BIG NEWS! MyHeritage Announces Major Collaboration with 23andMe

MyHeritage, the leading destination for discovering, sharing and preserving family history, announces a strategic collaboration with DNA testing site 23andme.

New collaboration combines family trees and DNA to empower individuals to discover and document their ancestry

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California & TEL AVIV, Israel – October 21, 2014: 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, and MyHeritage, the leading destination for discovering, sharing and preserving family history, announced today a strategic collaboration that will provide an enhanced experience for individuals to discover their legacy based on genetic ancestry and documented family history.

23andMe pioneered autosomal DNA ancestry analysis for consumers, and has created the largest DNA ancestry service in the world. With a simple saliva sample 23andMe can reveal the geographic origins of distant ancestors and help people discover unknown relatives. MyHeritage helps millions of families worldwide find and treasure their unique history with easy-to-use family tree tools, a huge library of more than 5.5 billion historical records and innovative matching technologies for automating discoveries. Integrating the market leading solutions in ancestral DNA and family trees will provide an unparalleled experience for customers of both companies.

“We believe this collaboration with MyHeritage will offer our customers a vastly improved opportunity to build their family tree and discover new connections,” said Andy Page, President of 23andMe. “Given MyHeritage’s technology leadership in the ancestry space and vast global reach, we are excited about the value this relationship will bring to our customers around the world.”

“Combining genealogy with DNA-based ancestry is the next evolution in uncovering family history,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “DNA testing can connect you to relatives you never knew existed, who descend from shared ancestors centuries ago, but family trees and historical records are critical to map and fully understand these connections. We have great respect for 23andMe’s technology and values, and its pioneering approach to genetics represents strong potential value for our users in the future.”

23andMe will offer its more than three quarters of a million customers around the globe access to MyHeritage’s family tree tools. This will allow 23andMe’s customers to enjoy automated family history discoveries. Smart Matching™ automatically finds connections between user-contributed family trees and Record Matching automatically locates historical records from the billions of records available on MyHeritage, pertaining to any person in the family tree. MyHeritage will utilize 23andMe’s API to provide the best experience for customers, by allowing any two people with matching DNA to explore their family tree connections. MyHeritage will also offer 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service® to its global community of more than 70 million registered users, in addition to the DNA tests it already offers.

The first phase of integration will be complete by early 2015. 

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company dedicated to helping people access, understand and benefit from the human genome. The company’s Personal Genome Service® enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their genetics and ancestry. The vision for 23andMe is to personalize healthcare by making and supporting meaningful discoveries through genetic research. 23andMe, Inc., was founded in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science. More information is available at www.23andme.com. 23andMe’s health reports are not cleared by the FDA. US customers may purchase 23andMe’s ancestry-only product.

About MyHeritage

MyHeritage is the leading destination for discovering, sharing and preserving family history. As technology thought leaders and innovators in the space, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Trusted by millions of families, its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and ground-breaking search and matching technologies.

MyHeritage empowers families with an easy way to share their story, past and present, and treasure it for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 40 languages.  www.myheritage.com

MyHeritage partners with EBSCO Information Services to bring MyHeritage to libraries and educational institutions worldwide

MyHeritage

Leading family history network launches an institutional version of its service and unveils exclusive partnership to provide any educational facility with instant access to centuries of history in billions of historical documents from all over the world.

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah & IPSWICH, Mass – October 7, 2014: MyHeritage, the popular family history network, today announced a significant expansion into the institutional education market, with the launch of a dedicated, high-performance family history service for institutions and the signing of a strategic partnership with EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) to distribute it exclusively.

As the leading provider of online research content for libraries and other institutions, EBSCO’s partnership with MyHeritage reaffirms its commitment to providing first-class content to libraries at affordable prices.

EBSCO Senior Vice President of Product Management Michael Laddin, said: “MyHeritage brings to the table an unparalleled offering of a vast, content-rich database and innovative, easy-to-use technologies. With a proven track-record of supporting customers across the globe, we are very excited about this partnership and the value it will bring to libraries and other educational centers worldwide.”

