New Features & Fixes

Posted February 20, 2007 by Geni | 62 Comments

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just completed our first major release since we launched just over a month ago. If you return to Geni now, you’ll see the following new features and fixes:

Family Tree

  • Easier removal of mistakenly-added family members, via the "x" icon
  • More arrows for adding parents of relatives
  • International keyboard layout support
  • A new Edit Info dialog box, with frequently edited data on first tab
  • A new field for display name on the Edit Info dialog
  • A new Partners tab on the Edit Info dialog, with fields for marriage dates, locations
  • A circa checkbox for birthdays and other dates on the Edit Info Dialog
  • A county field for marriages and other events
  • A new photo upload interface
  • Easier entry of same-sex marriages/partnerships
  • Better support for partners, not just spouses
  • Better support for long names
  • Increased size for the text used to display relatives’ names, as well the title of the family tree
  • Smarter display of "extra" people (placeholder nodes for parents and spouses)


  • A new profile editing system, with more room for all controls
  • Convenient in-place replies to comments on your profile
  • All the same new fields as described above for the Edit Info dialog box in the Family Tree
  • Support for multiple high schools/universities/etc.


  • Optimized complex requests, for faster display of the family tree and family list

As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, we’re happy to read all of your comments and requests.


  • xinyingho

    Hi there !
    The improvements are quite welcome.
    Just a disturbing thing : when we had a new school entry and then the overall isn’t in chronological order, we can’t make it so.

  • Bret

    [Summary: Have a checkbox on the treeview to display "birth names" or "maiden names".]
    I’m happy there’s now a “display name” field for handling oddball name-changes or alias cases.
    However, this doesn’t address the matter at the heart of an acrimonious argument I had with my father: He believes that a person’s birth name should be the only one entered, because the tree should only show their original name. (Never mind that the main reason he gives is that he doesn’t believe his ex-wife’s name should show her new husband’s last name, in his mind a blemish on his family tree.)
    I tried to explain to him that the tree view is a snapshot of the most recent state of every person in it, and that the maiden name data is there, albeit in a field not shown in the tree view, and that it’s more important to enter the information in the profile accurately than to worry about how it shows up in the tree view. He can’t distinguish between the data being modeled in the profile pages and the view being presented in the tree, and will only claim repeatedly that the tree is wrong, and that it should show only the maiden names. He also claims that when people do research for legal names the birth name is more important anyway.
    While I disagree with his reasoning, I do see a feature which would eliminate the argument: Have a sticky checkbox for “show birth names” on the tree view. This would have his ex-wife (and everyone else) show up with their maiden name rather than their current or last-living name as they do now. I understand you’d want to eliminate the “no one can agree on a default so we made it an option” slippery slope, but I think it’s warranted here, especially if other people are having arguments as frustrating and circular as ours.

  • Arthaey Angosii

    When is family tree merging expected?

  • Arthaey Angosii

    Is the “display name” a per-user preference, or will everyone viewing the tree see the same display name? For example, if I set my father’s display name as “Dad”, will *everyone* in my tree see him as that?

  • Arthaey Angosii

    We need better image-cropping capabilities.

  • Jan Liebe-Harkort

    1. There seems to be an error in the new version of Geni: The former fields for death data are shown in the fields for location data now.
    2. The new boxes for dates and so on are too small for comfort.
    3. As most people find their relatives in the same country, it would be very nice if one could enter a default country. It could be in the ME profile or the program could always ‘remember’ the country of the last input.
    4. In my tree the YOUNGER siblings of my father are shown to the left of his box instead of to the right. In the tree of my grandfather they are shown correctly to the right. Could that be changed?
    5. My oldest doughter is my exwifes child not mine. When I enter her where she belongs (as my exwifes and her former partners child) her box doesn’t come up in MY tree. But I have accepted/adopted her as MY doughter. How can I get her box to be shown in MY tree. The same question pops up with my brothers (accepted) foster doughter.
    Otherwise thanks for a great program.
    Jan Liebe-Harkort

  • Jim Carlson

    How does one create a placeholder node?

