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MyHeritage review

MyHeritage helps you research your family history with billions of records spanning the globe.

MyHeritage Review
(Image: © MyHeritage)

Our Verdict

With a host of unique features and plenty of records, this is a great choice if you're looking to uncover your local history.

For

  • Over ten billion records
  • DNA kit testing
  • Show neighbors feature

Against

  • Expensive
  • Yearly subscription only

The MyHeritage is one of the best genealogy websites out there, with over ten billion records backed by DNA testing. This is backed by a simple to use site and app which help guide you towards new family links. Backed by DNA testing and health checks, this has a lot to offer. The price reflects this, so be prepared to pay out for the best options.

MyHeritage has a large enough database of records to help nearly anybody build a huge family tree, spanning generations and international locations. Backed by DNA testing for ethnicity and health, this is a comprehensive offering all in one place.

From photos and yearbooks to birth certificates and census data, the 10 billion records should help you track down even the most distant family members, generations back. This isn't a cheap option but then the freedom to search and get helpful directional tips makes it a great example of a genealogy service.

MyHeritage review: What you need to know

  • Over ten billion records
  • More than 100 million people in DNA database
  • Large international family tree networks

MyHeritage lets you build your family tree using a clear and simple interface online that's backed by a helpful free app. All you need to do is input simple data like family names and birth dates and places, to build the tree.

You can begin on MyHeritage without paying any membership fee, initially, for basic features access. If you do go for full family tree building then there are multiple payment options for you so you can get the right mix of features for you.

The site also supports a MyHeritage DNA testing kit, which allows you to get gene based information about your ethnicity and potentially about family members you may not even know about.

A really nice feature that MyHeritage offers, which the competition does not, is called Show Neighbors. This allows you to find information from the US Public Records Index about that person who lives next door while you were growing up, for example.

MyHeritage review: Historical database

  • Over 10 billion records
  • Less than half of Ancestry.com
  • Need some input info to start

The database of MyHeritage is over ten billion records deep. It's less than half that of Ancestry.com but still very comprehensive and runs internationally. You'll need to input information to get you started but then you can tap into a host of resources that include:

  • Birth, marriage and death certificates
  • Census data
  • Military, immigration and legal records
  • Newspapers
  • Yearbooks
  • Directories and guides
  • Family trees
  • Photos, document and maps

Much like other sites of this type, as you input information it will recognise links and offer you hints to help you build your tree in the right direction. Not only will this give you a clue as to who might be potential relatives but it could also offer up more information on current relatives that you've entered manually.

MyHeritage review: Build your family tree

  • Easy to get started
  • Free search results
  • Can't build a family tree without paying

To build your family tree on MyHeritage you simply need to start entering names, dates of birth and locations. From that you will be given hints to links to help build up the tree. If that information is accurate then you can approve it and save that to your family tree. For free you get search results, you just can't click on them for more information and tree building without paying.

The downside to the huge amount of records is that if you only have a name but not dates or locations, then you can end up with so many results it's difficult to find link manually. 

Yearbook access is a nice feature which can help you search the many pictures from school days. This is a premium feature for paying members. That said, you can still often access the yearbooks directly via the institution for free.

DNA testing kits are also an option which let you send off a saliva sample to have your ethnicity revealed. This is accurate to 42 supported ethnicities, making it far less accurate than Archives but it is international. Also, results are quicker with the site promising a one month turn around from you sending in your sample. The downside, for some, is that the DNA sample grants MyHeritage royalty-free worldwide license to use the sample or any resulting reports. 

The addition of a free app is a nice feature as it makes researching your tree easier to do whenever you get a second wherever you are. It's clear and easy to use making it a better point of interaction than the website itself in some ways.

Is MyHeritage worth the cost?

  • Subscription or annual pricing available
  • Four options to choose from
  • Prices start at $99

Costing is only available on an annual basis or via subscription and it's not cheap. Pricing breaks down into four options: Premium, for Smart Matches and priority customer support; Premium Plus adding in Instant Discoveries and Tree Consistency Checker; Data which offers 10 million records and saving ability but none of the smart and DNA options; or Complete for all the above. Pricing breaks down like this:

  • Premium $129/year but $99 for the first year
  • Premium Plus $209/year but $159 for the first year
  • Data $189/year but $139 for the first year
  • Complete $299/year but $209 for the first year

If you want to check out a totally free service, check out FamilySearch.

Should you use MyHeritage?

MyHeritage offers a quick turnaround service when it comes to DNA testing. It also now offers health checks so you can predict and hopefully avoid possible future health issues. But on a family tree focus this is a great site for easily building and saving your tree.

If you think your family tree is going to spread internationally this site has you covered. However if you're going to end up in more obscure areas that are hard to find you may need a service with even more than the 10 billion records this offers.

The interface is clear and simple across browser and mobile app making it a seamless experience you can use anywhere.