MyHeritage Privacy Definitions
Privacy Preferences on MyHeritage
You may control your privacy preferences at any time via the Privacy Preferences page -- a consolidated page designed to make it easy for you to go over and select all privacy settings according to your preference. The Privacy Preferences page is accessed by selecting "My privacy" from the Account menu at the top of each page of the Service. You can also access it by clicking "My Privacy" in the Settings tab of any of your family sites. Changes made in the Privacy Preferences page will take effect when you click the "Save" button at its bottom.
Below is a list of the available settings in the Privacy Preferences page. Each setting is explained and its default value is listed. You can control the values of these privacy settings and turn them from yes to no or vice versa at any time.
Allow people to find and view my public profile. Default: yes
If this setting is enabled, you will have a public profile page on MyHeritage which includes your name. It will include a photo if you have uploaded a public profile photo, and it will list your country if you have specified it in your profile. It lists the family sites in which you are a member. It does NOT disclose your email address, birth date, address, family members and any other personally identifiable information. The importance of having a public profile page is to allow other users to find you and potentially contact you, for example to inquire about a common interest in family history research. You can visit your own profile page by selecting "My profile" in the Account menu at the top of pages on the Service. When you view your own profile you will see more information than other users will see, such as your full birth date. Click the link "View my public profile" on your profile to see how others will see your public profile.
Show my real name to members outside my family. Default: yes
Whenever your name is mentioned in your family site and your profile page, in the context of your activity as a member of MyHeritage, the default is to show your real name. If you would like to show an alias instead of your name to anyone who is not a member of your family site, for example "J1980" instead of your real name "John Miller", you can do that by turning off this setting and then entering an alias. This is discouraged, as MyHeritage prefers its members to be known by their real names rather than aliases. This setting only affects your profile and account, and not mentions of you in family trees. Please be aware that this setting may be discontinued in the future.
Show my general age (e.g., 30's to members outside my family. Default: yes
If this setting is enabled, and you have a public profile, then your public profile will display your general age group in a 10-year resolution, e.g., 30's or 40's. This is useful to give other people a general indication on your age without specifics. If you are 20 years old or younger, the age group will be displayed as "20 or below".
Allow members to comment on my profile. Default: yes
If enabled, this allows other people to post a comment on your profile, and you may also post comments on your own profile in response. Possible reasons why people may post a comment on your profile, include that they wish to explore whether you have the same ancestor in common with them, or wish to contact you about public content that you posted. You may delete any unwanted comments posted on your profile when viewing them, and you may turn this setting off if you do not wish to have any further comments posted on your profile. This will also hide any comments posted earlier.
Notify me on member comments. Default: yes
If other members can post comments on your profile (see above), this setting determines whether to be informed by email when they post such comments. If this is disabled, you will not be informed but can still visit your profile at any time to see if any comments were posted. The email that informs you about a new comment also includes information on how to turn comments off.
Enable Search Connect™. Default: yes
Search Connect™ is a feature of the Service by which any historical searches you conduct on MyHeritage search engines is recorded (e.g. if you search for ancestors with a certain last name). Other people who conduct the same search that you did, can see that you searched for it among the results of their search, and can attempt to get in touch with you via the Service. This is a useful feature for genealogists. If enabled, it ensures that even when you run searches that return no information, other people who care for the same names may find you when they run similar searches later on. If you do not wish any of your searches to be stored and be shown to other people who repeat the same search, turn this off: former searches you have made will be erased and new searches will not be saved.
Enable SuperSearch™ Alerts. Default: yes
MyHeritage SuperSearch™ Alerts works in the background to help you with your family history research. It repeats former searches you’ve made on MyHeritage SuperSearch, looking for new results that did not exist the last time you ran each search. MyHeritage keeps adding new collections, so this lifesaver feature ensures you won’t miss new records we’ve recently added that bring new results for your former searches.
Privacy Preferences - Family site privacy settings
In the Privacy Preferences page you can also control the privacy preferences for each family site that you are managing, separately. The following explains the settings at your disposal and their default values.
Allow guests to find my site. Default: yes
If enabled, your family site can be found via its public name (or description if you have entered one), in MyHeritage SuperSearch – the MyHeritage search engine for historical records, WorldVitalRecords and FamilyLink (two websites for finding historical records owned and operated by MyHeritage) and other websites in the MyHeritage Website Group. The benefit is allowing other users to find your site and subsequently get in touch with you. Being able to find your site does not grant anyone the right to access it and view its contents, it only means that its name and description are searchable. For example, if you manage a site called "Descendants of Diskin Family from Lomza", people interested in Diskin or Lomza may be able to find that you have a site for this and may get in touch with you.
