Top tip - using the Genes Reunited community

Welcome to the Genes Reunited community boards!

  • The Genes Reunited community is made up of millions of people with similar interests. Discover your family history and make life long friends along the way.
  • You will find a close knit but welcoming group of keen genealogists all prepared to offer advice and help to new members.
  • And it's not all serious business. The boards are often a place to relax and be entertained by all kinds of subjects.
  • The Genes community will go out of their way to help you, so don’t be shy about asking for help.

Quick Search

Single word search

The British Newspaper Archive

British Newspaper Archive

Read about historical events at the time they were happening. Perhaps you'll discover your ancestor in their local newspaper?

Start searching


  • New posts
  • No new posts
  • Thread closed
  • Stickied, new posts
  • Stickied, no new posts

RE: Defunct trees

Page 0 + 1 of 2

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. »
ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


TootyFruity Report 2 Jun 2011 17:44

I am aware of at least one defunct tree on your database and that is one that belongs to my cousin who unfortunately is no longer with us.  Her account would have been downgraded to free when her subscription was no longer paid.  Her tree however will still show up in searches and so members are more than likely still trying to make contact with her.  

Members find it frustrating when they don't get responses and their sent envelope remains purple.  I am positive her tree is not the only one and wondered if something could be done identify these trees and remove them from the database.

 This would make searching trees more efficient.


InspectorGreenPen Report 2 Jun 2011 18:01

Many of us are aware of the problem, but how do you suggest this is done, bearing in mind that any solution would have to be automated?


TootyFruity Report 2 Jun 2011 18:17

They could email the free membership accounts and request that the member responds to that email within, for arguments sake, three months. Any that don't respond could then be tagged initially for suspension so that they don't show up in searches say for a further 9months and then if there is no activity deleted.


JaneyCanuck Report 2 Jun 2011 19:32

I'm not sure that I like the idea of deleting accounts when there is no response to email ... after all, the person might actually drop in to GR itself occasionally and then see messages.

Impressing on people the importance of keeping email addresses up to date (emails from GR do say this), and how to do it, is wise.

What I'd thought when I mentioned this to TootyFruity was maybe a way to transfer control of the account to family, if a person is deceased. This would be very complex though and on quick second thought it isn't practicable.

Imagine how I'd squawk about disclosure of personal info if GR didn't demand a notarized copy of a death certificate and a way of matching it up with the account details.


I know we've said that showing a member's last log-in date wouldn't work, since some of us never log out (unless we get unceremoniously chucked off by the system). But even that would be *some* indication -- that a member is actively using the system, even if it wasn't always accurate when it came to who was not actively using it.

Some dating sites show things like "replies to messages" -- often, never, selectively. That kind of thing would at least give a hint.

I wonder whether theteam can think of anything better than we can? I'm stumped, myself.


JaneyCanuck Report 2 Jun 2011 19:36

Actually ... TF did specify free membership accounts ... and that is part of the ticket, indeed. Anybody with a paid account is likely to get emails, or at least to have been on the system in the last 6 months.

How about a tiny discreet symbol next to the name in a tree search results list, indicating whether they are a paid or free member? I dunno whether that's too-much-info in terms of privacy ...

It could even be defined as "active in the last six months", for paid members, with a corresponding symbol that just said "activity status not known", for free members.

Or simply that text, to be shown on the page for sending a PM once you click on a name in a search results list. We wouldn't have to know that it was based on payment status, and it would only show when you did go to send the person a PM.

That sounds like the best idea I've had so far!


TootyFruity Report 2 Jun 2011 20:04

I personally don't see the point of keeping trees on the database and in the searches just because it is free to do so if that member never returns after a reasonable length of time. My cousin will never return and so having her tree in the searchable database is pointless.


Andysmum Report 2 Jun 2011 21:09

Those of us who are paid members get an e-mail when the sub is due. Would it be possible for GR to e-mail free members, perhaps once a year, to ask them to confirm their membership? This could be automated and, if there is no response, the tree etc. could be deleted.


