Started by Günther Kipp on Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Profiles Mentioned:

Showing 1-30 of 190 posts
7/28/2010 at 3:53 PM

Many of you have profiles that ought to be public marked as private, its very annoing noone can edit or merge them - please check and change:
On your own main page: Profiles managed
Change any privacy to private - change
In my opinion only your own living familie should be private!!

7/28/2010 at 3:58 PM

I do agree. I marked my living families private and only made my dead relatives open for public viewing

7/28/2010 at 4:00 PM

I don't understand why there would be any other way except by mistake.

7/28/2010 at 4:08 PM

yes hon I think so too

Private User
7/28/2010 at 4:12 PM

While I agree that many profiles that are currently private should be public, where to draw the line is debatable.

I am currently using birthdate relative to 1885 as the cut-off. Anyone born before 1885 is public. Most born on or after are private. Exception: if the latter died before 1950, they are also public.

Contrary to Günther, though, I do not believe any of the living profiles that one manages should be public (*), regardless of whether they are in one's family group or not. I think one's responsibility to protect the privacy of the living extends to all such profiles one chooses to create (or assume management of) in Geni.(+)

(*) Exception: Public figures such as politicians and celebrities.

(+) This philosophy was violated when Geni provided a global button to change profiles from Private to Public, which did not respect the living/deceased boundary for profiles outside one's FamilyGroup. I am still cleaning up the consequences of that fiasco.

7/28/2010 at 4:21 PM


Agreed. Alive is private regardless of degree of kinship (public figure exception). 1885 sounds like a good cut off. When in doubt I am leaving private (my profiles are obscure).

My question is about "died before 1950." Once deceased, that data is public domain information, isn't it?

7/28/2010 at 4:23 PM

That is how I mark it in my family tree. I just lost my brother a month ago and made that a public file but no one else alive is public in my family tree

Private User
7/28/2010 at 4:51 PM

Hi All,

I'm up to my neck in work at the moment, but try to log into Geni at least once a day to deal with merges/collaboration requests and so forth. Please, if you find any private profiles belonging to me that should be public, message me and I shall fix it up for you. I know how very, very irritating it is, having beaten my head against a brick wall here for ages re: some private profiles re: people who lived and died centuries ago....grrrrr!! :)

Private User
7/28/2010 at 5:03 PM

Thanks for the reminder. I just did a search and fixed all in my tree that are deceased to public. Message me if you find any that I missed.

7/28/2010 at 5:04 PM

I thought this was automatic per Geni.....see

Am I missing something here?

Private User
7/28/2010 at 5:55 PM

You wrote: "My question is about "died before 1950." Once deceased, that data is public domain information, isn't it?"

To what data, and to what country or countries are you referring?

7/28/2010 at 5:58 PM

I was thinking of the US. Social security index death data is entered into and other databases long after 1950.

7/28/2010 at 6:10 PM

The data is current, free and available to anyone up to 2008:

Social Security Death Index 1937 to 2008

A popular genealogy tool, the index is current through June 2008 and can help you obtain information about a past relative's dates of birth and death, and place of birth. Upon death, a SSN is retired and made public as an anti-fraud tool ...

7/31/2010 at 3:32 PM

Erica Howton
If I take your list of managed profiles and serge for private deseased profiles born before 1900, I find 7!!! Don't know who the are, my point is only that every manager should look at there profiles, and deside whether its reight or not, that the profiles appering is private.

7/31/2010 at 4:06 PM

Hi Gunther,

Only 7 out of 7000 profiles? I am pretty good!

I checked again and just "flipped" four from "private" to "public." Others left are:

1. Born between 1880-1915 and I do not as yet have a death date, if any.

2. No birth or death date record as yet and generationally, *could* be alive. I will work on finding birth/date records for those people first.


Joel, those setting affect all profiles added AFTER a certain date, when they made this change. While they did a pass through the tree to find many such, certain limitations left quite a few behind.

The big problem though, are "zombie" profiles - profiles that people uploaded or manually added that should be marked as deceased. these will most likely be private and living, so only the manager can change them.

8/1/2010 at 8:06 AM

Thanks Shmuel, I have recently gone through my list and I did make some changes that changed some profiles to public.

If anyone runs across a profile that I manage that they feel should be marked as public, please let me know.

8/1/2010 at 1:13 PM

@Erica it was not to say you should be ashamed or something like that - only to say that everyone have profiles marked as private, without any particular reason, and my mission on this discussion is to get rid of those actually blocking profiles

8/1/2010 at 1:17 PM

Do private profiles in the historical cause data conflicts when attempting to merge? I've had strange things happen when merging -- and I am quite sure my alignment was correct.

8/1/2010 at 1:32 PM

Erica Howton
There has been problems on that before, I think you should make a "ticket" on helpdisk.

only someone who is in your Family-Group can merge private profiles, so yes, having private profiles in the historical tree blocks your collaborators from being able to merge them.

9/9/2011 at 2:02 PM

As others have said “private” profiles have to be the singularly most irritating part merging profiles on While there is a need for some profiles to be “private” many are that way because people do not understand the way Geni works or the way Geni is designed to work.

Unless something has changed recently, one unfortunate feature within Geni which I believe could be improved is that all profiles entered of “family” members are set to “private” by default. Many new users are neither aware of this feature, its implications or how to fix it. I could not tell you then number of times I have had to explain to someone how to make a profile “public”. As others have said I to-often find profiles with a date of birth in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries set to “private” with no good reason.