  • kathleen fowler

    It would be great if there was a way to receive a hard copy of your family tree/info even if a fee was involved. My fear is that after much time and effort has been spent researching and entering the information, it is only available as long as the website is operable. If Geni has a problem and all that information could be lost.

  • Tobias

    Very nice :)
    One thing I still miss though is “Maiden name” for men (better not use that label for it, though :).
    /Tobias, in a tree of 450 people mostly from Sweden and Finland.

  • Matt

    The update looks great! Does anyone know if the option for marking a person as adopted has been added yet?

  • Robert Rissler

    First of all, I really like all of the new changes to the site. I have a suggestion that should probably be incorporated into the next update. There is currently no way to show multiple links between two families. For instance, it isn’t possible to show that two brothers from one family married two sisters from another family. This is something that surely happens quite often. Also, I have an instance in my family tree where my Grandfather’s Brother (on my mother’s side; no weird stuff going on here) married my Father’s sister. There is currently no way to show this connection in the tree without duplicating entries. Just thought I would point this out. Again, love the site and keep up the good work!

  • Stefan Hayden

    everything seems to work great!

  • Brother

    Thanks for the update. I especially appreciate the display name option.
    I’m having trouble navigating my main tree because it is only 4 levels in height but over 50 people wide, due to cousins and great aunts and uncles. Can you provide alternate views? Here are some that might help me:
    1) Hide the pictures – that would allow more people to fit in the same width.
    2) Vertical layout – show each generation vertically instead of horizontally, with successive generations from left to right instead of top to bottom. I think this could fit more people, especially if the email input box is hidden.
    3) Miniature view – hide everything but the person’s name for each box. Optionally, you can make it so that the full box appears when the mouse is over a person.
    4) Have a slider to show more levels of people – for example, I would like to see second cousins on my tree without clicking on the little green tree icons. Of course, this could be hard to navigate without some of the options above implemented.
    Some of these could be integrated with the current zoom functionality. Maybe others will chime in with similar suggestions. Can you tell us if any of these are already planned?

  • Blaise MARION

    A few questions:
    - Will Geni be avaiable in French, German, Italian, Spanish? Most Americans have European origines at one point or an other and I think it would help.
    - When will it be possible to upload a GEDCOM file to input the data?
    - Will you be using the SOSA numbers at one point?
    - When will we be able to hide the name of the living people? It is a major privacy issue that would need to be taken into consideration.

  • Elizabeth Swift

    My request is the same as Robert Rissler’s (above). I have a cousin who married sisters. One wife died and he married her sister.
    Love the updates. I was able to delete people who I needed to delete. I mistakenly added parents to the wrong person and was finally able to delete them today.

  • ToHell

    Hiding the names of living people is NOT an urgent major privacy issue! After all, the interaction of living people is what makes unique. The tree is displayed on invite only, which gives enough privacy – and why is it anyway that only the authorities and the bad guys should have access to private data? I.e. the people you would want to hide from have their ways to get this information anyway – so why make it hard for the people with only good intentions?

  • ToHell

    The name-fields are causing some confusion as they are based on the american default with one firstname, one middle and one last. In other corners of the world that is not the common way. eg. Sweden: Most Swedes have two or three “first names” (and are not necessary called by the first one in order) and one “last/surname”. In addition, the “middle name” used by some Swedes are a second surname (most commonly the maiden name, kept as a middle name when married – or the surname of one unmarried parent when the other ones is used as real last name).
    The common way to deal with it in genealogy software is to put all first and middlenames/extra surnames in the same box, and writing the “given name” in capital letters.
    As you’ve introduces the “display name”-box, I would prefer to put all the first and middle names in the same “first name”-box and skip the “middle name”-box, then I would like to have two boxes: one for current last name, one for birth last name (NB that most genealogy software consider the birth/unmarried name as most important).
    Finally, the “display name”-box should be used to enter the given name OR the nickname used by “everyone” for that person – but you’d need to be consistent here! The display-name should be used in ALL the listings – not just in the tree and in the profile as it is now.
    Finally, I want all names to be displayed in the profile. Now there’s only the display name and the rest is lost (if you don’t go to edit-mode). The display name should be the main heading as it is, but under that should be all names in a smaller font, just like the nick-name.

