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Members replying to emails

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ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Jean Report 24 Feb 2014 21:10

It would be great if there was a way to get people to reply to emails asking if you share a certain relative. Following up hot matches often ends because your emails are ignored.It is discourteous not to reply to an enquiry.


SylviaInCanada Report 25 Feb 2014 01:05


this is a question that is regularly asked .................. there have been 3 on this Board in the last month alone.

It is impossible to do!

First ................... no-one is compelled to respond to any pm, if they do not wish to.

This applies particularly to pms that just say "open your tree", without any explanation of why. I myself totally ignore those!

Have you checked to see whether your pms have been opened???

to do so, go into Messages, click on Sent Messages. If the envelope is green, then the pm has not been opened.

If there is no envelope showing next to your pm, then it has been opened.

Reasons for people not responding to pms include ...................

1. They have changed their home email address and not notified GR of the new address ............... thus the message form GR has just gone into the ether

Moral of this ................... remember to tell GR if you change your home email address.

2. They are no longer interested in family history and ignore any messages from GR

3. They only visit GR very irregularly .................. I've seen some people who say they only look in on this site once a year or 2 years.

4. The person has become disabled and can no longer use the computer, OR they have died.

If no close friend or relative is interested in, or knows about, the tree on this site, and if no-one knows the member's password, then no-one can remove the tree.

GR does not remove trees from the site except in the very rare cases where someone has been banned from the site ...........................

if a paying member decides not to renew their subscription, GR just moves that member into the Free category.

The Free category means that a member can access their tree, and work on it; they can access the Boards and read posts but not reply; and they can reply to messages sent by a paying member but not initiate them

and ......... to repeat

no-one is under any compulsion to reply to a pm if they do not wish to do so.

Community Manager

Community Manager Advisor Report 3 Mar 2014 12:15

Hi Jean,

Thanks for your message. As Sylvia stated, when you PM someone they may longer be active, hence the non-response. They may not be consciously ignoring your PMs, just no longer a frequent user or have not received your message.




Jean Report 5 Mar 2014 21:38

I understand there may be legitimate reasons for people not opening or replying to messages. But the whole point of Genes Reunited is the communication between people sharing common ancestors. Both parties may learn more about their ancestors from sharing their research. My last two emails have not even been opened which is very disappointing. Hot matches give you hope that you have found someone with a common ancestor but not replying to your email makes it a non starter. It would help if you could show which members are in the Free Category and unable to receive emails. I know of one site which does this and it is most helpful.


Kense Report 5 Mar 2014 22:18

Free Members can receive emails and reply to them. They cannot initiate conversations.


SylviaInCanada Report 6 Mar 2014 01:33


Have you read my post above, dated 25 February?

If your last 2 emails have not been opened ................. then that means that the people concerned are not currently using the site ....................

they may be dead, ill, lost interest, OR they have changed their home email address and forgotten to notify GR of the change.

I do not know how long since you sent your pms .........................

but people have reported getting replies up to to 2 YEARS later.


wisechild Report 6 Mar 2014 06:48

It doesn´t just happen on Genes.
In the past 3 weeks I have sent messages to at least 8 people on another site who appear to be related to my family & all of whom were shown to have logged in to the site within the previous 48 hours.
So far I have had 2 replies.


DazedConfused Report 6 Mar 2014 15:21

Not everyone who has a tree on here and other sites is necessarily looking for contacts. There will be those who use these sites to store their trees as a back-up to that kept on their computer via a Family Tree programme.

And as said before, when contacting people NEVER use the standard request which is offered by Genes, it is rude and impolite, to say the least (the message not the person using it!)

When contacting others, it is best just to give the name of the person including DOB etc., and ask it they are the same person, I usually add a spouse if I know their name. Do not go into great reams of information. And only if they come back with a reply to the affirmative, would I them ask for access to their tree, but do not be suprised if that request is declined, but the offer of more information is made. Many people on here now do not like to give free range of their trees as we have all suffered from those who contact, gain access to our trees, pillage the whole tree and all to theirs and are never heard of again. :-)


jax Report 6 Mar 2014 17:07

The only person who has sent me a message about my direct family (wanted to view my tree).....was a name collector, I have no interest in sharing anything with them as they didn't have the decency to say how they were related when tree on here is very small so not worth looking at anyway....not that they knew that

Just to add I have sent messages to both my daughter and father neither have been opened let alone replied to.......I am in contact in real life, was just testing to see if I got a reply


Graham Report 11 Mar 2014 20:49

It looks as if GR done away with the standard messages. When you send a message to somebody now, you have to write your own message.
It is annoying when you don't get a reply; but GR can't force somebody to do so. Have you tried others ways to get in touch? Perhaps your relations are on FB or Friends Reunited? Or they might be members of the local family history society where they live...


SylviaInCanada Report 25 Mar 2014 00:25


I honestly do not see how GR can solve this eternal problem.

If a member does not tell GR that they have changed their email address .................. how is GR going to notify them? OR know the new email address?

GR will send the notification to the email address they have on file ..................... but if it is non-active, then the message just floats around somewhere in the internet universe. One is not often notified that one is using a non-active email address .............. I know 'cos I've sent emails from my home email to what has eventually turned out to be an inactive address.

The same applies to a member who has died or become incapacitated ................. a family member may see the email, but one needs to know the password to access GR from the notification in the email. If that family member does not know the password, they cannot access the pm.