Lindsey* Report 2 Jun 2011 21:26

Added to this the number of very rude names on trees that can be found through search trees along with Donald Duck and Father Christmas , people who are long gone have left a string of obsceneties behind.

There needs to be a clean up of offensive material


Lindsey* Report 2 Jun 2011 21:39

For whatever reason there are reams of swearwords on search trees that need to be erased , sharpish.!


JaneyCanuck Report 2 Jun 2011 21:58

I'm disagreeing still, I'm afraid.

I'm seeing no cause to delete someone's account and tree simply because they don't reply to an email.

As for the swear words ... hmm, yes. ;-)

I've reported a couple of trees to Ancestry that were full of nothing but racist obscenity.

Here, I once eagerly contacted someone with the surname my gr-grfather's sister's husband had adopted in his tree. It's a word that you can't really google, for all the unwanted results ... put the decency filter on, and you get nothing at all. Turned out the fellow didn't know the surname of the family in question, who were related by marriage, and had just stuck that word in because it rhymed with the father's given name, and he was a bit embarrassed.

Maybe people don't ever think that someone would actually *search* for such names! They just stick them in their trees as placeholders. I mean, what are you all doing searching for them anyhow?!? :-D

Just because somebody calls their brother-in-law Mickey Mouse in their own tree ... up to them! I messed up my tree when I first started, and for a long time, my father had a spare wife called "stupid mistake".

... And I see that 600+ people have people with surname Mistake, most with given name Mistake, in their trees at present. (On the first page, there's someone I've had contact with, although I don't recall about what.) Lots of people can't figure out how to delete incorrect entries from their trees.

Perhaps a function that would replace particular words with **** in the search results?

Just in case somebody goes searching for them ...


TootyFruity Report 2 Jun 2011 22:27

Janey I don't understand why trees should not be deleted if there is no activity on a free account. It is pointless to keep them and are the cause of frustration amongst members who never receive a reply. Also emailing the free membership could possibly highlight a change in email address.

I don't think they should automatically be deleted but first suspended and taken out of the searchable database, perhaps that would be enough so that if a member does return years later it could be reactivated and reinstated into the searchable database.

Also notifying members of the possibility of suspension/deletion may in itself rekindle interest in the site resulting in those members revisiting to check out the changes.


JaneyCanuck Report 2 Jun 2011 22:35

I guess my answer is because people do not open accounts here and put their trees on here for anyone's benefit but their own.

The site offers a family tree storage facility for people to use. It doesn't say they must make it accessible to other people, or even reply to messages about it.

It doesn't tell people that if they don't log in to the site every six months or less, or don't reply to messages, their account and tree will be deleted. And I just don't think it should -- and can't imagine that it would want to, for its own business purposes.

Maybe a public/private sort of thing could be arranged.

If a user doesn't reply to a private message at this site from the site management (not an email, which may not reach them) w/in 30 days, their tree will not be included in the results of searches by third parties.

I understand the frustration. I just don't think that deleting trees and accounts is a solution.


TootyFruity Report 2 Jun 2011 23:03

I take on board what you are saying but many members do wish to make contact and can see no credance in having trees where members are no longer active in the searchable database.

Although it is not compulsory to share by opening ones trees if non active accounts where suspended it would increase the chances of making contact.

How many times is the response to someone searching for a relative been, "have you tried searching the trees on this site to see if someone else has them in their tree"? Suspending inactive accounts could potential improve the chances of making a contact and getting a response. Although not guaranteed.

Having the best product possible is what drives a business forward and I think improving that fundamental facility can only be a good thing.


SylviaInCanada Report 3 Jun 2011 04:11

My tree could be considered as inactive on this site

I have not made any changes to it in about 2 years!

I could be considered an inactive member of this site as I never log out (except when the site kicks me off!)

