Another year has flown by, and what a year it’s been!
2022 saw many ups and downs. For much of the world, it was a year of reopening and readjusting after two years of COVID turmoil, and a year of slow return to normalcy. Yet it was also marked by a major war, geopolitical upheavals, and economic challenges. In September, we marked the end of an era as we bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II and welcomed King Charles III to the British throne; and in December, all eyes turned to one of the most thrilling World Cup tournaments in history.
Here at MyHeritage, we spent the year working hard to bring you new features and historical record collections to help you make progress with your family history research. We facilitated many emotional reunions and enjoyed the stories of incredible discoveries our users made through family history research and DNA. We kept true to our values of innovation, compassion and the desire to have a positive impact on the world.
Here’s a recap of what we were up to in 2022:
After ringing in the new year, we dove right in and released a new List view for photos to enable convenient searching, editing, and sorting of family photos. List view conveniently displays thumbnails of your photos along with the meta-data relating to each photo, including the title, the people tagged in the photo, and the date and place where the photo was taken. Missing information can then be easily entered inline.
Next we announced the launch of Introduction to Genealogy, our first full-length online genealogy course. Hosted by our genealogy expert Daniel Horowitz and taught by a world-class panel of experts, the course provides a strong foundation in genealogy, and is available for free on the MyHeritage Knowledge Base.
We added an improved model for color restoration that gives more realistic colors to your faded photos.
In late January we added a new Table view for search results, which makes it easier than ever to search through our treasure trove of 18.8 billion historical records and locate those of interest to you. A more condensed view means each page displays more results, and the tabular format helps you identify relevant results more easily.
In January, we experienced a major wave of COVID (the last major wave in Israel) and MyHeritage’s COVID lab provided Israel with much-needed tests.
In early February, our Kyiv office in Ukraine celebrated its fifth anniversary.
Unfortunately, a short time afterwards, Russia invaded Ukraine. Anticipating the danger, we helped many of our employees in Ukraine relocate to safety with their families before the war broke out, and we have been helping them in every way we can since, and admire them for their courage and dedication.
As we geared up for RootsTech, we added 275 million historical records from France. We also released 28 collections of Jewish historical records in partnership with JewishGen.
February saw the publication of this moving story about how a heartfelt letter sent 75 years ago during the Holocaust and discovered at a flea market was returned thanks to research on MyHeritage by heirloom hunter Chelsey Brown. This incredible story was covered in over 100 media outlets.
March started off with the biggest genealogy event of the year: RootsTech! While we missed our annual trip to Salt Lake City, the second fully-virtual RootsTech was attended by a staggering 1.5 million people. We traditionally make big feature announcements at the conference, and this year was no different!
First, we announced the launch of our new podcast, Blast From My Past, which features some of the most fascinating MyHeritage user stories. Blast From My Past is available for streaming and download on all major podcast platforms — and it’s free.
The momentum continued when just one day later we announced DeepStory, a groundbreaking new feature that makes your family photos speak!
We released the Family Tree Timeline, a feature which provides a colorful visual representation of one individual from your family tree, and his or her direct ancestors. The lifespans of these individuals (from year of birth to year of death) are mapped on the same axis to allow you to see them in relation to each other, which can provide refreshing insights into your family history.
At the end of March, in the run-up to the release of the 1950 U.S. Census, we released the Census Helper. This is a powerful, free feature that scans your family tree and compiles a list of your relatives who are very likely to be found in census records. Armed with the list it creates, you’ll know exactly which family members to search for in census records.
The release of the 1950 U.S. Census on April 1, 2022 was one of the most anticipated genealogy events of the decade. MyHeritage was the first company to publish a complete image-only collection of the full 1950 Census records that could be browsed free of charge, just hours after they were released by the NARA (National Archives and Records Administration). Following the release of the image-only collection, we began weekly releases of the fully-indexed U.S. census records, which was completed later in the year.
We teamed up with Legacy Family Tree Webinars to host the third annual 24-hour genealogy webinar marathon.
