Started by Günther Kipp on Wednesday, July 28, 2010


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Showing 61-90 of 190 posts
2/11/2012 at 8:39 AM

By that knowledge, Bob, the conclusion is that you can keep everything from 1790 Private and migth make your GG-parents Public or choose to keep them private as well. You don't need to collaborate with anyone and your piece of the World Tree will be a white spot, a none discovered area like the north- and southpoles until a hundered years ago.

Maybe Geni ougth to make a picture of the Tree. With empty branches or spots + white branches or areas + black branches or areas? Everyone interested in medivial times, kings and heroes could find a lot of interesting things to do. And those not interested in Robin Hood and the others in the Sherwood Forrest could maybe start doing something else. Breading dogs or cats?

My grandparents were born 1880-1902. I am not their only grandchild or relative. As I am not, I find i odd to keep other relatives out. I presume that all interested in genealogy means well and so far most Geni-users I have met fullfill that presumation. As there are so many users one can choose collaborators and have things done. I like that.

2/11/2012 at 8:40 AM

And is his profile public, Bob?

I guess all my Civil War fighting ancestors fall within the 4 generations, but it's nutty to me to even think of keeping them private. Their war records are after all part of American history.

Lois, that's why I don't write the public relations blurbs.:). History is what we make it to be. I have contemporary connections who are historical - they write books, paint paintings, etc. Their public lives are on the internet and because they put them there.

My obligation, if any, to adults not needing my protection nor asking for it, is as much accuracy as possible.

And counter Ken's unfortunate experience - unless there are crazy numbers of unmerged duplicates (the current case and result of non collaboration / non merging) - the tree always gets better.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 5:21 AM

Yes, except for a few nooks and crannies that have escaped me, my entire tree is public.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 12:05 PM


This mess is of's own creation.

Previously, you could have your close relatives publicly viewed by all, but changed only by becoming a collaborator or being made part of the family group. You could choose which profiles within this group were made Private.

Why somebody outside my family group (i.e. not related) would want to edit my great-grandfather escapes me, but I can understand why they would want to see his details. Geni previously permitted this scenario.

2/12/2012 at 12:25 PM

Ken in answer to the 2nd great grandfather - how many descendants? In laws? cousins? That number gives you the answer. And all can "claim" if they've done the research.

The FG setting is not quite right for reality. I may have done more work on my 5th cousin than anyone else, and have no desire or need to be part of a FG. In my view Philip Decker stated it correctly up thread.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 12:35 PM

If, by chance, they had something to add on my great-grandfather, then they would contact me, as we obviously have something in common. they would be made either a family group member or a collaborator. This is called collaboration, which has gone from Geni now.

It was something that set Geni apart from the other sites, and the expanding team of collaborators was part of the great Geni experience.

This becomes pointless as you go back in time, and making Alexander the Great Private would serve no purpose except to annoy people. Hence, my suggestion for Geni to create a dividing line (exactly where, I'm not sure} between ancestral profiles and those of recent memory - the ancestral profiles being made Public and changeable by anyone, the others by collaboration.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 12:41 PM


The people you have mentioned would be my relatives and would (because it would be publicly viewable) contact me to collaborate - remember collaboration?

This fact alone was the major point of Geni - collaboration - now it's gone.

As I've mentioned, this approach becomes unwieldy if you go back in time - hence my suggestion..

Private User
2/12/2012 at 12:48 PM

I know I'm battling a lost cause, but I find it astonishing that could have made such an unresearched commercial decision to change the concept of the site..

2/12/2012 at 2:05 PM

Yes I understand "the mess" is mostly's own creation. It's impossible to let 1 billion persons wishes and belivings and understandings be part of the development.

The computers are tool and we are nowadays familiair with working solutions as for searching. But in Geni everyone decides who his or her profiles should be constructed and kept. That meens from a "computer level" that search will be more or less impossible.

