Wednesday, November 28, 2012

MyHeritage Acquires

MyHeritage acquires and raises $25m in new funding round

Family history network buys rival and advances international expansion with new funds
LOS ANGELES, California, PROVO, Utah & TEL AVIV, Israel – November 28, 2012 – MyHeritage, the popular online family history network, announced today it has acquired long-time rival and closed a new USD$25M funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), with existing investors Index Ventures and Accel Partners also participating. Founder David Sacks and BVP Partner Adam Fisher are joining the MyHeritage Board of Directors.
The acquisition reinforces MyHeritage’s position as a global power player in the family history industry and accelerates its vision of helping families everywhere build and share their legacy online. The purchase of is the eighth and largest acquisition made by MyHeritage since the launch of its online family history network in 2005. It extends MyHeritage’s network to 72 million registered users, 1.5 billion profiles and 27 million family trees, containing the most internationally diverse family history content in the world.
The new investment round will be used by MyHeritage to boost growth of its historical content services and expand commercial operations worldwide. In addition to acquiring significant record collections from Europe and rolling out global crowd-sourcing projects, the funds will enable MyHeritage to explore additional M&A opportunities and ramp up its international marketing operations. The latest funding round brings the total funds raised so far by MyHeritage to USD$49 million.
“Exploring and curating one's family past is both a timeless and universal hobby pursued by hundreds of millions of people around the world; I personally grew my own family tree to include more than 2,500 people,” said BVP Partner Adam Fisher. “The freemium model of MyHeritage/Geni not only makes online family history accessible to the casual user, but underscores the importance of user generated data to the product offering itself, which grows every day. As the international market leader with an aggressive expansion plan, we see tremendous value in their subscription business and are excited to work closely with Gilad and his team as they build on their success.”
“Today’s news is a major turning-point for the family history industry, giving us significant new resources to extend our market leadership and deliver new value to families worldwide,” said Founder and CEO of MyHeritage, Gilad Japhet. “Well established as an innovative and social brand, is a natural addition to MyHeritage and together we look forward to taking collaborative family history to new heights.  Over the past few years our dedicated workforce has transformed MyHeritage from a garage start-up into a successful, dynamic and global company. With new funds, impressive new talent from and new world-class leaders on our Board, we look forward to fulfilling our potential and accomplishing our mission to bring family history to the masses.”
Founded in 2007, is well known as a pioneer in collaborative family tree building with its focus on creating the World Family Tree, and enjoys a large following in the US. will continue to operate as a separate brand based out of its California office, which will also serve as the main engineering hub for MyHeritage in the US, alongside its main content offices in Utah. The entire staff at will join the MyHeritage team.
The services of MyHeritage and will initially run independently. MyHeritage plans to give respective users the option to collaborate on family history research by enabling two-way information flows between the sites that will facilitate new family discoveries and provide greater value to the users of both services.
Users from both sites will be able to discover long-lost relatives and new ancestral connections through MyHeritage’s Smart Matching technology, which finds common matches between family trees. To add new color to the ancestries of users, MyHeritage will apply its recently launched Record Matching™ technology that matches historical records, such as birth, death, census and immigration records, to individuals in family trees. users will be able to enjoy extended offerings provided by MyHeritage including DNA kits for genetic genealogy. Founder, David Sacks, a renowned entrepreneur, and most recently the Founder and CEO of Yammer (sold to Microsoft in June 2012 for $1.2 billion), will take a seat on the Board of Directors. David’s contributions as a visionary in the family history field, combined with his sharp eye for product, make him a strategic addition to MyHeritage management.
“What we've learned over the years building Geni is that there are three key assets that customers want in the genealogy space: records, private trees, and the world family tree. This deal brings together all of these pieces to form the most complete offering in the genealogy space. Together with MyHeritage, we look forward to continuing Geni's mission of connecting humanity through a single family tree”, said Founder of David Sacks.
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Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hannah Mather Crocker Book Receives Another Award

The following was received this afternoon from from the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS). Questions should be directed to


This marks the second national and regional award for the Hannah Mather Crocker book.

November 14, 2012, Boston, MA – The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) announced today that its book, Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston by Hannah Mather Crocker edited by Eileen Hunt Botting and Sarah L. Houser, received the 2012 Society for the Study of American Women Writers (SSAWW) "Edition Award." This award is given every three years in recognition of excellence in the recovery of American women writers. SSAWW praised the book for its interdisciplinary and collaborative nature, and the way it brings American women's voices to a larger audience.

Published for the first time by NEHGS in 2011, the book features Crocker's diary entries of daily life in early nineteenth century Boston and its environs from the 1620s to the 1820s. A leading female writer and women's rights advocate, as well as the granddaughter of influential New England Puritan minister Cotton Mather, Crocker provides a significant resource for women’s historians, scholars of feminist political thought, and early American historians alike. Crocker's history chronicles Puritan law, colonial and provincial history, interactions with the British, French, and Native Americans, the establishment of Boston churches, and Boston's economic growth, paying special attention to women's work and culture. This book also presents Crocker's treasury of poetry including a poem by Phillis Wheatley dedicated to Hannah, and a comical recipe for chowder.

D. Brenton Simons, President and CEO of NEHGS, said, "This book gives us a charming, anecdotal view of a city and its peoples now long gone. It will be prized by historians, genealogists, and readers interested in Boston and its early history as recounted by a native daughter."

Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston by Hannah Mather Crocker was recognized earlier this year for its design with a New England Book Show Award. It also received a glowing review in a recent issue of The New England Quarterly, noting, "Botting and Houser have made a notable contribution to the literary and historical legacy of Hannah Mather Crocker. . . After more than a century in an archive, it can now benefit general readers, genealogists, teachers, and scholars."

Reminiscences and Traditions of Boston by Hannah Mather Crocker is available for purchase in our book store and online at or by calling 617-226-1212.


Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country's leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy. Our award-winning website,, provides access to more than 135 million searchable names in 3,000 collections.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Wordless Wednesday: Don't We All Feel This Way Sometimes?

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Many thanks to Second Life genealogist Eirik O'Taku for expressing himself at last night's book club meeting. Can you guess what we were discussing?

"Don't We All Feel This Way Sometimes?" Digital image. Photographed on 13 November 2012 at the Just Genealogy Fire Pit in Second Life.

About Wordless Wednesday.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday's Tip: Check the U.S.D. 1812 Ancestor Database

During this year of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812, why not find out if you had an ancestor who served in the military or performed other worthwhile service at the time of the War? One way to do this is to visit the ancestor database of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812.

From the homepage, select Ancestor Database from the top navbar (click to enlarge any of the images).

Enter your ancestor's name in the search box. You can also include more information, but in my opinion it's always best to start your search with a wide net. In this example, I searched for my ancestor Leroy Taylor by using only his name.

If a member of U.S.D. 1812 has previously applied for membership referencing your ancestor, that ancestor's name should show up in the results box.

When you click on the name in the results box, you will get a screen listing the information known by U.S.D. 1812 about your ancestor, including the spouse's name (if known) and the patriot's child through which the member applied. Depending on how old the application is, some of the information may be incorrect, as it is here for Leroy Taylor.

Unfortunately, I don't know for certain if you can get a copy of the application referencing your ancestor, but my guess is yes. I could not find a definite answer anywhere on the web site.

If your ancestor is listed - and you're a woman* - consider honoring him/her by applying for membership in the U.S.D. 1812. Click on the Membership link from the top navbar for more information. Most of the state societies, including California, have a web site where you can find a list of local chapters; click the States/Chapters link to find one near you, or fill out the Membership Interest Form.

*Men: please visit the General Society of the War of 1812 (no database, sorry).

If you live in the California Tri-County area of Ventura, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo, please note that we are in the beginning stages of forming a chapter in this area. Please contact me for information.

Good luck searching for your War of 1812 ancestor!

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Monday, November 12, 2012

FTDNA Announces Holiday DNA Sale

It's the most wonderful time of the year again (almost)... that time when Family Tree DNA announces its big holiday sale! If you're looking for a gift for that hard-to-buy-for relative, consider a DNA test. Don't delay; these prices are only good until December 31, 2012.

As we ended our 8th Annual Genetic Genealogy Conference, several conference participants asked us to start our year-end sale as soon as possible. In answer to those requests we decided to start it immediately:

New KitsCurrent Group PriceSALE PRICE
Y-DNA 37$149$119
Y-DNA 67$239$199
mtFullSequence (FMS)$299$199
SuperDNA (Y-DNA 67 and mtFullSequence)$518$398
Family Finder$289$199
Family Finder + mtDNAPlus$438$318
Family Finder + mtFullSequence$559$398
Family Finder + Y-DNA 37$438$318
Comprehensive (FF + FMS + Y-67)$797$597


Current Group Price

Y-Refine 12-25 Marker$49$35
Y-Refine 12-37 Marker$99$69
Y-Refine 12-67 Marker$189$148
Y-Refine 25-37 Marker$49$35
Y-Refine 25-67 Marker$148$114
Y-Refine 37-67 Marker$99$79
Y-Refine 37-111 Marker$228$188
Y-Refine 67-111 Marker$129$109
mtFullSequence Add-on$289$199

To order this special offer, log in to your personal page and click on the Order An Upgrade button in the upper right corner. A link to the login page is provided below. ALL ORDERS MUST BE PLACED AND PAID FOR BY MONDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2012 11:59:00 PM CST TO RECEIVE THE SALE PRICES.

Log In to Order an Upgrade.

Click Here to Order a New Kit.

Best Regards,
Bennett Greenspan
Family Tree DNA
"History Unearthed Daily"

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For information about the Swanay/Swaney/Sweaney DNA Surname Project, please visit our public project page, or FamilyTree DNA. Please also feel free to contact me if you have questions.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Central Coast Genealogy Calendar: November 2012

"The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.  ~H.U. Westermayer."

Saturday, November 17
Ventura County Genealogical Society
1:00 - 4:00 PM
Denise Levenick - "The Paper-Less Genealogist"

Saturday, November 17
Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Alice Colby Volkert - "Do It Backwards"

Tuesday, November 20
Conejo Valley Genealogical Society
6:45 - 8:45 PM
"The Gift of Freedom" and Annual Business Meeting

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Please send me an email if you would like to have your event included in this monthly calendar series.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Why Americans Love America

There are many, many reasons why Americans love this country. Whatever your particular reason is, I hope you will take a few moments today to get out to the polls and cast your vote.

Remember, your right (and responsibility) to vote may have come from the sacrifices of your ancestors. Honor them today.

And enjoy this lovely video. No matter how much we might disagree about politics, I think we can all agree that this is a beautiful country, and there is much to love about it.

(Hat tip to Penny of The Why About This.)

Copyright © by Elizabeth O'Neal