Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Adding Family Data to the World Family Tree - see UPDATE!

I have not explored the World Family Tree (a multi-user collaborative online tree) very much over the past six years, so I thought that I would see what changes have been made since I uploaded many profiles to Geni back in 2011 (I think!) using a GEDCOM upload.  I knew that Geni suspended their GEDCOM upload capability some years ago, so I haven't added many profiles since then.

When I looked at my portion of the Geni tree, I saw that my wife had a profile, but that she had no ancestral families attached to her.  I decided to add at least four generations to the Geni tree up to her 16 great-great-grandparents.  Perhaps that will help other Geni users to find out something about their common ancestors if they search for the names of Linda's ancestors.

1)  I added the additional 30 ancestors back through the 2nd great-grands in about an hour of effort.  Here is Linda's family tree on

The input form contains fields for name parts, birth date and place, death date and place, and burial date and place.  Here is the input screen filled in for Anna Ellingsdtr Natvig (1853-1911) (two screen captures):

I expanded the place name field for the Birth record to show how the user can add more information.  When the user types into the place field, Geni will suggest a shortened place name, but if they don't have the place name in their place list, the user can click on "Edit Location Details" link and add the desired place name.

Here is Anna Ellingsdtr Natvig's Geni profile after I added the information:

Note that the married surname is included in the name at the top of the page.

Note also that I have only included one child for Torger and Anna (Natvig) Leland - but they had 10 children.  According to Geni, I will have to add the information for the other nine children manually.

On the profile above, there are links to "View Tree" and "Edit Profile" (on the right-hand side of the screen.  Above the "View Tree" link are colored buttons for Tree Matches (grey), Record Matches (green) and Smart Matches (orange), plus a link to "Research this Person" (on MyHeritage).

2)  If I click the green "Record Match" button, I can see the one Record Match and the four Smart Matches:

The one Record Match is the 1880 U.S. Census record on MyHeritage for the Torger Leeland family in Wisconsin:

I could add that information to my Geni profile for Torger and Anna (Natvig) Leland, and could add notes and sources to the Geni profiles.  At the bottom of the screen above (out of view) is an orange  "Confirm" button which I clicked on.

3)  On the list of Matches (the second screen above) are listed the four Smart Matches.  They include one FamilySearch Family Tree profile and three MyHeritage tree profiles.  I clicked on the FamilySearch Family Tree profile, and saw the comparison of what is in the Geni tree and what is in the FamilySearch Family Tree tree (two screen captures below):

There is all of the family information I need to add to the Geni profile.  I clicked on the orange "Confirm" button to confirm this match.

4)  My hope was that I could bring the profiles from FamilySearch Family Tree, or from the MyHeritage trees, into the Geni tree and save me typing all of the input for the family members.  I checked the Help section on Geni, and it said I had to add them manually one person at a time.  Bummer.

I decided not to add the other family members at this time for the 30 additional profiles.  I will go in and Confirm applicable Record matches and Smart Matches, especially the FamilySearch Family Tree smart matches, since they will lead to more information for another user (and FSFT is FREE to use).

5)  Here is the profile for Anna Ellingsdtr (Natvig) Leland (1853-1911) after I confirmed the one Record Match and the Smart Match of the FamilySearch Family Tree:

6)  Geni is another source of family tree information that should be evaluated in a "Reasonably Exhaustive Search" because other researchers may have added profiles or records that can be useful for the user.  Of course, information in any online family tree needs to be critically evaluated, and can be used as a clue for further research.

As far as I can tell, all 30 of the profiles I entered today were NEW to the Geni World Family Tree, so, hopefully, I have improved the Geni tree a bit.  If a profile was not new to the tree, I would have got a "Tree Match" and could have merged my profile with the previously entered profile.

 7)  In my humble opinion, being unable to easily bring data from a Record Match or a Smart Match into a Geni profile or set of profiles is a major drawback.  MyHeritage has the technology to do it in a MyHeritage tree, why can't it be done in a Geni tree?

How hard is it for Geni to work with MyHeritage, or with RootsMagic, Legacy Family Tree, Family Tree Maker, and other software providers to create an API that would permit sharing between the Geni World Tree and other user trees?  The Geni World Tree is already a collaborative tree - don't MyHeritage and Geni want it to be the best in the online tree world?  

UPDATED: 8 p.m. PDT:  Keith Riggle commented that there is already an API that adds family data to the Geni tree from other online tree websites.  I've been working with it tonight and will write about it soon.  It works great!  Somehow I missed this over the last three years.


Disclosure:  I have a complimentary subscription to both and MyHeritage, and have accepted meals and entertainment favors from them, but that does not affect my objectivity or opinions about their services.

Copyright (c) 2018, Randall J. Seaver

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Keith Riggle said...

Randy, I agree that I would be good if Geni "played nice" with other apps and websites. There is a tool for copying genealogical data into Geni called SmartCopy. It supports the following sites:

MyHeritage Data (SuperSearch, Smart Matches, Record Matches).
MyHeritage Genealogies
Billion Graves (via Smart Matches)
Find A Grave
WikiTree Genealogies
WeRelate Genealogies
RootsWeb WorldConnect Genealogies
Ancestry Genealogies
FamilyTreeMaker Genealogies Genealogies & Records
Geneanet Genealogies
The Next Generation (TNG) Genealogies

You must join the project at in order to use it. Then you can use a Chrome or Opera extension or Firefox add-on.

Randy Seaver said...

hi Keith,

So someone did this and it looks like they did it really well. Thank you for the tip.

I don't recall hearing about SmartCopy before - how did I miss that?

I downloaded the Chrome extension, asked to be put on the user list which was granted in a few minutes, watched Randy's video, and worked with it on the profiles added today for the last 90 minutes. Works great. Gotta remember that it doesn't add the spouses of the siblings but that can be managed.

I wonder what else I've missed over the past five years?

I will update my blog post and write another one about SmartCopy.

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