Wednesday, June 25, 2014 Relaxes Privacy Rules - A Good Thing recently announced that they were relaxing their rules about profile privacy.  The announcement is on their blog in Privacy Changes on Geni.  Please read the entire post.

The new rule for For Private profiles:

"The privacy of private profiles will be increased. Private profiles will now display less information to non-family members:
  • The name will be shown as “<private> Lastname” instead of first initial and last name (or, in some cases the full name). This is consistent with our parent company, MyHeritage, and will ensure that information on one site cannot be used to augment information not shown by the other. The privatization of first names will be made across all features of the site. 
  • The profile photo and current location will no longer be publicly viewable by default.
  • Private profiles will hide all event dates and locations, as they do today.
  • Living people will always be private profiles unless a curator makes them into a Master Profile, which is the case mostly with famous people. It will not be possible to expose information about living people to the public by making their profile public. 
"Profiles in your close family will remain fully viewable to you even when others cannot see them."
The new rules for public profiles is:
"In order to be consistent with widely-accepted genealogical practice, Geni will be making deceased profiles public by default. Specifically:
  • New profiles for deceased people will be public – but in the rare cases that you wish to make a deceased profile private, you can still do that by editing the profile. You will find a new “Privacy” section at the top of the edit form.
  • Changing a profile from living to deceased will automatically select “public” – you can select “private” if you wish the profile to remain private.
  • Changing a profile from deceased to living will automatically select “private” – this cannot be changed, as Geni always makes living profiles private (unless they are made a Master Profile by a Geni curator).
  • As of July 1, 2014, existing deceased profiles will be changed to public.  Some profiles will be excluded from this change:
  1. profiles that have ever been set manually by Geni users to public or private (that is, the default privacy was changed)
  2. profiles considered sensitive such as recently deceased or those with a living parent
  • Profiles that are presumed deceased (based on birth year or estimated birth year from adjacent profiles) will be treated as deceased and therefore will be public by default."
The new rules are summarized in this graphic:

I think that this change is for the good.  The privacy of living persons is protected, and deceased persons can be viewed by anyone, but only those connected to them can change them, unless the contributor intentionally opts to make them Private for some reason.  That makes a lot of sense to me, and is similar to the profiles of other "unified" online family trees.

As a result of this change, we may find that their are duplicate profiles on that previously were private - and as a result we may find more cousins who are descendants of those persons.

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Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


Unknown said...

Enjoying your blog... Thanks for the tip today on looking for old county maps at
Although I didn't find the Grafton Co. Map there, I tried googling & discovered maps on
Happily I found my 2nd gr grandfather's property in Monroe Village under "Z. K. Dick" (instead of Dickinson). I'm pretty sure it's him because the names around him match the names in his probate record.

Theatre Geek said...

They have NOT opened up profiles for deceased people AT ALL. I can't access William Shakespeare, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Eleanor of Aquitaine!!! Come on!!!