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Unable to untangle the pieces

The Legal Genealogist had planned to do a test of the new Geni-Family Tree DNA interface for today’s DNA Sunday blog post.

The information about this new link came in a press release, and you can read all about it here in the Geni blog.1

It sounds really intriguing, and I was going to try it.

give upInstead, I’m retreating… at least temporarily … into confusion and frustration.

I’m not ready to concede defeat, as yet, but…

I cannot for the life of me figure out how the various bits and pieces of MyHeritage, which includes Geni now, fit together.

I also can’t figure out how anyone is supposed to know what the various subscriptions include that you can pay for, in any kind of comprehensive compare-this-to-that way.

I can figure out, from the Geni site, that a basic Geni membership is free, and that the Pro level of Geni costs $119.40 a year, in US dollars.2

What exactly you get for that $119.40 a year isn’t so easy to figure out. The site says that it includes the ability to “discover new branches of your family tree with instant tree matches,” “search over 150 million profiles to find and connect with possible relatives,” “store and share unlimited photos, videos and documents with your family” and get direct support.3

Now… if you’re already a MyHeritage member… is any part of this included? Apparently not. Not in function, not in billing, not in price.

From a function perspective, the difference, according to the MyHeritage Help Center, is that “Although both services focus on working together to build your family tree – MyHeritage is focused on private family trees, while Geni is focused building one World Family Tree.”4

So if I’m reading this right, the tree functions at MyHeritage are all private, and the tree functions on Geni are … um … well, there clearly is a collaborative function, but there also seems to be some private element as well. Does the DNA linking go to one or both? Is it a part of the free system or only with the paid option?

And MyHeritage has at least two types of subscription charges, one for trees and one for data, and trying to find out exactly how much each one is, not just for a first-time subscriber getting a discount, but every year, and what’s included in each… that’s not so easy either. Unless I’m missing something, there isn’t one single page where you can see these costs and what’s included in each.

And oh… remember that MyHeritage just added the ability to link your DNA results as well?5 Not sure how, if at all, that works with Geni — or not. Apparently not, but…

In other words, I have no idea who’s on first, either with Geni, or with MyHeritage.

And I’m not uploading another set of DNA results until I can figure it out.

So consider this an open invitation to the folks at MyHeritage and at Geni: ‘splain it to us.

Including why there isn’t a one-stop-shopping option for MyHeritage and its various bits and pieces, including Geni…


  1. Amanda, “Geni Adds DNA to the World Family Tree,” Geni Blog, posted 30 June 2016 ( : accessed 3 July 2016).
  2. How much is a Geni Pro subscription?,” Knowledge Base: Frequently Asked Questions, ( : accessed 3 July 2016).
  3. Geni Pro Benefits, “Special Offer: Try Geni Pro for Free!,” ( : accessed 3 July 2016).
  4. What’s the difference between MyHeritage and Geni?,” Related Services, Help Center, MyHeritage ( : accessed 3 July 2016).
  5. See e.g. Judy G. Russell, “MyHeritage DNA terms changed,” The Legal Genealogist, posted 27 May 2016 ( : accessed 3 July 2016).
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