With so many genealogy websites available online today, it can be difficult to determine which option will best meet your family history research needs. Learning about the unique features, available record sets, and research options provided by the different genealogy companies can help you make an informed decision- and help you make the most of your genealogy dollars!
This article will focus on MyHeritage and its available subscription options and features. You will also learn how you can use or try out MyHeritage for free.
What is MyHeritage?
MyHeritage was founded in Israel in 2003 by CEO Gilad Japhet. The site contains 14 billion historical records, supports 42 languages, and has more than 50 million users worldwide. MyHeritage is a completely separate company from FamilySearch and Ancestry- but it has certainly become a worthy competitor to those two genealogy giants. MyHeritage has acquired several smaller European genealogy companies over the last several years, including German-based OSN Group and the Dutch group Zooof. In 2012, MyHeritage also acquired Geni.com, a Los Angeles-based company founded by David Sacks in 2007. Geni’s mission is to create “a family tree of the whole world,” and the acquisition added 7 million new users to MyHeritage.
MyHeritage has also created partnerships with other genealogy companies. In 2013, MyHeritage partnered with FamilySearch, allowing them to utilize MyHeritage’s technologies. MyHeritage has also partnered with BillionGraves, EBSCO Information Services (which provides database access to educational institutions such as libraries), and the Danish National Archives.
While MyHeritage may be better known for their DNA products and unique photo enhancement tools, they also offer subscription plans that allow users to access members’ family trees, historical record collections and more. The subscription plans can be an added bonus for those who have taken a MyHeritage DNA test, and want to use MyHeritage features to build a family tree and conduct research- all in one place. Of course, those who have not taken a DNA test through MyHeritage may also find value in the various options found here. Let’s take a closer look at MyHeritage subscription benefits.
The free plan
Creating an account with MyHeritage is free. You can build your own “family site” but are limited to 250 individuals in your family tree. You are also allowed up to 500 MB of storage space to add photos and document images. Free members who have created a family tree through MyHeritage’s Family Tree Builder software can sync their trees to the website, but will still be limited to 250 ancestors. The free plan does not allow access to MyHeritage’s historical record collections, but it will allow you to compare their basic family tree-building options to those offered by other genealogy websites.
This upgrade from the free subscription allows you to expand your family tree and utilize additional options within the MyHeritage website, including:
- Smart Match: this tool helps users to locate potential matching ancestors in other members’ family trees. It compares facts about your ancestors to the millions of trees contributed by MyHeritage users. As a comparison, this feature is similar to how Ancestry users discover potential matches in other members’ trees through Ancestry’s “hints” or their search feature, and how FamilySearch populates potential tree matches through their own search algorithm.
- SuperSearch: A Premium subscription allows you to access two of MyHeritage’s collections within SuperSearch- MyHeritage family sites (excluding family trees), and MyHeritage member profiles.
- Family Tree Builder Premium: MyHeritage’s tree building software, which includes:
- The Smart Match™ merge tool
- All-in-one charts
- Interactive maps
- Expand your tree up to 2,500 people
- Expand your storage up to 1000 MB
- Priority access to MyHeritage’s support team.
The next tier of MyHeritage’s subscription plans is PremiumPlus. Benefits in this plan include:
- Enhanced Smart Match™ that allows you to confirm or reject matches, along with automatic merging of profiles
- Access to all four of the MyHeritage collections within SuperSearch- along with MyHeritage family sites and MyHeritage members’ database, you also have access to MyHeritage family trees and MyHeritage photos. In other words, you have full access to all member data within MyHeritage.
- Tree Consistency Checker- a helpful tool that helps identify potential errors and inconsistencies in your family tree. A similar version can be found within the Family Tree Builder software. This tool can identify more subtle errors, such as a person being tagged in a photo taken before they were born. This is a unique benefit to MyHeritage, as Ancestry and FamilySearch are not quite as sophisticated when it comes to scanning for errors in uploaded images and documents.
- Access to Instant Discoveries™- This tool works in tandem with SmartMatch™ and allows you to apply a “bundle” of information to a person on your family tree. A bonus feature is that Instant Discovery™ will automatically create a source citation to document where the new data came from. Note, this tool will never import any data from living people on other members’ trees. Both Ancestry and FamilySearch offer a similar “bundling” tool when comparing “hints” or ancestor profiles from other members’ trees.
- A bonus for those who have tested their DNA- a PremiumPlus subscription also provides access to all of the advanced MyHeritage DNA features, including:
- Pedigree Charts
- Shared DNA Matches
- Shared Ethnicities
- Access to Family Tree Builder Premium
- Family trees can contain an unlimited number of people
- Priority phone and email support from MyHeritage.
