Press Release from MyHeritage


New software makes it easier to automatically find long lost relatives, publish content to, and print your family tree on one page

Tel Aviv, Israel – January 2, 2009 – MyHeritage, one of the world’s most popular family Web sites, today announced the launch of Family Tree Builder 3, a powerful software program that MyHeritage members can download and use to build family trees, research family history and add content like photos and videos.

Family Tree Builder 3 includes new functionality to make it an even more powerful tool for researching family history:

* Smart Match Merge: MyHeritage’s Smart Matching™ technology constantly compares new family trees to the database of more than 300 million profiles on, to find matches and discover long lost family connections. Now, members can work together to easily merge the information in their overlapping trees
* Smart Research: Automatically plugs the names from any member’s family tree into MyHeritage’s powerful search engine, researches these names in more than 100 of the most important databases on the Internet and provides results, saving months of manual research
* All-in-One Chart: With intelligent organization, members can quickly and easily print family trees on one easy-to-read page or poster – even huge trees with many branches and people
* Online Publishing: Members can publish their family tree plus any related media – photos, videos, audio files and documents from Family Tree Builder to the family Web site, for sharing with family members.

“Since its introduction in 2005, Family Tree Builder has become one of the most successful family history tools in the world. More than one million people are now using it in 34 languages to build their family trees and share the experience with their family members all over the world. The launch of Family Tree Builder 3 puts even more powerful technology into the hands of our users, while keeping it simple and fun to use,” said Gilad Japhet, founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Family Tree Builder 3 also makes it possible to upload videos and documents to family websites on, giving people new ways to preserve their heritage and stay connected with relatives worldwide.”

Using the MyHeritage Family Tree Builder will continue to be free and members can add an unlimited amount of profiles to family trees using the software. For access to the new functionality and to publish content on, the following price plans apply:

Plan: Basic
Price: FREE
Online trees: Up to 500 people
Online storage: Up to 100 MB
Additional features:

Plan: Premium
Price: Holiday offer available until 15 January, 2009: $1.95/month (€1.70, £1.50)
Normal price: $3.95/month (€3.45, £2.95)
Online trees: Up to 2500 people
Online storage: Up to 500 MB
Additional features:
* Smart Match Merge
* Smart Research
* All in One Chart
* Publishing Videos and Documents
* Priority support

Plan: PremiumPlus
Price: $9.95/month (€8.95, £7.95)
Online trees: Unlimited
Online storage: Unlimited
Additional features:
* Smart Match Merge
* Smart Research
* All in One Chart
* Publishing Videos and Documents
* Priority support is a leading online destination for families. On the site, people can find relatives, research family history, and stay connected to family members across the globe. In addition, MyHeritage offers automatic photo tagging technology that makes it easier to label, organize and search for digital photos, giving families another fun way to stay in touch.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage was founded by a team of people who combine a passion for family history with the development of innovative technology. It is now one of the world’s leading online networks for families, and the second largest family history website. MyHeritage is available in 34 languages and home to more than 28 million family members and 300 million profiles. The company recently acquired Kindo, a family social network, and is based in Bnei Atarot, near Tel Aviv, Israel. For more information, visit


Friday Findings: McCLELLAN Pension Record, E-mails, Atlas Project, BORCHERS

I ordered the Civil War Pension Record for my 4th-great-grandfather, Levi E. McCLELLAN (McLELLAN, McLALLIN, etc.). That along with subscriptions for Internet Genealogy (renewal) and Discovering Family History (new) were some of my Christmas gifts this year.

On Saturday, I e-mailed the VALK and LEWIS cousins that had left comments in my website’s guestbook a couple of weeks ago. I also went through my Juno email inbox (nearly 900 messages), deleted all the junk and forwarded the good e-mails to my Gmail inbox. I used to use Juno for many years, and keep this freebie account open for those times when a distant relative or other researcher comes across a query I left on a message board with the old address. One of the messages was the following:

I have been searching for over 5 yrs. for a missing link, my Gr. Grandfather Lewis Harding. I knew his name, his wife’s name, when he was born, where he is buried and I knew that he came to Michigan when he was 2 yrs. old. I spent some time on looking at the Atlas Project, did a search and found him in the biography of George M. Campbell. Thank you so much for your Atlas Project. I not only found Lewis Harding’s parents, but also his sisters and brother. I have an old album that belonged to my grandparents, M.C. and Matilda Harding that has pictures of several of the people named in the Atlas Project. I knew they were relatives, but I didn’t know their connection and thanks to you now I do. I am thrilled to get this information that I have been seeking for so long.

