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Welcome back to Tenacious Genealogy! Today’s post is going to focus on another genealogy website – MyHeritage.
- functionality and (some of) the records that Ancestry,
- records of FamilySearch,
- ‘family website’ mentality of Spokt.
So if you wanted to access benefits from all three of those websites without having three different accounts, MyHeritage is great. That said, it can also be a little overwhelming. Especially at first.
But that’s what this blog post is all about – making MyHeritage less overwhelming. First off, some background on MyHeritage.
1) Fun facts about MyHeritage
- Started in 2003.
- Has partnered up with FamilySearch (which beefed up its records collections significantly).
- Offers the ‘Family Website’ experience like Spokt, but combined with the genealogy research elements of FamilySearch and Ancestry.
- 8 Billion accessible records (in context, Ancestry has 20 Billion accessible records, FamilySearch has 5.4 Billion accessible records, and Findmypast has 4 Billion accessible records).
- Has FREE Family Tree software that you can download to your desktop.
- Large collections of historical newspapers. Its two largest collections are Australian newspapers and the ‘Chronicling America’ collection, but it also has a hearty selection of more niched newspapers like those published by the Quakers.
2) Signing up on MyHeritage is super easy and simple.
Normally, I’d go through a step by step process showing how to sign up for a website. However, signing up for MyHeritage is actually pretty simple and straightforward. (Moreso than other genealogy websites, IMHO.) They walk you through every step and if you’ve signed up for other sites like Ancestry, it is almost identical. Enough so, that it’s easier for me to link to their page on signing up than to write out the process here. So if you want the step by step process on how to sign up for MyHeritage, click here.
3) There is a difference between MyHeritage’s Family Sites and their Family Tree Builder.
If you sign up online, you automatically get a free, basic family site. This is essentially a website for your family tree that you can invite others to join. Family sites can also be upgraded as the family trees on them grow bigger.
The basic site gives you the ability to create (at least one) family tree of up to 250 people. You can also upload up to 500 MB worth of documents/photos/etc. Plus, you can make your family tree(s) on the site public or private, just like Ancestry.
You can also create multiple trees on one family site, with the only limit being the total amount of people on the site and documents storage. (For example, with a basic family site, you could have 1 family tree with up to 250 people, 2 family trees with up to 125 people each, etc.)
Family Tree Builder
Family Tree Builder is different in that:
- It is software, not a website.
- It resides on your desktop.
- It is private and not as shareable as an online family tree.
- It is FREE (no matter how many people are in the family tree).
The only real downside to using the Family Tree Builder is that you don’t necessarily have access to the records and other family trees that you would with an online tree. The information going into it is going to be the information you put into it, whether through a GEDCOM file or manually.
However, it is a great backup if you adhere to the concept of LOCKSS. (LOCKSS is one of the concepts I explain in the first email subscribers to the Tenacious Genealogy email list get.)
Want more information on the difference between a Family Site and Family Tree Builder? Click here.
4) MyHeritage has a variety of subscriptions based on what you want
One of the things that I do like about MyHeritage is that just because you sign up, doesn’t mean all of a sudden you are having to pay a monthly fee or yearly bill. Their default subscription (while a ‘lite’ version of what they offer) is free, so you aren’t worried about getting slammed with a hefty charge just because your 14-day trial ended.
They have two types of subscriptions and then a free LDS account if you link your FamilySearch LDS account to them. The two types of subscriptions are Site subscriptions and Data subscriptions.
There are four types of site subscriptions available. While you can have multiple sites on MyHeritage under one account, each site needs to have its own subscription. So a person could have one MyHeritage account and have a Basic subscription for one site, Premium for another, etcetera, etcetera. (I’ve updated subscription prices as of January 2020 as well.)
- Basic (Free) – This is the subscription that everyone who signs up for MyHeritage initially gets. This is also the minimal subscription you need if you take MyHeritage’s DNA test. Consider it to be the ‘lite’ version of MyHeritage. It is handy to have in order to get used to MyHeritage’s interface and creating a tree/family website. You can only have up to 250 people in a family tree on a basic site and 500 MB of storage. Researching ancestors is also limited to free searches and a handful of collections.
- Premium ($99 for the first year/$129 annually afterwards) – The next level up from Basic. With the Premium subscription, you can have up to 2500 people in a family tree. You get Priority customer support and more storage. You also get full access to more collections as well as two MyHeritage collections (Family Sites and Members).
- PremiumPlus ($159 for the first year/$209 annually afterwards) – The penultimate subscription plan. PremiumPlus lets you have unlimited people in a family tree, better customer support, and even more storage. Your access to historical collections expands and you get access to two more MyHeritage collections (Family Trees and Family Photos).
- MyHeritage Complete Plan ($209 for the first year/$299 annually afterwards) – This is MyHeritage’s most complete plan and most expensive plan. It essentially gives you full access to everything on MyHeritage, so for all intents and purposes, the Complete Plan is the PremiumPlus and Data subscriptions combined. You get full access to all 10.1 billion+ records that MyHeritage has to offer, as well as their specific MyHeritage collections.
