to work with the new program and to think about the significance of this step by MyHeritage.com. It is apparent that through its recent acquisitions and a number of undisclosed partnerships, it has put together a wide ranging method of searching previously unrelated databases simultaneously. In my opinion, this is a significant step forward for the online genealogical community.

The MyHeritage.com program is centered around a free local computer-based application called Family Tree Builder 6.0. Roughly speaking, you enter your information into Family Tree Builder, either by keying in the information or through a GEDCOM file, and the program either creates and online family tree or syncs the information with your online MyHeritage.com Family Tree. You can store up to 500 names online free of charge including up to 250 MB of storage for attached photos and documents. Their Premium Plan adds up to 2,500 people and 500 MB of storage and their PremiumPlus Plan has unlimited people and storage. The Premium Plan is currently $6.25 a month billed annually and the PremiumPlus Plan is $9.95 a month billed annually or $119.40 a year.

The new Record Match feature is not free. MyHeritage.com with the Records Match looks like it will run an additional $6.35 per month billed annually or $76.20 for full access. Otherwise, you can purchase credits to download specific documents. Here is the explanation:
Record Matches are provided for free as an abbreviated summary. Viewing full records from some data collections is free (e.g. Ellis Island and Find-a-Grave). Viewing other records in full requires a new type of subscription, called a data subscription, which also provides unlimited access to MyHeritage SuperSearch. You can also view specific records by purchasing pay-as-you-go credits.
Now, the first thing is how does this program compare to Ancestry.com? MyHeritage.com is obviously a very viable competitor, perhaps the first one Ancestry.com has ever had. These are some of the points I have noticed comparing the two programs.

Point #1:
Ancestry.com searches its own databases internally and returns records in its own collection.
Counter:
MyHeritage.com seems to search records outside of its owned databases and therefore it is unpredictable what it will produce. This is not bad, this is very good.

Point #2:
Full access to Ancestry.com is more than $300 per year and you have to buy their program, Family Tree Maker at about %70 to $80. Ancestry.com has Family Tree Maker for both the PC and Mac.
Counter:
Both subscriptions to MyHeritage.com are cheaper than the single Ancestry.com charge and their program is free. MyHeritage.com only has Family Tree Builder for the PC, but it is free.

Point #3:
Both companies seem to be aggressively seeking acquisitions and partnerships. However, Ancestry.com is presently reported to be for sale. Could MyHeritage.com buy Ancestry.com? It is not mentioned as one of the potential buyers at all. In any event, Ancestry.com's future is highly unpredictable whereas MyHeritage.com seems to be advancing very rapidly.

Point #4: 
Ancestry.com is free in the FamilySearch Centers.
Counter: 
MyHeritage.com's online database WorldVitalRecords.com is also free at FamilySearch Centers. 

Point #5: 
Both programs, Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com, allow you to attach images to your online family tree. When you upload your file to MyHeritage.com, the results online include the images already attached to your local file. In both programs, you can add additional photos, however, without the PremiumPlus Plan on MyHeritage.com, you are limited to the storage allowed.

Point #6:
How do they stack up with content? It is really too early to tell but my initial indications are that they are NOT duplicates to a great extent, so MyHeritage.com is a good alternative. If you have the resources (i.e. money) You may want to try both. I would note that neither program costs as much as one research trip across the country.

I also have the incentive now to use the MyHeritage.com program more aggressively than I have in the past. But I will not likely use Ancestry.com any less.

One dramatic difference between the two programs is the amount of personal contact with the owners and developers. Not one time in my years of research and writing has Ancestry.com or any of their representatives ever acknowledged my existence. They have never sent me anything about their company or had a representative talk to me. On the other hand, even the President and founder of MyHeritage.com has taken the time to call me personally on the telephone from Israel to talk. When they introduced this new Research Match program, I got an early look with several emails explaining the program and multiple calls from their U.S. representative making sure I got the emails and asking if I had any questions. MyHeritage.com's personal approach to marketing is outstanding and almost unique.

I do not wish to imply that I am in any way important enough, in any sense, to merit the attention of the huge Ancestry.com company. As a matter of fact, very few commercial entities out there in genealogy land acknowledge my existence. That is one reason why the approach taken by MyHeritage.com is so unique.

My guess is that corporate style and friendly but aggressive marketing puts MyHeritage.com way ahead of Ancestry.com and I would think that absent a corporate change from Ancestry.com they will ultimately lose out to the better marketing of MyHeritage.com and since I have given away my two TVs recently, I no longer see any Ancestry.com ads except on the Internet where they can be ignored.

