[Editor's Note: This post was written by Amanda, Social Media Coordinator, at Geni http://www.geni.com/blog/genis-world-family-tree-surpasses-100-million-profiles-392271.html)]
Today we’re excited to announce that Geni’s World Family Tree now connects over 100 million profiles!
Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the entire Geni community, the World Family Tree has quickly become the largest, highest-quality family tree of the world. This significant milestone is the product of the hard work and research done by our dedicated community of users and our trusted team of volunteer Curators.
The World Family Tree is the definitive family tree for the entire world. It connects millions of relatives in over 160 countries and across all seven continents. It is a truly global endeavor as millions of genealogists and family historians from all around the world collaborate on the family tree, continuously working to improve, enhance and preserve our shared ancestry.
Genealogy is often characterized as a giant puzzle; a puzzle that is traditionally pursued in solitude. However, this solitary approach results in the same research being done again and again. By combining research into a single family tree, more time can be spent verifying existing information and making new discoveries. Through collaboration, everyone can benefit from the work already done by others, and any new findings that may be uncovered.
When visiting other genealogy websites, you will often find a seemingly endless number of duplicate family trees. A simple search for Apple co-founder Steve Jobs can result in hundreds of entries. However, when searched on Geni, you will find only one clean and accurate entry for Steve Jobs. Since the profile is designated a Master Profile, all subsequent duplicates that may be created will be merged into the Master Profile, ensuring all of the best information is collected in one place. Photographs, documents and sources can be added to the same profile for all to share and review.
A common pitfall of other online family trees is the perpetuation of errors that seem impossible to rectify as they are copied across duplicate trees. What makes working in Geni’s World Family Tree extraordinary is that when a mistake is found, it can be corrected quickly and without the worry that the error will be repeated across multiple family trees, which can create a false sense of accuracy. As more people work together, the World Family Tree gets better and better as mistakes are corrected, existing profiles are enhanced and new information is found.
To further ensure the accurate preservation of our shared ancestry, we introduced our team of volunteer Curators to act as stewards of the World Family Tree. Since 2010, Curators have helped protect and maintain the accuracy of the tree. These are users who are not only actively contributing to the World Family Tree, but are also well regarded by the Geni community for their helpfulness and genealogical expertise. In the years since we first introduced this role, our team of Curators has grown to over 190 volunteers from all around the world. Each curator brings with them a strong passion for genealogy and collaboration in the quest to connect all of humanity. Not only has their hard work helped to make Geni’s World Family Tree one of the most accurate online family trees around, but their boundless enthusiasm to help others has become a cornerstone of Geni’s collaborative community. Our Curators have been instrumental in helping to shape the World Family Tree into what it is today by spending countless hours merging duplicates, making corrections and assisting Geni users with both genealogical and technical inquiries.
What motivates our volunteers to dedicate so much time and effort to the World Family Tree? Randy Schoenberg has been a Geni Curator for nearly five years. A lawyer and philanthropist, Randy has been exploring genealogy since he was 8 years old. He explains,
“Every genealogist is motivated initially by an almost narcissistic desire to learn about himself by discovering his or her ancestors. When you broaden your focus and realize that every one of us is part of a giant human tree, then you start to see things a bit differently. It becomes less about me, and more about us. Geni is like a giant jigsaw puzzle that we all work on together. Each time I add someone to the tree, it feels like I am discovering a new link in the web of humanity.”
Uncovering one’s family history is a very personal endeavor and any help a curator may be able to offer can bring great joy to someone’s family. It also gives them the opportunity to learn something new themselves. Randy shares,
“I like helping people with their trees and solving problems. Not only is it nice for the person I am helping, but I learn so much about genealogy, often in areas that I don’t regularly deal with on my own tree. I am acutely aware of how much I have learned, and how much more knowledgeable I have become about genealogy. Being a Geni curator provides experience in genealogy that no one else has, including how to work collaboratively with other genealogists from all over the world.”
With over 100 million profiles connected to the World Family Tree, everyone has the opportunity to discover how they’re related to a vast array of people, from celebrities to historical figures to a childhood best friend. However, these fascinating connections are only good if they can be trusted and this is why we are grateful for the contributions from our volunteers. As for what Randy has to say about his curator colleagues,
“I find my fellow Curators are invariably the most informed and talented genealogists in their fields. I am lucky to be able to work with them and learn from them.”
With the help of the Curators and the entire Geni community, we can ensure that the World Family Tree will continue to grow and thrive as existing branches are refined and new branches are added. We remain committed to bringing you the best tools to further improve and enrich your family history research on Geni and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have reached this significant milestone.