Geni is a website specialising in linking family trees into a "forest". In January 2016 it announced that it had 100 million profiles linked. It has family social networking that reminds people of anniversaries and birthdays.
In 2009 it established a link with Facebook.
It makes its money from "advertisements, virtual gifts, and paid subscriptions". Up till late 2012 it was free in a limited way but with extra features at a price. (MyFamily.com was the same for a few years then cut out the free accounts.) One member who submitted a 13,000-person GEDCOM in 2009 could still use it, navigating around relatives' trees, but saw a message at the top of the page "Your family's tree has exceeded the Basic limit of 100 family members." with an invitation to upgrade so as to add more. Once a new member exceeded 100 people entered, it was necessary to upgrade to a paid account. For $50 a year you could add 1000 people. You had to have a paid account to merge trees into a forest.
During the period described above, you were paying to store your own data and look at other people's data. That contrasted with the fact that you can create a free unlimited size tree at Ancestry.com - or at Familypedia, where you can link freely to other trees. If you have a paid account at Ancestry.com or one of its regional subsidiaries (or one of several other sites), you get access to original scanned and indexed records.
Like most sites, Geni is sometimes unable to process an edit, and may show you a humorous message such as:
- "Geni's servers are overloaded.
- "Trees are heavy. Sometimes our servers can't lift them all.
- "We apologize for the inconvenience -- our arboreal engineers are working to fix the problem. "
In November 2012, members were sent a message announcing "that Geni is joining the MyHeritage family!"
Some of the stated benefits are:
- Unlimited profile adding is now free
- Merging is now free
- Relationship paths (see next section) are now free
- Free family tree chart downloads
- No ads
- More privacy
Registered members can find a relationship path from their own profile to those of most individuals listed on the site. Paths go beyond blood relationships and are presumably the shortest link in each case. One could be, for example, your third cousin once removed's husband's first cousin thrice removed's husband's first cousin's wife's great aunt's husband's nephew. That person might also be a blood relative such as 21st cousin, but that path would be longer.
To find a path between two listed individuals, neither being yourself, use this tip supplied by Jonathan Scott Krengel:
- Visit any public unclaimed profile. Click on the pin to the right of the relationship path. Then visit another profile to [calculate] the relationship between them.
WikiTree now has the same sort of relationship path system and makes much more use of it in communicating with members.