. . . a single, collaborative world family tree . . .

Started by Peter De Bie on Friday, August 12, 2011


Profiles Mentioned:

Showing 391-420 of 514 posts
12/6/2011 at 7:40 AM

re: "To be able to merge private profiles you have always needed family group access, either real or as an extended family group member with the manager." --- "And that includes private profiles long dead, right? IMHO absolutely crazy and a true obstacle to building one world wide tree."

I don't think it's crazy IF Geni.com choose to support both private family trees and a public "world" tree. That's o.k., in my opinion.

What *IS* a problem is when there are private profiles connected to the "world" tree which are ancestors of public profiles.

There needs to be two capabilities and understandings:

1) If I choose to connect to the "world tree", then I am agreeing that all older (however Geni decides to define that!) profiles connected to that "world tree" will be public. I can choose to make other profiles I manage also public, but "older" ancestors (as Geni defines) will always be public. {It would also, however, be nice to have managers have some curator-type privileges to "lock" authenicated information.}

2) If I choose to take profiles I manage that are currently connected to the "world tree" as private, then I can do so -- with this caveat: public profiles already co-managed as part of the "world tree" and not subject to privacy laws will remain public; I will get a private copy of them so that I can manage the completeness of my private tree without being affected by whatever happens to the "world tree". {The intent would be to deal with the existing history of bad and unintended connections.)

Those provisions, it seems to me, would allow Geni.com to support both private tree-builders who like the features of Geni.com for putting "their" tree on-line -- and -- to provide for the building of a "world tree".

Private User
12/6/2011 at 7:53 AM

Agree. A very good point. Thank You.

12/6/2011 at 11:30 AM

1. and 2. are both in theory and principle OK. That said, that great thinking et al is just too complicated IMHO.

There must be better ways of letting people do their own private trees. Like starting from scratch and from day nbr one ticking one item "All Private", which would also make their tree invisible to the Geni "Outside World" (outside of their tree) and vice versa.

Thus they could run their own private and secluded game ad libitum - or at least as far as Geni would allow them to before calling them to start paying.

Of course they would always maintain the possibility of opening up their private tree to the outside world, to the world tree, but in that case all of their profiles beyond say 70 years of death (Swedish privacy limit) would go by default go public.


12/6/2011 at 8:22 PM

I found a partial solution. If the profiles I want to merge and the manager of those profiles are family and the manager accepts my family group request I find that I can do the merges all by myself.

Regardless, and understanding the need to make paying for membership attractive, I think it is short-sighted of Geni to make it difficult for people to fix defects (duplicates) in their most valuable asset (the content). It reduces the value of what they have to offer to everyone, whether they pay or not.

Private User
12/6/2011 at 10:39 PM

Dan - several problems with your suggestions above -

1) many folks did not CHOOSE to connect to the World Tree - it was forced upon them. I do not expect Geni to ever provide us with a way to actually disconnect sensibly -- but no objection to your advocating they do so, if that is what you are suggesting.

2) not sure which or what qualifies as "not subject to privacy laws", so do not know whether that would or would not allow me to make Private the Profiles I might want to make Private -- for example, you add my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, siblings, first and second cousins, all as Public Profiles -- I know some of these folks definitely do not want their info Public, do not want info on Deceased Child who died over 50 years ago made Public, etc. - now, when I merge, I can take that Private - what would I be allowed to make Private in your scenario?

Most of above might not be a problem if there were some way to disconnect from the World Tree, and if Geni actually made it possible that, for overlapping profiles, "I will get a private copy of them so that I can manage the completeness of my private tree without being affected by whatever happens to the "world tree". -- And if I could also still have other relatives working together as well as able to see profiles, etc. on "my" tree -- we were doing just fine working together, and I would like to continue to do so.

