Geni: Everyone's Related
Whether you're a serious genealogist or simply looking for ways to strengthen the connections with your family, Geni is a great place to start. A social networking site with a twist, Geni's construct is family connections, and only your family can see your family tree. More than just a family history site, its purpose is to put people in contact with one another.
The screen-capture above shows a bit of my family tree page, zoomed out to conceal the names, with a navigation bar at the bottom giving a wide-angle view. You can see the chart even goes off both ends of that. (The white square left of center represents me, while the top blue square represents my 3rd great-grandfather, William Nuttall.
Geni has lots of features, like places to compile contact lists, photo albums to share and in which to tag family members, email birthday reminders, etc. My favorite is the tie-in. When I started this, I added my parents' family, including the in-laws, but then my sisters-in-law added their own connections. If I click on their name, their family tree is altogether different, showing connections to their in-laws, and so on. It creates a fabulous web of connection and an awareness history of not only yourself, but those who touch you.
Back to William Nuttall: if you could explore his connections (which you can't unless you're related to him), you would see that one of his sons was my 2nd great-grandfather, while another was the 1st great-grandfather of our very own Ginger. I'm not certain if my mother or hers filled in the branches, but I know Ginger filled in her own family and her husband's, etc., and so forth, and so it goes and goes and goes.
Best of all, if some other descendant of his multitudinous children started on Geni entirely unaware of my existence, when they entered William Nuttall, Geni would notify them of more of William's descendants claiming him as the guy who crossed The Pond and then the plains to worship as he pleased and dedicate his life to service of the Lord. We could then tie in our family with theirs if it suited us.
It's also a great resource for doing your family history. My father stumbled upon one of his second or third cousins, they connected their own information with ours, and together we clarified some of the confusion inherent in trying to keep track of the progeny of a man living more than a hundred years ago, with four wives, half named Olga and the other half Katrina