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Tool for copying genealogical data into Geni.

SmartCopy is a web browser extension that helps Geni users copy and update information and profiles from various sources into Geni. It also provides consistency checking on Geni profiles, as well as quick access to research links and the HistoryLink tools.

Download & Install

// Chrome // Firefox // Opera // MS Edge

// How to use SmartCopy (Video)

Once you have successfully installed the browser extension, you should see an 'icon' on the 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

To perform tree-building (copying of relatives) a Curator needs to grant you rights on SmartCopy. You can request those rights here (note: as an anti-spam provision, a new user may have to have added a profile or two 'by hand', and perhaps wait 24 hours to participate in Discussions). 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 profiles when duplicates are created, and attempt to work through relationship conflicts that may arise (get curator assistance if necessary).

A Geni Pro membership is recommended as it helps the identification and merging of duplicates. A MyHeritage Data subscription also adds a lot of value for tree building, providing access to paid Record and Smart Matches, with BillionGraves and WikiTree matches being available for free.

The user is responsible for obtaining any required permission from the creator of the work, such as biographical stories or images. Be aware of what you're copying and respectful of copyright. Content submitted to Geni must follow their Terms of Use.

Usage cautions

In order to find the names of the data fields on the various other sites, SmartCopy currently only 'knows' how to look for English field descriptions. For some sites it will automatically try to use the English-language version (e.g. instead of ... but that means that you have to (also) be logged into the .COM version of MyHeritage.

SmartCopy may use the Google API in an attempt to resolve the fields for location information, but only if specify your own Google API key (see below). 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, there are 3 options: edit the original string & re-submit it for Google lookup; edit the resulting 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) -- that latter action can be made your personal default via one of the SmartCopy configuration options.

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.


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.





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 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.

Copying Pictures

if there are issues with picture loading, one should look at:

a) can you get the picture from the "reference page"? (i.e. if you can't download it manually, SmartCopy probably can't get it either)

b) do you have permission to upload to the Geni profile? (i.e. if you can't up upload an image from your computer to that profile, then SmartCopy can't either)

If you can do both of those 'steps' (a & b) manually, but SmartCopy still fails to copy an image, then post the URL of the "reference page" and the link to the Geni profile in an appropriate Project discussion so it can be investigated further.


To help troubleshoot errors, right click on the SmartCopy icon and select "Inspect Popup". This will bring up a console that may give more error information on what is happening. Please copy any errors and trace information for inclusion when reporting the error.


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 SmartCopy item (if there is a newer one). Then you can close that tab and you are ready to go with the updated version!

Additional Features and Notes

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.)

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 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).

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). This way the name of the person can be modified (see figure below to see the "eye")


It is also possible to cancel the automatic simplification of the form by unselecting the option "Simplify form by hiding unused fields"



SmartCopy will no longer automatically do geo-location lookups due to the cost of Google's service to cover all users. While this is sad news, Geni has recently provided the feature of doing geolocation lookups after submission. When a location is submitted via the place field, Geni will do the query and populate the location fields on the website. Alternatively, you can specify your own Google API key (see below) in the configuration. You also still have the option to manually fill out the location data in SmartCopy by clicking the globe icon and if you want to disable Geni's geolocation lookup, you can do so in the SmartCopy configuration.

Google Geocoding API

SmartCopy allows you to specify your own Google API key, which will allow location lookups directly in SmartCopy. To get your own API key, you will need to create an account on the Google Cloud Platform. At the time of this writing, Google will grant a free $200 credit a month, which is equal to 100,000 queries. You can also set daily quotas to protect against going over that cap or pay $5 for every additional 1000 queries.

  1. Sign up for the Google Cloud Platform (credit card required, but you won’t be charged unless you manually upgrade to a paid account).
  2. After signing up, click the "API & Services" on the left hand menu within the Cloud console.
  3. Click the blue "+ ENABLE APIS AND SERVICES" button at the top center of the page.
  4. Search for the "Geocoding API" (not to be confused with the "Geolocation API"!)
  5. Select Geocoding API and click the blue "ENABLE" button.
  6. Once in the Geocoding API dashboard, click the "Credentials" tab on the left.
  7. On Credentials, click "Create Credentials" and select "API Key"
  8. Copy this API key (This is what you enter into the SmartCopy configuration). Click Close
  9. Open SmartCopy Configuration, Enable Geolocation, and paste in the API key - Click Save.

SmartCopy may show 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 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 any “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).

How do I use SmartCopy when there are no SmartMatches(tm)?

Short Answer

Copy the URL of the Geni profile, go to the page you want to 'copy from', and paste the URL when prompted.


(This applies to any site, such as Ancestry, where there is not a SmartMatch(tm) to use to 'connect' a Geni "focus" profile to the to-be-copied-from page.)

1) On a Geni profile (e.g.: which is the same as the intended profile on Ancestry), click the SmartCopy icon (wait for it to come up completely), scroll to the bottom, and then click "add to history" (just once is enough ... doesn't appear to "do anything", but it adds that Geni profile to the SmartCopy history list). This works from either Tree View or Profile View. In 'Tree View' it picks up the current "focus" (highlighted) profile.

2) Go to the corresponding other site's page (e.g.: Ancestry "genealogy tree" profile page), which should have details about that person and the immediate surrounding family. If the formatting can't be recognized, try a different "view" of that same profile. SmartCopy will tell you if it can't "parse" the information.

3) Click on SmartCopy; when prompted, select the most recent profile in the history list, which should have been added by step (1).

.... and now you're in the context of "standard" SmartCopy. By 'hovering' over the main 'focus' name on the SmartCopy panel, the corresponding Geni name will be shown so one can "double check" that it is the correct Geni "focus" profile for that to-be-copied-from page.

After submitting the data, any immediate family is automatically added to the 'history', so one can just click on one of the surrounding family (on Ancestry ... e.g. a parent) and then invoke SmartCopy again. It should automatically "find" that parent & bring up the side-by-side panel.

Those same steps one can do from any "supported" site; the initial "match" doesn't have to come from a MyHeritage "SmartMatch(tm)".

Switching to copy from a different site?

When switching to copy from a different site and when working on a different family branch on Geni, it is a good practice to "clear the History" of 'SmartCopy'-ed profiles to prevent potential confusion.

In step (1) above, after you scroll to the bottom of the SmartCopy panel, you'll see on the right-side a clickable "Show History". After clicking it, scroll again to the (new) bottom of the panel to find the "Clear History". Once you've cleared the current history, you can then add the "new" starting Geni profile to the history (as noted in Step 1 above).