Why keep Geni

Started by Michael Patterson on Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Showing 1-30 of 38 posts
5/23/2012 at 9:12 PM

I signed up for Geni Pro account and I am not very pleased with the search function as all I find here are links to ancestry.com and other pay sites but no new info on Geni. That was the only reason I upgraded from a free account but unless someone can tell me what I get for my money I see no reason not to cancel.
Additionally the was no place anywhere where I could talk to someone from Geni and ask them why I should stay a paid member and what I would get for my money.
I wait to hear from someone but am not very impressed.

Private User
5/23/2012 at 9:39 PM

The main reason, in my book, would be the ability to add unlimited number of profiles - which until less than a year ago was something everyone, including Basic, could do. Reason 2) would be the ability to approve or disapprove mergers (again, something Basic Users used to be able to do for profiles they managed and/or were in their Max Extended Family). For my own self, being able to edit other folks' Public Profiles without any input from them and being able to merge those profiles (if on the Big Tree) however I want seems a bit overwhelmingly scary -- too much power over others, too much risk I might create harm.

As to the search - as a Basic, if you search for a name and find it on Geni but not in you Family or etc, you cannot click on the manager and send him/her a message, which as a Pro you can do. (You are talking about searching for People, in Box at top, yes?)

It will be interesting to see if anyone else chimes in with what they find worthwhile (or not) about Geni Pro.

5/23/2012 at 10:44 PM

Mike, you need to add more then 7 profiles to your tree to be able to see the benefits of pro, once you have extended your tree enough that you find matches with other trees being pro allows you to merge the duplicates together and your tree can be connected to millions of family members

5/23/2012 at 11:05 PM

I find it completely unhelpful to discover that I have a "John unknown" listed as my 25 x great-grandfather and an "Unknown" listed as my 26 x great grandmother.
From a genuine genealogical perspective this is, in my book at least, nonsense - and I find Geni and other internet genealogy sites full of it.
Let's have some documented evidence rather than supporting undocumented family fantasies.

5/23/2012 at 11:12 PM

martin wood i just merged john unknown with john lincolnshire so thats fixed now

5/24/2012 at 12:00 AM

I do hope everyone joins in the documentation effort. Ive uploaded to make available to everyone over 4,000 documents. Now multiply me by many active users and this is a very documented site.

5/24/2012 at 10:23 AM

Michael Patterson, there are links to other sites at the top of search results, but there are also search matches within Geni. If you are not finding relatives in the search results, you may have to build your tree back a little farther. If you do that, you should eventually find a match with a profile that is already on Geni. As a Pro member, you can then merge the profile in your tree with that other profile and instantly grow your tree and find numerous new relationships.

5/24/2012 at 5:07 PM

OK, I have a tree set up on ancestry.com with almost 32,000 people so if all I am going to be able to do on Geni is connect to other people's trees, I can already do that at ancestry, where they also offer millions and millions of records, that can be used to prove relationships, as Martin above mentions.

To be honest I wasn't familiar at all with Geni and heard about it as I watched Roots Tech 2012 online, and signed up for the free/basic account, so I joined on the Mother's Day special for a lifetime membership, because that was by far and away the best deal, but my problem is the best deal for what.
I was under the impression that I would find actual records to search that ancestry or family search, etc. didn't already offer. I'm not seeing that here and I am still especially bothered that there is no phone number listed anywhere to contact someone at Geni to ask question especially about Tech support. This was completely nonexistant and completely took me aback!

So again I ask Why keep Geni? I'm not seeing it yet and I am seriously asking because my wife doesn't understand what I am getting for teh money and as to know, neither am I.

5/24/2012 at 5:11 PM

Mike most help queries can be answered here http://help.geni.com/home

video tutorials are here

if you have any questions that arent there you can just ask now and we can answer them for you

5/24/2012 at 5:47 PM

Mike I use ancestry.com for record search all the time (and they charge quite a bit for that service). Geni is NOT the same nor in my opinion meant to be. The concept of collaborative genealogy allows everyone, whether beginning enthusiasts, experienced genealogists, or academic historians to contribute their special efforts and knowledge to one world tree.

This much more "Facebook meets Wikipedia" than the old style way of working.

Private User
5/24/2012 at 6:07 PM

Michael Patterson

The industry and people involved with genealogy agree that collaborative genealogy is the way of the future. So, with Geni you get the company that started it and does it best. And it is not the staff that makes this the best place to be it is the users and the curators.

Everyone starts out doing Genealogy alone and what happens to everyone is that you hit a roadblock and get stuck. With Geni when you hit that roadblock you don't have to stay stuck. We have users here from all around the world that are willing to help you. Need a image from a cemetery in Germany but can't make the trip you can start a discussion and usually when someone is going to that cemetery for their own research they will get what you need too.

Take Jason for example he's added about as many profiles as you have but by being part of a collaborative site he has connected to over 100,000 blood relatives. When something like that happens it just opens up the possibility of what you can research.

And while you are correct we do not currently have documents we are consistently working to improve our site and we have been looking at how documents fit into that.

