Genealogy Web site MyHeritage
, which offers family Web sites, free Family Builder software, and a fun celebrity look-alike photo search, has upgraded another of its features: a genealogy metasearch tool. MyHeritage Research
is a search engine that looks for results in up to 1,350 genealogy Web sites and databases such as EllisIsland.org
, Yad Vashem Shoah victims
, AfriGeneas Surnames
(in paid databases, your results show names but you won’t get other details unless you subscribe).
MyHeritage Research is free, though you'll be prompted to register when you use it.
With such a broad search, unless you have a really unusual name, start by clicking Advanced Search and entering as many search terms (birth year and place, death year and place) as possible. You also can specify types of records to look for.
One neat thing: The tool searches on multiple name variations at once. After submitting your search, you’ll get a checklist of alternate spellings—just check up to five you’d like to search on.
You may be prompted to install a “java applet
,” a piece of code that enables the search to work, which just took a couple of seconds.
Then go make yourself a snack, since it may take awhile to get results. And the number of matches can be overwhelming—I got 39,510. You're likely to get a lot of false matches. Good thing registered MyHeritage users can save results to wade through gradually.
You’ll be sent to each database site to see its matches. Even on free sites, you’ll often click a match and be told you must register first, which gets annoying and seems risky when you’re unfamiliar with the site. And since you go right to the page with the match, you have little context for where the names came from.
If your research is at a point where you need to cast a wide net, here’s a good way to do it. But you may be better served by targeting specific genealogy databases that make sense for when and where your family lived.
See MyHeritage’s FAQ page
to learn more about how the search works. For more on Family Builder software, check out Randy Seaver’s detailed blog post at Genea-Musings