Monday, September 2, 2019

Daniel Horowitz Presents for the San Diego Genealogical Society Fall Seminar

The first genealogy program I ever used was MyHeritage. Once a Family Tree is created in MyHeritage you are able to share your tree with family members and the program is free to download. Fast forward about 12 years and many, many hours of genealogy later.

Saturday, Daniel Horowitz, the Chief Genealogist for My Heritage, was the speaker at a full day seminar hosted by the San Diego Genealogical Society at Marina Village in San Diego, California. I found Daniel to be a very entertaining and knowledgeable presenter.

Daniel’s first presentation was entitled Discovering Family History with MyHeritage Unique Technologies. In this session Daniel provided us with an overview and walked us through some of the main features of the MyHeritage including Smart Matching (a unique technology that allows you to review information on people in your tree with others who have the same people in their trees), Record Matching (technology that finds matching historical records for people in your tree), Record Detective (technology that generates new leads by summarizing additional records and individuals in family trees that relate to someone in your tree), Instant Discoveries (a package of family history information that you can apply in one click to your tree that was found in someone else’s tree), Global Name Translation (a user interface for names in 42 languages that aides in searching for information), Search Connect (this allows you to find other people that are searching for the people you are looking for), Book Matching (searches for information in books that relate to someone in your tree), Pedigree Map (a visual display of all the events in your tree on an interactive map for reference), and DNA Matching (displays possible matches between you and another tested person at My Heritage).

The second presentation was entitled Getting the most out of MyHeritage – Advanced Features. In this session Daniel took us through specifically how to use several of the features mentioned in the first session: Discoveries pages (Matches by People, Matches by Source), Smart Matching, Record Matching, The Record Detective, Photo Discoveries (finding Smart Matches that may contain photos you have never seen), Pedigree Map, Consistency Checker (a feature that identifies potential mistakes and inconsistencies in your data so that you can correct possible mistakes) and Statistics (analyzing data in your family tree using a variety of categories), and AutoClusters (organizes your DNA matches).

I clicked-Discoveries, Matches by Source-Record Matches, sort by-#of Matches-Compilation of Published Sources and this is one of the 139 matches I found-

  • On the left side is the information I have put in my Tree. On the right is the new is the Discovery that was found for Israel Alden. Now, in my researching, I never would have thought to look in a book entitled One Moral Standard For All Extracts From The Lives of Victoria Claflin Woodhull and Tennesee Cliflin, 1661-1898 for this information. Thank-you MyHeritage!

Next I selected Discoveries, Matches by People-Smart Matches-Sort by Last Name-Terry, Eliza:

  • Eliza has been a continuous, frustrating search for me to find information about her birth, parents, etc. Finally, I have been able to find someone on MyHeritage with additional information on her. I have always had ‘Tooker’ as her maiden name but this presents the possibility that is was her first married name instead? Perhaps her Maiden name was ‘Miller’. Wow! Another lead to search.

The third presentation was entitled How You Can Find Your Relative with a DNA Test. In this session Daniel explained several of the specific DNA features available in My Heritage and how to use them including Accessing your DNA Matches, Possible Relationships, DNA Match Quality, Contacting Other Users, Theory of Relativity, Smart Matches, Shared Ancestral Surnames, Shared Ancestral Places, Shared DNA Matches, Pedigree Charts, Viewing Family Tree Details, Shared Ethnicities, Chomosome Browser, and AutoClusters.

I decided to try out the AutoCluster feature.  To do this I selected DNA Matches-Tools-AutoClusters and this is what I came up with:

  • According to MyHeritage this tool “organizes your DNA Matches into shared match clusters, that likely descended from common ancestors. Each of the colored cells in the chart represents an intersection between two of your matches, meaning that both individuals match each other (in addition to matching you).” This is calculated with a minimum threshold of 30cM shared.  So, if I am interpreting this correctly and look at the light blue cluster I see a Surname I recognize in one of the members I match-‘Bentz’. I have maternal great grandmother from Iowa who’s father John was born in Luxembourg named Bentz. There are 6 of us who have matching DNA and are probably descended from the same common family member. Unfortunately, either their trees are private or have very few people. One person did have a full tree that I was able to access, however, I am not seeing any common Surnames. So, I have written to each to see if we can share information and see if my ‘guess’ is correct that we are all Bentz descendants. I will let you know what happens. I can see the value of using this when I have a brick wall.

The fourth presentation was entitled Research Jewish Genealogy Resources on the Internet. In this presentation Daniel spoke of many Websites and Groups along with their websites for doing Jewish research, major internet sites/companies for locating information on Jewish ancestors, and websites that have translation tools that will aide in research of Jewish ancestry.

Reviewing of features I have previously not used or are new features to MyHeritage shows why MyHeritage is a leader in genealogical research and worth trying.  I am happy for the opportunity to see how MyHeritage can help in my search for learning more about my ancestors.

If you have any corrections, additions or stories to share I look forward to hearing them.
Enjoy the journey,

Be sure to follow Daniel at, on Twitter @MyHChiefGen and on Instagram at horowiz_daniel.


  1. I enjoyed this presentation tremendously. Daniel was an excellent speaker. And, of course there was the time spent with a wonderful group of genea peeps. Seminars and conferences are the best! Thank you to the San Diego Genealogical Society for another wonderful day.

  2. Yes, Diane, Daniel was a great speaker and we all learned so much!