And as for your GGGP it migth be a sibbling to my GGGM and why do I then have to redo your profile to have my GGGMs sibbling group complete? And if I have some information about your GGGP would it be a disaster if I wrote in GGGP's profile? Or you in GGGM's? Technically the profile of your GGGP or as proposals ougth to come up automatically in a computer system. But it doesn't. I have to do my GGGMs whole family and then a (50 ) merge proposals will appear an if someone is correct I can merge. Today I get Private profiles in my searches and the same among the Possible merges. Today when I do a search i look through the hit list, don't even read the Private profiles.

Another problem with the search function is that anoyone could decide to put in data as they wish and need not to follow any special rules. That is constructing mess. As some people seems to love rules in one way why not at least have rules for how to construct input to a big system like this?

We know it works in bog social projects as Wikipedia, Wikisource etc.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 3:03 PM


Under the old system, if you had some connection with my gg-father and you had information to add, then you send a message to collaborate. The profile would have been viewable by all and by making contact you are collaborating and both parties will learn from the experience. It was the attractive part of Geni.

Now, if the profile is public and you have information, you just add it. The collaboration experience has gone.

I agree totally with your search problems. I can't really see the point of this facility as it stands - it now creates more work than it was meant to relieve.

And as more people (like myself) have now made the profiles Private (and not viewable) because of's new concept the problem expands.,

Private User
2/12/2012 at 3:24 PM

Regarding rules, I agree.

In the parts of the tree I was working with, my request for collaboration was answered with a few rules that apply to that part of the tree. This aspect of collaboration worked perfectly.

The most common rule was not to use the About Me section - leave it blank. As one member explained, one profile had about a hundred documents and photos directly attached to the profile. This provides no context at all and no-one would be interested in trying to piece them together.

Defining Geni as a wiki, where everything is public, won't work. A wiki requires moderators and as genealogy is greatly dependent on bare facts, it is not within the scope of a moderator to check them all.

Wiki's depend upon the source of all information to be provided so that the entry may be verified. Wikipedia, for example, will remove the entry if sources are not provided for verification. Most of the world tree would disappear if this was applied to Geni.'s previous concept was working well, but needed adjustment to stop the contention over historical figures, and to make some more income. made the wrong commercial decision.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 3:37 PM

Perhaps Geni and/or those of us using Geni should consider following the "Genealogical Standards / Standards For Sharing Information With Others / Recommended by the National Genealogical Society" -
found at

A few of the Recommended Standards which it seems to me Geni and many on Geni fail to follow are:

"* inform people who provide information about their families as to the ways it may be used, observing any conditions they impose and respecting any reservations they may express regarding the use of particular items.
* require some evidence of consent before assuming that living people are agreeable to further sharing of information about themselves.
* convey personal identifying information about living people—like age, home address, occupation or activities—only in ways that those concerned have expressly agreed to.
* recognize that legal rights of privacy may limit the extent to which information from publicly available sources may be further used, disseminated or published"

2/12/2012 at 4:19 PM

Lois no one disagrees about living persons. Why is this even a question?

Ken my experience was in NOT being answered by potential collaborators. You haven't addressed that. And the profiles I encounter of my ancestors on Geni are often sketches, GEDCOM uploads with minimal information. Yet many if them of the 5-8th generation - the area of time that interests me - and are documented in books (not so much or so easily in source images except for census reports). Surely using the "overview" section to compile a bibliography is valid?

Private User
2/12/2012 at 4:58 PM

Erica. That was my point. If someone has taken the time to form detailed timelines, then adding random facts to the About Me is counter-productive. Similarly, if an excellent About Me is present, then adding timelines would become confusing. The 'rules' were all about following the standards for that part of the tree. I recall being taken to task as I hadn't provided adequate sources on some occasions.

Collaborating ensured that you understood how everything was presented, without messing it up, before you added information.

As Agneta mentioned, there are no overall rules for Geni - they probably wouldn't work in all circumstances anyway. It is helpful, however, to understand how the creator of that part of the tree put the thing together, and to follow their presentation.

2/12/2012 at 5:06 PM

This is actually now easier to do with the Projects tool as you have discussions, documents repository, and wikitext. By inviting project collabs to work on a select group of profiles you achieve the unity and something also similar to the "timeline" in fact, but for a slice of time grouping.

