I always wanted to build my Family Tree and discover my ancestry. A few months ago I went to geni.com and discovered the whole addictive world of genealogy. It’s very easy to get started making your family tree on Geni. You start by entering the information you know about yourself, parents, siblings and more. Then you can easily add pictures to the tree and email addresses for your family members. Then you can invite your aunts, uncles, cousins and more to join the tree and add their information too. You’ll quickly be surprised how many ancestors and blood relatives you can identify.
After a few weeks our family tree grew quickly. It seemed like in every branch of the family there was at least one person who had boxes of pictures they were wanting to share. You can scan photos and upload them on Geni and share those old pictures with your family to see and they can even print them out if they want to.
Before long I had enough information on my family tree to join the DAR. (Daughters of the American Revolution) We shared pictures with cousins and discovered my husband looks like an exact copy of his great grandfather too!
Geni also does outreach and lets you choose if you want to collaborate and make contact with other Geni members it finds that it thinks may be part of your tree. We chose to email some of them and discovered distant relatives we never knew before and even met a distant cousin at a local cemetary who showed us our great grandmothers grave!
If you have time on your hands you may just get addicted to Genealogy really fast once you start using Geni. The sight is secure and password protected and you can choose various security settings. You can enter as little or as much about yourself as you choose. Some of my relatives were concerned about whether they should put their information on an internet site. Identiy theft is a real concern because just because someone is a distant relative doesn’t necessarily make them honest so I have chosen to only share my personal information with immediate relatives. You have a lot of freedom over how you want to share your information.
Another Geni feature allows you to use the site to post and share news and reminds you of everyone’s birthdays and anniversary’s if they decide to share that information. This is actually sort of fun and helpful but there are better ways to share this these days with the growing popularity of sites like Twitter and Facebook. On the other hand, Geni lets you send free virtual ballons and birthday cakes and it’s pretty fun to use in that way if you want to.
Geni has the slogan “Everyone’s Related.” That may well be proven too in time with Geni. There are some amazingly large family trees out there with millions of members. You may get requests to Merge your family tree with some of these. I would not recommend this. I did merge with a tree once and suddenly I had more than 100,000 connections in my tree and no way to know if this was accurate information or who these people were. Once your tree gets too large its no longer as fun because you can’t easily even navigate to see all of the information. This is surely a matter of personal preference but I want my Family Tree to be accurate. There are a lot of amateur genealogists out there and it seems everyone wants to be connected to the Mayflower and other famous people and had some of the merge requests I’ve received have some absolutely wrong information on them.
I really like Geni.com and even though once you are done entering your information it loses its appeal I’m still happy with it and glad I have a Family Tree. If I meet someone who I think my be a distant relative I have this great resource to refer to.
Overall, Geni.com gets an A+ score from my family as websites go! Enjoy the site but be careful..it is addictive!!