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The differences: records and trees

This past Sunday, The Legal Genealogist couldn’t quite figure out how Geni and MyHeritage (its parent company) fit together and how the new DNA offerings on both were to work and so invited MyHeritage to explain things.

Yesterday, we learned about how the two differ: how the focus on Geni is a one-world collaborative tree and the focus on MyHeritage is on individual private trees on one side and on records on the other.

Today — what it costs and how the two work together.



“MyHeritage and Geni are both Freemium services, meaning that they can be used for free to a certain extent, and for premium features and content, a subscription is required. As the services are separate, a subscription purchased on Geni does not provide benefits on MyHeritage, and vice versa. The subscriptions on both MyHeritage and Geni are annual.”


“Geni allows its users to do a lot for free. Building a tree on Geni and merging profiles is free.

“Geni offers a Geni Pro subscription for an annual fee of $119.40.

“Geni Pro provides access to matches between profiles on Geni (Geni tree matches), improved search capabilities on Geni that cover the entire Geni database, unlimited media upload and enhanced customer support. Geni Pro can be taken for a test drive with a 14-day free trial.

“A Geni Pro subscription doesn’t provide access to the 7 billion records and profiles from MyHeritage that are matched with Geni profiles — this requires a separate MyHeritage Data subscription (see below).

“At the moment a bundled subscription which includes Geni Pro + MyHeritage Data is not offered yet and users who want both need to buy them separately. Such a bundle is being contemplated.”


“Basic (free) accounts on MyHeritage provide:

* Free Family Tree Builder software, for Windows and Mac, with the ability to build a family tree of up to 500,000 individuals on one’s computer (the limit is technical, it is not imposed). Latest version: 8.0. Developed since 2003 and highly maintained ever since. Very likely the world’s most popular free family tree software. Available in more than 40 languages.

* Free mobile app for iOS and Android.

* Up to 250 individuals in the online family tree on

* Smart Matches™ – matches between family trees, are free to receive and view.

* Some free content in SuperSearch engine for historical records, such as 20 million gravestone records (BillionGraves collection) and 90 million pages from family history books, and more.

* Unlimited family tree charts.”

“MyHeritage offers Site subscriptions in two flavors: Premium and PremiumPlus.

“A Premium subscription on MyHeritage provides all the benefits of a Basic account, plus the following:

* Increased capacity of up to 2500 individuals in the online family tree on

* Ability to confirm Smart Matches™ and do Quick Save – save new information from matches to one’s tree in one click. Ability to contact other tree owners with whom Smart Matches™ were found.

* Premium features of the Family Tree Builder software, for life – Smart Match merge wizard and all-in-one charts.

* Priority customer support.”

An annual Premium subscription costs $110.08, with first-time subscribers getting a 25% discount, or $82.56.

“A PremiumPlus subscription on MyHeritage provides all the benefits of a Premium account, plus the following:

* Unlimited number of individuals in the online family tree on

* Instant Discoveries™ – discoveries that can be received and applied in one click, adding an entire branch to the family tree at each time.

* Access to all family trees and family photos on MyHeritage’s SuperSearch engine for historical records.”

An annual PremiumPlus subscription costs $175.20, with first-time subscribers getting a 25% discount, or $131.40.

“A Data subscription on MyHeritage provides the following separate benefits:

* Access to all 7 billion historical records on MyHeritage’s SuperSearch engine for historical records, including international birth, marriage, death and census records, and many more. This also includes access to the Geni collection on MyHeritage which includes all the non-private Geni profiles.

* Access to all Record Matches – matches between family trees and historical records.

* Access to the Record Detective™ – matches between historical records and other historical records.

* Priority customer support.”

An annual Data subscription costs $159.20, with first-time subscribers getting a 25% discount, or $119.40.

“The Complete subscription (formerly called Bundle) is the best plan, providing everything on MyHeritage as a combination of PremiumPlus and Data. Complete costs $250.80/year and a first-time purchase is discounted and costs only $179.40.”


“The DNA features on MyHeritage and Geni are separate and for the most part work independently of each other.

“DNA data upload for matching was announced on MyHeritage on May 19 2016.

“Matching on MyHeritage is for autosomal DNA data, and available for all users who have taken a DNA test on 23andMe, Ancestry, or the Family Tree DNA Family Finder test. The matching is planned for release in the late July – early August timeframe, with ethnicity reports and other DNA features to be released afterwards. For users who upload their DNA data now, matching will be free, permanently (thereafter MyHeritage has hinted that it may become a paid feature for users who upload their DNA data later on). The benefit of DNA matching on MyHeritage is getting additional matches, compared to those that one can obtain on the service with which one was originally tested, tight integration features with MyHeritage trees, and integration with the other MyHeritage matching technologies including Smart Matches and Records Matches.

