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View Full Version : Just how ignorant do you have to be to work at My Heritage?



geebee
05-16-2016, 03:03 AM
Recently, I noticed that one of my 4th great grandmothers was identified at My Heritage as my "2nd cousin 6 times removed". It's possible that she could be related to me in that way too, since this part of my tree is a bit -- well, "tangled". However, especially because this ancestor is in my mtDNA line, I figured that her relationship to me as my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother was the important one.

I wrote to My Heritage to explain the situation, and this is the reply I received:


Thank you for contacting us, I will be happy to assist you.

Previously in the site the relationship would have been written as you have mentioned "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother".
This was transformed into the shortened version of relationship "2nd cousin 6 times removed" in order to save real estate on the site.

As you may imagine there are some relationships that go on and on until the path is defined and this can lead to hiccups such as site load time due to having to place so much text into one area.

I trust this has proven useful information to you and please contact us again should you require any further assistance.

I couldn't believe how dopey this answer was. "2nd cousin 6 times removed" is NOT shorthand for "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother". This ancestor might also be my 2nd cousin 6 times removed -- I haven't figured that out yet -- but if she is, it's by a completely different path, and not because she's my "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother".

But in addition to that, there is already a shorter way of saying "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother". It's called "4th great grandmother", not "2nd cousin 6 times removed". Not only do the two relationships not mean the same thing, but the second one is actually longer than the other, in "site real estate terms".

Anybody else get such a ridiculous sort of answer from My Heritage? Can they not find people who know anything about genealogy?

AJL
05-16-2016, 04:53 AM
That's just bizarre.

I started a tree there after 23andme kicked our trees off the site and on to MyHeritage, but found other troubling issues.

Whoever first enters a person appears to have full edit rights over them, in perpetuity, regardless whether they're wrong about everything. If you accept a match to someone, the false data becomes associated with the entry -- you can't pick and choose or manually enter data in fields as you can with Ancestry. I am not even sure you can retract a match once it has been made.

Also, if you invite a living person to your tree they apparently have full edit rights over themselves. Fair enough, I guess, but what happens when they pass away? Presumably you'd have to know their login and password so you could edit them in the guise of themselves, from beyond the grave, as it were.

geebee
05-16-2016, 06:02 AM
Yeah, it can get pretty weird.

As I recall, on another site I had to get someone else's permission to have edit rights on my own mother. In fact, on my father too ... and he wasn't even dead at the time.

Baltimore1937
05-16-2016, 06:33 AM
I just use them as a back-up site. Every once in a while, I delete my tree and upload my latest version.

kevingnet
03-02-2017, 02:47 AM
Recently, I noticed that one of my 4th great grandmothers was identified at My Heritage as my "2nd cousin 6 times removed". It's possible that she could be related to me in that way too, since this part of my tree is a bit -- well, "tangled". However, especially because this ancestor is in my mtDNA line, I figured that her relationship to me as my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother was the important one.

I wrote to My Heritage to explain the situation, and this is the reply I received:


Thank you for contacting us, I will be happy to assist you.

Previously in the site the relationship would have been written as you have mentioned "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother".
This was transformed into the shortened version of relationship "2nd cousin 6 times removed" in order to save real estate on the site.

As you may imagine there are some relationships that go on and on until the path is defined and this can lead to hiccups such as site load time due to having to place so much text into one area.

I trust this has proven useful information to you and please contact us again should you require any further assistance.

I couldn't believe how dopey this answer was. "2nd cousin 6 times removed" is NOT shorthand for "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother". This ancestor might also be my 2nd cousin 6 times removed -- I haven't figured that out yet -- but if she is, it's by a completely different path, and not because she's my "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother".

But in addition to that, there is already a shorter way of saying "mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother". It's called "4th great grandmother", not "2nd cousin 6 times removed". Not only do the two relationships not mean the same thing, but the second one is actually longer than the other, in "site real estate terms".

Anybody else get such a ridiculous sort of answer from My Heritage? Can they not find people who know anything about genealogy?

My goodness gracious! You should sue them, you'd be rich.

Just kidding, nothing to sue anybody about. Specially don't sue me for being so annoying.

The likely scenario for this is that, their algorithms only go by percentage of DNA shared. I don't think they delve deeper into any other type of relationship, even genealogical, if they had, they would have caught this if data exists there for you and your grand mother. So, the have to base it off of a percentage. As for the X removed value, that one I'm not familiar enough, as far as how they're able to extract that information, and if just going by percentages, and from these they infer genetic distance, then I can see why the mistake.

In other words, because you inherit from your ancestor and of course not the other way around, your ancestor has genetic markers that she shared with you and you have those in lesser proportion than her. So going by percentages in order to infer distance is like: 50/50 for parents, 25/25/25/25 for grand parents and so for. However those are just estimated averages, in fact in some extreme cases, you can have 25/45/25/5, and had this been the case, you can easily see why the estimated distance is much longer. Furthermore, if my assumption is correct that genealogical data is not used in the algorithm, that would explain why the relationship is estimated as a cousin and not as a grand parent. That would make sense.