FTJP-Family Tree of the Jewish People #courland #general


I uploaded my tree and got a “success” message, and a filename. However, in response to my follow up query, I received this email: “At the present time we are not uploading trees.”
I feel it is my time to wrap up my tree research, and publish them for future researchers. I will find a family member for the 4 binders, which have the 4 family trees, family narratives and paper copies of sources. 
I’m thinking maybe Geni as a substitute for FTJP. Any ideas on that?
Reba Harris Solomon
NY and FL

Nicole Heymans

I uploaded a GedCom update to FTJP in July 2019 and the online data hasn't yet been updated. I understood priority was migrating the website to NextGeneration, so I hope data presently in the queue should appear online in the not-too-distant future.

My mother was Jewish, my father not, so I only post my maternal line to FTJP. I posted all my ancestry to FTDNA and GedMatch when I tested several years ago, and need to refresh these as FTDNA now accepts all-included (up and down) family trees, and I think GedMatch also.

I also have a family tree on MyHeritage, including my husband's family, however as this exceeds 2500 individuals, hence a cost of over €200 pa, I need to check how ceasement of payment would affect availability of the tree if "anything happens to me".

I would not recommend Geni. There are issues with soundness of data. I have never used Geni, so someone else welcome to chime in. I understand entire branches of A's tree can be imported into B's tree without any checks on soundness of data. And unsound data propagates at least as fast on genealogical websites as conspiracy theories on social media. (For the same reason: an answer to a brickwall).

Hope this helps, keep safe,

Nicole Heymans, near Brussels, Belgium


Davida Handler

I agree with Nicole regarding Geni.  I have never contriuted any information there, but every other day I receive a notice that "someone has been added to your family tree."  I have occasionally checked to see who this was, and for the most part none of the individuals added have anything to do with my family.  My tree is JewishGen's Family Tree of the Jewish People, and only I can make changes or updates to it.  There has never been any problem there, and we can send updates which JGEN enters once each year.  Some people love that website, but my opinion is stay away from it.
Davida Noyek Handler, Henderson, Nevada, USA

Jill Whitehead

I have my family trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage. I also have DNA results on FTDNA and 23 andme but I do not use their family trees.

Geni belngs to MyHeritage (or the other way round), and both sites use each others' data. I agree the data on Geni is unreliable as there is no checking of data. Geni has given the wrong birth dates for some first cousins of mine (someone must have mistranscribed the data), and this wrong data was being copied into others' family trees. 

There also seem to be people putting others' family trees into Geni who are not related (and where we have not given permission for them to do so), and they make mistakes as well. I pointed out a mistake to one such contributor (unrelated to me) who was putting some details of my wider family tree from JRI Poland -going back in time- into Geni, but they did nothing to correct it. Their interpretation was different from mine, but I had family information she did not to support my view.

I think this is a major failing of Geni.

Jill Whitehead, Surrey, UK

rv Kaplan

I keep my master family trees on my own computer, where I have complete control. I have versions of my trees on JewishGen FTJP, My Heritage and Geni, but don't always have time to update them all. I have them there in case distant cousins get in touch, which they do from time to time. I find Geni the biggest problem. As soon as I turn my back, someone comes along and adds duplicate cousins, or grafts on whole new branches, or swaps parents and generally messes up my data. They very rarely consult before doing this. Because of this, I treat data on Geni with a lot of suspicion!
Harvey Kaplan
Glasgow, Scotland


If you are serious about your work, stay far, far away from Geni.

The last time FTJP stopped updating trees, there was some message that said you could upload it to Geni and it would get to FTJP. Well. I uploaded 20 years of my life's work to Geni and within a week the entire tree, about 2000 people, was attached to somebody else, somebody who has absolutely no interest in my family. They have a word for those people that I can't think of right now but I call them collectors. Geni's goal is to have one big family tree for everybody so they just cut and paste your work together with other, less diligently researched trees. I deleted my tree from Geni as soon as I saw what was going on but it's still there under the collector's name, and if anybody has any questions about my family, the collector just says, "oh, that's not my tree, I don't know." And I get no notification of this. Also, once it's out of my hands, other people started "correcting" it, making changes to my well-documented facts. YES, this woman married her second cousin, and YES, her father's surname is different from his father's because there was a name change, which is why you're not seeing the relationship, but this is definitely right because I have documentation of the name change and the birth and marriage records on both sides.

I don't know what's going on with FTJP right now. I haven't updated my file in a few years, and frankly I'm not crazy about FTJP since their last change. The "interactive" part doesn't work in many browsers, and even when it works it doesn't work well. I try to keep my information there in case any relatives are using it and come across it but it's been years since I've gotten any inquiries. I liked the way the old one worked, and I replicated it in XSLT for my own use at home.

