MyHeritage made an announcement this morning at RootsTech2019 that should interest every genealogist who has had a DNA test. I had a chance to use this new innovation briefly and it confirmed a “maybe” entry in my personal genealogy database that had bugged me for years. I previously had found a mention of a man that I suspected is my great-great-grandfather, along with information about his parents. However, the brief mention was in someone else’s family tree and I wasn’t confident about it’s accuracy.
The new Theory of Family Relativity™ not only found him but also showed the amount of DNA that he and and I and another of his descendants share. It also displayed information about a lot of distant cousins of mine that I previously was unaware of. Not bad for the first five minutes of use!
Here is the announcement from MyHeritage:
TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, revealed today its latest innovation in genetic genealogy — the Theory of Family Relativity™. This technology offers users, for the first time ever, theories that utilize nearly 10 billion historical records and family tree profiles to explain DNA connections. Until now, family history enthusiasts used two distinct domains for making discoveries: the paper-trail world of records and trees, and the biological world of DNA connections. Now, MyHeritage has combined these two domains and integrated them seamlessly.
The Theory of Family Relativity™ is based on a big data graph that connects billions of data points drawn from thousands of databases on MyHeritage, in real time. Every node on this graph represents a person, and every edge depicts a blood relationship between two individuals that is described in a family tree or a historical record; or a match between two tree profiles that are likely to be the same person; or two records that are likely to be about the same person. These connections between people and records are established by MyHeritage’s industry-leading matching technologies. MyHeritage engineers and algorithm experts led by the company’s CTO, Sagi Bashari, developed a unique approach that allows the big data graph to instantly compute all paths between millions of blood relatives. The Theory of Family Relativity™ draws upon this resource to construct the most plausible theories explaining how pairs of people linked by a DNA Match on MyHeritage are related, using family trees and historical records.
Previously, users who took a DNA test looking to find relatives were faced with puzzling lists of thousands of distant relatives, without many clues explaining the DNA connections. Now, for a growing percentage of these DNA Matches, theories are provided by MyHeritage that explain the precise relationship paths using trees and records. In these theories, not only does genealogy illuminate DNA connections, but DNA also helps separate fact from fiction in the genealogy and shows which tree and record connections appear to be correct.
This technology uses millions of family trees on MyHeritage, as well as the World Family Tree on Geni, which is replicated daily to MyHeritage, and the single family tree of FamilySearch, which is also replicated daily to MyHeritage under license. This combination results in the most comprehensive family tree traversal available today. Additionally, the technology utilizes billions of historical records on MyHeritage, including all census records, as well as the MyHeritage Record Detective™ technology that indicates whenever two records are about the same person. For example: a theory that explains a DNA Match between two users can begin in the family tree of the first user, traverse through a series of matching trees into a census record, continue to a household relative, who then matches into another tree, until the path completes with the family tree of the second user. MyHeritage displays the complete path of every theory, and explains every step along the way, allowing the user to verify its accuracy. Each theory is presented with a confidence level that is based on the confidence of the matches used to construct it.
“Our new technology is a game changer in its scope and power and is a tribute to our passion for developing the best genetic genealogy tools for our users,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “Using genealogy to explain DNA Matches, and using DNA to validate genealogy matches, combines the best of both worlds. We expect this technology to help people make new discoveries in their family history. With every day that goes by, this technology grows even more powerful as more tree profiles, historical records and DNA kits are added to our global database.”
The Theory of Family Relativity™ feature is included for free with all Premium, PremiumPlus, and Complete subscriptions on MyHeritage. Individuals who upload their raw DNA data from other testing services to MyHeritage who do not have a subscription can pay a one-time fee of $29 per DNA kit to unlock the Theory of Family Relativity™ and the full range of advanced DNA features offered by MyHeritage.
To purchase a MyHeritage DNA kit, visit www.myheritageDNA.com
MyHeritage is the leading global service 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. Launched in November 2016, MyHeritage DNA is a technologically advanced, affordable DNA test that reveals 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 treasure family stories, past and present, for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages. www.myheritage.com