Private User
5/24/2012 at 8:33 PM

Your wisest move might be to use your free trial as much as you can (including adding as many profiles as you can type in since this is unlimited only for Pro -- you can edit them later with all known info, whether you stay Pro or go back to Basic), then cancel, continue with Geni as a Basic Member, and then, after you have a better feel for what Geni does and if you enjoy it, then take advantage of another sale - hopefully they will not count trying and cancelling against you - this I do not know - always the possibility you might not be able to get as good a deal in the future - but you might be more comfortable going that route.

Geni clearly is not what you were expecting it to be. It is not a source of records. And no, they do not provide a phone number, do not take calls. They do, in my view, have a great 'Tree View'. But that is a far cry from why you joined.

Some folks here love the merge-route -- I am still upset my tree was forcibly merged in to the Big Tree (under current rules it would not have happened) - do not want my Family being seen and edited by folks in no way related to me or the profile, and keep as many of my profiles private as possible. How you would choose to use Geni is up to you. But again, the pluses are not at all in the area you were looking and expecting them to be.

5/24/2012 at 9:27 PM

Thanks Lois, Charles, Erica, Jason, et al. I guess since ancestry which yes I pay for 1 year approx what Geni charged for a lifetime, but they do have the ability to merge trees and info with others trees while keeping your own tree info separate. I am also truly concerned about others changing my tree. Family Search has that in their new test mode and this was discussed at RootsTech and I volunteered to be a Beta tester.
Additionally Ancestry allows the ability to see who else has connected to a census or other record which is very valuable for contacting other relatives/researchers.
I wonder if I load a tree with 30,000 people and then go back to the basic membership what happens to the info?

5/24/2012 at 9:58 PM

Mike all I can do is share my own experience and why OUR tree is on Geni. 

1.  First of all, GEDCOM upload on Geni is disabled, so you won't be sharing your 32,000 record local database.  Instead you'll be contributing to OUR world tree - and it will contribute back to you.

2.  I have a cousin with a beautifully researched and documented tree on Ancestry.  She did a great job with the family history.  But except for new additions (marriages and births) that tree is static because we can't "cross the ocean" to Europe.  On Geni, however, we have a Projects capability for collaborative study by region, occupation, awards, linguistic group, DNA grouping, "early settlers", notables -  whatever way you can imagine.  It has media capabilities and discussion capabilities.  We also have specialist genealogists happy to share their knowledge and find new cousins themselves.  So for the first time in years there is the possibility of extending our knowledge.

3.  On another side of my family there is a more distant cousin who contributed postings for years.  He kindly shared his information with me, I entered it on Geni, and I can safely say -  I have most of the public information associated with that name available.  

4.  And guess what.  I was able to do something similar with *another* of my cousins, who then interested his daughter, who entered her husband's branch, etc. And now both of us have made connections that will take years to explore in depth.

5.  If you want to use Geni as Lois does then Geni is a good way store and share information in your private family group up to the 4 generations discussed in the privacy zone.  That takes you to the sometime in the 1800s depending on how old everyone is.

6.  The first official US Census was in 1790.  That is, to me, the extent of tree validity in Ancestry.com, because if you're interested in ancestry prior to that you need to turn to book records.  And that's where Ancestry & FamilySearch fails, in my opinion, as there are no critical and evaluating collective eyes to assist you.  So if you're interested in re-inventing the wheel for each of those 32,000 profiles, sure, use their storage.  But perhaps you'd rather work on more specific areas - which can change over time.  The areas you aren't working with still get covered.

Hope this helps.


5/24/2012 at 10:03 PM

And by the way GEDCOM export from your Geni tree to your locally stored application is used all the time. So "your" records are always "safe" on your own workstation.

Private User
5/24/2012 at 10:44 PM

Mike - as Erica said, Gedcom Import is disabled.

In answer to you question re: what happens to them -- As many as you type in of your 32,000 during your trial will still be available to you - to look at and to edit - even if you go back to Basic.

Out to 4th Cousin, back to 3rd Great-Grandfather you can make Private. Even if Public, if there is no connection to Big Tree, you can stay a separate Tree, others cannot forcibly merge. Or - if you want that connection to the Big Tree - go back far enough to find a match, and merge into the Big Tree before your Pro Trial is over (if you decide to cancel it) - then others can continue the merging for you.

5/24/2012 at 11:02 PM

You would have to ask nicely though! And contribute your own knowledge and research, one hopes. We're all a team here.

Private User
5/25/2012 at 9:45 AM

Re: "You would have to ask nicely though!" --actually, no -- equally likely would be folks merging your profiles with other ones, regardless of your desires.

At least, that is my experience now with the few Public Profiles (inherited fro a deceased relative, long deceased, way outside my Max Extended Family so I cannot change to Private unless I cheat and say alive, which even I agree would be unfair). Even your Private Profiles can be merged by any Pro in your (or its) Max Extended Family.

My experience, the folks I merge with or get merged with are never ones who enter Documents or even put comments in About Me -- some have notes at home, some use Ancestry.com for Documentation - so many have documentation - BUT they at most enter unsupported facts on Geni. Very frustrating.

