Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.
view all


  • HistoryLink (deceased)
    This profile was created to allow the linking of the HistoryLink project in discussion threads.

Tool for copying genealogical data into Geni.

SmartCopy is a Google Chrome browser extension that helps advanced Geni users copy information and profiles from various sources into Geni. It also provides quick access to research links and HistoryLink tools. Download & install SmartCopy with this link! How to use SmartCopy (Video)

Once you have successfully installed the Chrome extension, you should see an 'icon' on the Chrome toolbar which looks like a smaller version of the icon on this Project page. SmartCopy is activated by clicking on that toolbar icon when you are on an appropriate "source" page which SmartCopy knows how to interpret.

Supported Sites

Usage & Access

The primary use is with a Geni Pro membership, with large value added by a MyHeritage Data subscription.

  • Geni Pro members can add profiles (tree-building) with SmartCopy. Basic members are limited by the Geni API to only updating the current "focus" profile and using the 'research' capability. (n.b.: no authorization by a Curator is needed for that limited usage.)
  • MyHeritage Data subscription is needed for most Record and Smart Matches, but can also work with the free BillionGraves, WikiTree, and matches.

Curators can grant rights on SmartCopy for Geni Pro members allowing them to perform tree-building. A curator can also revoke these rights if they feel the user is not being responsible, such as creating large duplication in the world tree. Users are expected to review for and avoid creating duplicates, merge or delete when duplicates are created, and attempt to work through relationship conflicts that may arise.

(See the end of this page for additional features which may have been added by new releases.)

Usage cautions

The user is responsible for obtaining any required permission from the creator of the work, such as biographies or images. Be aware of what you're copying and respectful of copyright.

SmartCopy uses the Google API in an attempt to resolve the fields for location information. The detection of location can sometimes be inaccurate, so it is recommended that you review the location fields before Submitting the copy operation. If the interpretation that is suggested is incorrect or missing some information present in the original string, either edit the fields by hand (in the SmartCopy panel) or simply 'turn off' the geolookup (by clicking the little globe icon) for that field (so that it simply places the original string into the Place field of the Geni profile).

The locations returned from the Google API normally use the native language currently set for the user; however, SmartCopy forces the locations to English so that some helpful 'parsing' can be done on the fields. Since the location fields do not currently support multiple languages (vs. names, which do), there isn't currently any easy automatic work-around for this issue.

Also be aware that updates may be made at any time (notice will be posted in Discussions here). While Chrome extensions will eventually update automatically, you may want to update manually to get the latest fixes and features right away. This is done by clicking on the Chrome 'menu' at the far upper right, move down to 'Tools' (or 'More Tools'), and select 'Extensions'. Once on that new tab for the Extensions, enable the "Developer mode" checkbox (upper right of the page), and click the "Update extensions now" button. You should see the version change on the HistoryLink SmartCopy item (if there is a newer one). Then you can close that tab and you are ready to go with the updated version!


Please let us know when something doesn't work correctly, if something is not getting parsed, or could use improving. Please provide a link to the Match (or website page) when reporting an issue so that we can duplicate the issue and test a solution. We'd also love to hear if it's working well for you.


Hints & Other Tools

The SmartCopy extension's pop-up window also gives you quick "direct access" to:

  • Searching a variety of other on-line sites (e.g.: if you invoke SmartCopy from a Geni Profile page). Hint: Use the Control or Command key to easily start a bunch of them in separate tabs/windows.
  • HistorySearch: Investigate the profile's direct ancestors, Geni projects they may be related to, and investigate if there are potential 'problems' to be resolved in profiles & their relationships.
  • Ancestor Graph and Descendant Graph: Tools to view several aspects or 'dimensions' of the profile's ancestors or descendants in a "circular graph".

The HistoryLink Geni Project describes the latter 3 tools in more detail.

Clicking on the title area of the SmartCopy extension's pop-up window will open a new tab/window directly to this project page.


If you are having trouble with SmartCopy 'recognizing' your Geni account, try this:


If that doesn't work, then you'll probably need to delete the HistoryLink cookie from the Chrome browser. The status is saved in a 'cookie' the Geni site doesn't have to be queried for authorization each time you connect to the site.

2.0 Update (February, 2016)

Synopsis: (major points)

1) Photo upload enable is OFF by default (open Configuration Options to change).

2) Comparison (viewing) of existing Geni field values to the updating values BEFORE submitting the updates. (One can still edit the values to be updated, as before.)

3) Locations can be edited and re-parsed by the Google location lookup (while still in the SmartCopy panel).

4) Improved parsing of web-sites, particularly Record and Genealogy (person) pages. (Some of these are still obtained by enabling the “Experimental” switch in the Configuration Options.)

5) Handling ‘unknown’ relationships in some types of pages.


With the release of SmartCopy 2.0, one can start thinking about SmartCopy as a “quality improvement tool” for Geni profiles, not just a quick way to copy information from other web sites.

