New Translation Technology Helps Genealogy Searchers Overcome Language Barriers

By Diane Haddad

Genealogy website MyHeritage has introduced a new technology, which it’s calling Global Name Translation, that helps you overcome language barriers when searching for relatives on

You can search for records in one language and you’ll receive relevant results from other languages, with the indexed information translated into the language of your search.

“For example, a search for Alessandro (Alexander in Italian) will also find “????” (which is the Russian form of Sasha, a popular nickname of Alexander in Russia) with its corresponding transliteration into the language of your search,” says Daniel Horowitz, the site’s chief genealogy officer and translation manager.

Here’s another example from MyHeritage’s announcement: “If a user from Greece with a family tree in Greek, is related to a user from Israel with a family tree entered in Hebrew, MyHeritage will be able to connect them, automatically matching between names in the ancient languages of Greek and Hebrew, and show the two users how their family trees overlap.”

This graphic, provided by MyHeritage, shows matches from different countries for the name Jacob Schmidt.

You can use MyHeritage’s Advanced Search form to prioritize results from your ancestral countries by choosing life events (birth, marriage, residence, etc.) and entering the place where each one occurred. You’ll find step-by-step MyHeritage search advice in Family Tree Magazine‘s downloadable MyHeritage Web Guide.