Thank you again.

As you can imagine, this made my day! I haven’t worked on the Atlas Project in a couple of years so it’s nice to know that the information I put on it has helped someone. Here’s another person I need to contact to see if she would be willing to add her photographs to the website for the benefit of others.

I heard back from my LEWIS cousin we are collaborating. I have the information she needs on the earlier, older generations and she has information I’ve been wanting on the more recent ones–info I couldn’t access because of restrictions to current vital records. I also sent her quite a few ancestral and gravestone photos. I’m very excited to find how easy it is to find things and send them to others using my new filing system for documents, photos, and research notes.

Speaking of which, I spent a lot of time this week organizing digital files, answering a backlog of emails, and even got some scanning done. My dad loaned me the funeral book of my paternal grandmother’s adoptive father, Alfred Henry HOLST. There are lots of gems inside: obituaries, signatures of nearly everyone in town (including other relatives), and pages where relatives are specifically listed. One of the list of relatives had some unfamiliar names on it. I remembered that I had discovered that Alfred’s father, John, had a sister that had also immigrated from Germany; this was from John’s FBI Case File, which I found at Footnote. His sister was listed as Mrs. Anna M. BORCHERS, so using Ancestry and FamilySearch Record Search, I was able to piece together her family and identify the individuals by the same surname listed in the funeral book: Anna’s sons and Alfred’s cousins. Doing research on this family uncovered that Anna and her husband Claus immigrated from Germany in 1874, so when John and his wife and infant son Alfred immigrated in 1882, it was obvious that they were joining his sister and brother-in-law. I love how putting pieces of the puzzle (facts) together gives a larger, deeper look into the family history!

Lastly, I happened to go to the Zeeland (Netherlands) Provincial Archives website and saw that they had added birth records, which they were lacking before. I’ve been able to add quite a few details and family members to my TON and VanKLINKEN lines.


res o lu tion (noun)
A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
A solution, accommodation, or settling of a problem, controversy, etc. [1]

On my computer desk is a small slip of paper with the following words:

archive and preserve
blog and write

These were my resolutions for 2008. How did I do?

Record: Getting my information into my database has always been a challenge, not because it’s difficult to do (RootsMagic makes it easy), but because this is where I tend to be most lazy. Same story with recording when and where I’ve researched, on- or offline. I’ve found Google Notebook to be a great place to record my online researches; better for me, even, than using my Online Research Log. I did do better on in this area than I have in any previous years. My grade: C

Cite: I did better in this area, too, with my Evidence Explained and RootsMagic Source Wizard. Still room for improvement, though. My grade: C+

Archive and Preserve: We rented a safe deposit box at our financial institution and we signed up for Carbonite. I also found a photographer’s supply store that sells cotton gloves here in town, and I purchased a couple of pairs to use for handling photos and antique items. There’s still many documents and items I need to dig up around the house and put in the safe deposit box. My grade: A-

Organize: I started out the year trying to use the binder system, which was too slow and expensive to do it the way I felt it should be done. Then I sought to improve my file folder system. I am now convinced paperless is the way to go and found a great system by Barbara Nuehring that will work well for me. Despite my late start, I’ve made headway. Grade: B

Blog and Write: I certainly blogged a lot last year, and one of my posts made it into print. However, I had hoped to submit some articles to genealogy magazines and I didn’t even get them written. I also didn’t work on my website or do much on my other blogs. I should have been more specific in my goals. Grade: B-

My 2009 Resolutions

I have some specific goals for the coming year:

1. I have two specific tasks in mind that I would like to launch from this blog. One is a new column that I would like to see all genea-bloggers participate in, similar to Tombstone Tuesday or Wordless Wednesday. Another is a Challenge I came up with during the last couple of weeks which I came very close to launching today, but reconsidered when I figured that as I return to work next week after my surgery recovery, I may find I don’t have the energy or time to devote to it. I will look at the spring or summer for the right opportunity to share it with you. It’s on a large scale along the lines of the Genea-Blogger Games, but is not at all similar in topic. I will share both of these specific tasks in the future (stay tuned!).

