I understand that My Heritage acquired World Vital Records in 2011. Do the two sites have the same databases, or does one provide more information than the other?


Trying to compare the holdings of the different subscription sites is one of the most frustrating parts of 'doing genealogy'. Trying to determine the differences between the regular consumer version of the websites and their library editions is also difficult.

As I write this, World Vital Records says they have 21,674 record collections, which you can view in their Card Catalog here.

Presumably with a My Heritage data subscription, you would get a superset of that, but My Heritage doesn't make it easy to find out. If you go to the Research Tab on the nav bar, on the drop-down menu, you see categories for Birth Marriage and Death, Immigration, Census & Voter Lists, Immigration and Travel, and Newspapers, as well as Family Trees, and the links for DNA tests. But I don't see a link to view all the collections there, nor do I see it in the site map at the bottom of the page.

On the SuperSearch page, there are links all down the right-hand side of the page listing more categories, but still no 'view all collections' or 'card catalog' link.

Doing a place search via the map seems to give you only the links for that particular jurisdiction -- for instance, under "Vermont Collections", I only see one collection, Vermont Death Index, 1985-2012. Clicking on that pulls up 'related collections' which shows a list of US Federal Census years available.

Even more troubling -- I don't see any links on the site that allows the user to go in to the collections in Browse mode. That leaves us utterly at the mercy of the name-matching technology.

The best information I've been able to find so far comes from the promotional section of the website of the Southern California Genealogical Society, which offers My Heritage Library as a benefit of membership. Their page on benefits for members says:

More than 5 billion historical records from all over the world, The USA federal census (1790-1940) with images, The UK census (1841-1911) with images, 1.5 billion exclusive family tree profiles from MyHeritage and Geni, 816 million US public records, Hundreds of millions of Nordic records, More than 100 million tombstone photos, More than 80 million historical photographs, Military records, immigration records and passenger lists, Citizenship & naturalization records, Directories, guides, references, biographies and yearbooks, Government, land and court records, Wills and probate records, Exclusive databases such as the Jewish Chronicle historical newspaper, Additional content under license including Tributes obituaries, WikiTree, Billion Graves, Canadian Headstones and many others, 200 million additional records added on average every month!

Please note that some content in MyHeritage's individual collection will not be included in the Library Edition. Two such exclusions are NewspaperARCHIVE and a collection of genealogy and local history books from Genealogical Publishing Company. A list of the outstanding resources available through the MyHeritage Library Edition ™ can be found here.

The provider for MyHeritage Library Edition is EBSCOHost -- the detail page is here and there is a brochure available for download.

I often sign up for email newsletters or subscribe to the blogs of the data providers to get news about new collections coming online. I find it easier to keep up with the new offerings than to attempt comparisons of the backlist.

  • 1
    I contacted customer service and was told that subscriptions to WVR are no longer sold, the information being accessible through their MyHeritage subscriptions. Apr 22 '16 at 15:29
  • Interesting -- but they apparently still offer WVR as a separate product in the library market.
    – Jan Murphy
    Apr 22 '16 at 16:55

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