Use of generic images from an era

Started by Private User on Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Profiles Mentioned:

Related Projects:

Showing 1-30 of 34 posts
Private User
1/18/2012 at 12:52 AM

What do people think of the use of "generic images from an era" as profile pictures?


None of the images in that area are actual images of the people shown.

For example, the image at Asser/Asher Marcus Meyer Nikkelsburg is actually a portrait of Moritz Oppenheim, Germany, 1800-1882 - see

The About on that profile does say: "The photo is generic - not an actual portrait - but a contemporary painting of the period!"

I can understand a generic image maybe of the country or place or type of building where a person lived - but I feel uncomfortable seeing the portrait of Person A as the profile picture of Person B who is someone completely different.

What do others think?

Private User
1/18/2012 at 1:01 AM
1/18/2012 at 8:37 AM

I totally agree that if the profile picture depicts a person, in either photographic or painting form, it should absolutely be that person and not someone else. Even with the disclaimer in the "about me" section there has to be a better alternative than doing it the way that it is currently done in this case.

1/18/2012 at 9:34 AM

Private User

Send me the URL. The woman who did this has not been on since 2008 so I'll just get rid of them and redo the about

1/18/2012 at 9:56 AM

Mike Stangel

There is a photo of Stephen Dodd, II

He died before photography but he and 5 other people older tan him are in a photograph

I removed the link to them from the photograph but the picture remains

I can not delete the photo. Can you please do it?

Private User
1/18/2012 at 1:02 PM

Mike Stangel

The issue that Marvin Caulk, (C) raised re Stephen Dodd, II is the subject of ticket #17289 that I have raised with Geni CS.

The tagged people were I believe all correct - including the correct Stephen profile Stephen Dodd, II (1703-1764). All the tags were correct - but the profile picture still showed on the wrong Stephen.

Private User
1/18/2012 at 1:13 PM

Randy Stebbing and Marvin Caulk, (C)

Thank you for your comments re those photos from an era.

There are some more:




EVA LEVY GREEN (Pruikemacher) - and all her ancestors - I haven't listed them all individually

EPHRAIM LEVY GREEN - and all his ancestors - I haven't listed them all individually

Also I would appreciate an opinion on:



I put those two in a slightly different category - maybe?


Private User
1/18/2012 at 1:16 PM

FYI this is a duplicate tree which I found even though the Geni "match" algorithm didn't.

These two are the same:


Unknown Profile

plus consequential merges in the area. But I have held off the merges till the images were sorted.

Private User
1/18/2012 at 1:22 PM

Before starting this discussion, I tried to find a "guideline" on Geni for what is or is not an appropriate profile image. I searched help and wiki and didn't find. I found how to upload a photo and tag it, but no guidance on what is or is not appropriate to upload and tag.

Is there such a guideline? If so, please can it be posted on the front page of this project (with a link)? If not, perhaps we can use a new discussion in this project to formulate one collaboratively?

1/18/2012 at 1:52 PM

David, I don't believe there is any "official" guidance. Let's use this discussion topic to come up with some suggested best practices which we can then place on the "description" of this project.

Here is an initial draft...

Best Practices for Image Use:

The following are guidelines to help determine best practices for profile pictures.

1) If possible include a photograph of the person.

You should upload pictures that you have taken yourself, or where you have permission from the photographer who took the picture. Or you should be reasonably sure that the photograph is in the public domain.

2) Because the main profile picture is also used in the tree view it is suggested that the picture be a "head and shoulder" shot and not the full "foot to shoulder" framed shot of the person.

3) For the main profile picture individual photos are preferred to group photos.

4) For profiles that pre-date photography a painted portrait of the person if one exists works well. Make sure the painting was done contemporaneously with the person depicted and not merely an "artistic" interpretation of a random person from that historic time period. A photograph of a sculpture of the person can also be used if one exists.

5) In all cases please include an attribution giving credit to the photographer or artist that generated the original image used for the profile picture.

6) In many cases a photograph, painting or sculpture do not exist. In those cases there are many other suitable alternatives including:

Cemetery Gravestone
Picture of the person's residence.
Picture of the person's signature.
Picture of an actual personal belonging that the person used.
Picture of a primary source document that includes vital information about the person like a birth or death certificate.
Picture of an "historical marker" relating to the profile.
Picture of the person on coin, currency or a stamp.
Picture of the Cemetery (only used if the person doesn't have a headstone).
Picture of the ship or sailing vessel used by an immigrant ancestor.
Picture of a geni project image. Projects categorize individuals based on a research criteria. Some projects will use a custom project "Icon" or "image" for all profiles that don't yet have a better image available for them.

1/18/2012 at 1:59 PM

Private User
We did have a discussion on them at one time, I will look to see if I can find it.

In gerneral, pictures considered in poor taste are pictures of persons lying at a traffic accident or an open casket.

Anything of a sexual nature ect that you would not want your children to see

Pictures taken out of a movie or DVD

The ones I removed were not really wrong but misleading and if reused could cause mis-merging, An example would be if you used a pictur of a Crown on every profile in a line, it would be very confusing.

In a picture like the one at MAMA MOZES it isn't rally wrong and not confusing enough for me to remove it. I was recommeded that in a pic like that one that ther be a note placcd in the pic, that would Identify it as not a drawing of a real event.

I will look for the other discussion and if I don't find it maybe someone else reading this remembers were it is.

1/18/2012 at 2:03 PM

You say the tag was right but they did not have photography in the 1700's or did I misunderstand?

1/18/2012 at 2:11 PM


This seems to be dutch profiles. Yo may need to contact them.

Private User
1/18/2012 at 2:12 PM

I think there was a previous public discussion on appropriate profile images that led to this project being created.

Re the tags - Marvin - the tags weren't to people in 1700s - they were to the family of the private profile Stephen Inslee Dodd

BUT: a picture also showed incorrectly on another 1700s profile as well. And still does. That was and still is my help ticket issue.

Stephen Dodd, II

Removing the valid tags hasn't solved the problem with that incorrect profile picture.

Private User
1/18/2012 at 2:30 PM

Re Randy's initial draft - thank you!:

2) and 3) - I would mention that once loaded, such pictures should be resized in tree view to headshots.

4) Note that ALL of the Biblical images on Geni would fall foul of "Make sure the painting was done contemporaneously with the person depicted"! I think a famous artist's impression of a historic figure may be used even if not contemporaneous.

I would allow portraits even if photos also exist - but not as main profile photo. eg I would expect Queen Elizabeth II to have a profile picture that is an actual photo, but she may have additional pictures that are portraits.

Under 6) some more might include:
- An image that depicts a particular event. Some wish to use particular images that depict what happened to Holocaust victims for example.
- A work by the person eg a book cover
- A commemoration plaque for the person - for example many Holocaust victims don't have gravestones and these are "in lieu". That might be included in "historical marker".

Again I would allow all of 6) as profile pictures even if something "better" exists, but the better should be the main profile picture.

I tend to be against using pictures of actors playing characters. Except in the fictional tree. Otherwise how do you depict Harry Potter?

What about using flag of country? Sometimes that falls foul of Marvin's "if you used a picture of a Crown on every profile in a line, it would be very confusing"

What about an image that is really text and says for example "died young"?

Private User
1/18/2012 at 2:37 PM

FYI - The photo for MAMA MOZES is at where it is seen to come from "Minhagim (Customs), published by Solomon Proops, Amsterdam, 1707"

1/18/2012 at 3:22 PM

This kind of image doesn't bother me. It is stylized and I learn something from it, nor is it misleading. If clearly labeled it would be appropriate to me.

Private User
1/18/2012 at 3:27 PM

I agree that that kind of image doesn't bother me which is why I said I put it in a different category. But I would start to get bothered if I saw it on every Jewish married profile from early 1700s / late 1600s. Maybe it should only be on profiles from Amsterdam? Even then, I wouldn't want to see it on every profile. And who is to say who can and cannot use it?

