Monday, September 8, 2008

Joining the community

I posted about the presentation (here and here) at the CGSSD meeting in August, so I decided to join up and see what it is all about. From what I've read, it is probably the largest and perhaps the most advanced of the family social network sites.

My main reason for joining is to provide a family oriented social networking site for my extended family. The hope is that they will also join, will provide family information, and will learn more about their ancestry and extended family relations. I've tried to entice my cousins, brothers and children to read my blog, my genealogy web page, etc., with little interest. They are happy to get email and view my photo albums online, but going to a genealogy page is not their cup of tea. They appreciate that someone is doing their genealogy. We'll see if will do the trick.

Several weeks ago, I tried to upload my entire GEDCOM (over 20,700 persons) and the web site wouldn't accept it - they have a 15,000 person limit.

Today, I made a GEDCOM of about 3,000 persons - essentially the descendants of all of my 4th great-grandparents - from my master database. Then I tried to upload it to After 20 minutes, it is still being imported. Hopefully, it will be accepted (if not, I've wasted almost an hour doing this!). In the mean time, I updated my profile on

If and when I get the GEDCOM uploaded, I'll take some screen shots to demonstrate moving around inside, without showing living persons or private information.

UPDATED 10 p.m.: I waited and waited for to tell me that the upload was complete, but the web page never did. I received an email message about 5 minutes after I started the upload, saying it was complete.

Because I had already started a tree on, I had to provide a different email address in order to upload my GEDCOM. After I did that, I was able to merge my two trees so that I have only one "persona" in


Thomas MacEntee said...


I've followed your Geni posts and they are the reason why I returned to Geni after having set up my profile over a year ago. One problem: I couldn't import my GEDCOM if a tree already exists (which I had done manually). So I had to create a new account with a different e-mail address.

I uploaded a 6,280 person GEDCOM and it did take several hours for me to receive the confirmation email.

I like Geni especially since its interface seems to mimic Facebook and is easy to use. I just don't know if I can convince family members to join, use and update our tree.

Xfaith said...


How did you go about merging your tree's. I have 3 trees currently on GENI. All with close to the same email address. I started one before you could import, then I did an import and it messed up the Marriage Dates, so I tried a third time, it worked now. I think I will email Geni and see if they can clean it up :).

Anonymous said...

Your experience so far already shows how ridiculous their import limitation is. If you must cut your medium size database containing less than 25k individuals into small pieces of a few thousand each, imagine how much work I'd have to go through for a large file with more than 100k individuals?

I've tried their GEDCOM import once and was underwhelmed by the import speed. Strange really, because their import benefits from on running on server hardware. It should be blazing! Disappointing to read it is still slow.
They want you to make separate uploads and join the small trees - but how much sense does that make? They limit upload to small trees because Geni can't handle medium or large ones in the first place. Actually, in my experience, it can hardly handle tiny trees. I have a fast PC and broadband connection, but editing a tree with one person in it is way too slow already. Combining these small trees is not going to make it faster :-(

Geni does not let you delete your tree, WebTree does, and I am not aware of an upload limitation, but it is not fast either. I've tried several of these new sites, but most are slow as molasses. So far, all feel considerably slower than your typical TNG site, and TNG is no speed demon. GenCircles is not as fancy, but still runs circles around these new kids.

I look forward to reading your experiences merging some small trees into a larger one.
I do suggest loading up a few truckloads of patience beforehand ;-)

Keith McCarty said...


Thanks for keeping us up to date with your use of Geni. The import shouldn't take too long. To test, I just imported a 15,00 Profile GEDCOM and it took around 15 minutes. As you mention, you received an email 5 minutes after you started the import, but maybe we need better messaging if you decide to stay on the site until the import finishes. We will add that.

In regards to merging, Geni enables you to merge your separate trees through a common profile in each tree. Simply make the email address in each of the Profiles the same and that alone should prompt you to merge the trees. We know this is working because since our recently released tree merging feature our largest tree is already well over 900,000 Profiles. As always if you ever need assistance feel free to send us a help request at We get back to all help requests within 24 hours, unless it's a weekend.

Also, we will be lifting the GEDCOM import limit in the coming weeks. Along with that, we will allow you to import a GEDCOM into an existing tree. Stay tuned.

In regards to the last comment by Tamura, the data that users enter in Geni is their data. Geni enables them to remove it at any time.

We look forward to receiving updated as you invite your family and they start to join. As you mention, Geni offers a great medium to share your research with your family. Alternately, your family can help as well by adding rich content such as memories, photos, etc. of common ancestors that you may be missing.

Once again, thanks for the update and as always let us know if you need any assistance. We understand that user feedback is essential in offering a product with features that our users want, so keep them coming.

Thank you,

The Geni Team