Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Finding Common Ancestors in the MyHeritage Family Tree

I blogged yesterday about Smart Matching in MyHeritage.  I wondered, in that post, whether the Smart Matches connect my Tree to the trees of other persons, and have figured out that the answer is NO - the trees are kept separate.

So what is the advantage of the Smart Matches?  I see two distinct advantages:

1)  It is "cousin bait" for other researchers to find my research, and possible contact me, invite me into their trees, or offer to share information with me.

2)  It is "Randy bait" for me to find other researchers that might have more information, or more accurate information, than I have in my Tree.  I'm humble enough to know that I may have missed research that other persons have performed, or that other persons have a different line from a common ancestor and may have more useful information to help fill out some of the leaves on my tree. 

In yesterday's post, I found that some Smart Matches that came to my email inbox because the other researchers took the time to confirm a Smart Match that was provided to them by MyHeritage.  The other 198,000-odd Smart Matches were found by MyHeritage by matching persons in my Tree with persons in over 18,000 other Trees on the MyHeritage system.  That's one of the great benefits of placing a Tree in MyHeritage - it has a significant user base and a method to find potentially common ancestors.

How can I capitalize on it?  Well, in my MyHeritage Family Tree, there is a small, green round icon in the upper left-hand corner of a person in my tree with an identified smart Match in the Tree of another researcher.  Here's an example from my Tree:

I maneuvered in my Tree to Martin Carringer (1758-1835), one of end-of-the-line ancestors in my mother's surname line.  He is highlighted in a broad outline in the tree image above, and his information from my Tree about Martin is shown in the left-hand panel.  There is a small, green circle in the upper left-hand corner of his Tree entry.  When I run my mouse over this green circle, the popup box says "Click to view Smart Matches to people in other family trees."

I clicked the green circle, and saw:

There are two other family trees on MyHeritage with Martin Carringer (1758-1835).  The Facts shown look the same.  I could (and eventually did) click on "YES - confirm all 2 matches." I was curious if the other trees had parents of Martin listed, so I found a "View family tree" link for one of the other trees and saw:

This researcher has parents listed for Martin Carringer as Henry Carringer and his wife Mary.  The tree above shows only one of Martin's children - it is evident that the tree's owner descends through one of Martin's daughters.   That information may help add information for one of my collateral Carringer lines. if I decide to accept it.

What does this other tree say about Martin Carringer (1758-1835)?  Here is the Person page for Martin in the other tree:

There are three tabs for this Person page - an "Info" tab, an "Events" tab and a "Timeline" tab.  The "Events" shown above provides a chronological list of Events for Martin Carringer, plus a small map of the places in the Events list, with stickpins keyed to the Events. 

While this particular information for Martin Carringer didn't add any new information to my own database, it could have.  If the other Tree owner had much more information about a person or a family, I could have added a comment about my own research, or a question about his research, and a collaborative effort could start and, perhaps, flourish.

I think that MyHeritage has a very good family tree schema, and an excellent method to connect possible cousins, or researchers with a mutual interest, together.

The little green "Smart Matches" icon to indicate that there are matches in other family trees on the MyHeritage system is not unique. has a similar "Match" indicator with their little green shaky leaves, which denote both potential historical records and family tree matches for the selected person.  I think that also has a similar tree matching system, but I haven't used it yet.

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(c) 2011. Randall J. Seaver. All Rights Reserved. If you wish to re-publish my content, please contact me for permission, which I will usually grant. If you are reading this on any other genealogy website (other than through an RSS feed), then they have stolen my work.

1 comment:

Daniel Horowitz said...

Hi Randy,

Just FYI:
MyHeritage has 18 Million family trees and not 18,000 as you mention, but what are a few more zeros here or there ;-) LOL