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Ancestor - Strictly, a direct blood ascendant. For example, your father and mother, grandfathers and grandmothers, etc. Uncles and cousins are not ancestors but are relatives. In cases of adoption, a person might consider the adoptive parents and grandparents ancestors.

Balloon Help - When enabled, help balloons appear when you place your cursor over any button that can be clicked on the tree, and display information about what clicking the button will accomplish. They can be toggled by clicking on the 'speech bubble' icon on the bottom right of the tree.

Beta - A web site or software that's still a work in progress. A beta site is available to the public so people can use it, provide feedback and help identify problems along with suggesting additional features.

Blood Relative - Anyone you share a common ancestor with.

Bug - a problem or conflict in the programming that effects some portion of the website or inhibits proper usage of features.

Claimed User - a user who has claimed their node/profile on Geni.

Edit Card - a quick way of editing some profile information without leaving the tree view.

Export -

Field - a space provided for entry of information. Information might be typed in, cut/pasted, or chosen from a menu.

Focus Node - This is the 'Tree Owner' of the currently viewed tree.

Forum - A section of the site provided for discussion of issues or ideas and exchange of information between users and the Geni team.

Geni - A relatively new Web 2.0 Genealogy site.

GEDCOM - A common format for storing family trees offline.

Geni Legend

GeniTeam - A Geni employee

Hand Print - The immediate family description block that appears atop the profile page and on some of the list views (e.g., "Son of John and Mary, Brother of William").

Help Messages - Little boxes in the tree view that give you tips about basic tree usage. Enabled on your first login to Geni, and can be turned back on by clicking on the 'speech bubble' icon on the bottom right of the tree.


Invited User - A person on the family tree who has been invited by an active member through e-mail. Every tree member except the originator was an invited user at some point. People who are deceased at the time of addition to a tree and those under 13 cannot be invited users.

Link - words or a symbol that contain information that when clicked on will redirect the user to a new page or open a new window.

Little Green Tree - When viewing the tree, certain parts of it are not shown. For example, inlaws, or very distant cousins. When Geni does this, the user who's relatives have been hidden has a little green icon with the number of hidden profiles on it. When clicked, the icon has the same functionality as the 'view tree' button: view the tree of the person in question. Use the navigation bar at the top of the tree to return to your own tree.

Menu a specific list of choices that may be entered into a field. For example, the field for entering the month of a year is limited to the choices on the drop-down list of month names.

My Family - This is the subset of people in your tree whose birthdays and anniversaries appear in your Calendar, whose locations appear on your Map, and whose Recent Albums you see under the Photos tab. Initially, we have defined this group as your third cousins and closer, plus their current partners, and your own partner’s first cousins and closer, plus their current partners. Coming soon, we will let you define your My Family group.

Node - The person's 'box' in the tree. It shows a photo, a name, an edit-info button and a view-tree button. You can enter a person's -email on the node to invite them.

Post - a single response by any participant in the thread of a forum.

Portal -

Profile - A page containing detailed information about the user. The person's description, photos, contact details, work and school information (and more) are displayed on the profile. -See also Claimed Profile, Claimed User, Stub Profile, Unclaimed Profile.

Relationship Definitions:

  • Half sibling – two nodes with exactly one parent node in common.
  • In-Law - a person related through marriage but not by blood ancestors.
  • Stepchild – node which has your current spouse, but not you, as a parent.
  • Stepparent – node which is current spouse of one of your parent nodes, but is not your parent.

Cousin descriptions on Geni only go out to 3rd cousin thrice removed.

Relationship Pathway - How is a person related to you? For example, John Smith (your father) → Linda Smith (his mother) → James Jones (his father) → Ronald Jones (his brother) → Tina Jones (his wife).

Cousin descriptions on Geni only go out to 3rd cousin thrice removed.

Removed- a generation removed. For example, the child of your first cousin is your first cousin one generation removed (relation to you = "first cousin once removed")on the Geni site.

RSS Feed - "Really Simple Syndication" newsfeed is another way of viewing web pages. It's a fast, easy way to news from many different sites by consolidation of the news.

Second - This is a term that replaces repititious titles. For example, the father of your Great Grandfather might be called your Great Great Grandfather elsewhere, but for Geni, the reference is Second Great Grandfather. This allows also for Third and Fourth to be used in a similar way, cutting down on very long titles for relationships.

Slider- a way of adjusting certain preferences. It is a bar with a handle portion that can be slid from side to side or up and down. A slider provides a graduated set of choices, usually used for viewing options like the zoom on the tree view or the number of generations to view on the tree.

Stub Profile - Every person in the tree gets his or her own profile page. A profile page that is empty, or nearly empty, is called a stub profile. If you know any information about this person, you are encouraged to fill it in.

Thread - One portion of a forum usually dedicated to a specific idea, issue, or set of information. It is like a category for discussion where all of the posts from people involved in the discussion can be viewed in relation to each other.


Tree Awards (aka Family Tree Awards) This is a list of the Tree Creator as well as the top ten contributors from the entire tree in each of the following areas: Profile Adders, Profile Inviters, and Photo Uploaders. Any active member of the tree is eligible to earn a place on these lists.

  • The visible tree is what you see in tree view which is a subset of your family tree due to pruning.
  • The tree is your entire family tree

User - any participant in the Geni website who is not functioning as a member of the Geni team (non-employee member).

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