Tuesday, December 8, 2015

MyHeritage Releases Over 150,000 Family History Books - FREE to Access

MyHeritage announced yesterday that they have added a huge, FREE collection of family history books to their SuperSearch collection - see the MyHeritage announcement in Huge Free Collection of digitized Books Now -- Available on MyHeritage.

The article says:
"The new collection includes tens of thousands of digitized historical books, with actual images of the books' pages, and all their text extracted using Optical Character Recognition. The books span the last four centuries and include family, local and military histories, city and county directories, school and university yearbooks, church and congregational minutes and much more. A vast amount of rich data from diverse publications makes this collection a fantastic source of rare genealogical gems, providing insight into the lives of our ancestors and relatives."
The free collection is at https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-90100/compilation-of-published-sources.

I went searching...you know me, I can't resist!  Here is the search page with information about my ancestor, Martin Carringer, entered:

I entered a first name of "Martin," a last name of Carringer," and Keywords of "mercer" and "pennsylvania" in an effort to narrow the search.

I received 137 matches:

I clicked on the first match, and saw the record summary:

Note that the page image is shown for this match.  Further down the page is a frame with the OCR text:

 I clicked on the orange "Full screen" icon at the top of the page, and scrolled down a bit to see the paragraph with the name and keyword information:

At this point, I could use the "Print" icon at the top right of the screen to print the page, or the "Download" icon to download the document page as a JPG file and save it to my computer file folder.

Below the OCR frame there is an orange "Save record" button to save it to a person in my MyHeritage family tree.

The MyHeritage article says that these books will be included in the Record Matches provided by MyHeritage for persons in my family tree.  I think I am already seeing some of these matches - the number of Record Matches and the number of Collections with Record Matches went up over night.  However, this particular match did not appear on the Record Match list yet.

The MyHeritage article notes that:
"We've added this collection using a new process that adds approximately 250 million pages to SuperSearch™ per year, utilizing a team of 40 curators. The curators examine each digitized book for relevance to family history research, and enhance its meta data if they decide to include it. The collection is sourced from various published texts that are copyright-free, and will be updated from now on several times each year."
This is really good news for researchers.  The use of Record Match technology on printed text like this is a real benefit.  And it's FREE to use.  It's a win-win for everyone IMHO.  However, it is only available for copyright-free texts, so don't expect it to include every family history book ever written.

The URL for this post is:  http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/12/myheritage-releases-over-150000-family.html

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at randy.seaver@gmail.com.

1 comment:

Geolover said...

Why is access free? Because most (if not all) of the items are already on totally free sites such as Archive.org and HathiTrust, as well as on subscription sites such as AmericanAncestors (NEHGS).

There are also search-engine issues. In one trial search the results list came up with at least a dozen exact duplicates of one particular item.

But who knows, maybe MyHeritage will branch out and obtain hitherto-unavailable publications. And refine the search engine algorithm.