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Monday, June 24, 2019

Understanding MyHeritage's Smart Matching™ Technology

As I teach classes about, I find a lot of confusion about the differences between the website's Smart Matching™technology and the Record Matches. Once users understand the differences, they begin to see the tremendous power in both technologies. Here is a quote from Help Center that begins to explain this amazing technology.
Smart Matching™ is a specialized powerful genealogy technology that matches people that you have defined in your family tree with people in other family trees that members all over the world have created on
It works by comparing names, facts, and connections intelligently to the millions of family trees contributed by other users, to find out if your family tree intersects with any other trees and indicates matches. The sophisticated technology behind Smart Matches™ bridges across differences in spelling, phonetics, and relationships that may exist between the trees to offer a large quantity of highly accurate matches. 
With billions of family tree profiles on MyHeritage, you have an excellent chance of getting Smart Matches™ that reveal valuable new information about your family.
I usually explain this technology by pointing out that has over 102 million (yes, million), users worldwide and that the Smart Matching™technology allows you to connect with relative around the world that you could not imagine existed. All of these potential contacts are people who are interested in their genealogy and who live the countries, speak the language, and likely know about the records that exist in their country. Contacting these people is entirely optional but if your family comes from a place where obtaining records is difficult, such as some places in Eastern Europe or other countries on other continents, then contacting these Smart Matching™people may be the only practical way you have to do additional research.

It is important to understand that Smart Matching™is not a simple "name matching" technology. It is highly sophisticated and an indication of a match indicates that you are very likely related. I have talked to lots of people over the years I have been using and teaching the website that have found their relatives in other countries, made contact with them, and even traveled to meet them and learn more about their families.

If you come from a part of the world where there has been a lot of genealogical research, you might have a flood of potential relatives. For example, I have thousands and it may not be practical to think about contacting them all. In this case, it is important to evaluate these potential contacts to see if they might provide information about the specific parts of your family you are researching.

Of course, in some instances, the information in a relative's family tree may be identical to your own information. You may still wish to contact the potential relative for personal reasons. But if there are differences between your information and that in another family tree, you may wish to spend some time evaluating the differences and determining if there are documents that might indicate if you need to add to or change the information you have in your family tree. However, you need to be aware that MyHeritage's Record Matching technology is constantly searching every record in their collection and matching them to every individual in every family tree on the website at a very high level of accuracy. Where the information you see in another person's family tree might be most useful is if the information is about currently living people or those who have only recently died. Current information may be difficult to otherwise obtain.

Another major help in evaluating Smart Matching™matches is to use the results from DNA testing. If you obtain a DNA test from MyHeritage or upload the results from another company, you will be provided with DNA matches. If another user of the website shows up as a DNA match and a Smart Match, you have a greater degree of assurance that a relationship exists and that the information in the other person's family tree might be helpful.

You may wish to review the entire section of the Help Center about the Smart Matching™technology. Here is the link.

This Help Center section will provide information about how to reject Smart Matches that are not correct, ignore specific Smart Matches, and disable Smart Matches altogether if you wish to do that. is a complex website with fabulous resources, but where there is great benefit, there is usually an equal measure of effort required. You need to learn about the program. As will all current technology, the website will continue to become more useful and probably have more features in the future. Part of the challenge of working on our family's genealogy today is keeping up with all that new technology. But presently, you can take advantage of the helpful tools provided by MyHeritage to expand your family research in ways that were impossible just a few short years ago.

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