Tuesday, December 26, 2023

New MyHeritage Feature -- Artificial Intelligence AI Record Finder(tm)

 My Heritage announced a new artificial intelligence feature today - an AI Record Finder(tm) - for historical records.  It is described as:

"AI Record Finder is a feature which offers a new, interactive and fun way to search in free text for historical records in the entire MyHeritage Search Engine.  Before starting the conversation, users can choose whether to have the chat run in "casual" mode or "formal" mode which will change the tone of voice of the AI responding.  Users can input pretty much whatever they want and using the information they provide the AI will guide them to provide additional information, show the relevant records found and will reply to the user and share information he was able to find.  The AI Record Finder will be available for both guests and users.  Those without a Data or Complete subscription will be able to interact a bit with the chat before being asked to purchase a subscription."

The user can find the AI Record Finder in the "Research" Tab.  The opening AI Relative Finder screen is:

By the way, "Buckminster" is the AI chatbot's self-defined name in the "Casual" chat.  I immediately called him Bucky. 

I have tried this with about ten ancestors so far, and have asked some general questions and some specific questions.  Bucky (in "Casual" mode) is loquacious and somewhat evasive, IMHO.  In "formal" mode, Buckminster is all business - no fluff, but still evasive at times.

The first prompt from Bucky is (AI Comments in purple):

 "Please provide the first and last name of the person you are researching along with any additional details you may have.  This will help me search our extensive databases for relevant genealogical records."

I chose the "Formal" mode, and asked (Randy's comments in red):

"what information do you have for Theodore Alexander Leland born in 1876 in Deerfield WI, died in 1964 in Seattle WA, married to Alice Gertrude Walker (1891-1978) in 1912 in Montana."

The responses take some time - like 5 to 30 seconds, depending on the request an how many records Bucky can find.  Here was the answer to my query:

The chatbot provided a number (about 10) of records from the MyHeritage collections that included information from online family trees (MyHeritage trees, FamilySearch Family Tree, Geni.com tree) and record collections.  In this case there were four family tree matches and six city directory records. The response back was:

"The search has yielded multiple records for Theodore Alexander Leland. To refine the results, please provide any additional information such as middle names, specific dates, or associated locations that may help in narrowing down the most pertinent records."

I expected better than that, of course.  So I asked:

"Use the FamilySearch Family Tree entry to list his birth, marriage, death and burial information as well as those items for his wife and children."

I got another list of the same records, and the response was:

"To assist you further, please specify if you are seeking information from the FamilySearch Family Tree or another specific collection. Providing this detail will enable me to present you with the most accurate data regarding Theodore Alexander Leland and his family."

My response was:

"yes, the FamilySearch Family Tree collection."

And Bucky's response was:

"I regret to inform you that the FamilySearch Family Tree collection is not currently integrated into our database. Therefore, I am unable to directly access or provide information from that specific collection. For assistance with records from the FamilySearch Family Tree, please visit the FamilySearch website directly."

Oh.  I expected that Bucky could access the record and show it to me, since they do in the Record Matching.  So I responded:

"OK, use one of the MyHeritage trees to do the requested task."

The resulting response was:

Bucky responded with:

"Based on the information provided, here are the details from one of the MyHeritage trees:

"Theodore Alexander Leland:

- Born: February 10, 1883, Deerfield, WI
- Married: May 28, 1912, Livingston, Park, MT to Alice Gertrude Walker
- Died: February 24, 1964, Seattle, WA
- Buried: Evergreen Cemetery, Seattle, King, WA

"Alice Gertrude Walker (Wife):

- Born: May 26, 1891, Hill City, SD
- Died: Year not specified in the records provided


- Theodore Hampton Leland
- Wallace Ford "Bud" Leland
- George Hoffman "Toots" Leland
- Edwin Norris "Pete" Leland

Please note that additional verification from primary sources is recommended for accuracy. If you require further assistance or more detailed information, feel free to provide additional context or specify your request."

I stopped chatting at this point and figured out that Bucky had used one of the MyHeritage trees on the list of found records, and that the information above from the information in the indexed record summary for Theodore Leland on the MyHeritage family tree, not from all information in the family tree profile.  

In other chats with Bucky, I had to prompt him to tell me that there were census records or death records for the people I was searching.  He told me where they resided, and some of their information, but not all of the details on the record.  Again, the information above provided was from the indexed record summary in a MyHeritage tree, I think.  

I much prefer the "Formal" chat mode - the repetitive and sometimes humorous "Casual" chat comments are distracting for me.  I'm looking for answers to my questions, not sit-down humor and deflection.

The user can click on any of the records provided by the chatbot and see the record image if it's provided, but the user cannot say "show me the 1940 census digital image" if it's not on the list of records shown by the Chatbot.

If you want to save your chat, you can Copy all of the chat - on Windows I put the cursor in the Chat field and use Ctrl-A to Highlight the information (or you could use your mouse and highlight the information) you want and then use Ctrl-C to Copy the information, and open a text editor or word processor, and Paste the information with Ctrl-V.  The record matches found by the AI Record Finder will be summarized in the text.  I then Save the file with a unique name.  

The record matches found by the AI Record Finder can be clicked on and saved to the user's MyHeritage tree if desired.

In my opinion, this is an excellent tool for beginning genealogy researchers to use to determine what records are available on MyHeritage.  Experienced researchers will be frustrated by the lack of comprehensive results in the MyHeritage record collections, the emphasis on Family Tree record matches, and having to prompt the Record Finder Chatbot to find specific records.  A "Show me more" button to show additional records would be very useful that finds more census, vital, church, burial, military, and other record types.  

I will have more to show soon about the other MyHeritage AI feature, the MyHeritage AI Biography.


Disclosure: I receive a complimentary subscription to MyHeritage, and have received other material consideration in past years. I uploaded my autosomal DNA raw data to their DNA product. I am a subscriber to Family Tree Webinars and love it. I am a paid subscriber to the Reimagine mobile app. This does not affect my objective analysis of MyHeritage products.

The URL for this post is:  https://www.geneamusings.com/2023/12/new-myheritage-feature-artificial.html

Copyright (c) 2023, Randall J. Seaver

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Coach Carole said...

Hi Randy
I enjoyed reading about the My Heritage AI research tool. A compelling reason to return to this tool and try it out!

Louis Kessler said...

Hi Randy,

Where did you see that the bot called itself Buckminster? I tried the Casual chat and don't recall the bot calling itself anything.