Allow guests to request membership in my site. Default: yes
This setting controls whether other users who find your family site, i.e. guests, can contact you via MyHeritage (without gaining access to your email address) to request to become members in your site. Such requests normally come from people related to you, such as distant cousins, or people who believe that the content on your site may be relevant to their family research. Membership requests are listed at the top of the "Site members" page in the family site. The site manager is responsible for approving or rejecting membership requests to the site. If you approve a membership request, the requester will become a member in your family site and be able to access it and view all its content. It is recommended not to approve membership requests from people you do not know or trust. You can revoke the membership of any member, even if previously approved, from the "Site members" page of your family site, by selecting "More > Remove from site" next to any member's name.
Send me email notifications about new membership requests. Default: yes
If you allow guests to request membership in the site (see above), this setting controls whether such requests will result in a notification email sent to you by MyHeritage. If you turn this setting off, no email will be sent but you will be able to find such membership requests listed at the top of the "Site members" page on your family site.
Allow my site members to invite other members to the site. Default: yes
This setting controls whether other members in your site that you invited, can themselves invite more people to become members in your site. Site members can access the site and view all its content, and in most cases also post new information and modify existing information. We recommend inviting to the site as members only close family members and people you completely trust. If you do not trust your site members' judgment with respect to people they may invite to the site, turn this off. If you trust their judgment you can leave this enabled. As site manager, you can view the site members at any time in the "Site members" page on the site, and revoke the membership of any unwanted members. New members are announced in the "What's New" section of the family site and included in the family site activity newsletters that are sent on a weekly basis, so this is how you can be alerted if any of your site members invited other members to the site.
Allow guests to view limited information in your site. Default: yes
This is an important privacy setting. Guests are users whom you have not invited as members in your family site, i.e. strangers. This setting determines whether such guests will be able to enter your site and see any content posted in it. If you turn this setting off, they will not be able to enter it, and neither will information in your site be searchable on public search engines like Google, except for the public entry page of the site in which users can see the name and title of the site; and optionally request your permission to become members if the above setting "Allow guests to request membership in my site" is enabled.
If the setting is enabled (yes), guests will be able to visit your site. They will be able to see the content that you and your site members have posted, except that your family tree will be censored (limited) so that information on living people will be hidden away. Hidden means that other than last names, no information of living people in family trees will be displayed: first names, genders, photos, dates, events, etc -- all will be hidden. If you seek maximum privacy, you should turn this setting off, making your family site into a private site. Note that if you seek maximum privacy, it is also recommended to turn off the inclusion of your family trees from MyHeritage historical search engines (see below). The drawback of hiding all information in a genealogical service such as MyHeritage, is that people who are related to you will not be able to find you even via deceased ancestors and reuniting lost family ties may not be possible.
Allow authenticated apps to access my family site. Default: yes
MyHeritage develops an API called the Family Graph API, crafted after the Facebook Connect API. Its purpose is to facilitate the development of family applications (apps) by partners of MyHeritage. Examples of such apps include family calendar printing, family tree puzzles, family trivia games, and more. Turn off this setting if you do not wish for any apps whatsoever to interact with your data, or if you have invited members to your site and do not trust their judgment regarding apps.
Note: the Family Graph API does not allow apps to access your family tree or family data directly. However, whenever you or one of your family site members run such an app, MyHeritage will display a page on behalf of the app asking for permission, and clearly describe the type of access that the app is seeking. If permission is granted by you or one of your site members, which must be accompanied by authentication, i.e. entering the MyHeritage username and password, the app can then access your family site data.
Privacy Preferences - managing multiple family sites
If you are managing multiple family sites, note that each has its own privacy settings, to give you full flexibility and allow the assigning of different privacy settings for different sites. For your convenience, the Privacy Preferences page includes a button labeled "Apply these access settings to all my family sites". Clicking this button will replicate the selections you've made for all privacy settings explained above from the current family site to all the other sites you currently manage. If you create a new family site, its privacy settings will receive the default values and you will need to configure them separately in the Privacy Preferences page.
Privacy Preferences - privacy settings of family trees and photos
For every family site you manage, the privacy preferences also include the following privacy settings governing each family tree and each photo album in your site:
Include family tree in MyHeritage historical search engines. Default: yes
If this setting is enabled, the individuals in your family tree who are marked as deceased will be searchable and viewable in MyHeritage SuperSearch and the other genealogical websites in the MyHeritage Website Group. This allows users who are looking for ancestors to find your data and consequently to find you. The details of living people cannot be searched or viewed except for last names only. Keep this setting enabled if you believe that your family tree may be valuable for other genealogy researchers. Turn it off if you do not want others to find and view any part of your family tree, including deceased people.
Enable Smart Matching™. Default: yes
Smart Matching™ is a core feature of MyHeritage. If enabled, it compares your family tree to the other family trees on MyHeritage that have Smart Matching™ enabled, to look for matches. If matches are found, you and the other tree owner are notified and you can view the matches, confirm or reject them. Leaving this setting on is recommended for people interested in making new discoveries. It can be turned off if you do not wish others to view matches to your tree. By turning off this setting, you will not receive new matches for your tree and all your existing matches will be erased.
