MyHeritage Launches Photo Discoveries™

I saw this demonstrated today at RootsTech. MyHeritage found a picture of my great-uncle. I had never seen a picture of him before. I think this is going to be big. The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

Exclusive feature delights users with photographs of their ancestors and relatives, added to their family tree in one click

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah, February 10, 2017 – MyHeritage, the leading international family history and DNA company, announced today the launch of Photo Discoveries, an innovative feature which transforms family trees by automatically adding matching historical photos. A Photo Discovery provides users with a set of photographs of ancestors and relatives they may have never seen before, originating in family trees contributed by others. Users can add the photographs to the matching profiles in their family tree, in a single click.


Layered on top of MyHeritage’s highly accurate Smart Matching™ technology, which locates matching profiles in other family trees, and Instant Discoveries™, which enable users to add entire branches to their family tree in just a few clicks, Photo Discoveries identifies the profiles that have no photographs in the user’s family tree and provides photographs of these individuals from matching profiles on other family trees.

Users can add up to ten photographs per Photo Discovery, reject specific ones they do not wish to receive, and apply Photo Discoveries as many times as they would like. The photographs are then copied over to the associated profiles, preserving all useful metadata such as people tags, dates and place names.

“At MyHeritage we’re constantly brainstorming innovative new ways to make our industry-leading matching technologies even better,” said MyHeritage Founder and CEO Gilad Japhet. “Receiving a never-seen-before photograph of an ancestor is a delightful emotional experience, and one that we would like our users to enjoy as often as possible. Photo Discoveries deliver this and fulfill the promise of collaborative genealogy in a slick and gratifying one-click experience.”

Viewing Photo Discoveries in thumbnail form is free. Applying Photo Discoveries to one’s family tree requires a PremiumPlus or Complete subscription on MyHeritage.

About MyHeritage
MyHeritage is the leading global destination for family history and DNA. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage has transformed family history into an activity that is accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees and groundbreaking search and matching technologies. Through MyHeritage DNA, the company offers technologically advanced, affordable DNA tests that reveal users’ ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to find new family members, discover ethnic origins, and to share family stories, past and present, and to treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages.


How do they insure the picture is really of the person in your family tree? In discussions of the problem of people copying unsubstantiated information from one public family tree to another I have seen a number of complaints about misidentified photographs attached to public family trees (“somebody copied a photo I posted of my grandfather and attached it to some total stranger on their unrelated family tree and they won’t take it down” or “someone is refusing to accept the fact that a photo of taken of my ggrandfather in the 1860s cannot possibly be a picture of their 6ggrandfather who lived in the 1750s, long before photography was even invented”).

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    —> How do they insure the picture is really of the person in your family tree?

    The majority of the pictures will come from otrher users of the service who uploaded their family trees and also uploaded old family photographs. The person or persons in each photograph will be identifiable by that names, dates, locations as well as by their family members: spouses, parents, children, and other people who are included in the same record. For instance, if I upload information about many people in my family tree and, in my great-grandmother’s record, I also add a photograph or several photographs of her, it will be obvious that she is the person I have identified as my great-grandmother. Her photograph will be attached to her record that I uploaded.

    Obviously, nothing is ever perfect. It is possible that someone will mis-identify a relative in an old family photograph and upload the wrong photo. However, I suspect the error rate will be very, very low, far better than any other method we have available today.

    Liked by 1 person

    My first thought as well. I have found photos of my family in other people’s trees and they have been misidentified in those trees. It sounds like a good idea but I’m sure there will be mistakes here and there. It is so often thought who the picture might be of – but no way to prove it unless the date, location and name is on the back of the photo and was there shortly after the copy was made.


    So, I guess the photos should be treated like the “shaky leaf” hints and independently verified before being accepted at face value.

    Liked by 1 person

Do agree, there will always be incorrect identified family photos. My uncle believed he had a picture of his mother MARY as a young teen because the back of the photo gave her first and last name (maiden name) on it. In later years, the same photo in another family branch was identified as a cousin with the same name born a year earlier. Because the “living person” knew the girl MARY personally, we took her word as to who the picture really was. In the meantime, many now have this photo under the wrong MARY and only those of us who actually know the actual identity have the correct photo in place. So duplication of names, also creates issues of who is who.


I’ll admit that I see this also as a problem. Especially since I put a picture of my 3 great grandfsther’s tombstone on Find a Grave. Small neck of the woods, and I know who he is. But when I did a search for him on Ancestry, I found my picture attached to many different men that were not him. I was so frustrated as it was obvious they weren’t the same man as the original entry. If I ever see a picture on that site I’m interested in, I contact who uploaded it and ask first. Have learned many things from those interchanges. I must admit I see a lot of photos going astray from who they really are. It would be interesting if one could track a photo and see where all it ends up after a bit of time.

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I looked at their site and couldn’t find a link to Photo Discoveries. Is it not available yet? And if not, when?


I have taken to making a copy of the digital image for upload purposes (genealogy and/or Find-A-Grave) and adding the names of the people on the bottom edge of the photo. If I crop out a head shot I might have to run the name along the right or left edge. If a relative wants a copy of the photo without the identifying names or other info I may add (like dates of birth/death), they can write to me and I’ll be glad to send them the original scan.


If I add photos to my tree as a free user, I wonder if others with paid subscriptions can then add them to their tree? I hope not as it should be a two way street, if they can add mine then I should be able to add theirs.


    —> I wonder if others with paid subscriptions can then add them to their tree?

    Any photos you add are yours alone. They remain in your tree and no one can overwrite them.

    There is an OPTION to allow someone else to add photos to your site or not, as you wish. You remain in control of all the information in your MyHeritage database at all times. No one can change your information or add new information to your data without your permission. See for details.

    On almost any web site, any user can download any photograph (usually by right-clicking and then selecting “Save image as…” and then saving it to his or her hard drive. Then that person can do whatever he or she wants with the image.

    Again, that is a function of the web browser being used in the user’s computer. It works the same on MyHeritage as it does on almost all other web sites.


I would be interested in the photo’s requirements in order for the technology to match them?
I assume both faces have to be looking towards the camera, or nearly straight at it. No doubt there are certain minimum nos of pixels, etc.
That said, I wonder if this will assist us to identify several phones the family has, whose identity we probably know, but there is some doubt about identity.


I am looking for someone to look at my heritage photo and tell me where
and when it was taken. No-one in my family knows who the people are, either so it is a real mystery.


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