Re: Geni Family Trees - Privacy and Baptism Concerns #general

Stephen Katz

With all due respect to Mr. Schoenberg -- and great deal is due ... I think of him whenever I gaze upon Adele Block-Bauer, now at the Neue Gallerie in NY -- it's a pretty tall statement to say that "all the best Jewish genealogists" use geni. I wonder what criteria he uses to evaluate Jewish genealogists and is certain that he's identified all the best ones. Apart from that, none of us critics of geni have suggested that, in doing genealogy, we seek to hide ourselves or our families. Our concern is that, in putting a family tree on a publicly-accessible internet site such as geni, we lose control over changes or additions that are are made. Our family trees are our work-product. In his blog post,, cited in his message,, Mr. Schoenberg argues in essence that genealogy is done more efficiently, and is more fun, when done with others. But I, and I daresay many other amateur Jewish genealogists, have no desire to expend time or energy dealing with, and potentially disputing with, everyone who makes erroneous and sometimes absurd changes or additions my tree. Heck, I couldn't  even get a close relative to correct wrong information she added! 
While some people may find that the advantages of doing "collaborative" genealogy via geni outweigh the disadvantages of that site, others such as myself reach the opposite cost-benefit conclusion. It seems to me that this matter is of such importance that geni should be up-front with potential users that putting a tree on geni results in a loss of control over its content. Instead, geni hides this within its "policies" verbiage.
I believe that one should be wary of commercial enterprises with stated ambitions to connect the world. Sounds somewhat megalomaniacical, doesn't it?

Stephen Katz

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