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I’ve been using Geni for a little over 2 years. I gave it a try after seeing it demonstrated at the SCGS Jamboree, thinking that I wasn’t going to like it or stick to it, but could at least say I tried it. After all, I’d already tried MyFamily.com, and my family wasn’t interested in participating AT ALL.

Well, Geni has been a big(ger) hit with the family. Most are mildly interested, but some are VERY interested. Many just use it to send birthday or anniversary greetings, which is fine. Not everybody cares about genealogy; I get that. But whatever their reason, many have joined and continue to come back (unlike MyFamily.com, which was basically just ME talking to myself).

Not to toot my own horn here, but I’ve personally added 8,724 profiles. Sure, it’s not the biggest family tree on Geni, but I think I did a pretty good job, considering…

Anyway, I’ve received several invitations to either merge profiles of ancestors (which I’ve done) or to join others’ family groups (which I haven’t done because I can’t see how we’re related). Apparently, certain information is only available to Geni Pro users, particularly information such as how you’re related to people who ask you to join their family group.

Plus, Geni Pro members have the option of asking others to “collaborate” with them, which I guess means to share information. Or share ancestors? I’m not exactly certain.

And isn’t genealogy all about the collaboration? I’m just sayin’.

So my questions for you Geni members out there are:

  • Have you actually shelled out the approximately $60 to become a Geni Pro member?
  • Do you feel it was a worthwhile expense (especially considering the many other databases on which we genealogists can spend our money)? Will you re-up when the time comes?
  • Have you found any previously unknown (to you) information by collaborating with others or finding “hot matches?”
  • When you contacted others to collaborate, were they responsive? Or did they ignore you?

I’ll admit that I’m tempted (I hate clicking on things that promise me information, only to have it tell me no). But I’d like to know what you experts out there think, first.

Copyright © by Elizabeth O’Neal

Elizabeth is a professional genealogist, writer, and consultant. Likes: long walks in the cemetery, and the smell of old courthouse books. Dislikes: people who copy stuff off the internet without giving credit, and county clerks who can't tell the difference between Eastern and Pacific time zones. Secretly hopes her daughter will one day develop an interest in family history (but no luck so far).

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