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How to Keep Family Relationships Intact with Geni

How to Keep Family Relationships Intact with Geni
Geni Family Tree view

    There was a time when it was easy to keep up with your family – they lived down the road, on the block or nearby in the city.

    That time passed decades ago, with technological advances in transport and communication, and now families can be strewn across the country, or even the world.

    But those same advances in technology and communication that keep families apart can also relieve the relationship deterioration that geographical separation can cause. One of those advances is the genealogy web application Geni.

    My father and I had a discussion about our family history and recently decided to collaborate online using this application. I didn’t realize it was anything more than a genealogy service when we signed up.

    Geni is a family tree app that allows you to record data about your living relatives and your ancestors going back generations, but also part social network that can keep family members in touch and appraised of each others’ news.

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    Profiles

    Geni Profile view

      Profiles form most of Geni’s social network capabilities. Much like other networks such as Facebook, you can find typical profile data about the person you’re looking at, though the data tends to be more accurate and personal. Here you can see an individual’s birthdate, location, place of birth, immediate family and email address, as well as statistics such as relatives, in-laws, ancestors and descendants.

      The sidebar also contains historical data, such as an individual’s work and education history, and there’s a section for adding personal trivia—want to let everyone know what your favorite movies, hobbies and cuisines are? No? Well, there’s a place to specify this anyway.

      There’s also a thumbnail array showing the profiles of your immediate family, with tabs for ancestors or descendants—useful for immediately determining which part of the family the person is in, in case they are too distant for you to remember (either that or you’re just a bad relative!).

      Of course, like every social network, there’s the guestbook, which is just like Facebook’s wall.

      Family News

      genifamilynewsview.jpg

        When you log-in to Geni the first thing you’ll see is the Family News page. Here, you’ll be able to see both news posted by family members and recent changes or additions to the tree, as well as individual profile modifications or image uploads. It’s the hub of recent activity both in your tree and your family’s lives, if they update diligently.

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        You can select who you receive news from, so if your Geni tree has grown as large as mine, you won’t need to know about the latest tea party your wife’s great-aunt’s-stepchild’s-sister-in-law is holding.

        This page is a lifesaver, coupled with the next feature which has done my poor memory a whole lot of service.

        Event Reminders

        I didn’t know when my brother-in-law’s birthday was or which day my uncle and aunt celebrate their anniversary until I started using Geni. Now, I can look like I actually do care. That’s not how it sounds; I usually do, but I forget these things like any good male does. Geni reminds me of the things I should have remembered on my own so I can send off an email or make a phone call to the person in question.

        I’m not sure yet whether Geni sends reminders for death anniversaries. For the sake of good taste, I hope not.

        Calendar

        genicalendarview.jpg

          The calendar allows you to peruse all the events for the next year. If you’re either incredibly slack or have a really unhealthy relationship with productivity hacks, you can head to your email program and schedule messages to go out for each event, but you better not mess up the scheduling!

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          This calendar not only tells you when wedding anniversaries occur, but also which substance or valuable metal represents that anniversary. For instance, later this year I’m having a cotton anniversary. Nobody told me about this before.

          The calendar has a checkbox for displaying the events of the deceased. Ever wanted to head down to the cemetery and wish your great-grandparents a happy 74th anniversary? How about singing happy birthday to Uncle Ted who met his fate at the aquarium that couldn’t afford to put a lid on the shark tank? This feature is a little creepy to me, but I can see how it might be of interest to some.

          Inbox

          I know there’s email, but when you check it each morning, I might send off an email to see how Relative X is going is probably not one of your first thoughts. This feature is useful simply because while you’re inside the Geni application, your focus is on family members and you’re more likely to send that message off.

          The recipient of your message will be notified by email so if they haven’t logged in for a year, they’ll still know about it. Whether they read it or not is another story, but at least you can say you tried at the next reunion.

          From a purely technical point of view, this kind of feature is a bit redundant, considering the email address of each member is on their profile page. But given the common condition known as email blindness and the context of this app, it’s bound to help you keep family relationships intact at least a little bit more.

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          Privacy

          Both the family tree and the social network are kept private amongst members of the family, though there is an option to make the family tree and some social network information public.

          For me, this defeats the purpose of using the application and offers some privacy concerns. For instance, can you opt-out of the public tree? And if individuals can opt-out, doesn’t this make the public family tree incredibly inaccurate for those doing casual online research? I’m sure there will be interested individuals, and the option will be there for them.

          Geni offers features I like and some that I don’t like so much or find particularly relevant, given the purposes I use this service for. But no matter what you’re looking for in the world of collaborative genealogy or family relationship maintenance, Geni can help.

          If your relatives live up the road, here’s a tip: face-to-face communication works a lot better.