As example - You probably know that the history of the USA is all about the wars. So as I "tree clean" up & down a family line, I "drop" the profile into a project dedicated to understanding more about that war. The project originators have each made some clear and simple rules for membership in the project. It's been an exciting way to discover new events, concisely referred to, with a drill down / hypertext way to learn more, as desired.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 5:32 PM

Regarding potential collaborators not responding, I have had the same problem.

For recent generations, it took some time (one took 16 months to respond) as not everyone views genealogy with the same intensity - some enter their tree (which is all they wanted to do) and don't log on for ages. Patience is required, and it can be frustrating is the other person doesn't spend the same amount of time on the tree as yourself.

The non-recent areas would be covered by my suggestion of a to-be-determined dividing line.

The loaded gedcoms are a problem. So much information was stripped from them during importation that, in some cases, not much is left.

The problems you are experiencing are more from imported gedcoms than from data directly entered into Geni. There will obviously be many duplicates as we share the same ancestors. This problem should steadily disappear as these various gedcoms are merged.

Charlemagne would appear in a host of gedcoms and cause duplicates, but nobody would enter him afresh. The current merging project will diminish over time.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 5:51 PM


We're way off topic, but the presence and intention of Projects is confusing.

If the Project is intended to be permanent documentation, then I envisage considerable heartbreak in the future. Projects are not included in gedcoms, for example - how would you back them up or transfer them? The genealogical standard for such a thing is Timelines, entering all information about the event (documents, photos, text) and attaching other people to the event so that appears in all the relevant timelines.

By Geni's own definition, Projects are a method of getting a team of people working together to the same objective. This is great!

To somehow make them a permanent appendix to the tree is odd, and is attempting to replicate the genealogical norm of timelines.

To record the voyage of the Mayflower, for example, by all means create a Project. The Project would contain a link to the Event which would contain the info on the ship, the voyage, and tag all passengers and crew. and would become an integral part of the tree.

The Project would be a work-space and forum for those on the Project, which is what Geni intended.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 6:02 PM

I'm also intrigued as to how Geni will handle Projects in the Ancestorsync collaboration - timelines are already covered, but Projects seem to be an anomaly that doesn't fit in.

2/12/2012 at 6:40 PM

Ken I partly dropped a breadcrumb about Projects as Geni is looking at wats to enhance the Project experience. They are giving it a hard think and I look forward to what they come up with. I am excited about projects and always have been a history tool, fairly unique in the collaboration & genealogy spaces.

Mayflower Passengers was one of the first Projects on Geni, and achieved its project goal of making a unique and more or less accurate picture of the families of these voyagers. If only we could bat away the new and needless duplicates.:)

Private User
2/12/2012 at 9:18 PM

Erica – re: “no one disagrees about living persons. Why is this even a question?” – I do not think everyone agrees. Moreover, Geni – at least at one point – is/was defaulting profiles you added outside your Max Extended Family to Public, even if living (and it definitely still allows folks to make them Public).

Bob said, “… except for a few nooks and crannies that have escaped me, my entire tree is public.” – sounds like this includes the living.

In the first post of this discussion, Gunther said, “In my opinion only your own living familie should be private!!” - sounds like this is saying other living profiles you add should be Public.

Agneta said (above, directed to me ), “With your attitude some projects could immideately close down. E.g.: All european immigrants into USA from Europe is kind of bye-bye.” – folks are still immigrating from Europe to the USA, so to include all of them, you definitely have to be referring to living profiles.

