Ah, web 2.0 has finally hit the old skool field of genealogies. Enter Geni.com.
It’s a site that lets you enter your family tree–and we’re talking more than just straight lines back. It’s got siblings and cousins and in-laws and exes and the whole shebang. Plus when you add people you can invite them to help you add to the family tree. So now it’s no longer a single random relative maintaining the family records, but everybody can pool their resources, collect all the info and keep it going for future generations. It’s free (currently ad supported and will probably later add additional features for a fee) and you can print out or export your tree, so you’re not locked in to their system.
I find this stuff pretty interesting, but I think it’s especially cool to get it all together for Lexi. I’ve been filling in people and I can’t wait to get my hands on the hard copy of our family tree so I can get some real history up there. So far the most depth I have is five generations (as far back as I know off the top of my head), but I’m still working sideways.
The biggest downside to the site is actually kind of a positive: privacy. They’re very big on privacy, which means you can’t search the site for other people or look at any family trees other than your own. It’s a good idea, but it also makes it hard to connect with other people. So far you can’t join two pre-existing family trees (they’re working on it). So if you want to get on the site, save yourself some hassle and make sure there aren’t already family members on it.
Another fun bonus is adding photos. Plus you can add all sorts of biographical details, post memories of other family members and more. Sure beats the old hard copy of the family tree that only had parents (no siblings) and required some skillful photocopying to pass around.