Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Thoughts on new Record Matches at MyHeritage

From a researcher's point of view, we like to have computers working for us while we sleep, offering intelligent suggestions in our morning email or popping up the next time we log into a genealogy website. Ol’ Myrt here was happy to preview the powerful "MyHeritage Record Matches", announced earlier today, and I congratulate the programmers for developing a worthwhile method for people to:
  • Distinguish  MyHeritage Record Matches (to record groups; potentially more reliable) from  MyHeritage Smart Matches (to online trees; decidedly less reliable, but encouraging collaboration efforts).
  • Re-engage with their MyHeritage online tree.
All genealogists go through cycles of activity in their research, due to:
  • More or less focus on research, perhaps owing to life's experiences
  • Activity on other genealogy websites

Record Matches will bridge gaps in the use of the MyHeritage website. This is something lacks that employs wisely through periodic email reports of “Shaky Leaf” hints. 


Last week, Ol' Myrt here took "Record Matches" for a spin. I was pleased to hear from's CEO Gilad Japhet that "Users who are currently not using MyHeritage at all could import their family tree as GEDCOM, review the Record Matches that they will receive for free and decide whether the matches are valuable enough to access through a Data Subscription or pay-as-you-go credits." The initial free access and pricing methods for full access will bring new members to

IT IS FAST! "Extracted data" appears as typed text immediately, while the image of a document loads. This happens so fast, Ol' Myrt here couldn't capture a screen shot.  

ABOVE: One may take the MyHeritage Record Matches and "sort by confidence", etc. It might be that I would wish to revisit "rejected" items, because additional research may render an item noteworthy.

ABOVE: When looking at a series of MyHeritage Record Matches, in this case a death certificate for a great-great uncle, one may navigate from match to match (at point "1" above) while in the expanded "review" screen. That saves extra clicks, and is a big improvement over’s  online “Shaky Leaf” hints, where one has to go back to the list of hits, and click on the next one to view the suggestion.

On reviewing a possible match, the "source" is listed to the left of the document (at point "2" above). However, the source citation is not available. Clicking to view the collection is fine, but it is more important to have appropriate source citations, so folks with desktop genealogy software can easily construct citations. I understand citations are next on the docket to get “fixed”.

ABOVE and BELOW: I was confused as to how to download a copy of this death certificate to my hard drive. The option to print is at point "3" above, but I completely missed the icon for downloading below the Scribd document viewer (at point "B")  on the right next to the magnifying glass, not to be confused by the magnifying classes on the lower left of the Scribd image border. This is perhaps because that portion of the screen is below my normal view on this 27 inch monitor set in 1920x1080 resolution and required additional scrolling. I merely used SnagIt to capture the image

ABOVE: I like that an "undo confirm" (at point "B" above) and plan to use it when I change my mind about the validity of a match.

Logically, the "confirmed" button is green (at point "D" above). Before that, the button was grey, with the label "not yet confirmed". 

The "Extract information from this record by editing the profile in your tree" (at point "D" above) encourages more than matching.


I'd like return to, starting on the page where I had worked during the previous session, rather than starting the navigation all over again. It took me a while to find the recent activity portion of my personal MyHeritage home page.

While the yellow highlighting on a newspaper page facilitates finding an ancestor's name, but there appears no way to turn it off. My solution? Fiddle around with Scroll/Book/Slide, then return to Scroll.

URLs are too long, making it look difficult and cumbersome to share or to get me "back" to the image are very long, etc. For instance:

ABOVE: The MyHeritage "Research" tab should also have a link to Record Matches. That is where I first looked when I returned to the site after a lunch break. I next went to Family Tree, and saw the Record Matches with the "new" icon buried one level down. I assumed since "Records Matches" is new, and the information I have yet to review will be new to me, that the "new" icon on the 'Research' tab was where I want to go. Ol' Myrt here later spotted a link to Record Matches on the left navigation bar on the home tab. Sorry I didn't see that, but maybe this is the experience for others?
I placed that last item in red, because I consider it an easy fix, and perhaps the most important one for site visitors. While a MyHeritage email pointed out a few Record Matches, there is no way I can work through 80 items in one sitting. This isn't about 80 quick clicks, it's about researching to determine the validity of a MyHeritage proposed "Record Match".

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont


  1. Thanks for the detailed instructions and suggestions. I just posted my own experiences at

    1. Thanks for the heads up, Randy. I've pointed my DearREADERS to your thoughtful post in my next blog post on the topic:

  2. I took Record Matches for a little spin today, just to check it out. Looks like it's a good start & probably has a ways to go.

    One thing that was a little "big brother" creepy, though, was as soon as I logged out, I got a call (albeit a friendly one) from myHeritage, asking me about my experience. They took the opportunity to explain about the data plan that goes with it, but fortunately didn't push the sale on me.

    1. Eeeewww! I don't like that telephone call thing one bit. BAD move, MyHeritage.