One of my second-great-uncles along with his wife and basically all his descendents was added by someone else, were all on Geni as Public Profiles (from a Gedcom dump, I believe) – full (first, middle, last) name, place and date of birth for children and young adults, all in Public Profiles. Moreover - at least one of these folks, when working on my tree / my copy of these profiles, I had been told was a very private person, don’t show such-and-such, etc. - so it bothered me quite a bit, and perhaps is part of why I am so sensitive to it. I also have noticed Public Discussions (and entries over in the Help Platform) complaining about same, such as: and

Moreover, folks often do not pay attention to the fact that the info seen when you look at a profile is not necessarily just info on that person. For example - Cindy said, “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” - but if her brother has children, then his children show up in his Timeline -- with their Date of Birth if that was entered on their Profiles; if he was married, then his wife shows up in his Timeline with any info that was entered on their marriage, etc, etc for Timeline events, and quite possibly her brother’s “About Me” will also include info on the living. To keep from publishing info on the living, it is not enough just to keep their Profiles Private.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 9:19 PM

As to whether Projects can have Private Profiles in them – I think that is a separate question, and since it seemed they couldn’t, I have avoided adding any of my profiles to any project. If they can accept Private Profiles, let me know and maybe I will start considering using Projects and finding out more about them.

2/12/2012 at 9:48 PM

Lois let me correct myself and the put the living to their privacy. I am really not much interested in the topic of the living and find the privacy protection for the living *entirely out of my scope as a curator or PRO member of site.*. I believe I have protected the living adquately in my tree and it ends there for me. I believe Geni staff goes thru major hoops to accomdate privacy protection and it adversely affects my tree building and colloboration. I almost wish they would do what others sites do and allow no living profiles, full stop, so we can move on with the work of building documented family history in a collaborative manner.

In a project I can work on the "slice of time" collections. Agneta mentioned the Mormon Pioneers and how much she learned about Swedish American history by following the activities in that Project. There is an active Titanic remembrance project which is bringing together British and Americans. I've mentioned the Civil War Projects; there is a massive WWl project. These events are a matter of public record, it's simply about organizing the information so it is useful and meaningful.

I mention these in particular because the period 1850-1919 falls within the Geni zone of privacy! So you end up saying is another descendant, wishing to honor their WWl veteran ancestor, will duplicate the profile as public - add the the project - and enlighten the rest of the world.

I'd rather be enlightened.

Private User
2/12/2012 at 10:57 PM

Erica - The more I read statements from you and others which to me seem to be pushing for Profiles to be forcibly made Public / for Geni to restrict our ability to make our relatives Private, the more uneasy (terrified?) I become.

Geni is way better (in terms of tree display, especially) than repeatedly modifying/ starting over a Paper Tree. Geni was the first program I discovered, and I have entered what to me is a great deal of family profiles and info. One of my 3rd cousins assured me that he had that whole branch researched and entered in a Computer Program -- however, he apparently left it for a few years, operating systems have changed, and it seems unlikely he will ever manage to actually access the information again. Putting everything I can find out about my family up on Geni and leaving it there seems like it should avoid that problem -- except for scary ideas such as their various treatment (and suggestions by other users for treatment) of trees if you don't look at them frequently enough, and suggestions such as in this discussion to forcibly make the info / profiles Public.

Given all those annoying Private Profiles you keep encountering, it seems likely many others feel as I do. Tho I will agree some are undoubtedly due to misunderstanding that they have a choice, how to change the settings, etc. - perhaps you feel most are due to some such, but my guess is most are due to folks wanting them Private. Moreover, my guess is many of those "abandoned trees" folks complain about are Trees folks put up expecting them to stay there for when they choose to look at them again years or even decades hence.

This hybrid has been Geni's choice. I fail to see why Geni's policies should be changed and the rest of us made to suffer in order to allow those wanting to work in/on the 1850-1919 time period more easily to do so thru having more access to all the profiles of that period. I do understand it is frustrating; I do not agree Geni should change its policies and put your desire to research this time period above the access to Privacy it Promised all of us.

2/12/2012 at 11:20 PM

Lois once again you misunderstand me.

Use the Geni application as you see fit. It is there to be used.

I am not interested in either -

- disturbing the privacy of living persons not in Wikipedia
- dealing with so called family privacy issues for deceased persons

2/12/2012 at 11:24 PM

Continuing on ...

If I have a list of historically valid facts that apply to a deceased person - an emigration list from 1905, hard to get hold of, comes to mind - and there is a private profile, and it seems to me necessary, I will duplicate that profile.