As a final note, FamilySearch.org is in the process of implementing their online family tree program called appropriately (but not very originally) Family Tree. The FamilySearch Family Tree is unique in that it is a monolithic tree. When you add your information, you are not creating your "own" tree, but sharing that information with all other users. Further, FamilySearch Family Tree is entirely integrated, meaning there are no individual family trees with "personal" information. In a fundamental sense, what Family Search is trying to accomplish is totally different than either Ancestry.com or MyHeritage.com and any resemblance between either Ancestry.com or MyHeritage.com and FamilySearch Family Tree is superficial.

I will undoubtedly have more to say in the future.

 

28 comments:

  1. "Point #2:
    Full access to Ancestry.com is more than $300 per year and you have to buy their program, Family Tree Maker" - please explain or clarify this statement. I have a full access subscription to Ancestry.com and did not have to buy FTM nor use it in order to access Ancestry.com. Did you mean to say something otherwise?

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    1. No, I meant what I said. I am comparing MyHeritage.com with Ancestry.com. If you want to use the MyHeritage.com program Family Tree Builder, it is free. If you want to use the Ancestry.com, Family Tree Maker program, you have to pay for it.

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    2. I have used Ancestry.com for 12 years and have *never* purchased or used FTM. I use Reunion for MAC.

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    3. I have been using both Family Tree Make AND Ancestry.com with my tree "linked" to both. The big difference of using and housing your tree only on Ancestry.com is that you cannot generated reports. Whereas you can generate, email and/or print a variety of reports through FTM. I too am a long time owner user of FTM and Ancestry.com since 2000. However, I am now researching and considering switching to MyHeritage.com.

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  2. "Point #6:
    How do they stack up with content? It is really too early to tell but my initial indications are that they are NOT duplicates to a great extent, so MyHeritage.com is a good alternative."

    Well, no. Just because they are not duplicates does not mean that MyHeritage.com has anything useful, such as local Deeds books and indexes for 1635-1880, a very comprehensive array of 19th-century newspapers from throughout the USA, local tax lists from 1700-1900, and vital records (such as those beginning in the 1880s from each Town in New York) (not post-1910 indexes), the NY State Census enumeration images for 1825-1892 for each Town (not extracts that leave out specific household data), complete estate files including inventories, vendue bills, accounts and settlements (not the peculiar partial records and index selections recently uploaded by FamilySearch), German church records (Catholic, Lutheran and Reformed) 1580s-1850s, and so forth.

    Perhaps the site has a public complete list of its holdings?

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    1. I think Ancestry.com has easier research and much easier way to attach matching census records to a person in your tree. Heritage often makes you attach the records manually or tries to replace info from one census year with info from a diffferent census year. Until they fix these problems, I will continue using Ancestry for research.

      Heritage's automatic matching service is good, but I have found almost no source information on any of the matching trees, so it is impossible to evaluate if that data is any better than my own.

      For now, Ancestry far outshines MyHeritage in research capability, and it's so irritating that MyHeritage won't make a MAC version of the Family Tree Builder. If they that, I would make a final switch to MyHeritage and stop paying the huge fees for Ancestry.

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  3. Can anyone enlighten me as to how I can transfer family data from My Heritage Family Tree to software I just purchased called Family Tree Heritage? Also I dont understand what a Gedcom file is, nor have I manipulated one....??? Please advise.
    Thanks

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  4. Avoid the My Heritage 'free' Family Tree Builder. They harass you constantly to buy products and when they realize you aren't going to they delete your information. When you email them they tell you they don't respond to emails. I suspect they are building a data base on your information. Don't fall for this scam.

    There are other forums to get this information out there so I don't need to release more information on this very questionable bought blog.

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    Replies
    1. My dear friend Anonymous.
      This comment is not accurate. MyHeritage does not harass you to buy products. They do not delete your information. They do respond to email. This is not a "bought" blog. If you are going to make such irresponsible and unsupported accusations, you should at least have the integrity to sign your name.

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    2. Family Tree Builder is excellent software, in my opinion much easier to build an view your tree than FTM, I have both FTM2014 and the newest Family Tree Builder. Research online is much easier with Ancestry.com though.

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  5. I am adopted. What is the best resource to find my genealogy?

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    1. Good Question. Look for a blog post in the very near future.

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    2. I don't know where you are from but I believe here in Australia the Red Cross runs an organisation called Jigsaw - they found my Mum's family in England back in 1984.. since Red Cross is international they may have an equivalent there or try your local LDS (mormon) family history centre for further info

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  6. I'm new to family research and hesitant about purchasing access to any ancestry website. I started researching options and ran across a free family builder software at My Heritage. The online application differs slightly from the downloaded version (my personal favorite), but both have been fun, easy to use and enlightening.
    After download, I was off... easy to use, connecting to relevant "free" information, even a picture of my great-great grandparents never seen by 4 generations in person or picture!!!
    I was amazed that I could connect with others or link to information that would help with my research and grow my family tree... for free!
    I remain conflicted about the best way to invest in my new hobby for access to a plethora of accurate, exciting information... so to avoid hidden fees, I will continue to enjoy the free features & functionality MyHeritage.com has to offer.
    But if I hit the lottery tomorrow, I'm buying access to all sites... right after I hire the entire "Who Do You Think You Are?" genealogist staff!!!

