(New York, N.Y.)— MyHeritage, BillionGraves and the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust today announced a new three-way partnership to make Jewish burial records more accessible to family history enthusiasts around the world.
MyHeritage digitized every cemetery in Israel through a partnership with BillionGraves, making Israel the first country in the world to have nearly all its gravestones digitized and searchable online with gravestone images, GPS location information, and fully transcribed records.
The Museum operates the JewishGen website, which serves as the global home for Jewish genealogy. Among its many collections, it offers a free, searchable database of Jewish burial records (known as JOWBR) from more than 9,500 Jewish cemeteries throughout the world and totalling more than 4.2 million records.
Under the partnership, the Museum will make JewishGen’s JOWBR collection available on both MyHeritage and BillionGraves, allowing millions of people the opportunity to explore an extensive treasure trove of Jewish burial records. MyHeritage developed Global Name Translation™, a unique technology to help users overcome language barriers in their family history research. This technology will allow users to find pertinent Jewish burial records that are originally in languages such as Hebrew or Russian, even when they search MyHeritage in English, and vice versa, making the JOWBR records on MyHeritage even easier to find, opening new doors to anyone seeking information on their Jewish roots.
“This partnership is a force multiplier for Jewish genealogy that will enable millions of people to research their family history,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “It’s a big win for family history enthusiasts worldwide, and for MyHeritage, BillionGraves and the Museum.”
“This transformative partnership with JewishGen and MyHeritage will make these invaluable records digitally accessible to people worldwide. By bridging the gap between past and present, we empower individuals to connect with their ancestral roots and embrace their cultural identity,” said Hudson Gunn, Chief Executive Officer of BillionGraves. “This collaboration represents a pivotal step towards a more inclusive and interconnected world, where every individual can explore, celebrate, and cherish their heritage with ease and pride.”
Additionally, MyHeritage and BillionGraves will make the entire collection of Israeli cemetery records that they produced together available on JewishGen and allow researchers to utilize JewishGen’s unique search tools. These tools – and the inclusion of contextual information about Jewish life and communities – include the ability to search the collection using English search terms and view a range of possible names and their spelling variations, in Latin letters, alongside the Hebrew originals.
“The expansion of our partnership with MyHeritage furthers our goal to strengthen the availability and accessibility of JewishGen’s valuable collection of historical records to Jewish genealogical researchers around the world,” said Jack Kliger, President & CEO of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. “The entire JewishGen site is offered free as a public service to the Jewish community, and so are all our records, including the new Israeli cemetery records, are freely accessible. We are pleased that this agreement will contribute to the expanding interest in Jewish genealogy.”
Both JewishGen and MyHeritage automatically convert Hebrew dates listed in the records to their Gregorian calendar equivalents, and alert users to inconsistencies between Hebrew and Gregorian dates that might be present in the same record.