If you google Genes Reunited, there is at least one site that offers a review of GR

it concludes that it is one of the best places to start your tree, for free:-

"Once you have created your free account, you have unlimited access to the free family tree software hosted by the site. This is one of the best features of the site, offering the opportunity to create a professional, flexible family tree with surprising ease. Every entry on the tree can be accompanied by a number of additional attachments, such as photos, documents and audio or video clips. We particularly liked the 'lifeline' feature, which allows users the opportunity to plot the personal history of an individual in the tree and view it along a chronological line. When researching becomes difficult, or you just need a little support, GenesReunited offers the opportunity to get into contact with an expert genealogist using webchat. We really liked this feature and thought it was a really useful addition.

Another excellent element of GenesReunited is the community feel that is generated through the myriad of 'community' related features on the site. Users can contact other users using messaging, forums and message boards and even use chat to get in contact with other members. Another excellent feature is the "Trying to Find" feature, which allows users to post information about a particular lost relative in the hope that other users may be able to shed some light on their history. All in all, we thought the community functions were well executed, and really contribute to a feeling of being part of a genealogical community."

Note that it mentions "contact other users using messaging, forums and message boards and even use chat to get in contact with other members."

It says nothing about SHARING trees

I personally do not see how you can fairly remove any members from this site.

I have been advocating that people should keep a record of all sites, sign-on names and passwords, and that family members should be aware of this record.

Family members should be given instructions that in the event of incapacitation or death, the family member should access all those sites and remove the member's name

This really is the only way in which to solve the problem.

My questions to all of you are:-





TootyFruity Report 3 Jun 2011 05:25

Sylvia you wouldn't be considered inactive because you pay your subs.

I am advocating contacting the holders of the free membership accounts to establish who may no longer wish to keep their account on here active or have simply forgotten about it and moved on to other things.

After carefully considering others views I have changed my position slightly and would prefer the inactive accounts taken out of the searchable database with an option to reinstate should the member return.


JaneyCanuck Report 3 Jun 2011 19:31

The problem remains that there's no way to know what an inactive account is. People may come on and do tree searches and have no messages to reply to and nothing to follow up on, for instance.

Any other feelings about my suggestion?

-- that
"active in the last six months", for paid-up members
"activity status not known", for free members
be shown on the page for sending a PM, once you click on a name in a search results list
-- maybe with an explanation that PMs may not get replies if a member is not active on the site.

We wouldn't have to know that it was based on payment status, and it would only show when you did go to send the person a PM. It wouldn't be a perfect distinction, but it would give people notice of when replies are less likely.


JaneyCanuck Report 3 Jun 2011 19:35

TF, another suggestion for your particular situation, a deceased family member who was a member of GR.

If you were to have a free account with a tree that mirrored hers, at least in the basics (since you likely have access to hers, you could even make it an exact copy), you would in all likelihood get the same PMs as would be sent to her. Then you'd have a good indication of what responses hers was generating, and could reply (which can be done with a free account).


TootyFruity Report 3 Jun 2011 19:59

JC that's a good idea and i will implement it but that only helps my situation with my cousins tree.

There must be others which will not be addressed. I still think it is pointless having searchable trees in the database when there is no chance of a response and contacting free members to ask them to confirm they still wish to have their tree on the database is not an unreasonable ask. It is just decluttering, streamlining, spring cleaning if you wish :-)


JaneyCanuck Report 3 Jun 2011 22:04

Okay, well, we shouldn't harp on, I guess, but the thing is that it is not just that.

It is potentially deleting the work of someone who accepted the offer of using this site free of charge to store their family tree, for their own purposes, who may not receive emails from the site or visit the site to see PMs.

Offering someone that service and then arbitrarily deleting their account and family tree just doesn't make good business sense, and hardly sounds fair, to me.


TootyFruity Report 3 Jun 2011 22:16

You may have missed one of my posts where I had slightly changed position and instead of deleting asked could any that do not respond to the email be taken out of the searchable database and reinstated when the owner returns to the site.

It is still pointless having trees in a "live" database when the chances of a connection may be non existent . That way everyone's work is protected and also streamlines the searches.

Just a thought: can't all members be given the choice of showing up in searches or not, similar to on Ancestry. Again this would be a way of streamlining those that are likely to respond to messages