Private User
12/6/2011 at 10:40 PM

re: "What *IS* a problem is when there are private profiles connected to the "world" tree which are ancestors of public profiles." --
1) sometimes this may be very temporary - a User may have made one Profile Public so a Pro (original user or someone else) could then merge it with another Public Profile (if second one, or both, on World Tree, this is still possible) - and is planning to then return it to Private. Don't jump in and force all the other folks to be Public.
2) Geni often Creates this very Problem you are bemoaning. If I add my 3rd cousin's grandchildren - they will are outside my Max Family Group and Geni will default them to Public. Many, many folks do not notice and change when Geni defaults Profiles to Public. And if this child is deceased - do not know if Geni would even allow me to change it to Private unless there was a claimed Profile within its Max Family Group.
3) Another reason for that happening is related - Geni defaults Profiles to Public, folks notice it sometimes, and change it when they notice it -- but miss other times Geni does it.
-- BUT - I do agree some sort of way to perhaps ask the manager - hey, your father and grandfather are Public, did you really want your great-grandfather to be Private? - tho, having written that - it could be because great-grandfather has descendents of one of his children who are into Privacy, and descendents of another of his children who are into make Public - and this is the compromise they are currently living with. And in that case, no, I do not think you have the right to insist great-grandfather be made Public.

12/7/2011 at 6:40 AM

Private User ... you raise a very good point about differences of opinion among relatives as to what should be private.

My own view is that information which is otherwise available to anyone is public. For example, if your great-grandfather is listed in Census rolls which have been released to public viewing, then it should be public.

I don't have a problem with private trees. I don't see that it makes any difference if there are twenty private duplicate profiles of a public profile. I *do* think there should only be just one public profile for a person.

If someone wants to copy info from a public profile for their own private tree because they want to view/print their private tree without the extra "clutter" of the messy real-world connections of the public "Forest", then that's fine with me. Just don't claim that a person who lived 300 years before you is solely YOUR personal information and thus should not be available in a public profile just because it is part of your private tree.

There is always going to be a fuzzy boundary between the living and the deceased as regards personal privacy. However, there are cases where there are "private" profiles which are from the 1700's or earlier with all (or nearly all) descendants public. Whether it was intentional or not, that seems a bit silly.

As to temporary merges: why go public to merge if it's going to be private? If all the managers of the duplicate profile(s) agree they should be private, then the profiles should be set private before merging; if necessary (as in joining previously separate branches of the same family), the separate managers would add the other as a member of the "extended family group" to complete the merges (removing them as a member of the family group afterwards, if necessary).

It is evident to me that Geni has a bit of a mess in many areas because they started with a vision of "one world tree" (a.k.a. a public "big tree"), but then moved to also allowing private trees without really clarifying the separation of private trees from the "big tree".

Furthermore, the difference between a public profile which IS NOT connected vs one which IS connected to the "big tree" is not at all clear. I personally, for example, had assumed that "public" meant "a part of the Big Tree" and private was for either not-connected or for living people who did not want their profiles to be public (even if connected to "public" ancestors) ---- but it seems that is not a valid assumption about public profiles.

Private User
12/7/2011 at 7:07 PM

Dan - re: "As to temporary merges: why go public to merge if it's going to be private?" -- I see you participating in "PRO USERS PLEASE DO THE MERGE-REQUESTS OF NON PRO USERS ! " - which was set up so Pro's could help Basic Users with their merges -- but in order to do so, both Profiles have to be Public, so I would think you understood this.

Your idea - Contacting all managers of the Public Profile to see if they are willing for it to be private - and/or finding a manager of the "other" Profile you can communicate with and trust enough to add as a family member - is much more involved than what we currently have - and, I think, even less likely to be successful. Lots of problems there - should I elaborate more?

Private User
12/7/2011 at 7:51 PM

Dan -
Re: “It is evident to me that Geni has a bit of a mess in many areas because they started with a vision of "one world tree" (a.k.a. a public "big tree"), but then moved to also allowing private trees without really clarifying the separation of private trees from the "big tree"”

--I partially disagree here – Geni started with TWO visions, two goals which were equally important. One was the “one world tree” and the other was a safe place to discover, get to know, and interact with your Family. And – they started with only Private Trees, and without the ability to merge Trees (the ability to merge trees and the creation of Public Profiles both came about after I joined Geni).

