Posted March 28, 2008 by Geni | Comments Off

To help you navigate around your tree we have introduced some new terms. This page will help you understand.


Your Tree is all of your blood relatives and their partners.


Forest page

Where Trees and the Forest is Used



List View


anyone connected to you on Geni, whether a blood relative, an in-law,
an in-law of an in-law, and so on, can navigate to your part of the
tree. In the future, only your blood relatives and their inlaws, plus
(if you are married) your spouse’s blood relatives and their inlaws,
will be able to navigate to your part of the tree. As you might expect,
your tree will still include everyone who is related to you by blood,
including all your ancestors and all of their descendants.

  • Your Blood Relative is anyone who shares a common ancestor with you.
  • Your Tree is all of your blood relatives and their partners.
  • Your Forest is your Tree, your spouse’s Tree, and
    all of the Trees directly connected to your Tree (and your spouse’s
    Tree) through a partner.
  • You will only be able to navigate Trees in your Forest.

Here are some diagrams that may help further explain these new tree
navigation privacy rules. Please keep in mind that these are small
trees for illustration only. Actual trees may be much taller and will
include many more navigable nodes. These trees are intentionally short
and wide to help illustrate the rules. The multicolored nodes represent
married couples, making them part of two Trees. Click on the images for
the full size version.

Let’s say that this is a portion of your tree on Geni:

You will be able to navigate every node in this tree except for the
three solid purple nodes in the top right. These nodes represent your
spouse’s in-law’s in-laws. Every other node will still be navigable.
This is indicated by the following diagram:

Now let’s see how this will affect other users in your tree. Let’s
say one of the solid blue nodes has joined the tree. What part of the
tree will they be able to navigate? All of the colored nodes in this

Now let’s look at one of the nodes closer to the edge. Here is the
portion of the tree that a person represented by a solid green node
will be able to navigate:

Again, please keep in mind that this only shows a portion of a small
tree as an example. If the tree extended further to the right, the
green nodes would be able to see even further along those branches. All
of these same rules would apply to all of the ancestors of these nodes
as well.

Hopefully this helps illustrate the following: You may be interested
in people in the yellow tree and people in the green tree, but these
people are not very likely to be interested in each other. In fact the
overwhelming feedback we have received is that there is a limited
circle of interest, and this relationship would fall outside of that
circle for the vast majority of users. I really hope this helps
illustrate better what affect this change will have, in any, on your

We have discussed all of the great feedback
to our planned changes to Tree Navigation Privacy, and we have a new
plan that I believe addresses many of your concerns:

  1. Your infinite tree will remain completely navigable without restriction.
  2. The following nodes and profiles will appear and act just as they do now, regardless of where they appear in the infinite tree:
    • Nodes within your Forest (as previously described)
    • Nodes of your Family and Friends
    • Nodes you have added
    • Node of the person who added you to the tree
  3. You can choose (opt-in) to make your node, or any node you have added, viewable by anyone. This will mean:
    • Your node will appear as it does now to anyone in your infinite tree
    • When anyone outside of your Forest clicks on your node they will view your public profile
  4. All other nodes will:
    • Display First Name and Last Initial only
    • Include ‘Invite to Family’, ‘Invite to Friends’ and ‘Send Message’ actions (as applicable)
    • Not link to the associated profile
    • Include a visual indication for easy identification
  5. A new privacy setting gives you control over who can add new nodes onto the nodes you manage

We believe that this will preserve the infinitely navigable tree,
while preserving each user’s control over their own privacy.


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