2. I plan to write posts featuring the postcards of my husband’s great-grandmother, similar to what Pam Warren is doing with Belle’s Box. I also want to get my mother’s letters written from Alaska to her parents in Michigan from 1966 – 1978 scanned, transcribed and posted to a private blog.

3. Speaking of this blog, I am looking to improve the visual look of it. It’s much too cluttered for my minimalist taste. The problem has come when I’ve looked at other designs and realized that I will lose coding for a lot of my widgets if I change over. I just need some time to work on this.

4. Another blogging goal is to phase out AnceStories2 and add posts more frequently to my Atlas Project, personal, and Graveyard Rabbit blogs, while continuing to contribute to the EWGS and Bootcamp for Facebook blogs.

5. I need to update all the pages on my AnceStories website, especially adding links to this blog.

6. I plan to hire two professional genealogists; one to hopefully knock down our MIDKIFF brick wall and another to look up my Great-grandfather YORK’s military records.

7. I want to work on three brick walls this year: Berber (DeJONG) VALK (find birth information and parents’ names); Jeremiah F. YORK (use land records to get evidence that he is the son of Stephen YORK and Amy FRANKLIN); and Levi McCLELLAN and wife Clarissa CLEVELAND (I’d like to determine their parents’ names). I also want to see if I can find more vintage photographs from my mother-in-law’s lines.

8. I’d like to get all the items my uncle sent me from my maternal grandparents’ estate scanned.

There are certainly a lot of details here, and I don’t expect to get A’s in every area. In addition, it promises to be a busy year: my daughter graduates high school in June; and our local society is gearing up to host the Washington State Genealogical Society’s State Conference in Spokane in September, with Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak as our featured speaker. But again, I will print these resolutions out and hang them near my computer to remind me of them.

Source: 1. resolution. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: January 01, 2009).

January 2009 Calendar of Events

January brings the snow,
Makes our feet and fingers glow.

–from “The Garden Year” by Sara Coleridge

Holidays, History, and Heritage

January is National Photo Preservation Month.

January 1: New Year’s Day (global)
146th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (United States)

January 6: Epiphany (Christianity)

January 11: Coming-of-age Day (Japan)

January 15: Festival of Harvest (India)

January 18: World Religion Day (global)

January 19: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (United States)

January 20: Inauguration Day (United States)

January 25: Burns Night (Scotland)

January 26: Australia Day (Australia)
Republic Day (India)

January 29: Auckland Anniversary Day (New Zealand)

Do any of the above events feature in or affect your heritage, culture, or family history?

Deadlines for Carnivals and Other Events:

Need help? Read my post, “How to Submit a Post to a Carnival”, here.

January 1 – the 63rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy – New Year’s Resolutions

January 10 – the 10th Edition of the “I Smile for the Camera” Carnival – Who Are You? I Really Want to Know!

January 15 – the 64th Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy – topic to be announced

January 18 – the 11th Edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture – My Key to Ireland

January 19th – the 13th Edition of the Cabinet of Curiosities

January 23 – the 15th Edition of the Carnival of Central and Eastern European Genealogy – History Books

Heads Up! The submissions for the 3rd Edition of the Canadian Genealogy Carnival (“Around the Kitchen Table”) are due February 8th.

January 1 – Data Backup Day

Read the latest “Today is Backup Day!” post by Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family.

Scanfest: Sunday, January 25th, 11 AM – 2 PM, Pacific Standard Time

Scan your photos as part of National Photo Preservation Month!

Go here to learn how to join Scanfest and our group of chatting, scanning family archivists, historians, and bloggers!

Go here to add the above deadlines and dates to your Google Calendar,
courtesy of Thomas MacEntee of Destination: Austin Family.

The days are short, The sun a spark
Hung thin between the dark and dark.
Fat snowy footsteps track the floor.
Milk bottles burst outside the door.
The river is a frozen place
Held still beneath the trees of lace.
The sky is low, the wind is gray.
The radiator purrs all day.

