Geni.com maps the family trees of the world

What’s the most core social network we could map? Our family!

I’m a big proponent of organizing your family online. In fact I created a family site for my kin way back during the first boom. I’ve also created and moderate Yahoo groups around my family name, and organized a trip back to my roots for those that had found us.

I shared my family lineage and story on July 4th, and several people told me to try Geni.com, I did.

I’m excited about Geni.com, it’s a family tree mapping software with a very slick user interface, even my older Aunts were able to figure it out. There’s always been download versions such as Broderbund’s Family Tree Maker. The limitations with that is one person is stuck doing all the work, and it could be a legacy data source that becomes irrelevant if no one tends to it. You’re probably also familiar with ancestry.com, they’ve deployed a very heavy online advertising campaign.

The beauty of Geni.com is if it’s a successful company, (keep up to date with their blog) than our ancestral information (and ours) will be stored online for a long time, to me the internet is one way for us to stay immortal, our stories are told. Secondly, the work is distributed to the parties that want to add information (there’s always a small group of folks or individual in a family that wants to lead an organization or historical effort) and this makes the updating process in real time. Lastly, the most beautiful thing about this is finding out how everyone is related. As their tag line states, the whole world is related, now let’s find out.

The killer thing about Geni that sets it apart from other sites? The gorgeous flash interface, it’s truly easy to use, smooth and fluid, play with the map mover, slider, and zoomer.

Recommendations: I encourage you to try this out and add some of your family data, but be considerate about putting a lot of detailed information about your family. I think name and relationship is probably sufficient. Although futile, I’m always hesitant about putting personal information online.

Some of my family had some concerns about privacy and data, it would be interesting to hear from the company about how they will handle the data.

You can see a few folks have already uploaded screenshots of their family tree on flickr.

Leave a comment

1 Have you used Geni.com or other similiar software?
2 How many family members do you have mapped out? (I’m at 60ish)
3 Did one or two people do most of the work or was it collaborative?


geni1
Above: login screen shows what the most basic tree starts off with, your mother and father

geni2
Above: There’s some interesting features, like a discussion forum, index and list, and this google map mashup


Above Video: Robert Scoble left a comment, he did an interview with the folks