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  7. My heritage is the best the basic plan is free unlike ancestry has no free plan i am not saying ancestry is bad but it is hard to have my heritage free.

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  8. For the price of 70 pounds I have just brought Family tree maker 2014 and that includes Six Month Premium membership UK wich means I can buy two of this program and still only spend at the current exchange rate 223 US Dollars I have just cancelled my subs to My Heritage as I have had no end of mistakes by them over the last six months and none from Ancestry for the last 6 or 7 years.
    I agree with Crice I also have found very little source information on there matching trees.

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    1. I am trying to find a good way to compare My Heritage to Ancestry.com. I am wondering whether the Search Feature is included with a subscription. They are having a special on that includes Billion Graves for half price until Monday. My Ancestry subscription runs out Dec 1. Any advice would be helpful.

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  9. I just finished talking "live" to a supposed manager at My Heritage. I did not have automatic renewal, yet they billed me without notice! Luckily I had sufficient funds available or I would have gotten a nice, fat overdraft. Then on top of that...They billed me another $119 for a data subscription....excuse me, I never had that! What a mess. Needless to say, this is the last year I will have My Heritage, I also have an Ancestry account, and you do not have to pay for a family tree maker there...you can build on-line. Now I have to contact all the members of my family for My Heritage, tell them its the last year and offer to let one of the (if they're dumb enough) to take it over. And we'd BETTER see that they take the charge for the data subscription off as fast as they put it on my checking account. What a rip-off, there are so many sites offering FREE accesss for the same data, why pay them?

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    Replies
    1. I must respectfully disagree with most of your conclusions especially the comment about the "free" access. I suggest you investigate what you are "purchasing" in a little more depth for both Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com.

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    2. I agree with Anonymous of January 7. MyHeritage.com is a scam. Stay away!

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  10. my heritage the biggest scam of all time only joined a few months ago and have deleted all family tree as they only use your info to suck in new subscribers don't waist your money

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    1. It is interesting that MyHeritage.com has more than 70 million users worldwide and many of us are extremely satisfied with the service. I wonder why this type of comment always comes from some one named anonymous?

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  11. I am looking for data file compatibility for my Broderbund Family Tree Maker 5.0. Do you know if Family Tree Heritage Platinum 9 sold by Broderbund supports Family Tree Maker 5.0 files?

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  12. You might try searching on Google for FTM 5.0 compatibility. Broderbund would have to answer about backward file compatibility.

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  13. If you think the few complaints on this site are isolated incidents, then check this out: http://mythreecents.com/reviews/myheritage and make sure to click on "Replies" at the bottom. Experiences over the last 5 years seem to indicate a problem with MH customer service and billing practices.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      Your issue with MyHeritage.com is long out-of-date. You need to reassess your comments by using the completely new program since those comments were made and the original post written. Their customer service is now far better than any of the other large online genealogy companies with the possible exception of FamilySearch.org

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    2. About a week ago while doing a search on-line I saw some data about my husband's family which was on My Heritage.com. I have an Ancestry.com subscription but the MyHeritage.com data (not a tree but documentation) appeared extensive and worth the $9.95. Of course that turned out to be $9.95 a month, billed annually (so $119.00), but I bit the bullet and decided to go for it.

      Once I got in there was ONE document, a visa, from which MyHeritage had extracted every dot of data and presented as four different documents. Every other search I did bumped me over to the LDS database (which is free). Just to check I did a search on someone I have a lot of documentation on, so I could compare what the two services offer. I found absolutely nothing on my well-documented ancestor on MyHeritage.com.

      Then when I tried to connect with a cousin I was told I could not until I paid a further $120 a year! I was confused and asked why I couldn't confirm family matches and was told that there were two tiers of membership, one where you could access data and another where you could access family trees. I reviewed all the advertising I had seen and there was no mention of this two-tiered membership *anywhere*. I was told that the two had been separated because while some people want documentation lots of people just want to copy trees. These are words that make a genealogist's blood run cold.

      I asked for a refund.

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    3. One or two points in response. First the date of this post is in 2012. There have been a lot of changes with the program since then. Second, it does not sound like you have read any of my more recent posts explaining how MyHeritage works. It sound like you merely searched for documents and did not upload your family tree or pay for the full price of the program.

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