MyHeritage drives growth of global historical content with strategic appointments


12 April 2012
Roger-left-and-Russ-right-web-300x200-90408.jpg Roger Bell (left) and Russ Wilding (right).
Continuing its mission to become a major competitor among the global commercial genealogy sites, MyHeritage has announced the app

Continuing its mission to become a major competitor among the global commercial genealogy sites, MyHeritage has announced the appointment of industry veterans Russ Wilding and Roger Bell to Chief Content Officer and VP Product, respectively. The former founders and lead executives of, acquired by in 2010, will boost MyHeritage’s US operations in Utah by establishing a new department for adding historical content and rolling-out an extensive global crowdsourcing project.

The new appointments will strengthen MyHeritage’s position in the global family history market. Their task will be to substantially grow historical record content to complement the unique combination of family social-networking and massive user contributed content that has catapulted MyHeritage to becoming the world’s largest network for discovering and sharing family memories. The move adds significant momentum to MyHeritage’s expansion into historical content, following its November 2011 acquisition of FamilyLink Inc with a library of four billion records, and its recent announcement to make the 1940 US Census available to users free of charge in April 2012.

‘We’re delighted to bring Russ and Roger on board as we enter a new period of vigorous growth’, said MyHeritage founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet. ‘Their impressive track record as social thinkers within the family history world will be an ideal fit for MyHeritage, as we realise our vision of enabling families around the world to explore their family history, share important memories and stay connected.’

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Russ Wilding will establish and lead a new department that will acquire, licence, transcribe, crowdsource and produce historical records – such as census, birth and marriage records. Russ brings a wealth of expertise in historical content acquisition, licensing and digitisation from his previous 11-year role as CEO of iArchives, Inc and founder and CEO of its customer-facing website, which was sold to in 2010 for $27 million.

As VP Product, alongside MyHeritage’s strong product team, Roger Bell will focus on building next-generation community infrastructure and tools for the crowdsourcing of historical record production. This massive community-based initiative will involve assistance and participation from the millions of users of MyHeritage in the deciphering of handwriting and the keying in of information from digitised historical records. During the four years he spent at as Senior VP Product and Development, Roger was instrumental in defining the strategic direction of and in the creation and management of the team.  Prior to joining, he was Director of Product Management at from 2002 until 2006, where he was in charge of the search engine, user experience and community tools.  He was also a member of the CEO’s advisory committee.