  • Rémi

    I’m also waiting for the french language to get my family involved in this great project. Could we help you translating or whatever ?

  • Wayne Sanman

    Here’s an idea. I’ve always heard people say “I’m 100% Irish”, or “I’m half Irish, 1/4 Scottish and 1/4 English.”
    With that in mind, why not create a calculator to figure out the percentages of your heritage (or blood) depending on where your ancestors came from?

  • Brock Harris

    I can’t seem to delete my cousins emails, she has two emails and it keeps saying to try again later…

  • Brian

    Great site but I think as trees grow there needs to but a way to lock down the viewing of certain profile fields to a certain radius of family members.
    Once you connect to someone, and they connect to someone, and so on, you get to a point where a complete stranger (that you have little control over) is now viewing your personal profile.
    For example, you may only want immediate family to IM you, not your wife’s (non-blood) aunt’s cousin son.
    Most social networks have this capability, it would nice if it was added to Geni.
    Also it would be cool to have something like LinkedIn’s “Answers” where you could ask your network/family questions.

  • Michael Nilson

    My grandfather has a brother who is married to my grandmothers sister. In other words, my grandpa and his brother married a pair of sisters, is there any way to represent this on geni? I couldn’t find anything in the help or blog. TIA.

  • Brian Acarregui

    I love the website. It would be great if you could add some print functions or a way to save our work into a hard copy on our computers to have the data ourselves just in case after all the work – maybe in Adobe Acrobat? Most of my other main concerns seem to have been addressed by others. Thanks.

  • Mike

    I suggest a clearer sort order for the info-block “my immediate family” in the profile view. For me it is not clear, why my wife is shown first, then my parents and siblings and only then my son.
    It would be better if my wife and son were shown first, then a separator and then my other family members.

  • Bernard Tarver

    I would love it if there was a way to print chart information easily, perhaps if we could select individual branches or sections and print them.
    We’ve got an upcoming family reunion planned for the late summer and while I hope I can bring a laptop and projector to show this information that may not be realistic, plus family members who are less Internet savvy or computer competent may still want hard copies.

  • Bernard Tarver

    I would love it if there was a way to print chart information easily, perhaps if we could select individual branches or sections and print them.
    We’ve got an upcoming family reunion planned for the late summer and while I hope I can bring a laptop and projector to show this information that may not be realistic, plus family members who are less Internet savvy or computer competent may still want hard copies.

  • Rémi

    As Whayne said, a blood origine calculator could be great, but i don’t think it’s the most important now. Why not adding a family calendar with all the events related to our tree (first of all, the birthdays ?). A blog platform could also be enjoyable for my grandma to share all she wants!

  • David Sutherland

    (1) When you suggestion placing suggestions on the blog, make it clearer where you’d like them to go.
    (2) This is a slighlty complicated request but can be used and understood very easily. I’d like a “picture mode” feature where, if available, all my thumbnails will switch to showing me a certain age range for each individual. I.E. I’d like to see all the pictures I have of peple when they are their closest, to say, 10 years old. Or maybe I want to see everyone at 40 y/o (assuming they have a picture in that range.)
    Basically you would have to add a way to tag a photo with a year, or use EXIF data on a jpg and also allow people to modify the date in the store exif data.
    And then just add a drop down-menu choice “Show Pictures from: …” and then list decades but also list relative ages Teens, Twenties, Older, etc.
    This way I can compare faces from the family based on the same approx age.

