MyHeritage Amazing Time-Machine is now launched

MyHeritage has launched a new photograph feature on their website. To borrow a sentence straight from their announcement email, “With the AI Time Machine™, you can see yourself as an Egyptian pharaoh, a medieval knight or a Viking, a 19th-century lord or lady, and much more, in just a few clicks! “

MyHeritage suggests uploading some close-ups, some upper body shots, some profile shots and some full-body poses. So, what are the photo results like? I did two rounds — one using photos taken within the last year where I was fairly careless with my choices (resulting in themed images with a noticeable frown), and then a second round in which I took care to use more flattering photos of my (younger) self.

One of my faves is this image. Apparently, I was born to wear a crown 🙂

Or maybe I should have been a cowgirl?

Both of these AI images I find fairly flattering but they’re clearly airbrushed, my eyes appear gray rather than blue, and my mouth is not true-to-life. But it’s all in fun, right?

Punk Rocker Me and 16th Century Royalty Me look sufficiently like the real me, but Greek Goddess Me doesn’t look like me at all! Still, a cool picture. Perhaps I’ll use that as my Facebook profile pic.

Some other themes are below. There are some glitches with the AI — the head is cut off in many of the “1950’s Illustrated” theme. The mouth and teeth in “1970s Hair” don’t match reality. “18th Century France” and “Ottoman Empire” themes, at least for the photos I used, were two of the least realistic, IMO.

I’m including the “Race Car” theme below. You can go modern with that theme (as well as “Astronaut” and “Futuristic Cyborg”).

Later on, I did a second round of photos, this time choosing photos that were about 15 years old and uploading almost 30 photos total. (Suggested is 10 – 25.) Although the themes are the same, the AI results you get will be completely different.

These themes are Saxon, Cowgirl, Viking (I look startlingly like my mother in that photo — not that she goes around with horns on her head — but I do get my Danish heritage from her side), 1970s flower child, 18th century bride and punk rocker.

The funniest picture I got was this one — the 3-armed (!) Saxon warrior with the slit skirt up to her navel. In general, it seems the AI struggles with realistic hands and fingers — in one photo I have 7 fingers, and in several other photos I have 3 arms. (Of course that might be due to my own photo selection.)

Both of the image sets below belong to the Saxon theme. There is a painterly quality to the images, and a few where my head is cut-off.

Below are the themes 1950s Chic. They look like me, but also look painted. Then, Roman — which looked unrealistic. The AI struggles with a human-looking face for the full-body photos, probably because the full body photos I uploaded have relatively small facial features to go by.

The other themes are 1920s Black & White, and finally Baroque which looks least like me of all the themes. (In this set of images, anyway. The second go-round was better.) I suspect that the miss on the similarity is due to the Baroque theme using waist-up “portraits” and again, there’s not enough clarity on the facial features.

Finally, a last few more — from Celtic, Shaman and Punk Rocker themes.

This was fun, like dressing up in costume — and in some cases looking like my ancestors might have looked. MyHeritage has a FAQ, sample photos, and a how-to video on their site if you want to try it!

AncestryDNA is now assigning a parental side to your matches

I’ll go one better than the parental split about your ethnicity… now it’s your matches. Well, for most people. (Sigh, not yet me, as you can see below!)

That said, I really can’t complain because all the accounts of DNA testers I manage already have the new parental split. (Perhaps it’s because I’ve got a really old account?) I digress… Mom has her split, and Dad has his. I’m super excited about Mom’s split, because she actually has several hundred paternal matches!! Her dad was born in the United States, but both his parents (and his eldest brother) were born in the Marche region of Italy.

Turns out Mom has hundreds of matches who have ancestors from Fano, Italy (where my Mom’s paternal grandfather was born). None match our known surnames — but we know so few anyway.

And with respect to Mom’s maternal matches, I’m psyched that so many were in line with what I had researched already. One thing I noticed, though, about her “unassigned” matches were that a fair number of them are clustered to her Hill/Geho line (from southwest Penn to Guernsey County, Ohio): her great-great grandmother’s parent’s line. I’m not entirely sure why Ancestry marked these matches as Unassigned, but pretty much the entire cluster of those matches is Unassigned so at least it’s consistent.

