PROS / MyHeritage strongly encourages getting your whole family involved with genealogy. Kids' games and easy family tree sharing get the whole clan involved in your research.
CONS / There is no research assistance available from professional genealogists.
VERDICT / MyHeritage features all the qualities of a top genealogy search engine. You can search through 5.5 billion documents, build a family tree and connect with other genealogists.
Editor's note: The manufacturer has informed us that MyHeritage in fact does have phone support. We will fully evaluate and reflect this additional information when we next update the Genealogy reviews.
Every family is full of rich connections and history. The best genealogy search engines give users access to records from throughout history and around the world. Our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award goes to MyHeritage because it has these records and a widespread community to broaden your genealogical network and understand of your family history. With 5.5 billion searchable records in the database covering 200 countries, some dating back to the turn of the last millennium, you're bound to learn something new about your ancestry. It doesn't hurt that MyHeritage is easy to navigate and chock full of useful features like DNA testing, a family tree builder and a custom chart designer. These make MyHeritage a reliable and enjoyable family history search to use.
With the exception of Native American records and a surnames index, MyHeritage had all of the records we wanted to access. This isn't surprising either, seeing as they have 5.5 billion records on the website, which is a well-above-average number. The database covers every country in the world. Although some countries have more records than others do, you can at least begin researching ancestry in areas where you might not otherwise find information. The span of records isn't limited to geography either. We found records dating back to the turn of the last millennium.
When you find a document related to your ancestors, you can view and download scans of the original or simply view it online. To take a closer look at the record, MyHeritage offers a full screen mode or a simple zooming and panning window below the transcribed information. You can’t highlight the person of interest, something that is possible with other genealogy searches, but the searched person's info appears in type next to the document. You can also jump from family member to family member on documents like census reports.
Its centralized dashboard is one of the reason MyHeritage is easy to use. From your webpage, you can access family photos, family trees, contact info, DNA testing and charts. This section is similar to social media dashboards you may already be familiar with. The dash gives you quick access to most of the tools you'll need and lists any actions you perform on your tree to keep track of your changes.
One feature the best genealogy search sites have in common is family hints. This tool matches members of your family tree with records in the database. Similarly, when MyHeritage finds SmartMatches, you can review the facts, then confirm or deny these matches. You can attach the documents you find through the SmartMatches to your family tree.
The family tree builder treats relatives as individuals rather than a large group made up of smaller groups. This makes listing non-traditional relationships, like ex-spouses, stepchildren and adoptive relationships, easier. You can add children to one or both parents and link siblings together or leave them separate. If you're already working on a family tree, you can upload GEDCOMs to the website and continue working on it while having easy access to MyHeritage. To bring your family tree to life, you can add photos and other media. These photos come in handy later if you choose to play any of the family games on MyHeritage.
MyHeritage was the only family history search we found that generates printable and customizable charts. You can create stylish, professional looking charts directly from your online tree. Advanced customization options allow you to adjust the information that appears next to your relatives, the photo frame around each individual, box style and fonts, to name just a few options. Charts from a program like this make excellent gifts and heirlooms for future family historians in your clan.
There are many opportunities for interaction, and MyHeritage is adamant about full-family participation on the website. To get kids involved and interested in genealogy, you can find fun family games like matching games and a look-alike meter to compare your ancestor’s photos to your current family. MyHeritage also has user forums and message boards to reach out to other MyHeritage users. The Member Directory can connect you to distant relatives and allow you to collaborate with other genealogists.
The site maintains active Facebook and Twitter accounts for site updates and discussions. We found posts for fun genealogy-related crafts, starter questions and ideas to get you going when you need inspiration.
Help & Support
MyHeritage has landed such a high spot because it has an easy to follow layout and simple, yet useful, features. Because of all these qualities, we expect to see more support options on the site. The site is easy to use, but just in case you run into problems, you can find tutorials, FAQs and email support. Research, on the other hand, isn't always easy. You can’t find any professional assistance beyond community features like the message boards with MyHeritage. There is also no phone support for pressing questions.
Although MyHeritage lacks some support features like research assistance, you can still find resources to answer your questions. This genealogy search engine has an above average number of records from countries around the world and far back in time. In addition to easy searching and plenty of materials to sift through, MyHeritage has fun features like family chart creation and games to interest the rest of your clan in family history.