  • Geni comparison:

The basic layout and functions of SmartCopy remain the same. The most striking visual difference is the addition of a second column (on the right) which contains the Geni data for the corresponding profile. This allows one to easily decided which fields are proper for updating ... without having to first create a duplicate Geni profile and then merging them in order to compare/select the better values from the two choices. (This Geni-data column can be hidden if you want to see the original web page better; the slide-in/out control is on the left side of the panel.)

Moreover, when one runs into the situation where there are multiple siblings or children with the same (or very similar) names, one can now select one of them, check the details to see if it is the correct choice. If not, then try selecting the other Geni profile of that same name to see if it matches. (Note: While the order of names in the SmartCopy selection list is arbitrary, it does *not* change as long as you remain in that current ‘session’ of the SmartCopy panel. Once you leave the SmartCopy panel and re-invoke it, the name list sequence may be different.)

  • Regarding locations:

SmartCopy now shows you when there are probable issues with the location lookup -- but that does not mean all the other locations will necessarily be correct! All of the issues which are mentioned in the Discussion topic on locations still apply (such as a county name being interpreted as a city name).

With SmartCopy 2.0 one can ‘fix up’ the original (web-page provided) text string to help the Google location lookup be more accurate. (n.b.: still does nothing about historical vs. current location names; it’s all still “current location”.) The location strings can be modified as often as you like before committing them with the SmartCopy ’Submit’. You can also ‘revert’ back to the original string found on the page at any time. As with earlier versions of SmartCopy, you can still edit the specific field values after the “Google lookup” has taken place.

These potential ‘problem locations’ are noted with either a yellow ‘map-marker’ (potential interpretation problem, most often a result of more than one interpretation of the location string found) or a red ‘map-marker’ (error; no location parsing was returned). Remember, though, that all locations may be ‘suspect’, even if no “warning” marker is set. Google may have simply uniquely mis-interpreted a location string. Hint: the red-tag locations often can be “fixed up” by simply re-submitting the original string; the failure is most often because of Google’s limitation on how fast a program can submit lookup requests. Yellow-tag locations may have selected a good value — or a very INCORRECT value. You may be able to improve the lookup by editing the location string (e.g.: adding “ county” at the appropriate place).

  • More web-site pages parsed & handling ‘unknown’ relationships:

SmartCopy, is now able to parse information from many more pages. In addition, a number of sites have information about marriages which were not handled before because there wasn’t a way to identify the relationship of each person ‘mentioned’ on the page with respect to the “focus” person. Now some of those pages can be used to update Geni.

When people are 'referenced' on the web-page but there isn't a way to identify their relationship to the "focus" person, they are put into a new special section at the bottom of the SmartCopy panel.

There, one can select the type of relationship that person has to the focus person ... and thereafter (for that 'session') it is shown in that selected grouping.

For example, if a FamilySearch census page shows a 'daughter-in-law' of the Head-of-Household, where the focus person is one of the children, SmartCopy will place that ‘daughter-in-law’ into a new section of unknown relationships. Since that's not a relationship which can be 'attached' to the focus person (one might not even sure which person she went with, at that point), one could get her added by designating her as (for example) a sister. Then, after the SmartCopy is complete, go to the Geni page and move her profile to be the wife of the correct sibling (detaching from the temporary parents, of course).

  • Other details:

The “auto-select photos” option is now OFF by default in the Configuration Options. This is so that each user has to intentionally choose to copy photos (either all the time, by changing their own personal default, or each time they see an image they want to copy). This also help reduce unnecessary copying, where a new user might end up copying photos they didn’t intend to copy.

Estimated burial date: When the web-page being copied has a death date AND there is a burial location without a burial date, a burial date is estimated (this can be disabled with a Configuration option). The change with version 2 of SmartCopy is that if the estimated date is a simple number (e.g.: a year), that estimated burial date is set as “After Circa ”. Otherwise, the estimated burial date is simply “After ”. (n.b.: prior to this, “After Circa” was added to all forms of the estimated burial date.)

The icons associated with SmartCopy have been updated to reflect its new functionality.

In addition to the “top bar” of the panel having links to the Geni SmartCopy Project and to the Geni SmartCopy Discussions, there is also an ‘information’ button (an “About SmartCopy” display). Links to 3 of the HistoryLink tools are also still present (AncestorGraph, DescendantGraph, HistorySearch).

The “Simplify Form” function has moved to a small “eye” icon within each person’s details so that it can easily be toggled between showing all of a person’s detail fields (blue eye), or hiding most empty fields (the ‘simplified fields’ - grey eye).

Note that in previous versions of SmartCopy, if one added values to update in any of those “hidden” fields, those fields had to remain visible at the time the Submit button was clicked; that restriction has now been removed. All ‘checked’ fields will be updated, whether they are visible or not.