If you want to discover your family tree then you will need to join a genealogy site. But which one? Well, this Geni.com Review will show you what this website has to offer and whether it is right for you or not.
Within this review I will discuss what you can expect from this website, the free and subscription packages that are on offer, and whether I recommend it or not.
So, if you want to learn more about Geni.com then please read on.
Geni.com Rating and Details
|Subscription||Pro – $119.40 per year|
||Yes, but there are limitations with free membership|
|Family Tree Builder
|Help & Support
||Video Tutorials, FAQs, Community Help, Tickets, Bug Reporting|
|Check It Out
||Great opportunity to help build a world family tree!
What is Geni about?
This is both a genealogy search website and a social network where you can connect with fellow family historians and even your distant cousins as well.
It was launched back in January 2007 with the aim of creating a family tree of the world, (much like the One Great Family website).
To rest your worries family profiles are kept private, while a shared family tree is seen by every member.
Users can work on this tree together, which helps to eliminate duplicate work. If you are familiar with family trees on sites such as Ancestry or FindMyPast you will undoubtedly have seen many similar trees on members profiles.
According to Wikipedia as of August 2017 there were over 115 million profiles that had been created by over 11 million users.
About the company
Geni’s parent company is MyHeritage which is another genealogy site that you can build a family tree. MyHeritage purchased Geni back in November 2012.
MyHeritage also provides a DNA testing kit that can help you to break down any brick walls in your research that you may have encountered.
Before taking such a test I would advise that you first research your family tree for a while. Get yourself used to genealogy before you go down that path.
MyHeritage is a private company that has its roots in Israel, although they do have their headquarters in Los Angeles, California.
Discussed in this post:
When you have finished checking out this site review why not check out my Best Genealogy Sites For Your Family History Research post.
And then after that head on over to Top Ten Reviews where they review the ten best genealogy search websites that are both free to use and subscription based.
Tools and Features!
I’ve briefly explained to you what Geni is all about, but let’s look a little bit closer at the tools and features that this website has to offer.
Family Tree Builder
Creating your family tree is simple at this site. When you first visit Geni you will clearly see a box where you can fill in information about yourself.
From this box you select whether you are Male or Female, and then enter your full name followed by your email address.
You then simply click on the ‘Start My Family Tree‘ button to get started on your genealogy adventure.
If you have already signed up to the site then you can log into your account from this box, (by clicking on ‘Log In’).
Or, you can click on ‘Log In’ at the top-right of the screen. You can even log in via Facebook.
So, it’s a very social website in that respect.
Creating your tree
Geni is different from the other genealogy sites as it requires you to enter the email addresses of your parents, siblings and other relatives, (if known).
This is to help connect with other members of the site.
From this feature you can invite family members to join the site in order to contribute research for your tree. That’s what makes it a social website.
Please be advised that information can only be seen within your group of people, and providing that they have given you permission.
Search and View
Searching other members trees can be done simply on the site. However, you maybe limited to what you can see if they have made certain aspects of their tree confidential.
You are also able to view trees that are held on MyHeritage, but you will need to have an additional subscription with this site in order to get full access to their records.
Family Tree Awards
There is an interesting initiative that I quite like within this website.
In order to help encourage people to contribute details about their family tree members of a family group are given awards.
- Number of Profiles Added
- Number of Invitations Made,
- Photos Uploaded
These awards are given to the top 13 people in each category.
Discussion Forums and Projects
To make it even easier to contact and share information with your family members there is a discussion forum available for everyone.
From here messages can be posted and replied to.
The forum is great to announce any family news, ask any questions or even discuss projects that your family can help you with.
Another initiative that I quite like about this website is that you can be notified about any changes or updates that have been made on your tree.
- New people added to the tree,
- New pictures uploaded,
- New message posted to the forum,
- Someone celebrating their birthday.
The frequency of these notifications can also be set, this includes none, instant, daily or weekly.
Import and Export
If you are familiar with genealogy research then you will understand the importance of a GEDCOM file.
This file contains information about your family tree that can be shared easily between people. As this file is universal this means that you can import it into any genealogy software program that you are using.
Geni makes it possible for you to export your family tree if you wish to.
However, unfortunately Geni does not allow you to import your GEDCOM file. So, if you have been working on your family tree outside of the website then I am afraid that you will not be able to upload it to the site.
The reason for this is that many users were uploading duplicate to the site through this feature, (which was available between 2008-2010).
It was also found that the information brought to the site was also of poor quality.
In order to facilitate import of information users can import facts about their family tree through 13 supported genealogy sites. This is done using a tool known as SmartCopy.
Through this feature families can be imported one at a time, and information can manually be edited and verified before it is imported to the site.
There is an in-built consistency check feature that will warn whether any data is unreasonable, i.e. poor quality or duplicate information.
Part of creating a worldwide tree is the ability to merge your tree with someone else’s tree, providing of course that there is a common ancestor or living relative.
Again privacy can be maintained within this extended tree.
You can allow all members to view every detail within the tree or selected information passed a certain distance of relationship.
As I mentioned before the parent company MyHeritage has their own DNA testing kit. Geni allows you to enter information gleaned from this test such as your haplogroup, (i.e. where in the world your ancestors originated from).
If you have had your DNA tested with another company then there is no need to worry as you can import your test results into Geni.
These include autosomal, YDNA and MtDNA tests.
When it comes to joining this site there are two options available to you. Either you select to become a basic free member, or you sign up with the Pro subscription package.
Obviously there is a difference between both of these options, so let’s take a look.