If you have done DNA testing at Ancestry, do you have the new feature on your account yet? And, if so, has it helped you?

(BTW — side note — I spoke with an Ancestry representative about a week or so ago; they said the rollout will be continuing for the next few months.)

Ancestry Segment Count Update

Hurray!  It’s finally arrived!  My dad and I took Ancestry DNA tests 8 years ago in the fall of 2012, and it’s always bugged me that Ancestry said we shared 55 segments of DNA when we know the true biological number is 22 shared autosomes and 1 shared X chromosome, the full length of the chromosome.  So we should have seen 22 all these years (because X isn’t counted).

Well, it still isn’t 22, but it’s a darn sight closer!

Ancestry Segments Update

The shared segment count with Mom is still pretty far off, but at least it’s not 77 any more.  I suspect the count is due to Ancestry’s algorithms and/or the chip that was used for her test which was done in fall 2018.  Mom also tested at FTDNA (a native kit, not a transfer) and that FTDNA test was the one uploaded to MyHeritage; they’re largely in agreement as one would expect.

The 1st cousin relationship looks fairly consistent the board.

I also noticed that the segment count for my Mom’s Ancestry matches mostly remained the same past 2nd cousin, down to matches of 30 cM, while my matches and my Dad’s matches down to 30 cM showed more adjustment in the segment numbers.  Just a fluke? Or something to do with the testing chip used?

Did you see changes?  There are polls being done at the Genetic Genealogy Tips and Techniques Facebook group here.  


Copples in the News – B.F. Copple and the copper mine

This particular article, about B.F. Copple and the copper mine district near his home in Mesa, Arizona, is about either my third great-granddad, Benjamin Franklin Copple (c 1829 – 1911) or his son Benjamin Franklin Copple (1877 – 1948).  The latter was my great-great grandmother Libby’s half brother.   I suspect it was the younger of the two men, as this article was published in 1903, when the senior Ben Copple would have been 74 years old.

From what I can determine, copper mining was big in Bisbee, Arizona (southeast of Tucson, near the border with Mexico) at the turn of the 20th century, and is still an important industry in the state today.  Thus, this article was published in the Bisbee paper.  However, the Dixie Mining District appears to relate to mines in the Maricopa County area, roughly 15 miles from Mesa.  (See these links: and )



“Two Chances,” Bisbee Daily Review (Bisbee, Arizona), 17 Nov 1903, pg 6, col 2; ( : accessed 3 December 2019)



Book Review: New Church Records Book!

This book sounds like something I need to look into! U.S. church records are not something I’ve generally looked at…

Genealogy Pants

ChurchRecordsBookI have recently had the privilege to read and review the new book How to Find Your Family History in U.S. Church Records: A Genealogist’s Guide by Sunny Jane Morton and Harold A. Henderson, CG (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2019). Back in 2015 I attended the course “Problem Solving with Church Records” at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP) with Rev. David McDonald, CG as the instructor. It was a fantastic course (highly recommend!) and I have used the information from that course time and again but have longed to have a text with the information learned laid out in a concise manual. This book is the answer!

The book has two parts, the first is methodological and the second addresses twelve different denominations: Anglican/Episcopal, Baptist, Congregational, Dutch Reformed/Reformed Church in America, German Churches: Reformed and Sectarian, Latter-Day Saint (Mormon), Lutheran, Mennonite and Amish, Methodist, Quaker (Religious Society of…

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Woo-hoo!! Just finished!

I just completed the Boston University online class for the Certificate of Genealogical Research!  Turned in my research report on Sunday the 16th, and the grades for both the report and for the final module (“Professional Genealogy”) were posted yesterday.  I have done well enough in the modules (all graded) to get a certificate.   I will be looking for it to arrive in the mail within the next few weeks.

When it arrives, I will post a photo — AND my review of this course.  The books used were changed for the Fall 2018 session and the course was modified (somewhat) dropping the number of modules to 4 (from 5).

The registration deadline for the next class, starting in January 2019, is tomorrow!  More info can be found here.

(For a certificate, your grade for each module must be a “C” or better AND the total grade average for all 4 modules must be “B-” or better.)