Building your family tree is great, in theory. But how do you fill in the missing branches when you don’t have all the information?
Look no further than Geni, a free genealogy service that works by tapping the collective wisdom of your relatives.
To begin, simply add information about yourself and at least one of your parents. (There’s space for photos, birthdays and a myriad of other custom fields).
To increase the tree size, include as many people as you can. (Since the entire application is flash-based, reorganizing your branches is as simple as dragging and dropping).
Whenever a family member is added that person is invited to view the tree and–this is the key part–supply details about themselves and other relatives.
This collaborative aspect is one of the site’s main strengths. (You can also merge trees when you find a common overlapping ancestor).
When you’ve built your genealogical base you can share it via the site’s social networking tools.
One feature we like is the stats app, which turns family data (oldest and youngest members, age distribution, life expectancy, most frequent birth months, political views, etc.) into colorful nerdy pie charts.
Another nice thing: You can do all this without, you know, actually interacting with your family.