GR also cannot force a member to respond to a pm ...................... it is an entirely personal matter.

As wisechild said , the problem also occurs on other sites, not just on GR.

Personally ........................ I think one just takes it as it comes!

If you get a reply, fine. If you don't, ................... there really isn't much you or the site can do about it!


Graham Report 25 Mar 2014 09:58

Imagine you've sent a letter to somebody's house, not realising that they have moved. The house you've sent the letter to is now empty.
If you went to that house and looked through the window, you'd see a pile of post building up on the door mat.
The letter you sent has been delivered, but there's nobody there to open it.
The same thing happens to emails. The fact that the email hasn't been opened, doesn't mean it hasn't been delivered.


jax Report 27 Mar 2014 23:44

How are Genes going to know that an email address is not no longer in use?

I would think the majority of members have never been paying members or maybe just for 6 months or a year.....just joined and built a tree and gone.

There are 13 million accounts on GR they cant be expected to run tabs on all of them


SylviaInCanada Report 28 Mar 2014 03:01

so far as I know ................. because this is what has happened to me ...................

If i send an email to an address that turns out to no longer be in operation ............. I do not get the email bounced back to me .................

It just goes into the void.

If that is the case, GR will not be getting emails bouncing back, and so will not know that they have not reached the intended recipient.

Even if the emails did bounce back ...................... what can GR do about them?

There is not a person dealing with the individual pms, and directing them to the correct "mailbox" ................... it is all computerized.

How do you find an email address for someone for whom you may not know the current correct name?

Jax is quite correct ..................... the majority of members have probably never been paying subscribers ................... after all GR started as a free site on which to build your tree.

The features for which GR could bring in fees came later .......................

The Community Boards arrived about 2 years after GR began, and were the reason for the first subscription level, beginning at the cost of £5 in 2004

Records were not carried on GR until 2007, and the number of records carried has gradually, sometimes rapidly, increased over the last 7 years.

If a member does not renew their subscription, GR does not delete them, they move the member into the Free category .................

................. and there is no reason for GR to have any communication with a Free Member except for informing them that a pm is waiting on GR

I once estimated that possibly as low as 0.1% of the members had ever used the Community Boards ....................... if there are 13 million members, that means only about 13,000 could EVER have used the Boards.

Most members, both free and paying, just work away on their trees, using GR's records if they have the higher subscription, and never contact GR

How do you keep track of them? How, most especially, do you keep track of the Free members?


Porkie_Pie Report 28 Mar 2014 08:29

Just to add that when you send a message from one member to another the email sent by GR to notify the member that they have mail,

The Email address GR use for this is whats known as a no-reply email address or is an automated email account that replies cannot be monitored on

A no-reply email address has "no inbox" and so cannot recieve messages of any type which includes those un-delivered or bounced back for what ever reason,

This is normal practice for may businesses because it stops customers from using that same email addy to reply because it's a "notification" and so no reply is required

GR know the system has sent notification but have know way of knowing if it was recieved

imagine what would happen if every notification was responded/replied too?



Kense Report 29 Mar 2014 11:35

I thiink there is a problem with terminology here.

The GR messaging system is not an emailing system in the normal sense. If you send a message to someone with an account on the site it is put in their inbox on the site. Then GR send a real email to the email address of the recipient advising them that there is a message in their inbox.

As Roy says if that email cannot be delivered it can't be returned as being a notification, GR have no inbox to return it to.

Even if the message was sent with box to return it if there is a delivery problem, it does not necessarily mean that the address is no longer valid. There are many reasons why a message is not delivered and the logic to ensure it was due to an address that was no longer valid would be complex.

Even if it was established that the address was no longer in use it might simply be that the recipient had not got around to updating it, even though they were still active on the site.


Porkie_Pie Report 29 Mar 2014 14:45

As Ken says, When you send a message (PM) to another member that message is not a normal Email thats why its called a PM, It's a personal message and kept in your GR internal mail inbox, That message is NOT forwarded to the recipients personal email account that they have with what ever provider they use,

The Email sent from GR is simply a "Notification" that you have mail waiting for you "at" Genes Reunited,

I will send this as a PM, Then you will recieve Notification from GR in you Email that you have a message waiting for you, Note their is nothing in that email stating the content of my PM,

Thats how forums work in order to protect members true identity



SylviaInCanada Report 29 Mar 2014 21:55

Also .....................

if you try to access your PM from the email notification sent to you by GR ........... you cannot access the message unless you sign in to GR

This applies even if you never sign out of GR

Thus, if you cannot remember your password then you cannot access the pm.

This also would apply if you had become incapacitated, or died, but someone else (eg, partner) still could open your personal emails. Unless they knew your GR password and sign-in, then the GR message re a pm waiting on site becomes just another nuisance email.


Jean Report 30 Mar 2014 13:01

There is a site called Curious Fox and they have a system where the status of the person is shown in different colours. So you do not waste your time contacting people who do not have a subscription and so cannot reply to you. Surely it is a matter of software.


jax Report 30 Mar 2014 13:56

You do not need a subscription to have a tree on here...never have, but they can still reply should they want to.

I know of three family members who have never paid to use this site. ex husband, daughter and my dad.

I have sent pm's to all three only one replied....ex husband

Dad reckons he hasn't changed his email, but doesn't know what password he used 8 years ago.....daughter didn't reply then I noticed she had two accounts so maybe that one is still active