–“January,” by John Updike


re flec tion
A fixing of the thoughts on something; careful consideration.
A thought occurring in consideration or meditation. [1]

Every December when I send out our family Christmas newsletter, I review the highlights of the previous year. Sometimes I list them by family member, but lately I’ve been ticking them off by month as I look over our calendar pages. I thought as a prelude to my Resolutions post, which will be my submission to the 63rd Edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, that I would review the highlights of my year in genealogy and in blogging:

A conversation with my father-in-law and a post by Terry Thornton about walksheds prompted my post, “Every Eleven Miles.” It was the most-read article of my blog in January and was published the following month in print form by the Memphis Buff, the newsletter of the Memphis Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Association.

Google Book Search sent a local film crew to my home to interview me as a part of their video series on different hobbyists and professionals who use Google Book Search for a variety of purposes. The video was released on YouTube in June and can be viewed here.

At the request of several of my Beginning class students, and with the recommendation from a couple of them who were also employees of the Community Colleges of Spokane, I taught my first Intermediate Online Genealogy class, a six-week course, at CCS’s Institute for Extended Learning. (Next session here.) I also did a presentation on Footnote for the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society’s monthly computer class.

In response to some questions from one of the students in my Intermediate Online Genealogy class, I compiled the Confederate Pensions Databases post, which was the number-one read for the month. However, my favorite was a series on Random Acts of Kindness Week. I also posted my first Wordless Wednesday after being inspired by George Geder.

“Vital Records and Obituary Websites” was my presentation for the EWGS’s February computer class.

I started the monthly Calendar of Events post, where genea-bloggers and their readers can find the dates for holidays, history, and heritage events as well as deadlines for the carnivals.

At long last, the marriage date and place of my great-great-grandparents, James L. YORK and Mary “Mae” E. McARTHUR was found!

AnceStories won the 2008 Artistry of Genealogy Award.

In the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors series, I posted a brief biographical sketch, with photos if I had any, of the direct ancestors (or their brothers) of my children who served in the American Civil War. I timed it so the last post would be the day before Memorial Day, originally set aside to honor those who had fallen during that conflict.

A cousin of my husband’s found a Bible that had once belonged to their mutual ancestor, Ann (WILSON) WESTABY, of the immigrant Westaby couple that came to the United States in 1850. This relative generously scanned the Bible and sent me copies via CD.

I taught my sixth Beginning Online Genealogy class, a four-week course, for the Community Colleges of Spokane. Also, the Colville, Washington LDS Church asked me to speak on military records for their annual Family History Conference.

My mother agreed to write her school years memories for the 48th Carnival of Genealogy and her posts were a big hit! A bonus result was connecting with her best childhood friend after the friend Googled her name and found it in Mom’s posts. A trip back to Michigan this summer provided Mom and Beth to reunite.

The Spokane County Library District asked me to present my Beginning Online Genealogy course to its patrons.

I was honored to be a guest blogger on Shades of the Departed’s “Friday from the Collectors” column.

After Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak’s Unclaimed Persons project bought genealogists and genea-bloggers to Facebook in droves, Thomas MacEntee formed the Genea-Bloggers Group on Facebook (inviting me to be one of the original administrators) and then started Facebook Bootcamp for Genea-bloggers, a team effort by several bloggers, including myself.

The Northeast Washington Genealogical Society kindly invited me to give my “Frugal Genealogy” presentation.

Tom Sowa, the technology columnist of our local newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, saw my Google Book Search video and came to interview me. The article was published in print on July 27th in the business section of the paper (my second interview by the S-R in less than a year!) and was also reproduced on his blog here.

Let the Games begin; the Genea-Blogging Games, that is! Wasn’t it fun?

I presented a tutorial on WorldVitalRecords at the EWGS monthly computer class.

AnceStories made it into the list of AllTop’s top genealogy blogs.

As Ways and Means Chairperson for EWGS, I coordinated the Rest Stop Fundraiser.

The Whitman County Genealogical Society kindly invited me to give my “Frugal Genealogy” presentation.

Lisa Louise Cooke interviewed me about my best research tips and what motivates me to do genealogy for her new Personal Life Media Family History podcast. The podcast aired in November and can be heard here.

I taught my seventh Beginning Online Genealogy class for the Community Colleges of Spokane.

I discovered how much fun Ancestry’s MyCanvas program was and used it to create family calendars for Christmas gifts (look for a post in the next week summarizing my experience and the reactions of family members).