Tracey Rich, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Steven Warner

In response to Jill Whitehead's post, I don't think that you can fault Geni totally for the problem of people adding misinformation to your work. I think that for the most part there are too many researchers who are more interested in the number of people in their tree rather than the accuracy of their information. I have had several cases where people have taken info from my data on FTJP and used it as their own. Additionally, they have made errors in their transcriptions which have been perpetuated by being copied by others. The important point in researching is to basically do your own work and check facts as you do not know the accuracy and methodology of someone else's research.
Steven Warner
researching: WORMS from Sulzbach am Main & Aschaffenburg, Germany
                     FRANK from Kleinostheim, Germany

Peter Straus

I won't defend Geni, but I have had distant relatives make incorrect entries about my immediate family on FTJP, and I have often found conflicting information about relatives I've researched.  As I've said earlier, it's a real dilemma--and frustration--that FTJP is such a trove of information, but does not track source data.

peter straus, San Francisco

Herbert Lazerow

Any genealogical tidbit that you find online is only a clue, whether it is a family tree on FTJP, Genie, Ancestry, MyHeritage.  You need to verify it, then evaluate it. If it is a NJ marriage, you check it against the index to NJ marriages.  But indexers make mistakes too, so if it is important, you look at a copy of the original record. Even the original record may be incorrect. I have a great-uncle for whom official records and his tombstone provide 6 different dates of birth.  When I finally found the original birth record in Ukraine, they were all incorrect. Like a good detective, you note every clue, but you also evaluate each one to determine what weight you should accord it.
Bert Lazerow
Professor of Law
University of San Diego

Joyaa Antares

Whilst I am no fan of Geni and I agree with all that Nicole H, Jill W, RVK and others have written, I’d like to add three points not made to date:

  i.  Against Geni, are so-called Geni “curators”:  whilst some curators are probably doing an excellent job, I have seen and read reports – often on Geni itself – of other curators who are being openly accused of adding false facts, names, connections etc to families to which they are unrelated – and really annoying the family members who supposedly “manage” the family’s data.  This “curator” feature seems to be unique to Geni and not found on ancestry, FTJP etc.  Potentially a great idea; but potentially really, really annoying.

ii.  In favour of Geni:  I have seen a few excellent, well-researched trees on Geni.  It’s definitely possible if you want to do it.

iii.  Bringing us back to Reba’s original post.  Reba wrote, “
I feel it is my time to wrap up my tree research, and publish them for future researchers. I will find a family member for the 4 binders, which have the 4 family trees, family narratives and paper copies of sources. I’m thinking maybe Geni as a substitute for FTJP”.   Please tell us more about what you are looking for from your family tree repository.  You want to store:  narratives (are they currently in the form of word or text documents?), copies of sources (what is their current form? How would you like to display them?) , family tree charts, I imagine?  Anything else (photos?  videos?) 

Reba – do you use any software at all currently?  Are you looking to type in information manually or transfer via an existing gedcom?   Do you want a private site for your data or a public one?   Do you want your data to reside on a repository (geni, ancestry etc.) to which you will need to pay an annual subscription in order to keep it “live” and up to date?  Do you want those viewing your data to require a password to view it?

All software and tools have their pros and cons, and rather than a discussion about the pros and cons of Geni per se, please tell us more about what you are looking for.

Best wishes, Joyaa
Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Researching ZAUSMER, ZOUSMER, ZESMER, CHOUSMER, CHAUSMER, TSOUZMER etc, MARCUS, DAVIDOFF in Polangen, Kretinga, Darbenai, Libau, Riga, Memel
SCHORR, SCHERZER, JURIS and DAWID in Buckaczowce, Ottynia, Nadworna, and Kolomyya
KEMPNER in Berlin, Lodz, Warszawa and London
MOSES (often MANSELL) in London and South Africa
LEVY, BADER in Berlin, Schwerin, Friedeberg
and GERSON, SIDERSKY, FREED, RIMAN in Gumbinnen, Leipzig, Koenigsberg, Danzig, Berlin, Vilnius, Sirvintos and South Africa



Christine Hills

I transferred from My Heritage because my tree got too big for free membership.  I am now with WikiTree and find it excellent, it  is totally free.  A different format from most of the sites but the tools menu allows a traditional tree view.  Like Geni it is a worldwide tree so there is only one profile for each person however many people share the ancestors; that might not suit everyone, but I have been with them since 2014 and find it great.
Christine Hills tinasusanamy@... Resident in Dublin Ireland, previously London England

Joseph Walder

The defects of Geni are well known and well described in this discussion thread, but I keep a tree there nonetheless, and it paid off in spades when I was trying to research old Tsarist-era Russian-language records. In one case, a person who might plausibly be called a "collector" (as used above by Ms. Rich) and whose native language was Russian had posted to Geni screen captures of old documents that he had found on the Alex Krakovsky website for Ukrainian records. Those old documents were birth and death records for people from my grandmother's extended family in Ukraine. There is nearly no chance I would have found them myself, as my grasp of Russian does not extend beyond being able to recognize some names written in Cyrillic script. In another case, an Israeli descendant of that same extended family in Ukraine contacted me when he found a certain name in my tree, and he wound up supplying me with a large number of names that I had not had previously.