In October 2007, I wrote about the launch of GeneTree (see â€œSorenson Genomicâ€™s GeneTree Launchesâ€), a â€œDNA-enabled family history-sharing Web site.â€Â Today, GeneTree has announced that it is out of beta and has added advanced features for users.
Following is the press release from GeneTree:
SALT LAKE CITY (March 9, 2009)â€”GeneTree today announced its free family Web site has completed beta testing and now offers those who sign in a simple, intuitive way to regularly communicate with their extended family and to securely share and store family contact information, personal profiles, photos, video and ancestry documents. Advanced features now available through GeneTreeâ€™s redesigned graphic interface include GEDCOM file-format import for family tree collaboration, paternal line genetic genealogy and an all-new family tree building tool.
â€œWe are very pleased to provide families with this fun and easy way to regularly connect and stay close to each other regardless of how scattered they may be geographically,â€ said GeneTree President and COO Matt Cupal. â€œGeneTree has the most complete set of features available for sharing family stories, but we go further by fully integrating genetic genealogy options for those who would like to use family DNA to search for living relatives and ancestors.â€
A new Y-DNA genetic test enables individuals to research paternal line connections of a male relative, and complements GeneTreeâ€™s existing maternal line mtDNA test. Y-DNA results show ancestry and connections to DNA cousins within the past few hundred years.
The opportunity to find and connect with â€œlostâ€ or unknown extended family members through the worldâ€™s most extensive correlated genetic genealogy database is a compelling GeneTree feature. â€œMy 82-year-old mother was almost in tears when I told her we had found a branch of our family that we had lost touch with long ago,â€ said Rosemary Totton, of Auckland, New Zealand. â€œNow we are back in contact and Iâ€™m excited to learn one of my cousins has old family photos to share with us. In the future we may look at our familyâ€™s Y-DNA, as well. This has opened a new door for me.â€
Another powerful new GeneTree feature promotes collaboration on ancestry information by allowing the upload of GEDCOM files. GEDCOM is the most common genealogy file format used by all major family history Web sites and software applications. The all-new family tree builder allows an individual to choose a preferred layout, create trees of more than 1,000 relatives and to invite others to join the network and view the chart.
Powerful photo- and video-sharing tools organize a familyâ€™s digital media into albums and allow them to be seen by others. Family members can collaborate on identifying people in photos and photo tagging allows a person easy tracking of all photos in which they appear. Tagging photos automatically sends out invitations to people named.
A new GeneTree family news feature keeps relatives continuously in the loop. Family members update their own news daily and at the end of the week a digest is automatically emailed to others on their list. A birthday reminder automatically sends out a birthday greeting on the morning of a relativeâ€™s birthday. In addition, a feature unique to GeneTree allows users to record a biological relativeâ€™s DNA profile as their own for purposes of searching for DNA cousins and to extend their own genealogy chart. Families can divide the cost of testing one member and then share results.
â€œWe believe every family should take advantage of our free Web site,â€ said Cupal. â€œThis is the best way for relatives to stay connected, share memories, build family trees and securely share and store documents. With GeneTree, it is easier than ever to build a lasting legacy for your own family.â€
GeneTree (www.genetree.com) is a free family Web site enabling relatives to easily communicate on an everyday basis; to securely share contact information, personal profiles, photos, video and other family documents; and to build family trees. GeneTree also provides individuals with the option to integrate industry-leading DNA testing into family history research for a scientific window into their ancestry and to find living relatives for whom no paper records exist. GeneTree users are linked to the worldâ€™s most extensive correlated genetic genealogy database.