I began my Tuesday’s Tip column, which is a bit hit. My posts on organizing digital genealogy files (documents, photos, and miscellaneous files) bring lots of traffic to the site.

In addition, we had ten successful Scanfests and a Spring Break Scan-a-thon. There were dozens of memes and challenges, and two new genealogy carnivals to submit posts to. I may not have broken down any great brick walls, but my research went deeper and wider on individuals and families I already had. I look forward to what 2009 will bring us!

Source: 1. reflection. Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. (accessed: December 31, 2008).

Tuesday’s Tip: Organizing Digital Research Notes, Emails, and Reports

The last two Tuesdays, I wrote tips on how to organize your digital files (i.e. genealogy documents) and digital photos. The next task is to tackle all those miscellaneous files; you know, the copies of emails from distant relatives and other researchers, the notes or logs you’ve kept (either in a digital document or those written notes you’ve scanned), and reports such as ahnentafels or timelines. As you can see in the image below, I have five such folders for my CROTHERS surname which are named “Crothers Genealogy,” “Crothers Genealogy 2004,” etc. It’s definitely not an efficient system:

Click on any image for an enlarged view.

Looking inside one of these folders gives a view of files named just as randomly:

Opening and reading through these files revealed that some of them were no longer (or had never been) pertinent to my research, so I deleted them, leaving only five files in that particular folder:

The file titles give me a small idea of what each is about, but I don’t know which are emails, which are reports, and which are research notes. I also don’t know–if they are emails–who the authors are. And I don’t have a clue when they were written, unless I use the Details view:

The Details view gave me the following perspective, but the dates are out of order:

Clicking on Date Modified brings the dates into chronological order:

Still, these file names are lacking what I need to really analyze them at a glance. I have decided to name emails in the following format: Date; “Email from [first and last name of author]”; and Topic. For the topic, I look inside the email and pinpoint exactly which individual or family group this message is really focused on, and then use it. I also use the “SURNAME first name MAIDEN NAME” format in the topic to be consistent with my Document files. In the list above, you can see that I have a file named “Jane Sweers” and another one named “Jane Sweers & Willard Crothers”. They become:

2003 01 28 – Email from Ruby Foust – CROTHERS Willard marriage to SWEERS Jane FORD

2003 01 29 – Email from Ruby Foust – CROTHERS Willard and SWEERS Jane FORD family information

I noticed when I attempted to rename a couple of files, I got a message asking me if I wanted to change the name of the Read-only file. In some cases, it wouldn’t let me change the name, because it was a Read-only file. So I right-clicked on the file and under the General tab, unchecked the Read-only box.

I used the following formats for research notes, and reports:

2003 08 07 – Research Notes – War of 1812 Muster Rolls – CROTHERS John in New York and Pennsylvania

2005 09 15 – Ahnentafel Report – Ancestors of SWEERS Rhoda YORK

Now that I’ve cleaned up all those files and folders, I made a new folder named CROTHERS Research. Here’s what it now looks like inside:

I can easily see at a glance which Crothers family members I have information on and what type of information it is. I can find my reports and research notes. It’s easy to find all the emails from one researcher. And everything is in date order.

My Genealogy folder is looking a little neater, too. Now there are only three CROTHERS folders: one for documents, one for photos, and one for all other research files:

I hope this gives you some ideas on how you can organize, manage, and analyze those odds and ends of digital genealogy files and folders. This system is very adaptable and easy to personalize. Happy Organizing!

Tuesday’s Tip Slightly Delayed

Due to one thing or another, I haven’t quite finished my Tuesday’s Tip post in time too be published at 5 AM, EST. I had considered staying up late Monday night to finish it, but my shoulder is rather inflamed and I think I had better just take some pain medication and go to bed.

Tuesday I have my next physical therapy session and we will have a break in the weather (so the weatherman has promised), which means we need to get errands done before the snow storms of Wednesday and Thursday/Friday arrive. I feel I am living Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter. We have had four feet of snow in a week and a half; a thaw, producing collapsing roofs all over town; a freeze, creating sheets of ice; and another foot of snow within six hours’ time.

Once errands are done (supplies restocked, Christmas packages mailed out to family with which we unfortunately never connected due to the weather), I can finish and publish the post. Thank you for your patience.