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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

MyHeritage Opens New Community-Powered Assistance Hub

From the press release announcement entitled "MyHeritage Launches New Community-Powered Q and A Hub," from dated 19 April 2016.
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, April 19, 2016 — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, announced today the launch of MyHeritage Community, a new online Q&A hub that fosters family history research collaboration. MyHeritage Community is built as an image-oriented forum integrated into the website for users to help one another solve genealogical challenges, such as translating documents, deciphering handwritten letters, identifying unknown people in photos and searching for elusive ancestors. With more than 81 million users around the world registered on MyHeritage and 42 languages supported, MyHeritage Community is uniquely positioned to serve as a meeting place for people trying to solve genealogical mysteries, and other people willing to help them. Users looking for assistance can post requests in the MyHeritage Community to get expert genealogy advice or benefit from native language expertise and local geographic familiarity. For example: a user in the United States with roots in Germany can post an image of an ancestor’s handwritten letter written in Kurrent — old German handwriting — and ask for help deciphering it. Another user from Germany can then translate it and add first-hand information on the town from which the letter was posted.
This effort is a valuable extension of the genealogical community. As MyHeritage notes in its press release, volunteers are important to the entire community. MyHeritage has lead the way in being directly involved in supporting volunteer efforts in the past through digitizing tens of thousands of grave markers in Israel for and in many other projects that do not get generally publicized in the United States.
Volunteerism is an important value in the world of genealogy. Since the recent release of the MyHeritage Community, inspiring cases of users helping other users continue to surface. Examples include a user who posted a request for information on her relatives from a specific region in Italy and received pinpointed advice down to the address of the relevant office to contact; a user who asked for a translation of a church certificate from Portuguese to English and received a full translation and in-depth explanation of the purpose and origin of the document; plus many more.
“My definition of a genealogist is someone who — after consuming most research directions for his/her own family — helps other people research their family tree, just because he/she loves it so much,” said MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet. “Many genealogists are generous with their time and knowledge, and eager to help others explore their family history. The new MyHeritage Community allows people to help each other, making our service even more useful and effective.” 
Perhaps some of the other large, online genealogy companies would like to follow suit and become more involved in the community? I can think of several people I know who would greatly benefit from this service.

To get started in the MyHeritage Community, follow these steps from the MyHeritage blog post entitled, "Introducing the MyHeritage Community: Receive help or help others."
Visit MyHeritage Community. Click "Create New Request". Choose a request type: Translation, identification, meaning of a name, decipher handwriting or people search. If applicable, upload the image of the document or photo for which you need help. Enter a detailed description and click "Submit Request." 
You will be notified by MyHeritage via email whenever someone responds and posts a comment on your request. All requests will be listed under "Recent Requests," which all other members can see. Your own requests will also be listed at the bottom of the page under the caption "Your Requests" and you can easily access them at any time. 
  • Provide as much information as possible about your request. Specify names, dates, and anything you know that is relevant. This will enable others to help you efficiently.
  • We recommend that you write your requests in English because this will maximize the size of the audience who can help you. It's not a must, but it's recommended.
  • The MyHeritage Community is not a forum for technical support or for contacting company representatives. For those needs, please visit our Help Center.
  • Don't worry if you don't receive help quickly; your request will remain on the Community and sooner or later someone may find it and help you.
To Provide Help: 
Go to MyHeritage Community and browse for posts that you find interesting or within your expertise. Provide assistance by posting comments to a request. When you do so, the submitter will receive an email notifying them that you have commented on their request. Choose to show all recent requests or filter requests by type. If you are a genealogist or an experienced family history fan, we and our users would much appreciate it if you could visit the Community from time to time and help others!

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