MyHeritage Search Secrets

By David A. Fryxell Premium

MyHeritage Metasearch
 1. To get started with a MyHeritage Research query of more than 1,500 databases, simply enter an ancestor’s name. You can search on just a surname, or add a first name. Clicking the Advanced Search link will bring up more search options. Choose Exact, Soundex or Megadex.
2. If you select the Megadex option, you’ll next see a window listing the most common spelling variations for the surname. Check up to five, or click the first box to automatically select the top five choices. If you know of a variant that’s not listed, use the “click here” link at the end of the introductory paragraph to add it. Once you’ve made your picks, hit Start This Search at the top.

3. After results within the MyHeritage site, hits from other databases are listed in order by number of matches. For each site, you’ll see a row showing the hits for each spelling variant (in this case, Lowe and Low). Coded icons indicate sites added to the metasearch in the last 30 days (orange star), the most popular databases (yellow star), indexed databases (I in a blue circle), sites that support Soundex (S in a green circle), and subscription or other paid content ($ in a yellow circle). All the way at the bottom of your results is a box listing other members of the site who have searched for the same surname—a nifty way to identify and contact fellow researchers.

 4. By casting a wide net with a single search, MyHeritage’s Research query may identify sites where youwould never have even thought to hunt for your ancestors. This database of WWI service records, for example, is part of the Florida Memory Project.

5. Clicking on the name of the site takes you away from MyHeritage to the actual site where the results were found. Sometimes these can include actual images of the original documents about your ancestor. Keep in mind that if the results are from a paid site, you won’t see full details from the record unless you’re a subscriber.
MyHeritage Smart Matching
1. You can start exploring MyHeritage’s signature Smart Matching several different ways (you’ll need a tree on MyHeritage to take advantage of Smart Matching). One of the simplest is from your family tree view: Just click on the green circle icon that shows up in the corner of the card of an ancestor for whom MyHeritage has identified possible matches.
2. This takes you to a list of possible Smart Matches for this ancestor (opposite), ranked by likelihood. Hover your mouse over the ? icon in the Quality column for details about each ranking.
To change your Smart Match settings—to make them more or less fine-tuned—click on the link beside the blue circle icon at the upper left. Clicking on the Compare link or on the matching individual’s name brings up a new window in which you can view a portion of your tree side by side with the same part of the matching tree.
3. Use the gray controls (indicated by the arrow) on the left of each dual-view screen to scroll around and zoom in and out as you compare trees. Details about the common ancestor are shown in the right-hand pane. In the image shown here, the other submitter has a specific death date for the ancestor, as well as a spouse’s name. Sometimes you may have more details than the other submitter—a chance for you to share and perhaps get other clues in return. You also can click on other individuals in the matching tree.
4. Clicking on the name of the submitter in the matching tree creates a window in which you can compose a message to that researcher via MyHeritage’s messaging system, which acts as a privacy-protecting intermediary between your e-mail accounts. Or you can click on Contact Submitter in the list of Smart Matches. Ultimately, you may want to exchange e-mail addresses and start exchanging info directly. Connecting with other researchers and long-lost kin is key to MyHeritage’s mission and appeal.

From the March 2010 Family Tree Magazine