Basic Free Membership
Joining for free will allow you to create a family tree.
You can add an unlimited number of profiles to your tree, so I quite like that you are not restricted in this regard compared to other sites.
However, support will be pretty basic with this option, and you are limited to uploading 1GB of media.
If you do not intend to add much media then this should not be a worry. But if you do then try to keep the file size low with photos of your family in order to save your limited media space.
Media can also include video and documents.
There is however the possibility of uploading duplicated information with this package.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’ve just said before that Geni removes the possibility of this, but unfortunately this can still happen through this type of membership.
Pro Subscription Package
Opting for the Pro package will obviously remove these limitations that have been set for Basic members.
So, not only will you be able to upload as much media as you wish but also you will receive premium support.
And besides that you will get enhanced searching, and tree matching which will help identify duplicate trees when you merge information.
Cost of the Subscription Package
- Pro – $119.40 per year
- Access to Tree Matches
- Unlimited media uploads (includes photos, videos and documents)
- Enhanced search
- Premium support
- Geni Pro Badge – show other members that you have joined Geni Pro
- Priority GEDCOM support for exported files
Unlike other genealogy sites there is only one option, to sign up for 1 year. Some sites do offer monthly packages but Geni unfortunately does not.
Please be aware that you will be billed once you have upgraded to this package.
Do not worry if you do sign up to the free membership to begin with and change your mind.
You can simply upgrade to the Pro package by going to your Account Settings, select Geni Premium Account and then enter your billing information.
Try Geni Pro for Free
You are actually able to check out Geni Pro for Free if you sign up to the 14-day free trial. You will though first need to be signed up to the site in order to take advantage of this offer.
Once you are signed in just click on your name at the top-right of the screen then click on “Try Geni Pro For Free“.
You will then be taken to the sign-up screen where you will be signed up to the Geni Pro package for 1 year.
DO NOT WORRY! You will not be charged during the trial period.
All major credit cards are accepted, (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover) as well as PayPal.
If you do not cancel your subscription within the 14-day free period then you will be charged for Pro for 1 year. So, make sure you cancel beforehand if you do not want to continue with the package.
Check out the site for free first!
Obviously I would suggest that you check out this website’s free membership program first.
By doing this you can get a feel for the site, get accustomed to the tools and features and whether it is right for you or not.
As I mentioned above there is no limit to how many people that you do add to your tree. But there are some limitations that I have outlined above.
If you do feel that this site is right for you and that you can get more out of it then you can simply upgrade to Pro at any time.
Help & Support!
Genealogy is a hobby where you will need help at some time. There will be dead ends, (no pun intended), or things that you are not certain of.
So, where do you go for advice?
The Help section of the site can be found by clicking on Help, located at the bottom-right of the screen.
From this section there are several ways that you can get help from staff, or from other members of the site.
There are videos that have been added to the site that can help you.
Unfortunately there are only 2 videos at present that help you to add and invite relatives, and add photos
Help Topics – FAQs
This section of the site shows Frequently Asked Questions that have been divided into 25 different categories.
Some of these include:
- Login & Invitations
- Premium Subscriptions
- Family Tree
This is a message board or forum where members can post their problem and seek advice from others.
The board is not divided into any categories, you just simply post your query and wait for a response.
Submit A Ticket – Not available for free members
If the other help sections haven’t been, well of no help, or you want to get support straight from staff then you will need to Submit A Ticket.
By filling in this form you can let staff know exactly what your problem is.
Report A Bug
Part of the charm with Geni is that it is a community website where everyone helps each other.
That also extends to reporting a bug with the site if you have experienced an issue that needs fixing.
This is another board where you post your bug issue which can then hopefully be resolved.
Pros & Cons
✔ Over 125 million people added
✔ Build your family tree for free
✔ Interact with other users
✔ Building a worldwide family tree
✔ Interface very intuitive
✔ Get help through videos, FAQs, message board or submitting a ticket
❌ No monthly subscription offered
❌ Expensive compared to other sites
❌ Duplicating content when merging trees as a free member
Do I Recommend Geni?
The aim of this website is a bold one. To connect everyone by a single family tree, much like the One Great Family site that I mentioned at the start of this review.
The difference with Geni though is that they offer a site that is much more user-friendly and easier to navigate.
One key factor that hinders One Great Family I believe is their outdated interface and that it is not very intuitive to use.
That is why I rank Geni over One Great Family.
Compared to other genealogy search sites it is expensive. But I do feel that you have to put in what you get out.
What I mean by that is you need to spend the time on the site building your tree with other members of your family.
It of course helps if you do have a large family that you can draw a lot of knowledge from.
In time though as your tree grows and grows you will discover ‘new’ distant cousins who can help you with your quest. Like I did!
Building your tree is simple!
Creating and building a family tree is very simple with this website. And I really like it that you can invite your family to join the site and help you with your tree.
There is huge potential with this site I feel, so if you do feel that it is right for you then give it a go.
Of course, you can try the free option if you like.
Give it a try first!
So, if I have inspired you to check out this site then see what it has to offer for free first.
Of course features will be limited with this option but I feel not too much. You can still gain a lot from the free membership, i.e. unlimited profiles can be added.
So, do I recommend Geni?
Yes I do recommend Geni. This site will definitely help you to create and build your family tree, all while connecting with close and distant family members.
If you do decide to subscribe to this genealogy website then please come back and let me know what you think of it. I would love to hear how it is working for you.
Thank You and Please Leave A Comment
I hope you enjoyed reading this Geni.com Review and what it has to offer. If you have any questions or comments then please leave a
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