Further to the guidelines proposed by Philip and others above may I suggest Geni modify the software by creating an account setting requiring the account holder to set the date of birth before which ALL profiles are public with a range from say 1850 to 1950 and a default of say 1900 (although I like 1885). Ideally it would be possible to change this at any time and have Geni update all managed profiles.

Upon implementation of such a plan the system could require that all profiles where the date of birth is prior to 1850 said profiles will be “suspended” (temporarily disconnected) from the tree (while maintaining the integrity of the tree), if said profiles are not made public within, say 30-days. The account holder and family members would then have the option to reinstate said profile only if the profile was set to “public”. It should not be possible to simply remove the year of birth or similar. If no date of birth is present then the year of death could be used. If no dates are present then…


2/5/2012 at 7:05 AM

I thought geni didn't allow any private profiles of people born before 1850-something. I guess that's why I've been running into people who died in the 1700s marked private. When is geni going to quit making decisions before thinking things through? They could at least ask some of you curators who have both extensive genealogical experience and extensive technological experience (especially those who have been users since day one). Very, very, very annoying.

2/5/2012 at 7:01 PM

Since July 29 2010 this disussion has been going. I've been a user since june 2011 and pro from my beginning. I did like the fee-free idea since there is a thougth of a world tree and many people together help each other.

But that's not the case. Some people who are aloud to have at most 100 profiles are managers of many thousands of profiles and refuse merging after opening "their" private profiles.

There are "rules" and such must of ciurse be obaied as it's risky to loose ones or risk others integrity. is there a rule about all born up til 1885 (or maybe 1887 now 2 years later) should på public? The only thing people/users need to do is to put no birth year into the profile, The same as to death day.

Is Geni afraid if the World tree may become smaller if merges thereby would be possible?

Private User
2/7/2012 at 4:55 PM

See Geni’s Privacy Policy here:
The rule is, you can make Private folks back to 3rd great-grandfather (of you or, according to what I have read elsewhere, of anyone in your Max Extended Family with a claimed profile). Many of us believe firmly this should not be changed to force more profiles to be Public regardless of peoples wishes.

This article demonstrates how these rules could easily result in privacy going back further than you apparently want:

2/7/2012 at 9:55 PM

@Lois Lubin

Thank you Lois. I know about the Geni Privacy Policy but not about the extreme case that a person born 1790 still have one living relative. That extreme case, President John Tyler in USA, could said to be a public person as Mr Olof Palme in Sweden. I belive the relatives are quite proud of being grandchildren to a President and why then keep quiet about it on the Geni-Tree?

My question was more directed to these cases where non-pro managers keep profiles from old times private as there are no other relatives but their line. In my case I have about 120 "merge requests" including "tree"- and "data conflicts" where I now finished to evan look at them, as I know managers refuse to make the profiles Public. Even my former paper-collaborators IRL refuse to make Public and merge their duplicates of my "profiles" that I gave them. Why at all put the family at Geni or any other internet based genealogy sigth? If one like the Private form why then not keep the private private. On paper to be really sure.

Private User
2/7/2012 at 10:53 PM

Agneta Åhrberg -
The example was to show that 3rd great-grandparents of currently living folks could go way back.

As to why folks put Profiles on Geni if they want them Private - because Geni promised Privacy. Why not on paper - because Geni provided a way to enter info that didn't require starting over and re-doing each time someone got married or had a baby, thus making each Paper Tree obsolete or a mess.

Geni is not just about the World Tree. An equally strong Goal is Sharing Family Info with your Family (privately!!) Many of the folks not merging are focusing on that aspect.
Others refusing merges may be Basic users who Geni no longer allows to accept merges, so they have no choice. Others may simply not want to violate the privacy of folks they know -- or of folks they do not know.

2/7/2012 at 11:35 PM

What I said was that of course you can always find an extreme exception. And President Taylor is really an extreme since he was as living a very public person.

There are many computer programs available for the home computer instead of the paper alternative. I and friends of mine use that for the private things, for living people and children. That's why Geni provides Gedcome possibilities so that your are able to import and export data.

The Geni World Tree is of course central to the Geni focus. If you want to put your family into that Tree, be part of it, it's not enough to just paint a leaf and tell "this is my family's spot in the tree" and not make it belivable by letting other Geni users check. I had a relative and found a connection, but with some data in question. (It was not true data and it was odd since the person said there was a connection to noble people in Sweden. Rather than correct the user made the profile Private!)

The World Tree now have more than 60 miljon people (private and public) which is of course wrong and a bog overestimation, since there are so many duplicates. I have solved some of the "private"-profile problem as many others by making duplicates among the old profiles (people who died many years ago).

The basic users can still ask for collaboration with pro-users. Geni could also take response for the idea of a maximum of 100 profiles to manage for these users.

I do understand the problems about integrety and the question is would you like a private picture for your private wall to show to your friends when you invite them, then it's not a question of collaboration. If you're intrested in genealogy, peoples history, as in many of the Geni-projects, then collaboration and a willingness to give and take in collaboration is in focus.

Private User
2/8/2012 at 12:24 AM

Agneta, you are always welcome to ask me for help on private historical profiles, i.e. born before ca 1800.
In fact in the Swedish parts of the tree we have many private profiles born ca 1820 with claimed profiles within the Geni family scope. And those we can not touch.

2/8/2012 at 1:02 AM

Thank you Bo-Arne. IRL many of the swedish and scandinavian profiles are public on internet. When they are made Private on Geni they only generate duplicates and lousier search possibilties. At the moment I'm most in Denmark : ).

It's not only anoing with the "old" profiles. It also make it harder to make young people interested in the area genealogy if they have to do everything we have done once more. We cannot push them to start in 1750 and work forward.

Showing 1-30 of 190 posts

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