At the end of April we shared the incredible story of a MyHeritage employee who escaped Ukraine thanks to his grandfather’s heroic rescue of Jewish refugees during World War II. Eighty years later, this incredible act of kindness enabled our team to orchestrate the safe passage of our colleague and his family out of Ukraine.
May was a landmark month for historical records at MyHeritage. We announced the addition of a whopping 1.3 billion records in April and May alone! This included a huge update to our Newspaper Name Index, as well as collections from the U.S., U.K., France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and more.
We gave the Census Helper a major upgrade to include census records from other countries, so people with roots in places outside the U.S. can take advantage of it as well
In June, we held our Father’s Day lookalike competition and received amazing entries from users around the world who bear striking resemblances to their fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers. One of the winning entries is displayed in the example below:
We published one million emigration registers from Norway from 1867–1960.
Toward the end of the month we published a much-anticipated update to Theory of Family Relativity, adding 25.6 million new theories about how users are related to their DNA Matches. We also added the ability to confirm or reject a Theory of Family Relativity.
In honor of Independence Day in the United States, the MyHeritage Research team uncovered the fascinating family history of Charles Thomson, the man behind the Great Seal of the United States.
In July, we introduced new functionality for managing multiple sets of parents in the online family tree. Thanks to this addition, MyHeritage users can specify up to three sets of parents for any individual in the online family tree: biological, adoptive, and foster. For example, if an individual was adopted and his or her biological parents are known, both relationships can now be accommodated in the family tree in a few simple steps.
We announced a partnership with the Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People to publish an exclusive collection of digitized Jewish emigrant applications from interwar Vienna. The collection, which contained 228,250 records, included scanned images of the original documents.
In August, we introduced Photo Tagger, which enables you to tag multiple photos of an individual in one go and makes organizing your photos on MyHeritage easier than ever. The first release was for the MyHeritage mobile app on iOS and Android.
Watch the video to see Photo Tagger in action:
We shared several beautiful user stories in August, including this one about the long-awaited reunion between Diane Ward and Mary McLaughlin, two half-sisters who found each other thanks to a MyHeritage DNA test.
Also in August, we told the incredible story of the Ukrainian family that found a safe haven in Norway thanks to a Smart Match on MyHeritage.
Throughout 2022 we’ve been ramping up our pace of content publication, and in September we added a record-breaking 74 collections with 130 million records! The accelerated pace of publication continues as we add new and diverse collections to help our users further their family history research.
Following the successful release of Photo Tagger for the mobile app in August, we announced the addition of Photo Tagger on the web, to enable our users to tag, filter, and sort through their family photos in a snap.
September was Webtember at Legacy Family Tree Webinars, which is part of MyHeritage, where people everywhere could tune in for 31 live-and pre-recorded webinars for free. Highlights included sessions with Emmanuel Condamine, COO of French genealogy company Filae, another MyHeritage company, and Myko Clelland, MyHeritage’s Director of Content in Europe.
As billions of people around the world mourned the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Myko, who is an expert on the British royal family, was on hand to provide insights about the family ties of the world’s favorite monarch.
In October, we announced a major upgrade to our Family Statistics feature. Family Statistics is a free feature that provides dozens of enlightening and fun insights about your family. Among the many interesting facts that are showcased, you’ll learn which couple was married the longest and which pair of siblings had the largest age gap. You’ll also discover who had the most children, who was married the most times, and even find out the most common birth months in your family. Think you know your family tree inside and out? Family Statistics may give you a few surprises.
We introduced a new sorting ability for Shared DNA Matches. The new sorting functionality enables you to sort your Shared DNA Matches based on the proximity of their relationship to you or to the DNA Match you’re reviewing and gain new insights.
November was a high-intensity month at MyHeritage. We completed the publication of the full 1950 U.S. Census. The 1950 U.S. Census collection includes more than 150 million records from all of the U.S. states and territories and was made available to view, search, and add to your MyHeritage family tree for free.
On November 17th, we released AI Time Machine, our incredible feature that allows you to picture yourself throughout history and create gorgeous AI avatars.
AI Time Machine took social media by storm: we were overwhelmed by the countless people worldwide who found joy, surprise, laughs, and excitement in virtual time travel. TV hosts from around the world had a blast viewing their AI Time Machine results on the air, including the hosts of Fox and Friends, Good Morning Britain, the French show Midday TV, and the Mexican show Sale el Sol.