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          Last Updated on September 17, 2018

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

          7 Signs of an Unhappy Relationship That Makes You Feel Stuck

          Relationships are complicated and when you’re unhappy, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing it and what needs to change.

          Sometimes it’s as easy as opening up to your partner about your problems, while other times it may be necessary to switch partners or roll solo to get your mind straight.

          When you’re in the thick of things, it can be difficult to tell if you’re unhappy in your relationship or just unhappy in general (in which case, a relationship may be just the cure you need).

          Here’re signs of an unhappy relationship that is possibly making you feel stuck:

          1. You’re depressed about your home life.

          No matter what you do in life, you’re going to have good and bad days. Your relationship is no different.

          However, no matter what you’re going through at home, you have to feel comfortable in your own home.

          If you constantly dread going home because your significant other is there, there’s a problem. Maybe it’s something you already know about, everyone has an argument or just needs some alone time.

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          When that yearning to be alone becomes an insatiable obsession over the course of months and years, it’s time to realize you’re not the exception to the rule.

          You’re unhappy in your relationship, and you need to take a look in the mirror and do whatever it takes to make yourself smile.

          2. You aren’t comfortable being yourself.

          Remember all those things you discovered about yourself when you first got together? The way your partner made you feel when you met that made you fall in love with him or her in the first place.

          If they don’t make you feel that way anymore, it’s not the end of the world. If your partner makes you uncomfortable about being you, then her or she is only dragging you down. It’s up to you to decide how to handle that.

          You need to be comfortable with who you are. This means being comfortable in your skin and with the way you walk, talk, look, breath, move, and all the other things that make you uniquely you.

          If the person who supposedly loves you doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, know that you can do better. They’re not even one in a billion.

          3. You can’t stop snooping.

          Mutual trust is necessary in any relationship. The only way to get that trust is with respect.

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          I can find you anywhere online, no matter how private and secure you think you are. The odds of you having a password I can’t crack are slim. If we’ve met in person, I could install a remote key logger on your device without even touching it.

          Finding your information online hardly takes a clandestine organization. Any idiot with a Wi-Fi-enabled device can cyberstalk you. I’m just the only idiot in the village admitting it.

          So now that we know everyone snoops, it’s time to address your personal habits. Governments snoop because they don’t trust us. If you’re snooping on your partner, it’s because you don’t trust them.

          It’s ok to have doubts, and it’s perfectly normal to look into anything that looks weird, but keep in mind that data collection is only half of an investigation.

          If you find yourself constantly snooping and questioning everything, clearly there’s a trust issue and the relationship likely needs to end.

          4. You’re afraid of commitment.

          If you’ve been dating longer than a year and you aren’t engaged, it’s never going to happen.

          Commitment is important. People will come up with a million ways to describe why they can’t be committed.

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          No matter who you are if you like it, you need to put a ring on it. Find an engagement ring, stick a gemstone in it and marry the person. If you’re not legally able to get married or you don’t believe in it for one reason or another, have a child (or adopt one, however you’re able to) or treat your partner’s family like your own. It’s a huge financial and mental commitment.

          If you’re not ready for one or the other after some time, don’t waste anymore of your precious life on the relationship.

          Your relationship should be something that propels you forward. If it’s not going anywhere, make it an open relationship and call it what it is—dating multiple people.

          5. You imagine a happier life without your partner.

          If all you’re doing is imagining a happier life without your partner, it’s a sign that you’re in the wrong relationship. You’re unhappy and you need to get out.

          Your partner should be included in your dreams. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a future with someone.

          Try to remember what you dreamed of before you got your heart broken by the realities of life, love and the pursuit of human success.

          Remember when you would crush on that cute kid in class? You would secretly imagine marrying him or her and going on an adventure—that’s the way life should be.

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          If you’re not at least imagining adventures together, then why are you in that relationship?

          6. You resent, rather than love your partner.

          When a relationship starts to crumble, you begin to resent your partner for all the things you once loved about him or her.

          When you’ve reached this point, your partner has reached at least No. 2 on this list. From your partner’s perspective, your unhappiness with them is picked up as bashing them for being who they are.

          If you’re both unhappy in the relationship, it’s better if it ends as quickly and painlessly as possible.

          7. You chase past feelings.

          It’s okay to reminisce about the past, but if all you do is wish things were like they used to be, it’s a sign you’re not on the right path.

          You’re unhappy and, at the very least, you need to have an open dialogue about it. This isn’t necessarily a sign that the relationship should end, but it definitely needs a spark.

          When you talk to your partner candidly about what it is you’re looking for, you never know how they’ll react. The risk alone is worth it, good or bad.

          Final thoughts

          If you’re feeling stuck in your current relationship, it’s time to reflect about it with your partner. Don’t ignore these signs of an unhappy relationship as they will slowly go worse and harm both you and your partner in long-term.

          Featured photo credit: josh peterson via unsplash.com

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