MyHeritage has announced still another collection of records of genealogy interest. At the RootsTech conference, I had a chance to look at the new U.S. Yearbooks Name Index and even found myself in my high school’s yearbook with a picture of myself taken during my sophomore year. Boy, did I look like a geek back then! (Can I get the picture removed from the database??? No? Oh, OK.) You might want to find your picture as well as those of your friends and relatives.
Here is the latest announcement released at this week’s RootsTech conference:
Latest additions are the 1939 Register of England & Wales; a unique and innovatively structured U.S. yearbooks collection; and a collection of Canadian obituaries
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing, announced today the addition of three important historical records collections that provide value for family history enthusiasts worldwide.
Prepared on the eve of World War II, with 33 million searchable records, the 1939 Register is the most complete census-like collection for the population of England and Wales between 1911 and 1951. This is because the 1921 census of England and Wales is time-protected by privacy laws and will be available online only in 2022, the entire 1931 Census was destroyed by a fire, and no census was conducted in 1941. For each household member, the 1939 Register records name, gender, address, birth date, marital status, place of residence, and occupation. This collection is an extremely important resource for family historians and people with ancestors in England and Wales. The 1939 Register collection is not exclusive, but other than MyHeritage, it is currently available on only one other website. The initial collection on MyHeritage includes an index, without images.
Of the 42 million records of individuals in this collection, 8.2 million records remain closed due to privacy protection requirements, and about 700,000 additional records appear without full names. Records are closed for those individuals who were born less than 100 years ago unless matched to a registered death record. These closed records will be made public and added to this online collection on a yearly basis going forward.
In December 2017, MyHeritage published an extensive collection of U.S. yearbooks with 36,207,173 pages in 253,429 yearbooks. This collection was a free-text collection allowing users to search by name or keyword. Not stopping there, MyHeritage engineers have been working for the past year to develop an unprecedented automated name index from this collection. The fruit of this work is now released as a separate collection named the U.S. Yearbooks Name Index, 1890–1979. The new collection is one of the largest collections of digitized U.S. yearbooks in existence, containing 289 million structured records. In the new collection, the names of the students and faculty members have been automatically extracted using name extraction technology. The personal photos in the yearbooks have been automatically detected and extracted using picture detection technology, and in many cases the names and the photos have been associated with each other using a third proprietary technology developed by MyHeritage. Finally, technology has been developed to automatically differentiate between students and faculty members, to determine the graduation class of each student and to calculate birth years.
All occurrences of the same name in each yearbook were consolidated into one record with references to the pages where the person is mentioned. The end result is a one-of-a-kind structured U.S. yearbook collection in which names can be searched accurately (with synonyms and translations, which is often not possible in free-text collections), as well as matched automatically to the family trees on MyHeritage using the company’s Record Matching technology. This makes U.S. yearbooks one of the most valuable genealogical resources for family historians today, and this treasure trove of information is available in this unique and highly accessible form only on MyHeritage. The records list the person’s name, school’s name and location, and likely residence based on the location of the school. Where possible, a personal photo is provided. For each person, full access to all applicable yearbook pages is provided. Additional work is being carried out to complete the association of names with photos, and this will be released as an update to this collection in the future.
A collection of 2 million records documenting obituaries and memorials from the 10 Canadian provinces, spanning mostly 1997-2017. It includes the name of the deceased, the date of death, the publication source including locality information, and the text of the obituary or memorial — in English or French depending on the source. When available, a photograph of the deceased is also included.
“The depth and diversity of these hundreds of millions of historical records is a blessing for people searching for information about their families,” said Russ Wilding, Chief Content Officer of MyHeritage. “Aside from the release of the collections themselves, we have invested much effort and demonstrated technological innovation to make it as simple as possible to glean useful genealogical information from these historical records.”
The three new collections are accessible through SuperSearch™, MyHeritage’s search engine for historical records, which now contains 8.8 billion historical records. Searching the collections is free. A subscription is required to view the records.
MyHeritage is the leading global destination for family history and DNA testing. 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. MyHeritage DNA is a technologically advanced, affordable DNA test that reveals ethnic origins and previously unknown relatives. Launched a little more than a year ago, MyHeritage DNA has already amassed 1.25 million people in its database. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to find new family members, discover ethnic origins, and to treasure family stories, past and present, for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages.