On Jan 22, 2010 I received a text message from my cousin Mus. He requested for my email so that he could extend an invitation for me to access Geni.com.
I promptly did and, hey presto! I was immediately connected with not just the handful that we are used to but to more than 631 family members ( to date, Feb 17, the number has since increased to 649)
It is so infectious in a good way and so satisfying. It would take ages just to compile all the necessary information and contacting each other the traditional way. Now it is all there for the asking.
I remember we made a start to have one done many years before. We wanted to list all of our family members so that we could get to know each other before we just go separate ways in no time.
We had a Protem Committee set up, comprising 6 members, chaired by my cousin Hj Jamaludin. Other members were Zakaria (Deputy) Hamzah (Secretary) Yunus (Treasurer) Razak (Asst. Sec) and Ghafar (Comm. Member)
It was set up with the noble purpose and aim of:
1. Getting family members together
2. Extending family ties
3. Establishing a family network
4. Compiling/updating information for the younger generation to relate to each other
5. Having an Annual/Bienniel Gathering
All of the above as resolved in our first meeting way back, are now provided spot-on by Geni.com - in fact lots more are given if we care to go deeper into it.
We had our first meeting on Mar 08, 1997 when it was agreed that we set up a database of members. Somehow it did not get off the ground beyond that and the matter was just forgotten with time.
Now with the advent of online facilities it suddenly is a breeze to be connected and stay connected. Geni.com made this possible.
What seemed so far fetched before are made so real, simple and convenient for us. We now just need to invite any and every family member , and we are on.
Apparently Geni.com was brought to the attention of Maslina (my niece) through our elder, Pakcu Kamarudin sometime early last year. Maslina got the initial details of the family tree worked out through her father , Hj Jamaludin ( fondly addressed as Bang Ngah who was instrumental in organising the earlier one also)
Geni.com has since grown with a life of its own nurtured through the enthusiasm of the younger generation - and there's no turning back! I would imagine it must have given a lot of personal satisfaction to Bang Ngah to see its progress within a span of just a year.
In my case Maslina and Shah Rezan managed my family’s entry initially. They rightly got my cousin Mus to contact me to get the sketchy details of my tree updated with the designated details.
The Geni .com comprises a ‘tree’, an organization chart-like structure with details of every member but went beyond that especially with regards to relationships to one another.
Following an invitation, a family member is given a password to access Geni.com through email. Once in, any member can input details of his own and his other immediate family members .
The beauty of Geni.com is that it is styled according to the Facebook format that many are familiar with. Any member can make a wall posting of messages to keep in touch together with video and photo-sharing facilities.
A click on any name will immediately show the relationship of that person to you and his other family members. This is most refreshing as otherwise someone who is in the know needs to tell you of the relationship. Not many of the elders are around to be able to do that anyway, let alone knowing the relationships. More so if it transcends a few generations of specific individuals to others.
The Calender of birthdays and anniversary dates covering everyone, broken into months, will now make it convenient (no more excuses of forgetting). And what’s more, the reminders are emailed when due.
There are many other items such as Address book, Map (showing location of members around the world) Timeline, Statistics, (with generous use of pie-charts) very conveniently worked out among others.
And the icing on the cake? Yes, brace yourself! It is slated for March 20 and 21. We are going to have our Family Gathering that week-end. No details yet but it is not a problem as communication is instant.
It is going to be very exciting. I’m sure glad to meet my kins, folks who were strangers not many months ago if not for Geni.com. It is great! Just great!
Postcript: (inserted on March 01, 2010)
Yesterday we received news from my nephew Nor Aman Shah that the Family Gathering is now rescheduled to be held for the weekend of March 27 and 28, 2010 (one week later than previously advised)