Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dear Randy: is now (Not All!) Free!

I received an email just minutes ago from Noah Tutak of, who has some fantastic news for users:

UPDATE:  See the UPDATED note at the bottom of the post for more information - it's not ALL FREE!!


Dear Randy,

 I’m writing to you to let you know that we appreciate you as a valuable member of the Geni community and wanted you to be among the first to know some exciting news.

We created Geni in 2007 with one big idea – discovering your family history is better when you are collaborating with your relatives. Over the last five years we’ve seen the power of this approach, with millions of users working together to build a single family tree that connects over 65 million people.

In this spirit of collaboration, I’m pleased to announce that Geni is joining the MyHeritage family!
MyHeritage was founded in 2003 by Gilad Japhet and a team of passionate genealogy enthusiasts in Israel. In the last 9 years it has expanded to Europe and the USA, creating a massive family history network with 65 million registered users and more than 1.35 billion family tree profiles.

Sharing much of Geni’s vision, MyHeritage offers free tools for building family trees, access to historical records, and DNA tests. MyHeritage is well known for its technologies to match family trees to other family trees (Smart Matches) and to historical records (Record Matches). In addition, MyHeritage offers free genealogy desktop software (Family Tree Builder); free mobile apps for iPhone, iPad and Android, which work in sync with their Website on; and a search engine for historical records (SuperSearch).

You can see why we’re excited to join the MyHeritage family. MyHeritage is fully committed to Geni’s vision and you’ll see a number of benefits as a Geni user over the coming weeks and months.

Here are some of the benefits that you’ll see immediately:
  • Unlimited profile adding is now free – All users can add as many profiles as they’d like to their tree without upgrading to a paid account. No more limits to the size of your tree.
  • Merging is now free – All users can now merge duplicate profiles in their tree (privacy and permission rules still apply). This is great if your tree has been merged with another tree, or if you’d like to connect to the World Family Tree.
  • Relationship paths are now free – Discover your relationship to historical figures and celebrities, even very distant relatives.
  • Free family tree chart downloads – All users can now download a high quality chart of their family tree to their computer at no charge. These are great for sending to relatives or for printing at home as beautiful tree posters.
  • No ads - We’ve removed ads for all users for a cleaner interface with less distraction.
  • More privacy – living people who have not joined Geni will become private and will not be searchable on Google.
Together we are working on many more great features that we’ll roll out over the coming months. For example, we’re working together to integrate MyHeritage’s Record Matching technology directly into Geni. This will significantly improve the accuracy of our tree matches by using advanced algorithms including name synonyms, cross-language matching, and additional criteria. In addition, we will be able to intelligently match Geni profiles against MyHeritage’s billions of tree profiles and records, including newspaper and census records.

We’re excited to roll out these changes and more, and to continue to work toward providing the best collaborative genealogy service available. Most important, we hope that these tools will help you to discover more about your family history and meet new relatives.

The entire Geni Team has joined the MyHeritage family, and we will continue to operate out of our Los Angeles offices, focused as before on building but now with all of the global resources of MyHeritage behind us. I hope that you are excited about this as myself and the rest of the Geni Team.

For more information please visit our FAQ.

Go to Geni to try your new features now.

Thanks again for being a valuable part of the Geni community and we look forward to many more years of collaboration!

Noah Tutak
CEO, Geni 


That is excellent news, and makes more accessible to everyone as a creator of a World Family Tree.  

UPDATED 29 november 10 a.m.:  "What is really FREE and not FREE on is not easy to define. There are times when it wants me to pay for something.  I can upgrade from a Geni Basic account (free) to a Pro Account for $7.95/month (for two years) to be able to have instant tree matches, search profiles, upload unlimited media, premium support, and add unlimited relatives. "

Thanks to readers for pointing out my error...I wonder why Geni folks didn't straighten me out?

The URL for this post is:


GeneJ said...

Is that not the cat's meow! Thank you Randy; thank you, My Heritage; thank you Geni.

Saskey said...

I think it's a bit of hyperbole to state that " is now Free!". Really, there is not much new that is free, really.


theKiwi said...

Yeah I'm not sure what's free - I am currently still prompted to enter credit card details when I want to view the Profile submitted and the details of the submitter for someone who has taken photos from MY website and put them up on

Noah Tutak said...

Hi Randy - thanks for covering our exciting news! I'm sorry that there was some confusion about the announcement and I'd like to set the record straight.

Here's what we did – we took a number of features that used to require a paid subscription (merging profiles, adding unlimited profiles, extended relationship paths, family tree charts, hiding ads) and made them free for all users. We think this is a pretty significant step that has great benefits for all of our users, including our paid subscribers, and for the World Family Tree.

Geni remains a "freemium" service, which means that the basic version of Geni is free and members can choose to upgrade to a paid subscription if they find value in the additional features. There is just more "free" in the "freemium" now :-).

Everyone here at Geni is really excited and the response so far from our user community has been fantastic. Thanks again for the post and please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Noah Tutak
CEO, Geni