View Full Version : Curious gedcoms please tell me how they work
24-01-2012, 12:09 AM
Often when you go into someones site you see a tag asking if you want to download a gedcom.
This is one of the areas I know nothing about.
Has anyone downloaded a gedcom could they give me some feedback as to what it is all about.?
Can you just tag that branch of the family onto your existing tree by magic?
Or is it simply that you have it for reference to work offline with?
Or available if their website disappears forever.
How do you send a gedcom to someone?
Does the person you send a gedcom to have to have a family tree program already on their computer?
Or do I have to continue to print all the relevant pages for the people who are not researching but want a copy of their branch or an overview of where I have got to in my research with their side of the family?
24-01-2012, 12:40 AM
If you stick this link into google it will take you to a site that may explain it better than I can.
There are all sorts of file extensions, a jpg is a picture, a doc is a Word file, a txt is a text file. A gedcom (Genealogical Data Communications) is a file that has fields for information about a person (normally an ancestor), name, DOB, place of birth, marriage, death etc. and can be shared between the different family history programs available. It is no good on its own, it needs to be opened in a Family History Program just like a .doc file will only open in Word.
However, if you download a gedcom into your family history program then you can normally print out the information in a tree format, save that and then send it to others that do not have a family history program. (All FH programs work just a bit different but it is similar to sending a Word file).
Family Search invented it so they may explain it better.
24-01-2012, 12:48 AM
Starting to learn myself; I think that the Church of the Latter Day Saints devised the sysyem. If you go to familysearch.org then Learn>Wiki>Search>ENTER 'gedcom' you'll learn more. As far as I can see gedcom is simply a kind of file for storing genealogical data, and is abbreviated to ged. as 'document' is abbreviated to doc. in word processing. To save time/ink/breath etc people talk of gedcoms instead of gedcom files. All of this is, of course, open to ridicule and correction, but at least it's a start. If you create 1,000,000 gedcoms you can apply to become a Gedi :)
Best of luck,
24-01-2012, 12:56 AM
A point to remember...
I hope you are familiar with Microsoft Word as a word processing program.
You write a story.... call it ..... 'The day at the Zoo' save it as a Word doc.
Your daughter was with you that day,
she writes a story.... calls it 'The day at the Zoo' and saves it as a Word doc.
She sends it to you. You download it... Word will say "there is already a document with that name, do you want to overwrite it?" Ho hum? you have to think.... will her story replace my story? :confused5:
A gedcom has the same problem,
your family history file in your program is called the 'Smith Family' (it is a .gedcom)
Someone sends you a .gedcom called the 'Smith Family' be very careful in case 'like magic' it replaces your information with theirs. :nono:
25-01-2012, 3:45 AM
Becoming agedi is not my ambition, I wouldn't mind being able to store my information like a geni though
25-01-2012, 3:47 AM
Now thats a really scary thought enough to put you off researching for ever, so I will rename a file if it has the same name Thank you.
25-01-2012, 12:08 PM
I always name my gedcom files with "Familyname" and the date that I created the gedcom file, this way you will always know whether it is an obsolete file or the latest edition.
25-01-2012, 2:17 PM
When I used to use MS Windows, I had a bit of free software called GENviewer Lite (Google for it) which is useful for quickly displaying the contents of a gedcom file.
Gedcom files are basically for transporting data between one sort of family history software to another. Have a look at whatever genealogy database you use and you'll probably find an import and export gedcom facility.
I would not advise you to try importing a gedcom directly into your main family history file. Try it in a new, empty database first.
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