In http://www.geni.com/discussions/98590 more info is given on these two goals and it is asked if these goals are both still valid and important, and are they compatible. The answer given was yes to both. You might want to continue some of this discussion there.

In this article from 2007, http://magazine.uchicago.edu/07910/features/take2.shtml it quotes David Sacks about Geni: ““We want to be the repository of all your family’s information,” …”. In http://www.geni.com/discussions/103448 it quotes more from the article, pointing out that it was this sharing of lots and lots of info with your family that was the original vision of how geni would become profitable (companies would want to advertise to you and mine the info).

In my view, the “bit of a mess in many areas”, is due to Geni having focused too hard on the “one world tree’, and not hard enough on assuring folks an area for Private sharing with their family. Now they are trying, perhaps, to redress the balance. But – I don’t see what they are currently doing as useful to either group - for new Basic users, they can only add 100 folks to their trees, for us long-time Basic users with lots of folks, we are very messily merged in to the World Tree with no easy way to cut our way out, for folks focusing on The World Tree - lots of obstacles and messes in their way.

Private User
12/7/2011 at 8:15 PM

Re: “My own view is that information which is otherwise available to anyone is public.” --

Is the “National Genealogical Society” an organization whose views should be considered? If so, we should consider The "Genealogical Standards / Standards For Sharing Information With Others / Recommended by the National Genealogical Society" -
found at http://www.ngsgenealogy.org/galleries/Ref_Researching/gssharing.pdf which includes “* recognize that legal rights of privacy may limit the extent to which information from
publicly available sources may be further used, disseminated or published" -- in other words, just because you find info somewhere - in a newspaper article, on a website, etc. - doesn't mean it is necessarily just fine to make it public.

My feeling - taking a whole lot of info found in very separate places and putting it together is not the same as that info in the separate places. So just because the separate pieces are public does not mean it is automatically okay to make the compilation Public. And especially if combined with a piece of personal knowledge (such as that so-and-so is her father or etc.).

Private User
12/7/2011 at 8:29 PM

Re: “However, there are cases where there are "private" profiles which are from the 1700's or earlier with all (or nearly all) descendants public. Whether it was intentional or not, that seems a bit silly.” -- I agree with you.

Most can probably be resolved by reporting to: http://www.geni.com/discussions/76010 . For those within 3rd great-grandfather of claimed profile, a few may be able to be resolved by contacting Profile manager and/or the person with the claimed profile and asking them to make the one or two Private ones Public. For the others, you may just have to wait for the folks with the claimed Profiles within the Max Family Group to die, then let Geni know, then have Geni run the Zombie Script.

1/2/2012 at 8:59 AM

Private User -- you misconstrued my statement. I was NOT referring to public information about living persons or their IMMEDIATE family -- and the document you referenced address just that issue: living persons and their immediate families.

My primary issue is with information about people long deceased. The desire to keep such information private is, in my current view, somewhat petty and selfish.

In a lot of ways, keeping information about my great-grandparents private is denying other descendents access to that information to which they have as much right as I do -- and, in the current Geni.com context, they ARE denied access because they most likely not able to even discover they are related ... particularly if we did not know about each other and neither is a Pro user to even be able to search adequately.

1/2/2012 at 11:41 AM

<i>My primary issue is with information about people long deceased. The desire to keep such information private is, in my current view, somewhat petty and selfish</i>

Absolutely agree, 100%! It's not only petty and selfish, it's laughable, because it reflects the idea of the posters of that info, that their 'achievement' in obtaining such info is unique - which it seldom is for those proficient in how to access the sources available to us all these days...

