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Farewell to 2020

This year has been unlike any other year we have ever experienced. Although it has brought new challenges and times of uncertainty, we are happy that we were able to make it through together. As we say goodbye to 2020, let’s take some time to reflect on this past year on Geni.

With everyone staying home during the pandemic, genealogy has become more popular than ever. In a bright spot to this tumultuous year, Geni hit a new milestone with over 150 million profiles connected to the World Family Tree. Over 11 million profiles were added in the last year by our collaborative community of genealogists and family historians. This amazing achievement wouldn’t have been possible without the passion and dedication of our users and our trusted team of Curators.

If you haven’t found your connection to the World Family Tree yet, don’t worry! Keep an eye on those Tree Matches and check out the Connecting to the Big Tree project for some tips from the community. If you’re already connected to the World Family Tree, then you can help keep the momentum going by continuing to build the tree, review your Merge Center, and explore more collaborative resources on Geni.

Our team has also continued to work on making improvements to the HTML version of the family tree. This year we added new customization options to the HTML version of the family tree. This new feature will allow you to change the font size and the color theme in the tree to better suit your needs. You can choose from a set of available themes or pick your own color theme by customizing the shades of our classic colors for male, female, unknown gender, and the background. Once browsers retire the Flash app, all Geni users will be moved to the HTML version of the tree.

This year we also took steps to make your Geni account more secure by introducing a new feature for you to review your recent Geni login history. Now you can easily see a list of your login activity in the last nine months to detect any unauthorized access to your account. The security of your account is of the utmost importance and we plan to later use this data to email you if we detect a login from a previously unknown device/location, so you will know immediately if there is any suspicious activity in your account.

Genealogy conferences were a little bit different this year as many pivoted to hosting virtual conferences. Back at the end of February before the world was turned upside down, we had the opportunity to attend RootsTech in Salt Lake City, Utah to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this one-of-a-kind conference. Joining us this year were Geni Curators Dan Cornett and Randy Stebbing, who helped several new users connect to the World Family Tree right at the booth! Although we’ve missed seeing users in person, we’re looking forward to next year’s line up of virtual conferences.

Throughout the year, we had some fun finding interesting connections between celebrities. In the early days of the pandemic, actor John Krasinski launched Some Good News to bring some good news into everyone’s home. To the delight of audiences, he eventually hosted a surprise reunion with his co-stars from The Office. For fun, we found some surprising connections between the talented cast!

And that’s not all. Singer Katy Perry learned she was a distant cousin of Taylor Swift. Geni’s World Family Tree revealed that they are in fact 9th cousins! We also found out how the cast of the acclaimed drama The Crown are related to their real-life counterparts.

We heard some lovely stories during our giveaways for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. The lucky winners each received a free one-year subscription of Geni Pro. Lynn Grieder shared a special “roots” trip memory with her mother. Meli Alexander shared her favorite memory with her father – an epic water fight! We also heard from Roberto Bastidas Buch, who shared how Geni helped bring together his family after decades apart. Since starting his family tree on Geni, he has watched it grow larger than he ever imagined as he has been able to connect with more and more relatives around the world.

As we welcome 2021, we’re hopeful for the day when we can finally safely come together again in person. We also continue to look forward to bringing even more exciting new features to the World Family Tree.

Wishing you and your families a happy and healthy New Year!


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