"The ultimate goal of Geni is to create a single, accurate family tree that connects all of our users, with no duplicates. Over time, as duplicate trees have been merged together over and over again, the tree has become, quite honestly, a mess. We are fully committed to building the most comprehensive and accurate family tree in the world."
This implies one profile for one person - and that all duplicates of a person within the Big Tree will eventually be merged. The Curators have the ability to merge any profile within the Big Tree.
However there are Geni members/users out there who are not aware that they are part of the Big tree.
How you know if you are in the Big Tree
Check the Home page and the Statistics box you see on the right hand side with the numbers of relatives you have etc. The top line there says:
"You are connected to XXX people on Geni"
If this number is in the tens of millions, then you are connected. The connection is not necessarily through your direct ancestors, but can be through various in-laws being connected through marriages to other trees that connect to - etc.
How to know if another person is connected
If you already part of the Big Tree, you can visit any person's profile, and check the line at the top of their profile. If it says "You are connected to XXX" (with the option of finding out the actual connection), then your are both in the same tree, i.e. the big tree. If instead this field says "This is the Public profile for XXX" with no mention of connections, the profile and his/her tree is not part of the Big Tree.
If you wish to merge with such profiles/trees, make sure you write a message to the manager and explain properly that they do not only merge with you, but they join the Big tree with thousands of users and millions of profiles - and there MAY be many more merges to complete, depending on how far back in history the unconnected tree goes.
How to get out of the Big Tree
Since building the Big Tree is, for the most part, the whole point of Geni, there is currently no easy solution to this. Steps you can take include:
- Contact Geni Help to discuss your options (NB: They have a lot to do at the moment and it may take a while before they respond)
- Consider closing your Big Tree account and start a separate tree within which you do not collaborate with anyone, or invite any family members (as these might merge into the Big Tree again). Lastly, do NOT enter any profiles outside of your [Family-Group], or make any of your profiles public, because these too will eventually get merged if they are duplicated elsewhere on Geni.
In any case, under no circumstances should you ever attempt to delete or remove information from profiles in the Big Tree that have more than yourself listed as a manager. Multiple managers mean that the profile has already been merged between one or more other Geni users; deleting or changing it will consequently affect the trees of everyone else, not just your own.
Lastly, please note that Geni has no plans to support separate trees now or in the future. So in trying to keep your tree separate, you are basically trying to work against the system which is designed towards merging everything together.