“DNA integration and matching was announced separately on Geni on June 30 2016.

“This was done via integration with Family Tree DNA, supporting Y-DNA, mtDNA and autosomal DNA.

“The DNA functionality on Geni has been 1.5 years in development, and offers some unique features:

* DNA features on Geni are completely free, permanently. The DNA features apply to users who have had their DNA tested (or have had their relatives tested). For users who have not had their DNA tested, Geni currently sells discounted DNA tests powered by Family Tree DNA. See

* It uniquely supports Y-DNA and mtDNA (these are tests sold only by FamilyTreeDNA, that provide matches based on the direct paternal and direct maternal lines).

* Geni enjoys a product integration with FamilyTreeDNA, meaning that DNA results can be transferred securely in a click without manual export and import, for users who tested with Family Tree DNA.

* The matching on Geni works right now (unlike the MyHeritage matching which accepts free DNA uploads now, but the matching will be released soon).

* The matching is tightly integrated into the Geni World Family Tree, allowing relationships to be confirmed or refuted using DNA, and marked as such.

* Y-DNA and mtDNA data from public websites and was loaded into Geni, enriching it with 228,000 DNA-endowed profiles.

* Y-DNA and mtDNA results have been propagated on Geni through the paternal and maternal lines, enriching more than half a million profiles on Geni with DNA information.”

DNA privacy on Geni

“As described in Geni’s blog post, users can control the privacy of their DNA information at – whether haplogroups can be viewed by all Geni users or just their Family Group; whether other Geni users can match their DNA against the users’; whether to propagate Y- and Mitochondrial DNA to their paternal-line and maternal-line relatives, respectively, and whether their name is displayed with that propagation; and finally whether DNA uploaded to relatives’ profiles can be propagated to the user’s profile. This is a very comprehensive suite of settings to allow users to be as public or private with their DNA information as they choose.

“DNA transferred or uploaded to Geni may be attached to private or public profiles. DNA attached to private profiles cannot be viewed except by close relatives and curators. In any case, Geni never displays the raw DNA data itself — no Y-DNA STR markers, no Mitochondrial DNA mutations, and no Autosomal nucleotides.

“Autosomal DNA from Ancestry and 23andMe can also be uploaded to Geni, but the utilization of that data is still under development. It will take a few more months until matches are available for Ancestry and 23andMe results on Geni.

“For details on how the DNA features work on Geni, see

“Autosomal DNA uploaded to MyHeritage will not be transferred to Geni.

“Y-DNA and mtDNA uploaded to Geni will not be transferred to MyHeritage, because MyHeritage doesn’t support Y-DNA and mtDNA. Autosomal DNA from Ancestry and 23andMe uploaded to Geni will be transferred to MyHeritage in the future, allowing matches between autosomal DNA data uploaded to the two services.

“Geni’s DNA Terms of Use, available for viewing at reflect the same user-friendly revisions that MyHeritage made shortly after its DNA release, in particular that the user is NOT granting a transferrable or permanent license. Further, DNA test results will not be given to any third-party without the user’s informed consent, which is opt in and clearly displayed as such.”


“Because MyHeritage and Geni are owned by the same company, bridges were built between the two services in order to provide benefits to the users of each service. The main bridge is matching, based on technology developed by MyHeritage. Trees on MyHeritage are automatically matched with the Geni tree (as well as the MyHeritage trees and MyHeritage historical records). Profiles on the Geni tree are automatically matched with the MyHeritage trees and MyHeritage historical records. Matches lead the way to discoveries and it is common for users on MyHeritage to contact users on Geni following a match they received, or vice versa.
If a user has a tree on MyHeritage and another tree on Geni, they are not synced, and changes in one of them do not update the other. Because of this, having trees on both sites is not recommended, and it is advised for each user to choose the service that he/she prefers and maintain the tree on that service only. Such syncing is not really possible because each tree on MyHeritage has one owner, but on Geni anyone can edit any public profile, and merge it with another profile causing sub-trees to merge (e.g. merging a small tree into the World Family Tree), so syncing with Geni is incompatible MyHeritage’s private tree model.

“MyHeritage has a search engine for historical records, called SuperSearch. For the benefit of that search engine, MyHeritage maintains a read-only copy of the non-private tree profiles of Geni, as a collection on MyHeritage SuperSearch. This means MyHeritage has a subset of the Geni data, but that subset cannot be edited on MyHeritage — whenever something gets modified on Geni, the copy on MyHeritage is automatically updated, but the copy is a data collection, it’s not a living, breathing, editable tree. The Geni copy that is on MyHeritage allows genealogists making a search on MyHeritage to also discover information that is on Geni (one search covers everything).”

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