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Geneanet, a contributive, collaborative and freemium website

Posted by Jean-Yves on Jan 8, 2020

We are still receiving feedback about the Geneanet model which combines a free website with a Premium subscription

As this new year begins, it’s an opportunity to recall the basics of the Geneanet model and to answer some frequently asked questions.

How Geneanet works?

Geneanet is based on three cornerstones: contributive, collaborative and freemium.

Geneanet is the largest community of genealogists involved in mutual aid and sharing in Continental Europe. It’s a website with almost 7 billion of data provided by members, collaborative projects and partners.

The contributive side is about family trees and attached documents (family pictures, archival records, etc.). These are 1.1 million family trees and almost 1.3 billion individuals.

The collaborative side is about projects supported by Geneanet like pictures of graves and cemeteries all around the world (“Save our Graves”), indexes and registers (parish, notarial, military and other archives). It’s also original projects like “Now and Then”.

As of today, there are 2.5 million pictures of graves, 22 million images of archival registers, and more than 96 million individuals in the collaborative indexes.

The site supports heavy loads with more than 100 million requests per day, 5 million visitors per day, 260 terabytes of redundant storage on 60 high capacity servers located into different sites.

All these services are developped and maintened by a team of about thirty enthusiast people based in Paris, France.

Geneanet is a freemium website

Geneanet is based on a freemium model which combines a free website and a Premium subscription.

Every member has access to a free comprehensive offer. This offer allows to create a family tree with an unlimited number of individuals, with an unrestricted use, without any ads, and with a number of customization, printing and alert tools. This offer includes a search engine by last name, first name and place. Unlike some other websites, you don’t have to pay to view the family tree of other members and to contact them.

The free offer also provides access to the contents shared by our members. All the contributive data is available for free for all Geneanet members.

Geneanet also proposes a Premium subscription which includes, among other options and services, the advanced search with additional criteria: spouse, parents, name variants, nearby places, the automatic matching of your entire family tree with the Geneanet database, the email alerts wich allow you to receive a weekly email summary of the latest entries, the access to the Genealogy Library with millions of books and newspapers, and more than 3 billion indexed individuals, the access to genealogy society indexes provided by Geneanet partners, and a personalised assistance.

Geneanet, a free website with a Premium subscription

Sharing, mutual help and free access are among the basics of Geneanet. This is a large part of its attractiveness.

When you subscribe to Geneanet Premium, it’s not only for the services and the data reserved for Premium members. When you subscribe, you also make possible to develop the free section of the website.

It is indeed a paradox: Premium members are paying so that Geneanet can still be an open and free website.

Subscribing to Geneanet Premium is not only a way to access additional options and services, but also to allow the original model, as described above, to exist.

The Premium subscription was formerly called “Club Privilege”. First subscribers had little benefit and subscribed to preserve the free options and services.

We feel that it is important to recall this basics. For more than 23 years, we are proud that we succeeded in preserving this balance, in a strong spirit of collaboration.

In conclusion, you are part of a community of mutual help and sharing. You are welcome whatever your level of experience in the use of Geneanet! If you subscribe to Geneanet Premium or if you renew your subscription, keep in mind that it’s not only purchasing a product but sharing a certain idea of genealogy.


Update January 28, 2020

Many members reacted to our blog note and we thank you for the messages of support!

Please note that you’d better post your question in the forum (menu Community > Forums) for a quick answer.

Some comments require more information.

The price of the Premium subscription

Many of you say that a 4.17 Euros per month Premium subscription is an affordable hobby compared to the time dedicated to genealogy research.

In spite of this, some feel that it’s too expensive and others suggest that we should reward our long term members with a special price. This is what we already with the 2-year and the 5-year subscriptions (via the link “Offer a Premium subscription” at the bottom of each page of the site when entering your own username).

The sponsorship can also be a great way to reduce the price of your subscription. If the member you have sponsored subscribe to Geneanet Premium, an additional month is automatically offered to both of you. Be sure to support the member you have sponsored in the use of Geneanet so he/she can benefit from all advantages of the Premium subscription. You can also be offered all or part of your subscription via the service “Offer a Premium subscription”.

It is worth recalling that all subscriptions are calculated from date to date. If you subscribe on the 1st of February, your membership will expire on the 1st of February of the following year. If you renew before the expiry date, the subscription period will be added to the current subscription.

Premium subscription and contribution

Some members think that they should have a free access to Geneanet Premium when they contribute to the site.

This is a good idea only at first sight. First of all, most of the Premium members are contributors. If there is no more Premium members, there is no more Geneanet.

Furthermore, a member should just have to copy an existing family tree or index to be considered as a contributor. This would be done at the expense of data quality, and spirit of mutual help and share which prevail on Geneanet.

Sometimes we reward important contributors by offering a Premium subscription. These members spend a lot of time for the genealogical community, in an altruistic way, and we are pleased to offer them a form of recognition.

Geneanet without Premium or Geneanet fully paid?

A member told us that he would prefer Geneanet to be a site with advertisings, less options and services, but totally free…

With such a model, the free part of the site would probably be smaller and hard to use with the omnipresence of ads and a limited technical infrastructure. Our actual model allows us to first and foremost serve our members without depending on advertisers which are intrinsically volatile.

Some others suggest that we should force all members to pay a cheap subscription.

It would be against the model of a free and open site.

We assume our “Freemium” model and we are proud of all our members, whether they are Premium, contributors or users. We are proud to welcome all our community in its diversity and to share a certain idea of genealogy.

Geneanet is not only a company with employees managing a website with “customers”. It is mostly a wonderful community which practice mutuel help and share, and participate in multiple collaborative projects.


Note: Do not hesitate to post your testimonial in the comments below!


I am in UK … can I renew premium via Paypal

Answer from Geneanet: You have a 3-month subscription with automatic renewal and it can’t be paid via PayPal. You must switch to the 1-year subscription if you want to pay via PayPal.

I presently have my family tree developed in GENOOM and I would like to upload it here. How could I do it?

Answer from Geneanet: Export a GEDOM file from GENOOM then import it to Geneanet at

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