Note that neither the Premium nor PremiumPlus subscriptions provide access to the MyHeritage historical records collections. There are two additional subscription options available to access these records.
This subscription provides full access to SuperSearch and Record Matches. Along with the previously mentioned MyHeritage record sets within SuperSearch, the Data Subscription also includes full access to 14 billion historical records from around the world- some of which are exclusive to MyHeritage. Record Matches is a feature that interfaces with your family tree to locate potential matching records- much like the “shaky leaf” hints in Ancestry. You also have the ability to confirm or reject record matches, save them to the individuals in your tree, and download records to your computer or device.
- You do not need to be a MyHeritage member to access SuperSearch- however, viewing specific records requires the Data subscription. For example, BillionGraves and records from the Social Security Death Index are free, but many other record sets are restricted to subscription members.
- Want to know more about the record collections available in MyHeritage? Check out their Collection Catalog- https://www.myheritage.com/research/catalog. The Catalog can help you compare record sets and determine if purchasing a MyHeritage Data subscription will benefit your research.
The Complete Subscription is a bundle option that includes both the PremiumPlus and Data Subscriptions. This is the “ultimate” option that will give you unlimited space on your family tree, plus access to all of MyHeritage’s databases and historical records. In addition to all of the features described above, you also get access to MyHeritage’s photograph enhancing features, which can be used to restore an unlimited amount of photos:
- MyHeritage in Color™ gives users the ability to colorize black and white photos
- MyHeritage Photo Enhancer allows you to sharpen the images in your old photos
- Deep Nostalgia™ can “animate” old photos to bring long-gone ancestors back to life. This tool was popularized recently on social media.
If you have boxes of old photographs and are looking for options to enhance and restore them, you may be particularly interested in this MyHeritage subscription option, which is unique among the other genealogy companies. The tools are also easy to use- simply drag and drop or upload your photo, and the tool goes to work.
Pricing and Free Trials
How do the MyHeritage paid subscription plan costs compare? Here are the prices at the time of writing this article.
- MyHeritage Premuim – $129 per year, first year special $89
- MyHeritage Premium Plus- $209 per year, first year special $149
- Data Subscription- $189 per year, first year special $129
- Complete Subscription- $299 per year, first year special $199
Does MyHeritage have a free trial?
If you are not sure whether MyHeritage will be the right fit for you, not to worry- they offer a free 14-day trial of their Complete subscription! This will give you a chance to try out all of the MyHeritage features, including the photo enhancing tools and the historical record collections. A credit card or PayPal information will be needed to set up the free trial- but you can cancel at any time.
How do I get MyHeritage for free?
Another option for free access to MyHeritage is MyHeritage Library Edition, which is offered through their partnership with EBSCO. Library Edition offers access to MyHeritage’s historical record collections, family tree profiles, and Record Detective,™ a tool that recommends additional records based on those you have already located. Additionally, Library Edition can be accessed through remote and mobile service- meaning you may be able to access the program from home, with your library card. Check with your local library to see if MyHeritage Library Edition is available to patrons.
MyHeritage Library Edition may also be available through your local Family History Center or FamilySearch Affiliate Library- go to https://www.familysearch.org/fhcenters/locations/ to locate a facility near you. Your local college or university library may also offer MyHeritage Library Edition for visitors.
Is MyHeritage free for LDS?
Are you a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)? If so, you are entitled to receive free access to MyHeritage Data and PremiumPlus subscriptions! Additionally, LDS members have access to FamilySearch Tree Sync, which allows you to import family trees from FamilySearch into MyHeritage, and keep the trees synchronized- maximizing research potential by utilizing both companies’ massive records collections.
Is MyHeritage Photo Enhancer or Deep Nostalgia free?
MyHeritage offers free trials of their photo enhancing tools, separately from the 14- day trial. Anyone can enhance a limited number of photos, no subscription or credit card info is required. You just need to set up a free MyHeritage account. The free photo trial includes access to MyHeritage Photo Enhancer, MyHeritage in Color,™ and MyHeritage Deep Nostaliga.
How many records does MyHeritage have?
MyHeritage has 14 billion historical records, supports 42 languages, and has more than 50 million users worldwide.
Are Ancestry and MyHeritage the same company?
No, they are not the same company and Ancestry does not own MyHeritage. MyHeritage is a completely separate company from Ancestry and Familysearch- but it has certainly become a worthy competitor to those two genealogy giants.
With any genealogy website subscription, you want to do your homework and make sure you are getting the most for your money. MyHeritage has several unique features that are not found anywhere else, including its photo enhancing tools, and databases that are unique to its records collections. Take advantage of My Heritage Library Edition or the 14-day free trial to determine if a MyHeritage subscription is right for you. Perhaps MyHeritage will have the records you need to finally break down a brick wall in your family tree!