  • Chris Bennett

    By far the most well designed geneaology solution I’ve found. Even my elderly mother can use it without much help :-)
    I would like to emphasize some comments of others. The users are putting in a large investment of time and effort with data, but at present there is no way of exporting the data to ensure it isn’t lost. We can’t even print a hard copy of the information.
    These are two features which are essential, and I’m sure that users would pay for being able to produce nice PDF books with the trees and data on people.
    Is this on your horizon? If not, I’ll have to return to the other program I’ve been using :-(

  • Johan Christian Høgåsen-Hallesby

    I’d love to see Geni open up for translations. My (norwegian) grandmother loves this kind of stuff, but her english isn’t all that good. Let me know if I can help out.

  • Henrique Seganfredo

    Hello, just 3 questions/suggestions:
    a) Is there a way to provide the whole tree as graphic file for a printout? Sincerely, I can´t take my computer, even tough its a 19 inch LCD screen to my family reunion where a bunch of old uncles can´t see well.
    b) A comment field (allowing 4-5 lines of text) for each person on the tree would be nice. Usually someone in your family had a nickname, or lived a interesting story in his life, and you want to have this data written on his profile.
    c) How do I connect two cousins that got married? They already are inserted on my tree, but I just got an email from a relative saying that they were actually married. What do i do now?

  • Gabriel Porras

    I’d like you use the TITLE Tag in all your pages.
    I have surfing all my family trees and profile pages. All of them has the Title: “Geni – Everyone’s Related”
    It’s better if it tell me where i’m.
    For example: If I’m here:
    The title its better: ” Alejandra Maria Quintero Rendon Profile – Geni – Everyone’s Related”

  • Enrico Vecchi

    Thanks for a great program.
    When multiple links between families (see Robert Rissler above)?
    Furthermore it happens to me that info of many people are no more editable: the edit box is missing in the profile.
    Is it possible to correct?
    Enrico Vecchi

  • Fernando

    Just came across the site now. Congratulations on a wonderful idea and implementation.
    Suggestions (some may be repeated):
    - some way to output this data – print, GEDCOM, XML, something. Not sure how much effort one is willing to dedicate to completing their tree and bringing others is if the information availability is solely dependant on the web site being around. Not meaning to sound pessimistic, but will you guys be around in 3 years? 5? 10? 30? longer?
    - the linkages between families is also important.
    - from a navigation perspective, how about an option to hide the “arrows”? Say I click on someone and THEN I have the option to add relatives. This would make navigation much cleaner…

  • Shauna Anderson

    I love the site. It’s quite addicting!
    A suggestion from my mother-in-law for something to add in the profile section: how about a section on MEDICAL HISTORY? Whenever I go to the doctor, they always ask, “Is there a history of xyz in your family?” It may be helpful to see a history of diseases/cause of deaths in a family tree, especially for things like cancer and other genetically-passed-on diseases.
    For instance, 6 of my great-grandfather’s siblings died young of brain aneurysms, as well as my uncle, which I only just found out since I started working on my family tree and talking to relatives. There is a big history of strokes and heart disease on my husband’s side of the family as well. This would be helpful info to know when asked by doctors. Causes of death are included on death certificates.
    Not sure what other people think, but it’s just an idea…
    Thanks for the great site!

  • Leonid

    Please try to solve a problem when two brothers married with two sisters.How to eastablish links between their parents?

  • Robert Holmes

    I’m new to Geni but so far it’s been a fabulous resource.
    Two small quibbles hoever,
    (1) There does not appear to be any way to have birth & death dates show on the Tree. When printing the Tree it would be nice to have dates shown.
    (2) Presumably no-one who died prior to 1970 +/- would have an email address and it is now necessary to manually remove that field for all generations which can be very time consuming. Could it not be an addition rather than a deletion?
    Lastly, I agree with an earlier poster who suggested a default Country approach which could be changed if necessary, but its automatic use would help considerably.
    Bob Holmes

  • Daniel Longmore

    I would like to offer my suggestion. I have heard that one way you plan to support the site is to offer such things as printing services. So here is my suggestion. I would like to print on a single page something looking like a tree of all the descendents of a couple. For instances say I would like to see a picture and the names of all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of my uncle/aunt and thier spouse all together on one page. I could then compile these pages into a family book one page for each of 12 aunts and uncles (yes my dad came from a big family). When we get together it is hard to learn who is who. This would be very helpful. Hope the idea is clear. Thanks.

