Geni is a network of genealogists that are trying to create the ultimate family tree. The website gives users the tools they need to construct their own family trees online. Users can upload and share photos of family members as well as historical records, videos and anything else that relates to their family history. The site offers convenient collaboration tools so users can work together to figure out their tree or obtain advice from seasoned genealogists within the Geni community. When users find relatives who have already started a second family tree they can merge the two to create one complete tree. Public discussions can be browed to help users connect and share information, tips and suggestions. A website search is available as well as a separate search tool for discussions only.
Geni was founded in June of 2006. The site was constructed around the idea that genealogy tools should be available to everyone. The site has received significant praise for its networking features and private family tree building tools. Some users complained that the site lacks somewhat in the content that its search feature returns, especially when compared to better known genealogy sites like Ancestry.com. For the most part, Geni has impressed users with its user friendly tools and accessibility.
To call Geni unique or original would be pushing it. In the realm of family tree building, it is difficult to come up with something that is truly different compared to what competitors already have available. Geni may not offer anything exciting or cutting edge, but it serves its purpose relatively well. Users can create family trees and store their personal family history online. Photos, documents and stories can be collected, shared and researched in one place.
Geni utilizes a laid back design that lets the user get to work without feeling overwhelmed by the task. The dashboard features a few boxes, colored light blue and pink based on the gender of the person added there. As the user expands their tree, the boxes increase with solid black lines attaching each. Geni doesn’t offer any stunning graphics or an eye-catching design, but what it lacks in appearance is makes up for in practicality. The application feels and looks modern.
A new user can join Geni by completing the short form presented on the homepage. The form asks for the user’s gender, first and last name and email address. After completing the form, the user can click the green button below to be directed to their new Geni account. The user is presented with an empty family tree page populated by the user’s tree entry and two additional boxes for mother and father.
Geni offers users three membership plans to choose from. The first is a Basic plan which is free and allows up to 100 people on the user’s family tree, 1 GB of media storage and basic level support. The Plus plan costs $5 per month and upgrades to 1,000 people on the family tree, 2 GBs of media storage, premium level support and enhanced search capabilities. The Pro plan costs $7.95 per month and includes unlimited people on family trees, unlimited media storage and the ability to merge family trees.
Geni is a helpful resource for anyone interested in trying their hand at genealogy. The application requires a lower monetary investment compared to some of its competitors, making it an appealing choice for casual or amateur genealogists. Serious family historians may still find value on the site, however they may want to upgrade to get access to the enhanced search features. Geni offers a clean, simple interface to build and share family trees.