Friday, May 2, 2014

Looking for Cousins in MyHeritage SmartMatches - Post 1: Finding SmartMatches

I must admit that I have been a very bad participant in the MyHeritage family tree website.  I uploaded a large tree several years ago and have found it difficult to update it without replacing it.

Several email messages arrive every day titled "2 New Confirmed Smart Matches on" that say "xxxxx yyyyyyy, a MyHeritage member from USA, just confirmed NN Smart Matches between her family tree and yours, for the following people..." and provides a link to the persons in the other tree that match my tree.

I have so many Smart Matches that I rarely read more than the name of the matching person.  I don't click through to see the match.  So they've piled up - to the extent of about 192,000 of them, and about 6,000 waiting to be confirmed. long will that take?  

I've been thinking about "how do I find close or distant cousins who may have my ancestors in their trees?"  Then I thought - "MyHeritage has a lot of trees, and I get a lot of Smart Matches, I wonder how I can find those cousins?"

I do have an ulterior motive - posts for this topic should provide information for my society colleagues and Genea-Musings readers who have the same questions, and/or are considering creating a MyHeritage tree.

This will probably be a multi-post series, since the task is not simple, although I will try to break it up into manageable pieces.

1)  Starting on my MyHeritage page (after logging into my MyHeritage account), I ran the mouse over the "Family Tree" menu item and saw the dropdown list:

2)  I selected the "Smart Matches" link and clicked on it, and saw that page on my account:

The text with the light green background told me "There are 6,461 Smart Matches™ confirmed by others pending your confirmation."  The text with the light purple background told me "There are 56 Smart Matches™ you confirmed, that are pending confirmation by others."  Below those two areas, the really good news is "Good news, you have 192,272 Smart Matches™. View the matches below to confirm them."  Then it told that those 192,272 matches are in 22,265 matching family trees!

There are two tabs below that text information - one for "By family trees" and one for "By people."   The default appears to be the "By family trees" tab.

The screen above showed me the list of MyHeritage Family Trees with Smart Matches, ranked by the number of matches in each tree.  #1 on the list is the "Popiel Web Site" and I share 760 matches with that site.  

3)  I clicked on the "Popiel Web Site" name, and saw the top of the list of Smart Matches between persons in my tree and persons in the other MyHeritage tree:

I could go through that list of 760 persons that match between the two trees, but after a quick look at them, they seem to mostly be for siblings of my ancestors rather than the ancestors themselves.  In this particular tree, they are all from early New England families.  I'm more interested in finding cousins for my more recent ancestors, like my second or third great-grandparents.

4)  I went to the top of the screen above, and clicked on the "By people" tab and saw:

The screen above provides a list of my 192,272 smart matches, ranked, I think, by number of matches.  It tells me that I have 8,763 people in my tree with a Smart Match.

There are other "sort by" options on the line above the list of people - for "New matches," "First name," "Last name" and "Relationship."

5)  The "Relationship" sorting sounds like exactly what I want - perhaps it will provide a list in some order from closest to farthest ancestor?  Here is the top of the "Relationship" sorting list:

I reviewed that list, and it had me first, my mother second, my brother third, my wife fourth, my father fifth, and so one, down through my family tree using some sort of algorithm to decide relationship closeness.

6)  I clicked on the blue "View matches" link next to my mother's name on the screen above, and saw:

On the screen above, the program provides a summary of the information about my mother in my tree, and a summary of the information in the 9 Smart Matches for my mother in other trees.

7)  Further down the screen above is a list of the "Pending confirmation" matches:

There are tabs for "Confirmed" and "Rejected" matches also.

8)  On the screen above, I can review each Smart Match for my person by clicking on the blue "Review match" button.  The information for the first tree match above is:

The person profile in the other tree may have information that I don't have about my person, or not (in the case above, it does not.  But that's OK).

9)  I have several options for what to do next with the Smart Match - i'll review some of the options in the next post in this series.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Cousin Russ said...

+Randy Seaver,

Thanks for the tour. Been working on mine. I have done three blog posts on this topic myself. Maybe your readers might like of have another My Heritage use's experience.

I'll be back to your blog to re-read it as I learn how all of this works.

I really like, so far, the Record Matches. Found a number of Newspaper articles that I haven't found elsewhere.

Thank you,


Saskey said...


I just recently tried out MyHeritage, so Russ' and your posts are both timely and helpful. I have a large (not huge, as yours) number of 'smart matches', many of which are totally irrelevant (wrong name, wrong country, wrong gender), but even for those which appear valid, very little or no new information beyond what I already have, making the matches of questionable value. The record matches were generally more accurate, but more helpful in some instances than in others. Nonetheless, I have learned a great deal from your (and Russ') posts which I think will help me make better use of this information.