This page is intended as an overview of privacy on Geni. If you are unfamiliar with some of the terminology, please see the definitions provided at the bottom of this page. There are also links to more information at the end of this overview.
Geni takes the privacy of our users and their families very seriously. As a user, you control the privacy of your profile and each of the unclaimed profiles you have added. In general, only your relatives and friends can see your full profile and your tree. Profiles you add for your relatives can only be viewed by their relatives.
In addition to providing a default level of privacy that we feel is appropriate to most users, we realize that many users prefer to have more or less privacy. We provide comprehensive controls you can use to customize the privacy of your data. Below are more details on the default privacy rules.
- Your Family, Friends, and Forest can view your full profile. Anyone else can only see your limited profile, which only includes your profile photo, location (city, state, and country), and the name of the person who added you.
- Anyone can find you using search. However, what they will see if they find you is determined by the profile privacy rules above. This means that if someone outside of your Family, Friends, or Forest searches for you, they will only see your limited profile.
- Only your Family and Forest will see a View Tree button on your profile they can use to view your tree. Note that tree privacy rules determine what users will see when they view your tree.
- Only your Family, Friends and Forest can click your node in the tree to view your profile. If anyone else is able to navigate to your part of the tree (for example, someone connected to you beyond your Forest), they will only see your first initial and last name and will not be able to click your node to view your profile.
Following are the default privacy rules that apply to the profiles you manage. You can customize these in your Managed Profiles settings. The privacy for unclaimed profiles is based on user's relationship to the unclaimed profile.
- Anyone in their Forest can view and edit their profile. Anyone else can only see their limited profile:
- For living, the limited profile includes their profile photo, location (city, state, and country), and the name of the person who added them.
- For deceased, the limited profile includes their profile photo, location (city, state, and country), the name of the person who added them, and the first names of their immediate family.
- Anyone in their Forest can find them using search.
- Anyone can find deceased profiles using search. However, what they will see if they find them is determined by the profile privacy rules above. This means that when searching for deceased profiles, strangers will only see their profile photo, location (city, state, and country), the name of the person who added them, and the first names of their immediate family.
- Only their Forest will see a View Tree button on their profile they can use to view their tree. Note that tree privacy rules determine what users will see when they view their tree.
- Please note that ex-spouses are not included within the Forest. In order to see their node in the viewable format, one must first invite that person to join their Family Group
- If a user can navigate to their part of the tree:
- A user in their Forest can click their node in the tree to view their profile.
- For living unclaimed, a user outside their Forest (for example, someone connected to them beyond their Forest), will only see a private node which consists only of their first initial and last name and will not be able to click through to their profile.
- For deceased unclaimed, a user outside their tree can click through to their limited profile.
Privacy for Non-Users
Geni is designed as a tool for our users to document their family history through collaborative genealogy among family members. As a result, they are encouraged to create profiles for their family members who are not yet Geni users.
Each user controls the privacy of their profile and the profiles that they have added to their tree. If someone has created a profile for you and you are concerned about the privacy of your profile, the best way to control your profile privacy is to claim your account. You can do this by joining Geni using the email address associated with your profile from this page - http://www.geni.com/family-tree/start
Alternately, you can contact the person who added you to discuss your privacy concerns. In most cases you will find the person is more than happy to accommodate your privacy needs. Who knows, you may just meet a new family member!
Unclaimed profile: A profile on Geni that is not associated with an active account. For example, if I add my sister to the tree, her profile is unclaimed until she accepts an invitation to join the tree. All deceased profiles are unclaimed.
Managed profile: You are the manager of any unclaimed profile you add. Once the person claims the profile, you are no longer their manager.
Family group: A privacy group that you define. By default, your Family consists of all your blood relatives out to your 5th cousins and closer and their current partners (plus your spouse’s if you are married) and your Inlaws out to 1st cousins. This group is always mutual, i.e. if someone is in your Family group, you are their Family group.
Friend: A privacy group that you define. Only other Geni users can be your Friend, and this group is always mutual, i.e. if someone is your Friend, you are their Friend.
Forest: Your Forest is your blood relatives and all of their partner's blood relatives, plus your partner's blood relatives and all of their partner's blood relatives.
For more detailed information, please see the following resources: