From the day we’re born, each of us becomes a part of a family tree that is often larger than we imagined. The personal genealogy site, MyHeritage.com is a powerful, and easy-to-use set of tools that helps you keep track of your family heritage and kinships by providing tools for building and growing personal family trees, with timelines, photo sharing, and event web pages. MyHeritage looks to be the largest site of its kind and it includes a good basic free plan to get you started.
Founded in 2005, MyHeritage has over 64 million registered members from around the world. Each member of the site gets pages for building family trees, family event pages, timelines, memory card games, charts, and geographical displays, and several other practical features and artifacts.
Building Your Family Tree
MyHeritage provides a PC-based Family Tree Builder, but since I’m a full fledged Mac user, I used the site’s online tree builder application.
MyHeritage gets you started with building your family tree right when you register. As a site manger, after you provide your name and that of your parents’ names, you’ve just developed your first branch.
The basic resources you will need to build your genealogy tree are family photos (preferably portrait shots, or crop photos to fit) birth and death dates, and knowledge of kin relationships. As you grow your tree, you can add other personal information for each member of your immediate and extended family. You can also email and invite members to your site to help build the tree and add data.
Once you’re in the family tree builder, you continue by clicking on your name or one of your parent’s names to add another branch, e.g., your partner, brother, son or daughter.
For each family member on your tree, you add their photo, name (married and maiden names if applicable), birthdate; and indicate whether they are alive or deceased.
Don’t worry about filling in all the personal information in order to get started. MyHeritage makes it easy to come back and edit profiles as you go along. Depending on your family size and how wide you want to develop your tree, this project could take a several days or months. And because it’s online, your tree is persevered for other family members to extend the branches. Extended family members will probably want to build their own trees and connect to yours, which of course can be done in MyHeritage.
As you might expect in a web application like MyHeritage, each person on your tree gets his and her own profile, in which additional information (place of birth, additional photos, and baptism) can included.
All the family members and dates you add to your tree also become part of a family timeline. The latter feature is part of the Premium package, but you do get a preview of what it looks like. The site also uses your family data to build a report that includes where family members live, their ages, who married whom, divorces, and the names of children.
MyHeritage also developed mobile apps for the iPad, iPhone, Google play. These apps however don’t include a tree builder. They sync with your online family site, and are for displaying family trees and sharing photos. I’m quite sure in future updates the apps may allow users to edit basic information on the fly.
MyHeritage has Basic, Premium and PremiumPlus plans. The basic free option allows for limited storage of 250 photos—more than enough to get your immediate clan tree started. The premium plans are for when you’re ready to store lots of photos and make use of MyHeritage’s wide variety of other features. There are options for families to collectively pay for a plan.
There’s probably an unlimited amount of features that could be added to the site, but for now it works well as being a clean, easy-to-use web and desktop application, but let us know what you think of MyHeritage. It is a site that will be cherished by family members for years to come.
And for a review of other family genealogy sites, check out Ryan’s Top 10 Free Genealogy Websites to Find Ancestors