BTW this has NEVER come up for me and I don't do it - so far. But if necessary or reasonable I feel free.

History belongs to everyone.

2/12/2012 at 11:33 PM

Lois and by the way I have been "slaying zombies" for a year. They are mistakes in data entry or in GEDCOM upload.

When you're working to consolidate 6 duplicates of a presidential ancestor, born in 1660 and you run into a private profile? You BET that's annoying. Unnecessary. A program failure. A human selfishness. An ugliness and a shame for their 20,000 descendants. THIS is what I care about. I mean seriously? I have no interest is bothering someone living!

2/13/2012 at 3:18 AM

Lois@ If you make a quotation from something someone else has stated it's nice, polite and a rule to quote the whole sentence.

I wrote:

"All european immigrants into USA from Europe is kind of bye-bye. Most of the swedish immigrants to US left Sweden from 1850-1910."

Like to repeat that so noone does not think I would like to make it Public profiles on Geni if anyone leaves Europe for any other country or comes to Europe from any other country. What must not have been misunderstood from my complete sentence is that I wrote about a specific, important period in swedish history. All that left Sweden in this period did not leave for USA. Some went to Canada, some to Australia and some to New Zealand. From our point of view we lost them. In many cases the relatives kept contact. In some cases genealogy has helped us find each other again.

In the most touching case in my family one woman i USA hade been working genealogically for years. Her motherlanguage is english. She had been studing old swedish churchbooks that are official and available on internet. In between my father in laws death and the funeral we had a letter from her, translated into swedish in the case we did not speak english, combined with a copy of all her findings and the question: Are we maybe related?

The thing that she found us was that her duagther lived in New York and she said "There must be people with that name in Sweden" and so she went to a phone company or a library to ask for all Åhrbergs in Sweden. In the phone books all the names and adresses are Public. (Some people ask for hidden numbers, but most people like to be accessable). So the daugther found us and now adays we follow each other in "familylife" and on Geni. We have not found everyone of us yet. But we work on it and keep the door open so that anyone who looks for us and their roots easaliy can find us.

I would prefer for a firther discussion n this problematic field that you don't quote anything by me if your intention is to use only parts that suits your actual thougths.

Ken@ I had a thougth that Geni-Team and the Curators is about the same as the Wikipedia moderators.

As to the Project issues I think the grassroot work to put in persons in profiles is only the boring but necessary thing within genealogy. The interesting things is within the projects where all these names become living persons who have and make impressions in your life today.

And Ken, it's not my way of values to close profiles to punish Geni for the changes last summer. You can understand that there is no thing as a free thing. Wikipedia lives of all contributions AND donations from the contributers. To Geni there will probarbly never be any donations made as it seems as some contributers would like to be paid for the contributions they do. Or else they will close their proiles just to show what problems they can make!!! That sounds like an angry 5-yearold boy who threhts the parents.

2/13/2012 at 8:59 AM

Agneta one side of my family is European emigration, 1880 ish and 1905 respectively. We have not connected with our European origins and it would be so exciting if we did. Yet those years are within the Geni veil of privacy. I wonder how it could ever happen.

2/13/2012 at 11:46 AM

Not on Geni probarbly! Though the phonebooks that you may find in the library since they will not print new ones due to internet.

In Sweden we have "The Emmigrant institute" in Växjö, my birth town. As Ellis Island census are official about everyone who arrived from Europe, the EI have lots of information about all the family and ships from Sweden. I'm a member of the Vasa lodge in Ronneby. It's a cultural exchange lodge between Sweden and America and every year a Swed-American is elected. It started in US as a socialinsurance possibility for them "overthere". Most of the members do know a lot about and are interested in all Sw-US-matters. (There are of course other sigths than Geni.)

Private User
2/13/2012 at 1:15 PM


Punish Geni? - My profiles are Private because Geni will not protect the data (no revisions, notifications available) otherwise. Also, it forces collaboration with anyone who shares these relatives.

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