Tuesday, August 8, 2017

MyHeritage Answer to Amberly's Question Yesterday

I posted Dear Randy: Is My Personal Information on MyHeritage Private?  yesterday, which was a question from Amberly about the privacy policies on MyHeritage.

This morning, Aaron Godfrey of MyHeritage sent me an email that responds to Amberly's question and my confusion:
"Living people in trees are always excluded from searches on MyHeritage, searches on Google, etc.  
Living people may be found in searches in public records, census records, etc. But not in family trees.
"If Smart Matches are enabled on your MyHeritage family tree, living people in trees are included in Smart Matches with other trees. A Smart Match means the other tree already has the same living person that you have in your tree. 
"Smart Matches include living people, otherwise genealogists would lose half the potential connections with other relatives. They would lose more, in fact, because many people forget to mark dead relatives as deceased in their tree. Most of the success stories of people finding long-lost siblings wouldn't happen.
"Turning off Smart Matching (via the privacy settings) prevents other trees from matching anyone in your tree, living or deceased.
"In the post you connected between searching and matching, writing: 'a search for myself using the Smart Match icon'. To clarify: A Smart Match isn't a search, rather it's a connection between two individuals in two trees, that match.
"You can see yourself in some Smart Matches, but others won't see you unless they already have you in their tree (with enough additional information to convince the matching algorithm that it's the same 'Randy'). Therefore Smart Matching connects successfully between relatives while hiding living people from strangers. If for example you had a secret brother that nobody knew about, even people who have you in their tree will not see the brother in Smart Matches because they don't have the brother in their tree."
I think that clearly explains the differences between search results (using the "Research" SuperSearch form) and the "connections" found using the "Smart Match" icon on the family tree.  

It is logical - living persons aren't found in a search (unless someone added a spurious death date!), but smart matches do find living persons in another tree so as to foster a connection.  I missed the nuance of the "connection."

I hope this clarifies everyone's understanding of this issue.  My thanks to Aaron for concisely and quickly providing the response from MyHeritage.


Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to MyHeritage, and have had for several years, which I appreciate.  I have been reimbursed for travel and meal expenses in exchange for services rendered (luncheon and in-exhibit presentations) to MyHeritage at RootsTech conferences.

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1 comment:

Amberly said...

Thank you for this Randy. Now I'm glad I was behind so I went from wondering to an answer in just a few minutes. ;)