The new, state-of-the-art MyHeritage Library Edition™ empowers people to discover more about their family history and the lives led by their ancestors. It’s the first product servicing libraries that offers a one-stop-shop of global content, powerful technologies and remote access.

The MyHeritage Library Edition™ provides access to a vast collection of U.S. and international documents online, with images of original documents to enhance research and encourage critical thinking.

Key highlights include:

Vast Global Content
Educational institutions that deploy the MyHeritage Library Edition™ will be able to offer their patrons access to billions of historical documents, millions of historical photos and other resources in thousands of databases that span the past 5 centuries. Available in 40 languages, the MyHeritage Library Edition™ is the industry’s most multilingual family history search engine, breaking down geographical and language barriers in research. The data repository, one of the largest and most internationally diverse of its kind, includes birth, death and marriage records from 48 countries, the complete US and UK censuses, immigration, military and tombstone records and more than 1.5 billion family tree profiles. The database grows at an average pace of more than 5 million records each day.

Powerful Technology
The MyHeritage Library Edition™ builds upon MyHeritage’s deep investment in innovation. Its search engine’s automatic handling of translations, synonyms and spelling variations of millions of names in multiple languages is unparalleled. Its unique Record Detective™ technology takes research one step further by recommending additional records for each record discovered. This enhances research and helps users discover a lot more in less time.

Remote Access
Library members can use the MyHeritage Library Edition™ either at their local library or in the comfort of their own home using remote access.
“The new institutional edition of MyHeritage and our partnership with EBSCO advance our mission to transform family history into an enjoyable, accessible and highly affordable activity for millions of families around the world”, said MyHeritage Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet. “Curiosity is one of the greatest human qualities. Our product enables users of all ages and means to satisfy their curiosity and enjoy the thrill or discovering their family history at the click of a button”.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is a family history network helping millions of families around the world discover and share their legacy online. As technology thought leaders and innovators, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible, exciting and easier than ever before. MyHeritage empowers its global community of users with unique social tools, a massive library of historical content and powerful search and data matching technologies. The service is available in 40 languages. For more information visit www.myheritage.com.

About EBSCO Information Services
EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO) is the leading discovery service provider for libraries worldwide with more than 6,000 discovery customers in over 100 countries. EBSCO Discovery Service™ (EDS) provides each institution with a comprehensive, single search box for its entire collection, offering unparalleled relevance ranking quality and extensive customization. EBSCO is also the preeminent provider of online research content for libraries, including hundreds of research databases, historical archives, point-of-care medical reference, and corporate learning tools serving millions of end users at tens of thousands of institutions. EBSCO is the leading provider of electronic journals & books for libraries, with subscription management for more than 360,000 serials, including more than 57,000 e-journals, as well as online access to more than 600,000 e-books. For more information, visit the EBSCO website at: www.ebsco.com. EBSCO Information Services is a division of EBSCO Industries Inc., a family owned company since 1944.

Ancestry.com Pulls the Plug on Several Sites

myfamily This morning, Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, announced that it will be “retiring” five of its properties/services as of 5 September 2014:

I’m sure there are many questions and there will be an ongoing conversation for weeks to come. Let’s remember and use our best skills as genealogists: RESEARCH! This means don’t rely on someone else’s posting at Facebook with misinformation about other Ancestry properties or that Ancestry is next going to do [insert fantastically wild guess based on no concrete information at all].

Yesterday afternoon I participated in a group conference call with several other bloggers to learn the news directly from Ancestry.com upper management and to have our questions answered. See my analysis below of each of these properties including how and why they are shutting down.

For the latest information please visit the Ancestry blog at http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry. And to engage in a conversation with other Ancestry.com users and the staff at Ancestry, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Ancestry.com.

MyFamily

  • From Ancestry: Current MyFamily users can export their data to a zip file which will contain photos as .jpg files, messages as .txt files etc. Both subscribers (paying members) and users (family members) will be able to access and download data through 5 September 2014. Refunds will be issued on a pro-rata basis and effective as of 5 June 2014.
  • My feedback/insights: The handwriting was on the wall when several years ago Ancestry eliminated the free account feature at MyFamily. I estimate that 90% of those free users never converted to paying members of MyFamily. Also, given the target audience and demographic, MyFamily was a customer support nightmare for certain and probably detracted from the bottom line at Ancestry. In addition, in a world where more Baby Boomers are using Facebook to do the exact same thing they could do at MyFamily and for free, the product had been on life support for some time.