1/2/2012 at 1:11 PM

Dan Cornett http://www.geni.com/people/Sten-Wald%C3%B6/6000000002572813551 I agree with both of you.
My feelings are that if you can find info on Find a Grave and or Family Search the person is public and their Geni profile should be also.
Sites such as Rotsweb and others are iffy because the are usually done by family members only.

Private User
1/3/2012 at 1:29 AM

I would love to answer from a South African view. I haven't read all the discussions, they are too many, but I would love to reply what Sten said above - I totally agree. It is selfish and absolute nonsense. Not too talk about all the LIVING people from 1600 anwards.
Eldon - In South Africa the Genealogical Society have a branch called eGGSA - Electronic branch and we have world wide members. There you can find all SA graves up too where we are with the project, death notices, baptism/christining records, marriage records, all that have already been photoraphed and loaded on the website. Currently we are busy with shipping records. To join eGGSA and automatically become part of GGSA is a nominal Fee with a publication called Genesis, taht are filled with information quarterly. You can also then download, from both websites, eGGSA and GGSA, and if you see anything you want in hard copy, you can order it from anywhere. There is also a list of researchers that are avaiable in SA. To get excess and inqueries concerning eGGSA or to join, simply log on to http://www.eggsa.org. Then you can have a look and contact the treasurer, Daan Human or become a member online. I think the year subscribtion for 2012 is R190 and then of course whatever else you would like.
I hope I have helped here. If you wan't more info than the web site offers contact myself or June (Buchanan) Barnes or Daan Botes(Daniel Jacobus. All of us are involved there.

1/3/2012 at 7:50 AM

Judith, thanks for your kind words and info. At present I do not have any of my lines going into SA although that may change so I will go to the site and bookmark it for possible future use.

1/3/2012 at 8:09 AM

"My feelings are that if you can find info on Find a Grave and or Family Search the person is public and their Geni profile should be also."

Believe you should add Google to that roaster, possibly more. How about www.ratsit.se??...


1/3/2012 at 11:00 AM

Perhaps you mean Google Books (that project where they are scanning old public governmental documents to make available) ... certainly not any Google search results!

1/3/2012 at 1:16 PM

No, just www.google.com . no more, no less, whatever anybody has access to, OK?

Private User
1/3/2012 at 1:43 PM

Definitely disagree with Sten - somebody without permission puts something up that, for possibly only a few days, is available thru google, after which it is removed -- and too bad privacy, Sten saw it on Google, so it is Public. Not cool!

Also --- separate pieces available in Public Records are not the same as the compiled facts about the folks, along with their relationships to other folks and the info on these other folks all being laid out. Yes, other dedicated Genealogists may well be able to discover and put together most of these facts - possibly all if you brought not a single piece of info to it - but a simple Con Artist probably won't dig that far. I do not want to be responsible for a Con Artist scamming anyone!

Private User
1/3/2012 at 1:54 PM

A check back on Geni shows that nothing has changed.

I have four messages from people wanting further info. In each case, the requestor's tree consists of one person. My part of the tree is steadily appearing in ancestry.com (verbatim - documents, photos and all) - there tends to be about a three week delay between additions to the Geni tree and it's appearance in ancestry.com.

With all of Geni available via Google, it is simply being mined for enhancing trees elsewhere.

Private User
1/3/2012 at 2:02 PM

Dan Cornett – Re: http://www.geni.com/discussions/99067?msg=765428
If a person is currently 80 and average age of ancestors at birth of child was 30, then (taking average as exact here) – parent born 110 years ago, grandparent 140 years ago, greatgrandparent 170 years ago.

However, if a person is 22, and average age of ancestors at birth of child was 20, then (taking average as exact here) – parent born 42 years ago, grandparent 62 years ago, greatgrandparent 82 yearrs ago.

There is a big difference between these two, even tho both are “greatgrandparents”. A greatgrandparent born around 80-some years ago is quite possibly still alive – may even be a Geni-member, etc.