  • Sean Feeney

    On Profile pages, it would be helpful if the area code would be displayed in the left side contact summary. Also in the contact section, a ZIP code would be appreciated for US addresses! :-)

  • Sean Feeney

    The system doesn’t appear to handle adoptions very well. There should be an up arrow on people with last names different than existing parents (so you can add blood parents), as well as a sister/brother option that allows for not having existing parents.

  • Theresa

    When it asks where a person was born, there should be a place to enter the hospital, instead of just the city, state, and county.
    Also, in the birth order, there should be a choice for “adopted”, or a box to check if someone is adopted.

  • Roderick Sutherland

    It’s a wonderful site, however I think that the tree display is a little ugly. One of the great things about this site is the ability to create and view an entire family tree. But when printing this out, surely we need to be able to remove irrelevant text such as ‘edit info’ and ‘view tree’? Also, can we have an option to remove the blue and pink boxes – the colours look a little insipid.

  • dcberner

    I second the request for tree merging.

  • Tanya

    I’d like to see GEDCOM file import-ability added.I have software with an extensive family tree already and this would make adding them easier.

  • Etienne Jacquemyn

    My aunts grandfather and her husbands grandfather are brothers. While building up my family tree both my aunts name en her husbands appear independently in the tree as son and daugther of. Is it possible in one way or another te connect them together as man and wife? Or is it possible to indicate that two names on the tree refer to the same person?
    Kind rtegards.

  • Andre Parmeggiani

    As mentioned before, exporting is a must to have. I wouldn’t like to loose days/months/years of work just because i cannot have a backup. In addition, if it’s my data, i’d like to have a copy with me :-)
    Thank you … Keep doing a great job !

  • M1l35

    1. I would like to second the suggestion for being able to print out the family tree. Some of my elderly relatives do not have computers and would like to be able to see the tree as well.
    2. Functionality to be able to add adopted and birth parents to an individual.

  • Joelle

    I third the request for family tree merging.

  • Michael Harrison

    I echo the sentiment for a “Birth Name” sticky checkbox for the family tree. Let users indicate whether they want to see birthnames or maiden names in their tree display. “Display Name” is good, but what about those of us who have already gone through and provided maiden names? It’d be nice to flip a switch and have the tree display that data instead of the surname.
    Great, great update, though! I love it.

  • Love It

    I think this is VERY IMPORTANT and is asked by many people. How to link two families. My cousin married my sister-in-law’s first cousin’s daughter. So no way I can add my maternal uncle to my mother and also link it to my sister-in-law’s cousin’s family !
    Also great would be some way if you provide an option to write macros over it so that in India there are some rules of marriages like I can not marry any of my cousin or even from my sister’s inlaws family ! So we can write marriage compatibility on top of Geni!

  • Ben

    I third/forth the family linking suggestion. I told a relitive about the site then decided to start a tree. Now I can’t add her because she already has a tree started and she can’t add me because I have a tree started. It complains that the e-mail is already used.
    We need to link our trees. How?

  • Ken Love

    I can’t agree more with the comments on adding features that allow users to export their data. While I enjoy using geni to connect with and discover my family, I can’t help but feel that I’m feeding a lot of data into a system that may be lost in the future.
    With that said, there are a couple additiona; features for which I’d like to request.
    * a Calendar creator – a tool that allows me to create an ical feed containing select family dates within a range of my node.
    * an RSS activity feed – listing the happenings in my tree.
    * an address book export or LDAP connector – I’d like to be able to update my family address book using geni. The thought of copy ‘n pasting numbers from geni to my addresses, is off-puting.