MyCanvas

  • From Ancestry: Between now and 5 September 2014, customers can continue working on current projects and even start new projects but they must finish by 5 September. No new project will be accepted after 4 September 2014. You can order copies of current/saved projects and even print them at home, but there is no data export feature available.
  • My feedback/insights: I always suspected that the actual work to produce MyCanvas products was outsourced and this was confirmed on yesterday’s call. The name was not given, but it could be the very same providers used by Shutterfly, Snapfish, MyPublisher and other publication sites. I have used MyCanvas and thought it was a great product that just wasn’t marketed properly. As time went by, I’ve seen this market expand with other providers and it just didn’t make sense for Ancestry to keep MyCanvas alive. What I suspect we will see is other providers partnering with Ancestry to make it easy to export your Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.com Tree content to a self-published book or a keepsake.

Genealogy.com

  • From Ancestry: All subscriptions will be retired, including member accounts and the ability to contribute to message boards and user home pages. Users can log in and export/print/save information between now and 5 September 2014. Some content on Genealogy.com will be preserved in read-only format including the GenForum message board, Family Tree Maker homepages and the most popular articles.
  • My feedback/insights: A legacy property that Ancestry acquired years ago, the true value of Genealogy.com is in its domain name. I’ve always believed that this domain name should serve as a general “welcome mat” to all the Ancestry services and properties OR be an educational platform for newcomers to family history. We’ll see what Ancestry does with this site once the current content is archived and moved.

Mundia

  • From Ancestry: Mundia trees have always been a part of Ancestry.com. Members can download trees that they’ve created between now and 5 September 2014. Mundia trees can be accessed for free on Ancestry.
  • My feedback/insights: I never understood Mundia. Ancestry did a stealth launch one Saturday night several years ago and it just never took off. I think it was intended as a way to connect with social media users but eventually Ancestry added social media share features into its current offerings including actual records.

Y-DNA and mtDNA tests

  • From Ancestry: Only the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests are being eliminated; Ancestry is devoting more resources to the autosomal test which survey’s a person’s genome at over 700,000 locations and is not limited to just the paternal or maternal line. Effective immediately, Ancestry is no longer selling Y-DNA and mtDNA tests. Customers who have taken the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests can download their raw data at http://www.DNA.ancestry.com
  • My feedback/insights: The elimination of the Y-DNA and mtDNA tests make total sense and Ancestry is keeping up with the evolving technology in the DNA field. One concern I have is what will be done with the actual DNA samples submitted (on the call Ancestry said they would be destroyed as specified in the Terms and Conditions agreed to by those test consumers). Several others on the call also asked if the samples couldn’t be retested using the autosomal test, especially if the sample were from someone who is now deceased. Ancestry has suggested that those who took the Y-DNA and/or mt-DNA tests call customer support with their questions.

What’s Next?

I’m sure there will be plenty of speculation as to what Ancestry may do with some of its other low-performing properties and services in the future as well as legacy acquisitions. It is natural for a company to prune assets that don’t have a high return or a high usage and put resources towards both new technologies and more productive services. That’s all we are seeing here with this news from Ancestry. It has been my belief for sometime that Ancestry.com would eventually take some of these actions and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more properties to be retired over the next few years; this just makes good business sense.

Yes, there will be consumers and users who aren’t happy and some will ask why they should bother using other services from Ancestry (or even other vendors) and risk losing their data or uploaded information. I always tell other genealogists to make sure they 1) read the Terms and Conditions for any site where you upload data and 2) have an exit strategy for your data in terms of exporting it and importing it to a new platform.

Finally, although I don’t use all of the services targeted for termination by Ancestry, I agree with their move to focus on core services that help expand the ability to research and share one’s roots.

©2014, copyright Thomas MacEntee