So - to me - just because someone is a Great-Grandparent does not mean they should be a Public Profile. Unless they, their spouse, and any siblings, plus their children are all deceased, I think the way Geni operates would be way too much an invasion of Privacy and invitation to possible abuse [thru scams] of the elderly children [or siblings, etc] of these folks.

Private User
1/3/2012 at 2:06 PM


It's this on-going problem with Geni. People like yourself think genealogy consists solely of birth and death dates, and any 'research' is limited to what is available on the web.

Geni caters for this approach. If you provide further information beyond the basic details on any profile, Geni does not support this. When Geni provides revision material for ALL information, when Geni includes ALL information when both importing and exporting gedcoms, when Geni reverts to profiles within the family group being able to be publicly viewed, but changed by the family only, then you may find profiles will not be made Private.

You may also be interested in Geni's clear policy on privacy

1/3/2012 at 3:17 PM

Private User re: great-grandparent ages: I thoroughly understand that Lois; I have been pretty consistent about affirming and agreeing with the privacy rights of living persons. Don't "put words in my mouth", please.

But if all the parents and siblings of a deceased profile are also deceased, then I see no reason to maintain privacy of information about a person ... their age (year of birth/death) does not matter EXCEPT as defined by laws.

Having said that, I do NOT advocate automatically making profiles public within the past XX years (argue what value is appropriate) -- but I DO advocate making profiles public which are YYY years old AND joined to the "big tree". (Keep your whole tree private and don't join anything to the "public" tree? I don't really care ... ... but once you connect to the "public" tree, then there ought to be automatic and clear rules applied to making all "old+deceased" profiles public.)

{YYY is something greater than, say 120 years of known or implied age ... implied age is derivable from known ages of children, grandchildren, ... and / or deceased status of immediate family and ancestors. It is not worth discussing the details of just how those boundaries are defined until much bigger Geni.com issues are dealt with, such as un-merging, taking trees private without corrupting the Big Tree, encouraging causal genealogists, etc.}

1/3/2012 at 3:18 PM

No one is going to be satisfied with the privacy situation, I can live with the idea of anyone born less than 150 years ago being private. I will just ignore those and move on. That being said, I am seeing persons on Family Search (the new one) with death dates in the late 1900s and Find a Grave deaths in the last 5 years. These of course are all public and if I find them, I will use them.

Private User
1/3/2012 at 3:25 PM

Further to my post, I've received a very logical reply to my query as to why the info was requested.

She said that if you are interested in genealogy but only want to pay for one site, then it should not be Geni. If you join another site then you have the info of two sites, as the info in Geni is free via Google. This won't work the other way around, so Geni misses out.

Her other comment was the Geni was most likely to be wrong as there are no warnings on dubious input (son born before father), which is inherent on other sites.

1/3/2012 at 3:26 PM

Ken Tregear points to Geni's current privacy policy.

What that does NOT clearly address is maintaining "private trees" outside of one's "family group". That's a big part of the problem -- there is no preference for indicating "I want any profiles I add to be private by default because I intend them to be part of my private tree."

And ... to go back to the original purpose of this discussion thread ... there is no incentive to invite family members to add to the "public" tree (once one's family is large and connected to the Big Tree) because they can only add 5 additional profiles!! Hardly enough to deal with a previously unknown spouse, children, and spouse's immediate parents, let alone any grandkids.

1/3/2012 at 3:28 PM

I would be more willing to make profiles public if I had a say in the merging of them.
My tree is linked to the big tree and making profile private is the only way I know to be consulted about merges.Geni should think about changing the policy on this point.

1/3/2012 at 4:10 PM

Private User Once Google or any search engine has something, it never goes away. It is cached and can be found in the cache without any trouble

Private User
1/3/2012 at 4:28 PM

Eldon. You're right. I originally had my family as Public. A relative complained, so I changed him to Private. Too late. His photo and birth details were cached and are available forever. He's no longer talking to me, which isn't a bad thing.

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