At RootsTech Many Tech Companies Announce: New Databases: MyHeritage and Findmypast
Jan Meisels Allen
RootsTech is a conference that is currently going on Salt Lake City. It is a time when many of the technology companies announce new databases and features to their products. I usually do not post every time a database adds new databases unless they are uniquely for Jewish records or would contain a large number of Jewish persons in their database or I would be doing nothing but multiple posts weekly. I also do not usually post about new features.
Here a few:
My Heritage added a large collection of historical U.S. City Directories-obtained from 25,000 public city directories published between 1860 and 1960. These are 545 million aggregated records consolidated from 1.3 billion records. City directories are a method to find addresses for people and businesses, occupations and more. People had to pay to be included so it did not cover 100% of the population. The city directories were published annually and give insight to where people were between the decennial US Censuses. MyHeritage used Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to convert the scanned images and then they created algorithms to detect and correct some of the errors. This is explained in their blog post which may be read at:
https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/02/myheritage-adds-huge-collection-of-historical-u-s-city-directories/. MyHeritage will be expanding their collection of City Directories over the next few months.
Searching the U.S. City Directories is free, but a subscription is required to view the records. Check your local library and FamilyHistory Centers as many have library subscriptions to MyHeritage where you can access the information without a personal subscription.
MyHeritage also announced a new feature the Family Tree Fan View joining Family View, Pedigree View and List View. To read more about this see: https://blog.myheritage.com/2020/02/introducing-fan-view-for-family-trees
Findmypast and the British Newspaper Archive announced their project to digitize the British Library’s collection of historical newspapers. This will cover Canada and British India and Findmypast will continue to add thousands of pages form Commonwealth publications throughout 2020. New publications covering regions of North America, the Caribbean and Asia to be published online in the coming months.
Both Findmypast and the British Library Archives are subscription services. You may find Findmypast in FamilySearch Centers where you can access their library edition at no cost. Check with your local libraries to see if they also have library edition available.
Findmypast does not post their press releases therefore I do not have a source directly from them for you to read about their announcement.
I have no affiliation with either MyHeritage or Findmypast and am posting this solely for the information of the reader.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee