HistoryLink - Free Geni Research Tools

SmartCopy is a web browser extension that helps Geni users copy information and profiles from various sources into Geni. It also provides quick access to research links and HistoryLink tools. See that project for more details.

History Search will compare your direct ancestors (and their siblings) to projects on Geni that focus on historical or famous individuals. It will list any matches found, the relation, and what projects they belong to. It can also search for master profiles, problem profiles, pending merges, and can create a simple visualization of tree completeness.

This tool can also be used to mark or 'un-mark' profiles to be followed; it will do so (if requested in the Options -- see more below) for all the profiles it examines, not just the ones which may be shown in the results list.

Ancestor Graph can build a 10 generation interactive graph to help you identify areas to focus your research. It is based on the excellent desktop visualization tool iSeeTrees. Along with easily showing you the gaps in your tree, it will identify duplicate ancestors (pedigree collapse) via color. In addition, it provides options for viewing the status of the profiles, gender, and location. Save the graph as a image or a Adobe PDF!

This site also hosts tools to build an interactive Descendants Graph as well as Ancestors! One of the options is to restrict the search to a single gender, which can help when seeking living descendants for DNA testing. This 'gender restriction' can be particularly useful when the maximum number of profiles would otherwise be encountered (the 'maximum' varies, based on a number of factors).

Both the Ancestor & Descendant graphs also build a "textual" chart (below the circular graph).

Note: The 'Focus Person' for either tool can be changed from the default of your own profile by first copying the Geni URL of the desired profile, then click the 'silhouette' icon after the name to get a prompt for pasting in the URL. After changing the 'focus' person, re-check the desired options.

If you'd like to make a time donation to HistoryLink, help research some of my ancestors.

History Search Tool

(click title to go there - the website is called HistoryLink)

Note that not being connected to the world family tree will severely limit the potential for ancestor matches.

History Search Example


History Search options

There are currently 8 options for tailoring the results of the History Search. The initial default enables 20 Generations, includes a Tree Completeness graph, and includes Geni Project Profiles in the resulting list.

The other options are to include (or exclude) Master Profiles, Problem Profiles, or Pending Merges, as well as excluding Siblings (i.e. focusing only on direct ancestors). You can also set or reset the Geni "Follow" flag for each profile searched -- Use this option with caution: following many profiles may cause you to receive many more notifications!

An example of using History Search to check for "problem" Geni profiles: Open the Search Options (icon to the right of the text "Change the Search Options")

  • Set the appropriate number of Generations.
  • uncheck these (default) options: "Include Tree Completeness" & "Include Project Profiles" (and leave "Follow Public Profiles" unchecked).
  • check "Include Problem Profiles" & "Include Pending Merges"

You may want to limit the number of generations to a much smaller number (e.g. 7 or 8) until you get familiar with the various History Search options.

Ancestor Graph Example


Ancestor/Descendant Graph Interpretation

The Ancestor/Descendant Graph has a number of options for viewing different fields from the profiles of the direct ancestors of the "Focus Person".

  • The 'Options' on the left side (near the 'Legend' icon) display information about different aspects of the profiles found:
    • The "Grouping" selection shows whether or not one has any 'duplicate' ancestors (e.g.: which might happen from cousins marrying) -- if there are no duplicates (common), only one color shows. This link is an example of multiple groupings.
    • The "Status" option shows any ancestor profiles which are currently private, rather than Public. It will also indicate any profiles which have been made Master Profiles, as well as "problem profiles" (e.g.: those with parental conflicts).
    • The "Gender" selection is typically rather obvious, but sometimes one may find that there are branches that tend to focus more on one gender (e.g.: the female ancestors), and thus this view can be used to focus further research on the other gender of those branches.
    • The 4th option (Country / State-Region selection) is a good place to identify where the basic birth/death location information is incomplete (which will show as grey); holding the 'X' key and clicking on such a grey-segment will bring up that profile for one to look at in more detail. This option can also be helpful to see where one person might be mis-located.
  • If the cursor 'hovers' over a sector, brief "vitals" are shown. As noted above, 'X'-click will bring up the profile in a different tab/window, while a simple 'click' will re-center the graph on that profile selected.
  • The options on the right adjust the display of names within each sector (which can get pretty obscure past the 3rd or 4th generation!). Note that you can now select how you want the names to be 'scaled' when generating a 'print' version of the graph.

Source code for HistoryLink can be found at GitHub.