Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Book Matching Technology from MyHeritage revolutionizes genealogical research

As I have noted many times in the past, genealogical researchers have a tendency to ignore printed books. Every time I bring up the subject of books in a class the participants act as if I were an undiscovered world. Now, is solving the problem of researching books. Their newly introduced, exclusive Book Matching technology automatically finds matches for people in your family tree in their vast collection of almost 450,000 digitized historical books. It uses full semantic text analysis to compare books with family trees, bringing the researcher relevant excerpts when it finds narrative describing people in a MyHeritage family tree, with extremely high accuracy.

I wrote about the first, test, introduction of this amazing technology a short time ago, but now there is a significant expansion. Here is the press release which explains the entire process.

MyHeritage Releases Exclusive Book Matching Technology for Family History
MyHeritage users to automatically receive relevant excerpts from digitized books that reveal information about their ancestors and relatives

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, April 7, 2016 — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, has launched today a revolutionary addition to its suite of technologies: Book Matching. This innovation automatically researches users' family trees in historical books with high precision.

In April 2012 MyHeritage launched SuperSearch™, a search engine for historical records, which has since then grown to include 6.6 billion historical records, including birth, marriage, death and census records. By implementing its vision of enhancing genealogy with technology, MyHeritage then developed a line of unique and sophisticated technologies that automatically match the records from the search engine to the 32 million family trees uploaded by its users.

In December 2015, MyHeritage expanded its data collections to include digitized historical books, with an initial corpus of 150,000 books of high genealogical value. This collection was tripled last week to 450,000 books with 91 million pages. With a team of more than 50 dedicated curators, MyHeritage aims to add hundreds of millions of pages of digitized books to the collection each year.

As of today, MyHeritage users will receive matches between profiles in their family trees and the books from this collection. The Book Matching technology analyzes the book texts semantically, understanding complex narrative that describes people, and matches it to the 2 billion individuals in MyHeritage family trees with extremely high accuracy. This breakthrough technology is the first of its kind, and is exclusive to MyHeritage.

Book Matching has produced more than 80 million matches, and this number will continue to grow as the collection grows and as the family trees on MyHeritage continue to expand. Book Matching is currently available for English books, and the technology is being enhanced to cover additional languages. In addition, de-duplication technology is being added in the next few weeks to remove duplicate books that have been scanned and OCRed more than once by different sources.

“No one has ever done this before," said MyHeritage Chief Technology Officer, Sagi Bashari. “Our Book Matching technology reads hundreds of thousands of books for you, every hour, comparing them to your family tree and pointing you to relevant excerpts about your ancestors with almost no false positives. MyHeritage is the first to offer full semantic text analysis in this way, and the genealogical breakthroughs speak for themselves. You will be amazed at the value of books for your research."

“I've personally seen what this new technology can do, using my own family tree,” said blogger and lifelong genealogist Leland Meitzler. “It found well over 500 books with information on my family, most of which I'd never seen before. All kinds of ancestors and relatives can now be added to my tree! To say that this new search technology changes everything would be an overstatement, but not by much.”

Genealogist James Tanner said: “This advanced technology from MyHeritage opens up a whole new world of research possibilities that were almost completely unavailable in the past. I have always valued the content of the older genealogy books because the people who wrote them were contemporaries with my ancestors. Being able to search these books on a large scale will change the way most of us have been doing genealogy and our attitude towards the books that have been there all along but were not searchable.”

Dick Eastman, of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter, summed up MyHeritage’s latest innovation: "MyHeritage Book Matching is like having a huge library at your fingertips, with a twist; there is a magical librarian who tells you exactly which books have information about your ancestors."

Book Matches are available at and are generated automatically for any family tree built on the website or imported into it. A Data subscription is required to view Book Matches.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the world's fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground­breaking search and matching technologies. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to share family stories, past and present, and treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages.


  1. As with a many advances there is also a downside, in this case the downside is modern researchers are not learning research techniques and dare I say it not being sidetracked in their research.

    That might not seem to matter but if we compare it to the situation with calculators. Some people have never learnt mental arithmetic and rely on a calculator to work everything out, unfortunately that means they do not get warning bells ringing when they have punched in an error and the result on the calculator is vastly wrong.

    The advantage of old fashioned search methods is the amount of knowledge of the past that is built up reading unconnected records and being sidetracked in ones research.
    Yes I agree the technology is far more efficient but at the risk of not comprehending the world our ancestors lived in.
    That does not mean I do not applaud MyHeritage and similar companies in their advances, I do; but I think that to get the best from the new methods of research we should also have a good grounding in traditional research.


    1. I certainly agree. But I would not extend to the problem to all modern researchers. There are still some very good ones out there.

  2. This is waaaay beyond awesome! I'll have to re-up my MeHeritage account jusg for this book matching.