5/25/2012 at 10:03 AM

I think you're on a different issue, Lois, from what I meant.

Mike, Lois works in the 4 generation range. I work above that - my main interest area is Colonial America. So we reflect varying experiences as well as needs and expectations.

I had no idea of my ancestry beyond 4 gens really, and all my previous forays into genealogy didn't get me much further. But I entered 1000 profiles into Geni and literally the world opened up.

Private User
5/25/2012 at 10:12 AM

Folks like Erica, who truly care and do add Documentation, etc. are part of what makes Geni a positive experience for many.

5/25/2012 at 8:55 PM

I guess in some respects I am more frustrated than ever as I have added scores of thousands of members into ancestry with correlating data and just don't want to start over by adding this all manually here, that just feels like make work and a real waste of my precious time.

I have done the work and traced some family lines back numerous generations to the Plantagenet line for instance, which obviously I can trace back even further, however other lines including my actual Patterson line I can only trace back about 6-7 generations (mid 1750s in Philadelphia) and have yet to determine when they came to America and that was what I was hoping to get some fresh eyes on by joining Geni.

Private User
5/25/2012 at 9:16 PM

Mike. If you've put all this work into one site, why do you want to change sites at all? The information in Geni is available to all - you don't need to be a Pro member to retrieve it. Why not add any information found in Geni to your other site, rather than the other way around.

As family trees cannot be imported into Geni, I'm sure there are many in the same circumstance.

5/25/2012 at 9:22 PM

And that's exactly where you "should" concentrate on Geni, as we no doubt already have loads of Plantagenet profiles. No need to add them here or worry about them at all.

Tracking Colonial America - you're talking my language now (but I'm no Philadelphia expert). So add your family tree until you hit a match. Learn to use SEARCH, not "record match.". Find the other researchers in your area - I saw you started a Patterson Project, well done.

Connecting our "first immigrants" to the UK will result in some dead ends. But on Geni you can explore and pursue other lines for fresh avenues and histories. I just started looking into my Maryland lines. Never even occurred to me to look there at all as it's a name that wasn't part of my "known" tree. But Geni (and outside Geni research in addition, of course) proved it out, and now, with some collaborators, we're documenting the line back to 1200 or so. Makes up for some brick walls elsewhere.:)

5/25/2012 at 9:23 PM

Yeah Ken - that really helps MY family tree. :)

5/25/2012 at 9:25 PM

Ken hope you have no ancestry in Cumbria.:):)

Private User
5/25/2012 at 10:03 PM

I'm in the same circumstance as Mike. I have a vast family tree, of which almost nothing is on Geni. The work involved in manually entering it into Geni outweighs any advantage.

5/25/2012 at 10:12 PM

I can't speak for the tree density from Australia or your aspects of the UK. But I can a bit for Colonial America. It took me, totally clueless on search and with no "notables" in my near ancestry, not a lot of data entry to connect to Mayflower lines. The tree for some unknown reason (smile) is quite dense on that. But a member does need to contribute what they know to get there. I believe that's only fair, don't you?

5/26/2012 at 5:35 AM

Erica Howton It is fair, but I've spent over 20 years doing that already and to now go through and retype it all in again, if that is the only way, seems to be a real poor use of my time. I do not want to revisit what I know, I want to add to what I already know, and since GEDCOM already exists and hopefully soon, GEDCOMX, its replacement, it seems like GENI is behind the times if it expects everyone to manually hand type in each piece of info.

This is fine or even great for the person who hasn't already done this somewhere else, but if you've "done it and been there" that is indeed counterproductive.

As I said not sure how many attended Roots Tech or watched online but the future of genealogy is very bright, but manually re-entering years of work, when there is another way, is not in my opinion moving forward.

Trust me I have many friends who do research and it has all been hand written on paper and searched manually on foot and this would be great for them as a a start, but so much of my work is already done, I just wish to extend and this just seems like going backwards to join this method.

Sorry but that is my 2 cents worth! I say fix GENI and employ uploading of previous GEDCOM data.

OK I just checked as of this morning I have 32309 people in my tree, 5607 fotos, 349 stories and 51767 separate records attached, so hopefully my dilemna makes sense?

I came to GENI searching answers not wishing to create busy work and that is what my manually adding in records. I just looked at the 7 people I added and just adding what I know about those original 7 would be timeconsuming.

Thanks for the discussion, if nothing else it is enjoyable discussing genealogy with other interested individuals.

5/26/2012 at 9:34 AM

Mike I'm sorry if it sounds harsh but it really strikes me as .. lazy, sorry ... Not to hand enter the what, 25 profiles it might take to "connect" with the big tree.

I don't know about your use of computer applications, but I've used hundreds in my life. It takes more than 5 minutes to learn how to use one, and the best way to learn is by using it.

Private User
5/26/2012 at 2:30 PM

Mike - for the record, Geni did allow GEDCOM imports for a while - the decision was made to stop allowing it because it seemed to be resulting in too many duplicates - and Geni only wanted ONE profile on Geni for each individual.

Showing 1-30 of 38 posts

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