Online family tree?
December 16, 2010 2:18 PM   Subscribe

Starting an on-line family tree: Geni or MyHeritage?

I'm poking through articles but can't seem to find a definitive answer.

- everyone to be able to edit and add more people
- that the family tree isn't tied to my part of the family (we are a tiny branch of the tree)
- free

thanks for your help!
posted by cgs to Technology (11 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Geni seems to spam any email addresses that it gets a hold of, and doesn't allow importing PAF or GEDCOM files into existing trees.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:50 PM on December 16, 2010

What's wrong with Ancestry?
posted by entropicamericana at 2:52 PM on December 16, 2010

My family uses MyHeritage. As far as I can tell, everyone is able to edit and add more people and it is free, and it's only "tied" to whoever you add to it. We can also add pictures to our entries and it sends me monthly emails saying "hey these people's birthdays are coming up" (I may be able to turn this off, but I haven't, because it's useful).

I wasn't involved in setting it up so I can't tell you anything more about it, unfortunately.
posted by Xany at 4:00 PM on December 16, 2010

My family quickly hit the 250 maximum family tree size on MyHeritage and now it would cost $83.40/year if anyone wanted to pay for it.
posted by ChrisHartley at 4:33 PM on December 16, 2010

My family uses Geni - it meets your requirements. It emails me more than I'd like, but I don't really have any major complaints about it.
posted by soplerfo at 4:55 PM on December 16, 2010

I used to think online genealogy was great until a couple of years ago, when a family member copied all of my research, and published it online under her own name - which, believe it or not, I wasn't terribly upset about... until she started adding names and dates to her version which were 100% incorrect. I knew this because I have spent years researching our family, and yes, I am an expert now on the subject of my lineage. I have asked her to remove the incorrect data, and she not only refuses, but she now completely ignores my emails and phone calls. If I had to do it all over again, I would have stuck to my big white looseleaf binder. YMMV.
posted by brownrd at 6:46 PM on December 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've only used Geni free version and my main gripe is that although it finds relatives I'd have to pay to see them. I suspect browrd is right that paper's better, and think any "free" online site will drag you into something costly or unwelcome in the end.

Fwiw Geni also has some ugliness in editing step relationships, where someone has more than one marriage -- in fact I can't figure out how to correct mistakes I made adding some people.
posted by anadem at 8:58 PM on December 16, 2010

I use Geni but recently noticed that they automatically and irrevocably make 'distant' ancestor profiles public. And you can't change this.
posted by zippy at 11:11 PM on December 16, 2010

I'm going to use We Relate because I looked into it a little and I think it is the most popular wiki-style family tree site. It's free. I would like to use but I would need the full "world" edition (as apposed to the US version) which costs $299 a year - that's insane.

I meant to say I am going to use We Relate if I ever figure out how to use it - it has a steep learning curve.
posted by cda at 7:38 AM on December 17, 2010

until she started adding names and dates to her version which were 100% incorrect.

To be honest, this is what I dislike about MyHeritage. I can have rigorous standards and mark things as estimated and include sources, but then anyone else in the tree can change it or add new people with shaky info and not mark it as such. There is no concept of editors vs. viewers.

Also, people love to add new branches to the tree, by including those related by marriage and their relatives, which can very easily jump you over the 250 person free level. And it's family drama if you start deleting people that others have added. I kind of feel trapped into paying to keep the site up now, at $60 per year.
posted by smackfu at 9:52 AM on December 20, 2010

Response by poster: update: I've been using MyHeritage and have some mixed feelings
- I feel like the interface is a little buggy: some things show up one way in one part of the tree, but not in others (step fathers + step siblings)
- whole branches of the tree are obscured, and the call-out denoting their existence is a little too subtle (IMO)
- the 250 member limit quickly becomes an issue (I did not expect that).
- in order to deal with that, my wife made her own tree and migrated what she'd done on mine into it. "Pruning" the unwanted members from my side of the family was very tedious.
- now that we have two trees, all of the close family members have the green "smart match" icon... I wish I could turn that feature off.

I would love to see some other family tree visualizers... any suggestions?
posted by cgs at 12:24 PM on January 12, 2011

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