Tuesday, May 10, 2016
MyHeritage Launches Global Pro Bono Initiative to Document the Family Histories of Remote Tribes
Tribal Quest team members visit indigenous communities to create their family trees and record their family stories online, preserving them for future generations
TEL AVIV, Israel & WINDHOEK, Namibia & PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea, May 10, 2016 — MyHeritage, the fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history, unveiled today a new initiative — Tribal Quest — to record the family histories of communities that lack access to modern technology.
MyHeritage has completed its first two Tribal Quest expeditions to Namibia and Papua New Guinea, meeting elders and families of the Himba people in Namibia, and different tribal groups in Papua New Guinea. Collaborating with local guides, MyHeritage teams spent three weeks in each destination, interviewing hundreds of community members, taking thousands of family photos, gathering information at cemeteries, and attending local community events and rituals. The teams then processed all the data they gathered, cross-correlated and tagged it, and organized the family history information of over 6,000 members of tribal communities in 55 richly-detailed family trees. This information is now saved online on MyHeritage, preserving cultural heritage and personal family histories of tribal people forever.
At one of the villages deep in the rural Kunene region of Namibia, Tribal Quest team members met Mbunguha, a village elder who recounted family stories going back many generations. Mbunguha’s parents told him that he had been born during a particularly intense drought, marking a tough period for his family. He now worries about the effects that recent repetitive droughts, and the resulting economic instability, will have on his community. With the traditional Himba way of life now in decline and globalization and urbanization on the rise, Mbunguha is concerned that many family traditions will be lost. Mbunguha was eager to participate in the project and have his family history recorded to ensure that it is not lost for the next generations of the village. Mbunguha’s family tree — and those of his clan — are now preserved online on MyHeritage.
Further expeditions to other remote destinations are currently being planned.
"Across a wide range of diverse cultures and traditions, we all have family in common; we all learn from and honor our ancestors," said Golan Levi, User Experience Expert at MyHeritage and founder of the Tribal Quest project. "This project aims to allow people around the world — no matter where or how they live — to save their ancestors’ legacies forever, for the benefit of their descendants, and our descendants."
“We are privileged to be the global destination of choice for millions of people interested in discovering and preserving their family history,” said Gilad Japhet, Founder and CEO of MyHeritage. “We love combining our work with pro bono projects, utilizing our technologies and our enthusiastic staff to bring the benefits of genealogy to more people. With Tribal Quest we are preserving diverse cultural heritage that is at risk, and doing it uniquely at the level of individuals and families. If we don't do this, nobody else will, and therefore we must do it."
The Namibia expedition is showcased online at www.tribalquest.org; Papua New Guinea expedition materials will be added soon. Visit the website to learn more about the project, view photos and read stories of the Himba people, and to get involved.
View the Tribal Quest introduction video.
MyHeritage is the world's fastest-growing destination for discovering, preserving and sharing family history. As technology thought leaders, MyHeritage is transforming family history into an activity that’s accessible and instantly rewarding. Its global user community enjoys access to a massive library of historical records, the most internationally diverse collection of family trees, and groundbreaking search and matching technologies. Trusted by millions of families, MyHeritage provides an easy way to share family stories, past and present, and treasure them for generations to come. MyHeritage is available in 42 languages. www.myheritage.com