In short, GEDCOM GE nealogy D ata COM munications is the language by which different genealogy software programs exchange data between dissimilar programs without having to manually re-enter all the data on a keyboard. A lot has changed in genealogy data storage requirements in the past 20 years! We certainly need an update that everyone can agree upon. Tamura Jones is a well-known genealogist and blogger.
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While GEDCOM X and several other specifications have been suggested as replacements, the current version, based on the draft from , remains the industry standard 20 years on. This data model is based on the nuclear family and the individual.
This contrasts with evidence-based models, where data is structured to reflect the supporting evidence. In the GEDCOM lineage-linked data model, all data is structured to reflect the believed reality, that is, actual or hypothesized nuclear families and individuals.
Although it is theoretically possible to write a GEDCOM file by hand, the format was designed to be used with software and thus is not especially human-friendly.
ANSEL is still defined as valid character encoding, but it is not very common and not needed any longer. The current release has only minor corrections to the draft. The draft was not formally approved, but its provisions have been adopted in some part by a number of genealogy programs    and is used by FamilySearch. For example, descriptions of the meaning and expected contents of tags were not included. Uniform use of Unicode would allow for the usage of international character sets.
An example is the storage of East Asian names in their original Chinese, Japanese and Korean CJK characters, without which they could be ambiguous and of little use for genealogical or historical research. A GEDCOM file can contain information on events such as births, deaths, census records, ship's records, marriages, etc.
GEDCOM files can also contain attributes such as physical description, occupation, and total number of children; unlike events, attributes generally cannot be associated with a specific time or place.
Some genealogy programs, such as Gramps and The Master Genealogist , have elaborate database structures for sources that are used, among other things, to represent multi-person events. When databases are exported from one of these programs to GEDCOM, these database structures cannot be represented in GEDCOM due to this limitation, with the result that the event or source information including all of the relevant citation reference information must be duplicated each place that it is used.
This duplication makes it difficult for the user to maintain the information related to sources. The GEDCOM specification was made purposefully flexible to support many ways of encoding data, particularly in the area of sources.
This flexibility has led to a great deal of ambiguity, and has produced the side effect that some genealogy programs which import GEDCOM do not import all of the data from a file. GEDCOM does not explicitly support data representation of many types of close interpersonal relationships , such as same-sex marriages , domestic partnerships , cohabitation , polyamory or polygamy.
Such relationships can only be represented using the generic ASSO tag used for any type of relationship. In many cases the sequence of events can be derived from the associated dates. But dates are not always known, in particular when dealing with data from centuries ago. For example, in the case that a person has had two relationships, both with unknown dates, but from descriptions it is known that the second one is indeed the second one. In Aldfaer  for instance, the sequence depends on the ordering of the data by the user alphabetical, chronological, reference, etc.
Embedding multimedia directly in the GEDCOM file makes transmission of data easier, in that all of the information including the multimedia data is in one file, but the resulting file can be enormous. Linking multimedia keeps the size of the GEDCOM file under control, but then when transmitting the file, the multimedia objects must either be transmitted separately or archived together with the GEDCOM into one larger file.
Support for embedding media directly was dropped in the draft 5. The GEDCOM standard allows for the specification of multiple opinions or conflicting data, simply by specifying multiple records of the same type. For example, if an individual's birth date was recorded as 10 January on the birth certificate, but 11 January on the death certificate, two BIRT records for that individual would be included, the first with the 10 January date and giving the birth certificate as the source, and the second with the 11 January date and giving the death certificate as the source.
The preferred record is usually listed first. Conflicting data may also be the result of user errors. The standard does not specify in any way that the contents must be consistent. The only way to reveal such inconsistencies is by rigorous validation of the content data. First, newer versions of the standard allow data to be stored in Unicode or, more recently, UTF-8 , so text in any language can be stored.
Finally, in the latest draft version 5. It includes data formats that facilitate basing family trees on sources and records both physical artifacts and digital artifacts , support for sharing and linking data online, and an API.
Although it is event based, it is still a model built on assumed reality rather than evidence. The Family History Information Standards Organisation was established in with the aim of developing international standards for family history and genealogical information.
This is designed to assist software with a financial commitment to GEDCOM and prevent it getting left behind as further standards evolve. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Specification for genealogical data. This section needs attention from an expert in Genealogy. Please add a reason or a talk parameter to this template to explain the issue with the section. WikiProject Genealogy may be able to help recruit an expert. February This section does not cite any sources.
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. March Archived from the original on The following record types are parsed: header, individual, family, notes, source, and repository. However not all elements within these records are processed. Archived from the original PDF on Retrieved From soc.
Retrieved February 4, The Ancestry Insider. Stardust 'n' Roots. Retrieved 25 April Retrieved 1 November Genealogy software. Legacy Family Tree standard ed. Genealone Lite. Familypedia FamilySearch Rodovid Werelate. Hidden categories: Webarchive template wayback links All articles with dead external links Articles with dead external links from August Articles with permanently dead external links All articles lacking reliable references Articles lacking reliable references from August Articles with short description Articles needing expert attention with no reason or talk parameter Articles needing expert attention from February All articles needing expert attention Articles needing additional references from February All articles needing additional references All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from February Namespaces Article Talk.
Standards, schmandards, who cares about standards? Nonetheless, 5. The reasons are quite simple:. All apps must be able to correctly import 5. App developers owe it to them to release apps that at least comply with the two most commonly used standards.
FamilySearch Releases GEDCOM Version 5.5.1
While GEDCOM X and several other specifications have been suggested as replacements, the current version, based on the draft from , remains the industry standard 20 years on. This data model is based on the nuclear family and the individual. This contrasts with evidence-based models, where data is structured to reflect the supporting evidence. In the GEDCOM lineage-linked data model, all data is structured to reflect the believed reality, that is, actual or hypothesized nuclear families and individuals. Although it is theoretically possible to write a GEDCOM file by hand, the format was designed to be used with software and thus is not especially human-friendly. ANSEL is still defined as valid character encoding, but it is not very common and not needed any longer.
Why All Genealogy Apps Should Support GEDCOM 5.5.1 (Updated 29 Apr 2016)
Attention : This site does not support the current version of your web browser. To get the best possible experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version or install another browser. GEDCOM has become a de facto specification and standard for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software and websites. How can I use the published standards? The standards may be copied for the purpose of reviewing or programming of genealogical software, provided the below notice is included. All other rights reserved.