1/18/2012 at 4:33 PM

I'm with the latter. To me the editing eye should be as light as possible, even in guidelines.

1/18/2012 at 6:33 PM

Sorry for deleting the correct tag, but when I clicked the picture it took me there,. Only a tech could tell you why it is stuck to the wrong profile. I wonder if this set is the only ones.

Using the flag of the country was mentioned before but then it was because people were using a US flag for someone born in New England in 1700 and such. They would have benn british citizens and such.

Yhen if some one was born in the US during a time when it only had 13 stars, and died at a time when it had 16 stars, what do you use. Using one with 50 stars would be wrong of course.

I don't think we came up with a set of rules because for the most part people do use common sense. And to me, common sense means not using the same one over and over and not using one that might end up in a bad merge.

I don;t think Geni has ever given any guidence other than what's in the TOS. The policy is a "no policy, policy" as I recall.

Private User
1/18/2012 at 7:00 PM

Marvin - I was thinking of guidance rather than rules. I think people might appreciate guidance, but resent rules.

With respect to common sense - some really do use the same image throughout an area

eg have a look at the tree round

I am not sure what is the point of those.

1/19/2012 at 2:02 AM

David the point is to use a visual trace for your direct ancestry (or other items of interest) in the thicket of the forest. I did the same when I started in the big tree and before I learned to manipulate my Geni views.

1/19/2012 at 12:48 PM

There are others that use nature pictures, then I used picture notes like in

Jacob Caulk

That only make sense to someone in the line.

Even if there were Guidelines other tan what's been said or Rules (that were meant to be broken) the real point is the most people on Geni ignore them anyhow until they clash with someone.

As curators we normally try to laugh it off unless someone has a problem with an area. There are 60 million profiles and only 80+ Curators.

Al;so as we speak of this in English, there may be another group of people discussing it in any number of other languages and came up with a different set of Guidelines or Rules.

In Mike's words in many discussions "It's only a problem if you make it a problem"

I see no problem with 99.9 % of the profiles. So why make a Guidline/Rule. If it's not against the TOS, it's allowable anyhow.

Private User
1/19/2012 at 1:20 PM

Marvin - I quite like that "picture".

Re Guidelines / Rules, my thoughts are:

1. Obviously we are in no position to make rules. Hence a guideline not a rule.

2. I am thinking the guideline can actually add to people's ideas rather than subtract from them. If the guideline links to examples, then looking for example at the profile picture for Jacob Caulk may generate a good idea.

3. I do have people ask me what is appropriate to use as a profile picture. Sometimes the subject is raised in public discussions. I would like to be able to refer these people to a guideline.

3. Most people will never read the guideline - but since when did we only write on Geni what most people will read or take notice of?

4. Why keep profile picture laughs to 80+ curators - let us all share in the fun!

5. I have no problem with someone else also coming up with a different guideline - we know how to handle that on Geni - when we find the duplicate we will merge and resolve conflicts.

1/19/2012 at 2:52 PM

David, if you write a set of Guidlines. and post them here, I will be glad to add it to the Geni Wiki after a short discussion. You have General Guide lines and do nots above. I don't think it needs to be long or exact, just general.

You game?

Private User
1/19/2012 at 3:23 PM

I'm game - but it won't be immediately - due to pressure of other commitments. This isn't urgent. It would start from Randy's above, and the previous public discussion if we can find that.

1/19/2012 at 4:00 PM

That's the only other one I could find that might apply, nut there was one update that wiped out old discussions.

Erica, was there ever a Curator discussion, I didn't find one.

1/19/2012 at 4:03 PM

was started in 2010 with 8 discussions

1/19/2012 at 4:05 PM

That;s were the profile for Stephen Dodd, II
came in

Showing 1-30 of 34 posts

Create a free account or login to participate in this discussion