22 February 2011

Which genealogy social network?

There is a bewildering array of genealogy-themed social networks on the web, and even debate about what constitutes such a network. According to Cyndi's List:

Social networking for genealogy most often refers to the ability to build, share, and interact with online family trees. However, the breadth or depth of the online tools vary across the board. Some tools also offer other features of social networking such as sharing photos or creating calendars and timelines.
Your need may be best met by a site that emphasises one particular aspect, so there's no one size fits all site. Perhaps a general social network site, or a genealogy mailing list such as one of the Rootsweb sites, will best meet your need.

Here is my selection of top sites from Cyndi's social network category sorted according to Alexa ranking.
The Top Five

My Heritage Alexa Rank: 3,363;  Compete Rank: 1,398
Israel-based MyHeritage.com claims to be the most popular family network on the web. It operates in 36 languages, 50 million members, over 700 million profiles, 17 million family trees, 103 million photos and 50 employees.

Geni  Alexa Rank: 7,498; Compete Rank: 4,016
Based in Los Angeles, California, Geni claims to be the leading collaborative genealogy platform with users from around the world working together to build a single, comprehensive family tree currently containing nearly 50 million ancestors and living users and over 100 million profiles.

Family Link  Alexa Rank: 34,888; Compete Rank: 1,946
Provo, Utah based, the company is headed by CEO and Board Chair Paul Allen, a serial genealogy entrepreneur (Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords). It claims to have "60 million users already using the #1 social family network" with 500 million family connections, 20 million monthly active users and 3.6 billion indexed names.

Genes Reunited  Alexa Rank: 37,111; Compete Rank: 102,782
Ranked as the No.1 family website based on market share of visits among all UK websites in a July - December 2010 survey, it currently has over 10 million members worldwide and over 750 million names listed. It is part of Brightsolid, which also boasts Findmypast.co.uk and has the franchise for scotlandspeople.gov.uk.

Genealogy Wise Alexa Rank: 466,548; Compete Rank: 109,205
Recently acquired by the National Institute for Genealogical Studies, managing director Louise St Denis, leading Canadian genealogical entrepreneur, the site has 23, 878 members. The site is distinct in leveraging its link with the Institute, including by offering a free course on Social Media for the Wise Genealogist covers social media tools vital to today’s genealogical research including social networking sites, RSS, bookmarking, and more beginning on March 15th, 2011. To register, see the National Institute’s website at www.genealogicalstudies.com.


Efamily, incorporates Famiva  Alexa Rank: 925,537; Compete Rank: 925,314
Living Genealogy (beta)  Alexa Rank: 2,388,939
Lost Cousins   Alexa Rank: 2,458,434; Compete Rank: 705,620
Arcalife Alexa Rank: 2,462,500; Compete Rank: 1,268,739
My Great Big Family  Alexa Rank: 2,661,144; Compete Rank: 987,782

1 comment:

Persephone said...

I belong to Geni because family members on my husband's side invited me. Since it's relatively private, I put historic family photos online there. (I find with my public tree at Ancestry, family poachers simply copy my family photos despite the fact that they may not be related at all.) Geni's family tree set-up allows for cousins marrying cousins, something that happened quite a bit in my family!

I've made several valuable connections through Genes Reunited, but their tree set-up doesn't allow for cousin marriages, plus I get rather too many messages along the lines of: "You have a Mary Jane Evans born in Wales in your tree. So do I! We must be cousins. Can I look at your tree?" (Or sometimes just: "Can I look at your tree?" with no details provided.) I find the automatic responses GR provides keeps me courteous in cases such as these.

The only other site I've used on your list is Lost Cousins. I have about 1000 cousins entered and in the past seven years, one big connection adding two more generations and two minor ones involving very distant relations.