April 24, 2013

Geni.com adds historical records to advance family tree collaboration


Major new features launched to help Geni.com users enrich the World Family Tree and discover unknown relatives 
Los Angeles, USA – April 23 2013: Geni.com, the leader in collaborative family history, today announced the release of two major new features, Record Matching and Smart Matching™, which enrich family trees with relevant historical records and help users discover unknown relatives and ancestors, respectively. This will add significant new detail and color to the World Family Tree, a global initiative by Geni.com that shows how everyone in the world is related, and will help members learn more about their shared ancestries.

The move upgrades Geni.com from a family tree network into a more comprehensive service that includes historical records, fulfilling the promise of its parent company MyHeritage that acquired Geni.com in November 2012. Record Matching and Smart Matching™ are unique technologies developed by MyHeritage which are now made available on Geni.com for the first time. They are designed to automatically search the massive MyHeritage database and suggest matching historical records and family connections that can then be added by users in one click to their family tree on Geni.com.

These new enhancements will illuminate the legacies of the millions of individuals in the World Family Tree, and allow the community to conduct family history research collectively. Enabling members to immediately leverage the work of fellow family historians without duplication is an industry-first. Once a record is confirmed and added to the World Family tree, sources and citations are automatically created, allowing users to view information in the right context. This makes the World Family Tree a more accurate and better documented resource, like the value added by footnotes at the bottom of every article in Wikipedia.

“We’re thrilled to integrate MyHeritage’s groundbreaking features of Record Matching and Smart Matching™ and extend them to our loyal community of Geni.com members and curators”, said Noah Tutak, formerly CEO of Geni.com and now General Manager, USA of MyHeritage. “By adding historical records and unique family tree matching capabilities to the World Family Tree, it becomes the authoritative reference for the human family tree and the go-to resource for anyone interested in family history. This is a great stride in advancing Geni.com to fulfill its mission.”

Record Matching
Record Matching is the next generation of family history exploration. It finds matches between family trees and a massive database of global historical records on Geni.com’s parent site, MyHeritage. The records include birth, marriage, death and divorce documents, gravestone photos, census information, military, immigration and other documents. It’s the only service of its kind to automatically find relevant newspaper articles, books and other free text content through semantic analysis, to shed light on the actual lives, personalities and achievements of one’s ancestors.

Smart Matching™
Smart Matching™ automatically finds matches for family trees on Geni.com in the global database of family trees, containing more than a billion profiles, on its parent site MyHeritage. These matches allow Geni.com members to grow their family tree, discover new ancestors and relatives, connect with other family tree owners and reunite with long lost family members. Sophisticated name-matching technology uses synonyms, phonetics and international variations to facilitate discoveries despite differences in spelling and language.

The two matching technologies work together in a cycle that constantly pushes forward the users' knowledge of their family history. They were both developed by MyHeritage and integrated into Geni.com by the companies’ combined engineering teams.

Record Matches and Smart Matches™ are displayed on Geni.com family trees and individual profiles. Users can also view a list of all Record Matches and Smart Matches™ in their Merge Center, where they can sort, view, confirm or reject them. Confirming a match adds a reference to the tree on Geni.com in a single click. These features will continue to improve over time; planned enhancements include regular email updates about new matches and the ability to extract information from records into Geni.com using a convenient interface.

Record Matches are displayed for free as an extract and a range of record collections can be viewed in full for free. For full access to every type of historical record and to all Smart Matches, users are offered an affordable Data subscription. The same subscription also provides full and unlimited access to 
SuperSearch, the powerful search engine for historical records on MyHeritage.

Anyone can join, contribute to and benefit from the World Family Tree by signing up to Geni at 
www.geni.com. Basic accounts are free and are unlimited in size.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something...is there a way on geni.com to upload a gedcom? Or do we have to re-enter the information by hand?

In addition, two things make me a bit uncomfortable. First, it wants you to start entering immediate family--including email addresses. It feels like starting a chain letter where all these people are going to get 'offers' to sign up for geni's service. Second, the site is rather aggressive about about moving you to the Pro ("Paid") level. Can't see much about the matches or contact others without it? Have to enter credit card info to start the 14 day free trial.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hello "anonymous"

Have I ever mentioned how much I dislike anonymous comments? But I digress...

I'm afraid I can't answer your questions as I don't use Geni.com. I was simply posting their Press Release for other genealogists to read

I suggest you write to Geni.com directly with your concerns. Good luck, and please let us know what answers they have for you

Amanda at Geni said...

Hi "anonymous,"

We disabled our GEDCOM importer to prevent the creation of duplicates. As you enter your relatives manually, we search for matches in your tree with other profiles on Geni. With over 69 million profiles connected to our World Family Tree, it is likely you will find a match and be able to merge your tree into the world tree and benefit instantly from the collaborative efforts of millions of genealogists.

As you add relatives, we encourage you to invite them to the tree to help you build it. You can work together to add more relatives, photos and documents to help build your tree faster.

Our Basic account is free. You may add unlimited people to your tree for free. Tree matches, enhanced search, premium support and unlimited data storage are a part of our Pro subscription. You may choose to try a 14-day free trial of Pro. You can cancel at anytime during your trial and not be charged.

Thanks,

Amanda
The Geni Team

WCT said...

Amanda:

Thanks, I'm impressed that you found my comment* and provide a detailed response.

The collaborative aspects of geni.com are both very enticing and rather concerning. I did enter a dozen or so ancestors and there were matches proposed. Much of the information agreed but there were some significant differences. I've extensively researched the families that I entered so I feel quite confident that I have the actual facts. Nonetheless, without a paid membership, I'm prohibited from contacting the others to try to sort out the differences.

Lorine, I didn't realize initially that you were just reprinting a press release. I very much enjoy your blog and I was under the impression that you always wrote about things that you had personal experience with.


* Yes, I was "Anonymous" as it took a while for me to hunt down the right password to sign in.

WCT said...

Argh, clicked the button too soon.

I also meant to mention that I'm concerned about geni.com's use of Flash. Given the number and severity of the security concerns with Flash, I am very concerned about entrusting my family history to it. Plus Flash doesn't work on iOS (my iPhone and iPad).

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Hi WCT - glad you were able to log in with your name!

That's a good point that you didn't realize I was reposting a Press Release. Usually I put a little pre-note saying something like "This email came to me from xxx yesterday and I wanted to pass it on"

I got lazy this time and didn't do that :-(

My apologies, you are right, it was not clear

Lorine