Watch as remote tribe members in Siberia piece together their heritage

A genealogy company travels deep into the tundra to preserve the family history of the Nenets people.

Far above the Arctic Circle, in the most remote lands of northern Russia, lies a vast Siberian tundra where temperatures can reach 58 degrees below zero. It's there that the indigenous Nenets people have subsisted for years on reindeer herding and migrating, on average, more than 620 miles a year by sled across the unforgiving wilderness.

The Nenets have a long history in the region, a sacred reindeer culture and a migrant lifestyle that depends on the fragile ecology of the tundra. What they don't have, however, is modern technology.

The Taiberi family of the Nenets tribe includes people ranging from 3 to 65 years old. They live in cone-shaped tents called chums. The Taiberi family of the Nenets tribe includes people ranging from 3 to 65 years old. They live in cone-shaped tents called chums. (Photo: MyHeritage)

And that's where MyHeritage came in. Literally. The Israel-based genealogy company recently traveled to Siberia to meet and spend time with members of the remote and oft-forgotten tribe. The team documented the Nenets' family stories and migrating patterns in order to preserve their ancestry and history, something the members of the tribe had never experienced before.

This 3-year-old girl belongs to the Serotteto family in the Nenets tribe. This 3-year-old girl belongs to the Serotteto family in the Nenets tribe. (Photo: MyHeritage)

"The people we met were incredible," said Golan Levi, MyHeritage's Tribal Quest Initiative founder. "It was fascinating to see how important family is to them, how much they try to protect it. We lived in their midst, sat around the table together with them, and asked them to tell us what they knew about their family history and their traditions. They told us all about their ways of life and what they want to pass on to their children."

Six MyHeritage employees traveled thousands of miles to meet with and document the Nenets tribe.Six MyHeritage employees traveled thousands of miles to meet with and document the Nenets tribe. (Photo: MyHeritage)

During their visit, the MyHeritage team members from Israel were able to build 13 family trees containing more than 3,000 tribe members. They also took thousands of photos and hundreds of hours of video.

MyHeritage employees share a little screen time with Nenets children in Siberia.MyHeritage employees share a little screen time with Nenets children in Siberia. (Photo: MyHeritage)

The Siberia trip was MyHeritage's third journey in their Tribal Quest Initiative. They previously traveled to Papua New Guinea, where the team gathered members of the tribe for their first family photo, and to Namibia.

A Papua New Guinea tribal family sits for their first family photograph.A Papua New Guinea tribal family sits for their first family photograph. (Photo: MyHeritage)

“Across a wide range of diverse cultures and traditions, we all have family in common; we all learn from and honor our ancestors," Levi said.

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