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Czech family trees

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The online service will provide entertainment for some, but it can also help clarify the history of one’s family. It is a social network that enables its users to create electronic family trees, share family photos, organize family events and look for ancestors and relatives who might be as well living abroad.

What can MyHeritage do? First of all, it can create your family website and a family tree. The family tree looks like a network chart showing your parents, grandparents and other ancestors back to the time when these data are traceable. All the data are recorded in the online application by the users themselves and it is mainly luck you’ll need when looking for relatives – this depends on whether they have also registered in the network. And the family website? It offers an overview of family events and enables a visitor to learn everything important that has happened. You can communicate with the administrator of a family website.

After registration, a new user may be contacted by people of the same name. Whether they are true relatives may be verified in their family tree as long as it contains names of ancestors with dates of births. MyHeritage also works with photographs and it is famous for its technology that makes it possible to recognize faces in photographs and compare them with others. It is possible to look for relatives also this way – the service can namely look up people who look like you. It is also possible to find out to what extent you resemble a celebrity or to measure whether you rather resemble your father or your mother.

MyHeritage website does not work only with photographs that are uploaded manually. Import is also possible from online photo accounts like Flickr or Picasa (they serve for storing and organising photographs on the internet in the form of photo albums). And what can MyHeritage do with the photographs? It can, for example, trace the identity of an unknown person. You can tag individual persons in a picture and since the database is interconnected the system can recognize the same people in photographs uploaded by someone else. Consequently, a picture may contain a caption saying who is in it.

Also the Picasa website (Google’s online photo gallery) can recognize faces in pictures. The same issue is being solved also in the Czech project MUFIN that is being developed by the Masaryk University in Brno. It now works with more then 50 million pictures. If you select a picture in its database (for example a coffee mug), it will look up pictures with the same or similar content. Using a large sample, scientists are trying to figure out how to search for information in other way than in the form of a text, as non-existence of such a system is becoming disturbing. It could be used, for example, for a search among millions of photos with no captions in a photo bank.

But back to MyHeritage. Do you want to know if you resemble a famous person? All you need to do is upload your picture and in a moment you will know what celebrity looks like you. Immediately after that the system can show you a video with the metamorphosis between you and the celebrity. Also the Look-alike Meter is interesting – it will tell you whether a child resembles more to their father or mother.

The Community part of the project shows the latest number of members, individual family sites and also an interactive member map. Of course that it is possible to search members and families, which is one of the basic and most used functions of the website – the purpose of MyHeritage is to enable contact between relatives and people with the same name. Family sites can also be sorted according to language, so there is nothing simpler than to search Czech families. However, only the basic version of the family website is available for free.

If a MyHeritage user wants to pursue amateur genealogy as such, the genealogy software that works off-line will do. It makes it possible to create family trees in many languages and variants including photographs. The family tree can also be published online and shared.

If you had your family tree made by a professional, you would have to pay him at least several hundred crowns per hour. The so-called family book with pictures and a family tree costs several dozens of thousands of crowns. Not everybody is so serious about creating their family tree that they would study birth registers or had a professional work for them. Social networks that map family relations and applications that serve to creating family trees are therefore very popular. The more users they have the bigger chance the users have to succeed in their search.

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