Note: when Smart Matching™ is turned on, it also enables Instant Discoveries™ (which is divided into Person Discoveries™ and Photo Discoveries™). An Instant Discovery™ is based on a match and allows you to add up to 50 individuals (using the Person Discoveries feature) and up to 10 personal photos (using the Photo Discoveries feature) to your tree in one click.
Allow managers of other sites to copy photos of matched individuals. Default: yes
This setting controls whether other site managers who have Smart Matches or Instant Discoveries with your tree will be able to take public photos from your family tree and copy them into their own. Turn this off if you do not wish for other site managers, even those who are related to you, to copy your photos as a result of Smart Matches or Instant Discoveries.
For every family site you manage, the privacy preferences also include the following setting for each photo album in your site: whether or not other users can search it and view its photos. Default: yes. Turn this off for photo albums that are private or that you do not want anyone outside your family site members to see. It is recommended to keep this on for albums containing non-private, historical photos that may be of value to other family history researchers.
Enable Smart Matching™ with other MyHeritage websites and partners. Default: yes
MyHeritage also uses its Smart Matching™ technology to match between family trees on MyHeritage and family trees in other genealogy websites owned and operated by MyHeritage, or by its strategic partners. Below are the current websites which can use Smart Matching™:
More partners may be added to this list in the future. This feature can help you find long lost relatives who are researching the same family as you are, but are not using MyHeritage for their family tree. Leaving this setting on is recommended for people who would like to be discovered and contacted by distant family members. Turn this off if you do not wish other users outside of MyHeritage to receive Smart Matches™ with your tree and consequently be able to view matching portions in your tree. By turning off this setting, all existing matches to external trees will be erased, and will not be shown again.
Allow site members to post content to the site. Default: yes
If enabled, this allows invited site members to add photos, family events and news articles to the family site. Successful sites encourage members to participate and post content. You (or other site managers) can always edit or delete all content posted by anyone on your site. If this setting is disabled, only site managers can post such content to the family site.
Enable DNA Matching.
If this setting is enabled, the DNA results for the person who took the test will be matched with other users, giving you DNA Matches – people likely to be related to the person tested, and also listing the person tested as a DNA Match for them. The people whose DNA matches that of the person who took the test will be able to see his or her name and member details, and contact you through MyHeritage. The actual DNA data is not displayed anywhere on the Website and other users have no access to it.
If this setting is disabled, no one (including you) will receive any DNA Matches. DNA Matches may have significant implications as stated in the MyHeritage Terms of Service, as they may reveal information about the family connections of the person who took the test that contradicts what you previously thought. If you are concerned about such potential implications, disable DNA Matching.
Allow DNA Matches to view profile details of individuals whose DNA data I manage. Default: yes
If you manage a DNA kit for a person other than yourself, by default, users who were found to be DNA Matches with that person will be able to see his/her first name, last name, and profile picture. If this setting is disabled, that person's first name will be redacted and only his/her last name will be shown.
Deleting DNA Results and DNA Reports from MyHeritage.
You can delete your DNA Results and DNA Reports from the Website by using the delete function on the "Manage DNA Kits" page on the Website, or by requesting MyHeritage Customer Support to do this for you. Once you delete the DNA Results and DNA Reports, they will not be recoverable and this action cannot be undone.
DNA Reports that are deleted may remain in emails which included such information, that were sent to you and/or to your DNA match(es) prior to the deletion.
Allow DNA Matches to view the Ethnicity Estimate and Genetic Groups of the person tested.
If this setting is enabled, DNA Matches of the person who took the test will be able to see that person's ethnicities and Genetic Groups, and compare that person's Ethnicity Estimates to their own. This may help the DNA Matches figure out how they might be related to the person tested.
If this setting is disabled, DNA Matches of the person who took the test will not be able to see that person's ethnicities and Genetic Groups.
Allow DNA Matches to view shared DNA segments and download shared DNA segment info.
If this setting is enabled, DNA Matches will be able to view and download information about shared DNA segments. This information may help DNA Matches understand how they are related to the person who took the test, and includes the genomic position and length of shared segments. Shared DNA segments are sections of DNA that DNA Matches have in common. They may point to a common ancestor and can help identify relationships.
If this setting is disabled, the DNA Matches will not be able to view or download the shared segments.
Allow MyHeritage users to view DNA badges in the family trees of individuals for whom I manage a DNA kit. Default: yes
If this setting is enabled, a DNA badge — similar to the Smart Matches and the Record Matches badges — will appear next to each person for whom you manage a DNA kit in trees where they appear. This will allow anyone who views trees with people whose DNA kits you manage to see that those people have an associated DNA kit — and to know that they have taken a DNA test.