In December, we announced the addition of beautiful avatar themes to AI Time Machine.
We announced the recent application of our groundbreaking Global Name Translation technology to the DNA Match list. Global Name Translation automatically translates names in family trees and historical records from one language to another, enabling users to connect with relatives and locate historical records in different and sometimes unexpected languages. This newest application of Global Name Translation is great news for users who receive DNA Matches of users who wrote their names in Greek, Hebrew, Ukrainian, and Russian, as well as to users who use MyHeritage in these languages.
Incredible stories from our users
The discoveries that our users make give us great satisfaction and fuel our passion to continue doing what we do. This year, we had the privilege of sharing many stories of people who made life-changing discoveries using MyHeritage — stories that resonated all around the world. Here are just a few highlights:
MyHeritage user Rachael discovered her birth father at age 29 thanks to a MyHeritage DNA test, and it turned out he lived just 20 minutes away. Her account of this life-changing reunion was featured in Newsweek.
Fernando, born in Columbia and raised by an adoptive family in Sweden, found a brother with MyHeritage DNA, and that was just the beginning. This past March, we shared the story of how he found his brother and then another two sisters living in Spain — but the discoveries didn’t stop there. Not only did Fernando find more half-siblings and his birth mother, he inspired his ex-wife and his adoptive father to take a test. His ex-wife found a sister, and his adoptive father — who was adopted himself — found his birth father.
David, born in 1938, survived the Holocaust thanks to the actions of a Belgian man who hid him and his mother from the Nazis. When his son, Lionel, took to social media to ask for help locating the family that rescued his father, MyHeritage’s Marie Cappart responded. Thanks to her research, David and Lionel were able to meet the descendants of David’s rescuer in the very place where he hid them so many years ago.
Sisters Ashleigh and Laurinda found each other thanks to DNA Quest, MyHeritage’s pro bono project to help adoptees reunite with their families. Their story was widely shared in the media, and a beautiful interview with the two of them finishing each other’s sentences aired on CTV News in Toronto.
Susan (Suzy), 64, was adopted as a baby and spent most of her life trying to find and connect with her birth family. A few years ago, she took a DNA test and found several half-siblings… who, as it turned out, had lost another sister years before with the same name and a very similar appearance! The siblings became close, and this fall, finally had the chance to meet in person.
Melvin, 61, from Kansas, received a free DNA kit through DNA Quest. He discovered not only a long-lost granddaughter, but also a brother who was living only a 10-minute walk away. “I will forever be grateful to MyHeritage because it changed my life,” he writes. “A river of tears of happiness cannot explain how I feel.” Read his full story on our blog, and watch an interview with Mel and his brother on Fox News.
This year we also helped make the connection between Connecting Roots, a U.S.-based nonprofit that helps Chilean adoptees reunite with their families in Chile, and Nos Buscamos, a Chilean nonprofit that helps families affected by coerced adoption and kidnapping to reunite with loved ones abroad. Their combined efforts and the DNA kits we donated to them resulted in some incredible stories: Cristina reunited with her birth mother and 8 siblings, twins Elan and Micah found their birth mom, and Sara met her siblings for the first time.
Here are just a few of the valuable historical record collections added in 2022:
The MyHeritage team
While our team was hard at work developing new features, publishing historical records, and telling our users’ stories, we still made time to have fun together and contribute to the community.
Here are some photos from our fun days, celebrations, and activities throughout the year:
Volunteering for the community
Our employees volunteered in many projects in the community:
Looking ahead to 2023
2022 was an incredible year at MyHeritage, full of achievements and new innovations. As we look ahead towards 2023, we’re excited not only to bring our users even more wonderful products, features, and historical record collections, but also to celebrate a landmark milestone: the 20th anniversary of our founding! There’s a lot to look forward to in the coming year, so stay tuned.
Finally, as we wrap up another fantastic year, we wish to thank each and every one of you, our users, followers, and supporters, for giving us the opportunity to accompany you on your family history research journey.
Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!
Source: My Heritage