  • PR Ganapathy

    One bug I found is that the site does not have the ability to recognize that a new person being added to the tree might be elsewhere in the tree (for e.g., a husband and wife might be distantly related) – also see Love It’s post in this regard). You should fix this on priority. Feel free to contact me in this regard.

  • PR Ganapathy

    I second the request to upload a GEDCOM file – I have a huge tree dating back to 1480 and the only thing stopping me from embracing Geni is the inability to import it.

  • nodazen

    Very interesting service.
    My major request:
    Management a what is PRIVATE (sharing option to a lucky few) and what is PUBLIC (shared to the entire tree).
    Sharing option must be quite customizable, i.e. many parts of the profile as well as who the info is shared with.
    Reason for request:
    Some members of the family might want to avoid sharing their info with others. We all have things to hide, people we want to avoid, even in our families (though I wouldn’t go as far as denying them as part of the family).
    Avoid sharing info with total strangers
    Family secrets
    Other requests already suggested:
    Print out
    Exporting data
    Box rearrangement and possibility to manually input arrows.
    Thanks, great service.

  • nodazen

    Very interesting service.
    My major request:
    Management a what is PRIVATE (sharing option to a lucky few) and what is PUBLIC (shared to the entire tree).
    Sharing option must be quite customizable, i.e. many parts of the profile as well as who the info is shared with.
    Reason for request:
    Some members of the family might want to avoid sharing their info with others. We all have things to hide, people we want to avoid, even in our families (though I wouldn’t go as far as denying them as part of the family).
    Avoid sharing info with total strangers
    Family secrets
    Other requests already suggested:
    Print out
    Exporting data
    Box rearrangement and possibility to manually input arrows.
    Thanks, great service.

  • Danijel

    Another tip – when you go way back, countries that don’t exist anymore start to show up. Yugoslavia as a fresh example, for instance, but also can be something like Austro-ungarian monarchy or similar. Can you address that?

  • Rom

    Hi all, congratulations to all of Geni team.
    Here is my question : What does “circa” means please ?
    Thank you

  • Laura

    I also have the “two brothers married two sisters” issue. Currently my great uncle isn’t even on my tree because no one can figure out what to do with him. :P
    Also, it would be nice if instead of just “maiden name” field for women, we could have a “birth name” field for everyone. Men change their names too, for various reasons, and women sometimes change their names for reasons other than marriage.

  • Richard Hadden

    Some product suggestions:
    1) brothers do indeed marry sisters: My half-sisters are married to two brothers. There is no way of showing this but it should be simple enough to enable the “add X function” to be directed at an existing node, surely (provided you are not traversing the tree improperly and getting caught in loops)? As a previous poster pointed out, cousins also marry, but I haven’t got to that part of our family tree yet.
    2) A Swedish poster has already pointed out that US name conventions are singularly restrictive. Europeans have lots of names and other conventions (all the better to be perfidious with). More name fields would help, to handle middle names. You should also provide more honorifics, some of which may be US-style suffixes (all those tedious Alpha X. Omega Jr’s) but others may be prefixes (e.g. Dr, plenty of those in the US, or Sir) or European suffixes (MP, Kt, Bt etc.).
    3) In the same vein, the Last name / Maiden name convention chosen does not work intuitively. Having free-entry last name fields in every partner dialogue as at the moment is very flexible but it is inefficient as it does not make the most of the existing information available from the tree and the chosen convention.
    When adding a female partner, the system should pre-fill the last name with either their maiden name (Spanish convention of keeping your name) or their husband’s name (Anglo-saxon convention of taking your husband’s). The add female partner dialogue should also have the Maiden name displayed separately, not just in the edit-profile tabs, so that the default suggestion can be previewed and overriden if necessary. Finally, there should be a display name box, to override the other names, and an option to choose the displayed surname, in the absence of an explicit entry, as the maiden or married name.

  • Dave

    I tried viewing Geni on Firefox on my Linux system. Not much to see. Since you’re running on *nix servers, why are you so Windoze-centric?

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