My Heritage Live 2018 – DNA Announcements

This is a quick and dirty update about DNA products and services at the MyHeritage LIVE conference, although increasingly, the line between DNA and rest of genealogy is entirely disappearing.

I spent most of day 1 in the DNA track, as you might imagine.

I’m trying to fit this article in between sessions and dinner so I apologize in advance for the brevity. I’m trying to provide you with the important information in a timely manner, so details and more photos will have to wait for another time.

Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage opened the conference and his keynote session was not only interesting, from a family history perspective, but also full of information about the future products and features.

The next sessions that I attended relative to DNA were:

  • MyHeritage DNA 101 by Ran Snir, the DNA Product Manager
  • MyHeritage DNA: Advanced Features, also by Ran
  • What’s Next: The MyHeritage Genealogy and DNA Roadmap by Maya Lerner, VP Product

The announcements from the above sessions combined were:

  • The MyHeritage DNA data base is now just under 2 million participants.
  • Shared Ancestral Places: Live now. An interactive map of the location and significant life events (birth, death, etc.) of you and your matches. This would be particularly useful if you don’t know how you match, no common surname, but you discover that you both have ancestors in the same location, or close proximity. The locations are geocoded to avoid issues such as spelling and inconsistent data entry.

This map illustrates the shared ancestral locations of other people who match me and my match.

By clicking on the pin above, I can see the location of Oley, PA and without looking further, I can tell you which family line this is.

This feature is not yet on the mobile app, but it will be updated soon.

  • Ancestor Reconstruction: Future feature. If multiple descendants of a particular ancestor test, MyHeritage will create a “kit” for your ancestor and combine the segments from the multiple descendants identified as originating with that ancestor. I have lots of questions about this feature, such as how other ancestors DNA would be eliminated, such as the wives of ancestors for starters. I’ll see if I can obtain clarification. Gilad referred to this as “painting,” but I’m not sure that this feature is painting in the way we think of DNAPainting – so I would not jump the conclusion that it is. What Gilad actually said was that MyHeritage was creating a tool to provide the reconstructed DNA of ancestors.
  • Envelopes and Stamps: Soon. MyHeritage is partnering with a third party (unnamed) firm to extract DNA from envelopes and stamps. The results will used to create a kit for that ancestor at MyHeritage. Cost was not discussed. Multiple extracted samples can be combined to create one more robust kit.
  • This technique will also be used to add the DNA of famous people to their database. Gilad did state in the examples of the people he discussed that they did not have any direct relatives, so he is cognizant of this ethical “brave new world.”
  • X chromosomal information will be added soon.
  • Maternal/paternal side match indicators will be added soon. Beta product shown.
  • Mass segment triangulation: Future. Gilad was asked about mass triangulation, and he stated that they were working on “something even better,” and someone else later added that they were going to do mass triangulations on specific segments.
  • Theory of Family Relativity. Future but under development. When you receive a new match, you will be able, based on the DNA segments PLUS all available and relevant records to view different theories of how this person might fit into your tree. Multiple theories may be shown to the user. Each theory will be presented to the user with a confidence level ranking.
  • Ethnicity update is coming next year. It will be more refined and include more areas. MyHeritage in their Tribal Quest program has been visiting people in remote or isolated locations, helping them to preserve their family stories and sampling their DNA as well. This helps MyHeritage to build reference models against which to compare their customer’s DNA for ethnicity predictions.



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28 thoughts on “My Heritage Live 2018 – DNA Announcements

  1. Oh my goodness. I am going to have to study every sentence to understand the DNA testing and usage. I have tested myself, my daughter, and my husband; so I have something to work with. I have your book and read every word you write. I think that I am finally working beyond my ability to comprehend, however…we all need a good challenge. Keep up the good work and I’ll keep up the hard work of trying to understand it all. Thanks a lot.

  2. Exciting times for those of us who want to use DNA evidence to grow our family trees. I will be looking forward to some of these new offerings and to improved ethnicity estimates. These MH estimates are a bit “wonky” for me with the current sample set.

  3. Roberta, you are amazing.! Where do you get the time to do all you do? You are very very organized! Thanks for sharing Elaine Murphy Gaudet

  4. Thanks SO much for sharing what you are learning! I’ve been able to watch a bit of the DNA track from home. Wishing I had had time to watch it all. Love the sound of what’s in the pipe line. Market place competition is very good. I hope other big DNA testing companies respond to MyHeritage’s attempt to provide excellent DNA tools as a threat to their potential income streams. It would be wonderful for the serious genetic genealogists to begin seeing more DNA tools at all of the big DNA testing companies.

  5. Sounds like you are having a good time and learning some too! You mentioned “Shared Ancestral Places” on MyHeritage. I took a look and don’t see how to get to that info. When you have time, would you please tell those of us who would like to use that feature, how to get to it? Thanks

  6. Thank you for the update. I am beyond excited for all that is to come. I was so excited after I read this post that I forgot to go to the grocery store to pick up some things for a pot luck lunch tomorrow. Instead, I was searching the house for envelopes and stamps from loved ones who are now deceased, and having family members do the same. When the service to extract DNA from these materials is available, I will be ready.

  7. Roberta you are awesome!! Thank you so much for your updates and all the information you keep us up to date with. I was online this morning at 0530 and stayed until completion taking notes. Fabulous conference! Please tell the powers that be at MH thank you! thank you! for the live feed. It is SO appreciated. I’ll be up and taking notes again tomorrow. Wishing you great conference, great trip. Suzanne Morgan

  8. Pingback: MyHeritage LIVE 2018 Day 1 Photos, Details and Party | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  9. Dear Roberta, Thank you for sharing so much of your GOODIES with us. I wish all of the gang in OSLO the very Best during and after the conference. You are indeed amazing as are so many of you great friends and ours too. Sincere Best Wishes from Canada, Love to all, Paul Morris Hilton.

  10. Thank you for sharing this, Roberta! It sounds fascinating! One thing I would love from MyHeritage (and for that matter, FTDNA) is the ICW list between me and my matches. And whether we triangulate or not. (Not that I want to lose the segment info. 🙂 )

    • I must be misunderstanding, because the ICW list shows for each match and the little triangulation icon shows if you and that match triangulate with the person on the ICW list. Do you mean something else?

      • I’m sorry I wasn’t clear — I meant an easy way to download the list of the matches I share with each match. This would be similar to to the ICW list I can get for Ancestry (through DNAGedcom client). The ability to download such a list for each match would be awesome. Right now it seems the options are screen printing, or manually keying into Excel a list of the shared matches for each of my 2,000 matches.

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