The MyHeritage LIVE 2019 conference opened today with a good-sized crowd in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I was surprised to see so many Canadians, Irish, Swedes, Norwegians, French, and people of other nationalities in attendance. In fact, one person came all the way from Australia just for the event. (He did admit he also is taking a few days for a holiday before returning home.) I noticed people from all over the European continent as well as from England, Scotland, and Wales. I was also pleasantly surprised to see many Americans in the crowd. I suspect there were more nationalities present, but I didn’t get to meet everyone.
The conference started on Friday afternoon, September 6. I was in the crowd and snapped a few photographs that you will see later in this article.
Friday may have been the first day of the conference, but it was very laid-back and casual. No presentations were made except for the world premier of a new documentary film, described below.
Conference registration lasted all afternoon, and I was impressed by all the people wandering around and wearing MyHeritage-issued name tags.
The Hilton Amsterdam is a good place for a conference of this type. It is an older hotel, but Hilton obviously has done a great job of making the place look like new. The hotel sits on the side of one of Amsterdam’s many canals.
As a note, the Hilton Amsterdam is also the location of a famous story some years ago when John Lennon of the Beatles and Yoko Ono staged a “bed-in” protesting the Viet Nam war that was raging at the time. Here is a photograph of a photograph in the hotel’s lobby of the event. It is a copy of a photograph that appeared in 1969 in newspapers and magazines all around the world.
I am staying in the same Hilton Amsterdam Hotel; but, no, I am not staying in the Lennon-Ono room. However, that room reportedly has been kept the same as it was during the bed-in visit by the famous couple. You can stay in the room (actually, it is a suite) for a somewhat higher price than the other rooms in the hotel.
Hilton Amsterdam Hotel
Friday afternoon consisted of registration and a casual “get-together” to meet both old and new friends. The Exhibitor’s Hall was also open all afternoon, and I snapped a number of photographs there. Exhibitors included companies from Israel, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, USA, and Germany. (I probably overlooked someone… I am going from memory.) A large number of attendees also took advantage of canal boat tours that started in back of the hotel all afternoon with each tour lasting about an hour.
Friday evening saw the world premier of a new documentary, titled “The Missing Piece.” It describes a powerful and inspiring recent event about hope and discovery. I won’t spoil the event by revealing the details of this documentary. However, I will say that it involves DNA tests and a resultant reunion of two sisters who had not seen each other since they were infants. Neither of the sisters could remember the other sister. However, DNA kits from MyHeritage positively identified them as sisters because both had inherited DNA from the same father and mother.
The two finally had a face-to-face reunion after more than 40 years of separation. Even better, the two sisters were then introduced to everyone in the audience and stepped onto the stage where they described the experience and took questions from the audience.
I think I have a rough-and-tough personality that is not terribly sentimental, but I have to admit that even my eyes watered up as I watched the documentary and then listened to the two sisters describe the experience.
Today was the first showing of this documentary. I have been told the 30-minute video will soon become available to everyone, probably on YouTube and possibly elsewhere online. When it is available, I will publish the URL in this newsletter.
If you or anyone you know is looking for long-separated relatives, whether it be due to adoptions, war, calamities, or abandonment, or if the subject simply interests you, make sure you watch it. Indeed, you NEED to watch this video.
So… here I am, late at night in my hotel room, writing this report and uploading some pictures. I’ll catch a few hours of sleep and then attend and try to photograph as much as possible tomorrow. Saturday and Sunday will include a Genealogy track, a DNA track, and day-long, hands-on workshops.
In the meantime, you can learn more about MyHeritage LIVE 2019 at the conference web site at https://live2019.myheritage.com/ and especially in the schedule of the conference events on that same web site.
NOTE: Click on any of the following photographs to view a larger version of the same image.
As sponsor of this event, the MyHeritage primary booth was front and center
Need assistance with MyHeritage.com? Ask here (in any of a number of languages).
German genealogy assistance
Netherlands genealogy assistance
Well-known genealogy blogger James Tanner, his wife Ann Tanner, and Anna-Karin Schander, a professional genealogist from Sweden at The Family History Guide booth
Michael Stangel helps customers in the Geni booth.
The “Relaxation Lounge” offered drinks, snacks, a gorgeous view of the hotel’s lawn and the nearby canal, along with a lot of conversation
This is the view from the “Relaxation Lounge.” Notice the canal and boats.
Many conference attendees took advantage of canal boat cruises on some of Amsterdam’s many canals. This is the canal boat I was on.
Canal boat cruisers/genealogists
The canal boat captain and two of his assistants
While difficult to see in this photo (click to see the larger image), we are passing one of the very modern houseboats in a canal. Many people live full-time in canal houseboats. That’s the life!
OK, it has been a long day! I am posting this article online at 2 AM local Amsterdam time. Any typo errors in this article are undoubtedly my own. I’m going to bed and getting up at 7AM to start on Day #2!