- Data Subscription ($139 for the first year/$189 annually afterwards) – MyHeritage also offers a data subscription plan for people who want to research their family history through MyHeritage collections, but don’t necessarily want a family site or online family tree.
- This subscription gives access to SuperSearch (MyHeritage’s search engine for historical record collections that it offers) and Record Matches (MyHeritage’s version of Ancestry’s Hints).
- Because someone who purchases a data subscription doesn’t necessarily need a ‘family site’ to use their subscription, this is actually complementary to MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder that you can download onto your desktop.
- LDS account (equivalent to MyHeritage Complete Plan) – Last, but not least, MyHeritage’s LDS account. Due to FamilySearch’s collaboration with a variety of genealogical websites (including MyHeritage), if you have an LDS account on FamilySearch, you can connect that account with a free LDS account on MyHeritage. The access is equivalent to what you would get with the MyHeritage Complete Plan.
5) It’s easy to start your Family Tree on MyHeritage
MyHeritage supports 3 types of Family Trees
- An Online Tree – This is the kind of tree that you would create if you signed up with MyHeritage and started a tree on their website.
- A GEDCOM Tree – This is also an online tree, but one that was created on another site. Regardless of the website, pretty much all online family trees are in the GEDCOM file format. So if you have a family tree on Ancestry that you want to upload to MyHeritage (or vice versa), you could do that with a GEDCOM file. Once it is uploaded, it’ll look identical to any family trees you may have created on MyHeritage previously.
- A Family Tree Builder Tree – If you download MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder and create a tree there, you can upload to MyHeritage. The only thing to remember is to make sure there aren’t more people in the Family Tree Builder tree than are allowed on the family site you are uploading it to (if the site has either a Basic or Premium subscription).
Overall, having multiple ways to create and upload a family tree makes MyHeritage a lot easier to work with. If you are curious about more information on the different types of family trees, click here.
6) MyHeritage has a lot of cool functions to play around with on its dashboard
Some of these are similar to what Ancestry or FamilySearch have on their dashboards, some are completely different.
Similarities to Ancestry or FamilySearch
- Easy Access to Family Tree and Family Photos
- Smart Matches and Record Matches – MyHeritage’s version of ‘hints’
- Access to DNA results (if you’ve taken MyHeritageDNA)
Differences from Ancestry or FamilySearch
- Family Statistics (sometimes helpful, always fun). One of the top buttons on the dashboard is ‘Family Statistics’. It calculates things such as how many men vs. women are in your tree, which birth months are most common, what first names and surnames are most popular, who the oldest living relative and youngest living relative is.
- Reminders of (living) family members’ birthdates (only if you’ve put their full birthdate in). On the right side of the dashboard, you’ll see notifications for birthdays, wedding anniversaries and other celebrations of relatives as long as you’ve put those dates into your family tree.
- Record Matches are sorted by collection.
At the top of the screen, you’ll see an icon for ‘Record Matches‘ – if you click on it, you can see how many record matches are in a particular collection. So if you are looking for someone in a census, you could look up that census collection in the Record Matches and see how many possible matches are in your family tree from that collection.
- Relationship Report – for *anyone* (within the same family tree). This is a fun aspect of MyHeritage that you can play with and it is handy if you are trying to find a connection between two random people that you are related to. As long as both individuals are on the same tree, it will show their relationship to each other.
- Tree Consistency Checker – Great way to make sure data that might have been mistyped is correct or corrected. However, take the tips with a grain of salt. It will tell you that a mother and child being 15 years apart or a father and child being 60-70 years apart is incorrect because the mother is too young or the father is too old – when both scenarios are feasible. But otherwise, it is a great way to find possible mistakes in your family tree and quickly edit them.
MyHeritage can a great website depending on what you are looking for in your genealogical journey. While it isn’t my go-to site for genealogy research, it still has quite a few records that places like Ancestry and FamilySearch don’t have and its collections continue to grow. It also has a few aspects (like combining a family website with a place to do research on said family or its ‘Family Statistics’) that make it stand out. That said, it’s become pricier than Ancestry (and definitely FamilySearch), so whether those records or aspects are worth the extra money is an individual choice.
At the same time, it has a few functions that I wish Ancestry or FamilySearch had (like the Relationship Report and Tree Consistency Checker) and it is a great source for more advanced family historians to use in order to verify information and records found on FamilySearch, Ancestry, or other websites.
Do you have questions or comments about MyHeritage that weren’t mentioned in this blog? If so, feel free to comment below! And if you like what you’ve been seeing here on Tenacious Genealogy – please subscribe to our email list. Not only will you stay up to date with the latest blog posts, but you’ll also get access to freebies such as ’10 Tips for Starting Your Genealogy’ and other fun ‘subscriber only’ items!