Difference between revisions of "GEDCOM Overview"

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GEDCOM Introduction

One of the biggest advantages to using the Internet for genealogy research is the ability it provides to exchange information with other researchers or interested parties. Many genealogists email GEDCOM files amongst one another to share their genealogical content with one another.

What does GEDCOM stand for?

GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data COMmunication. Often referred to as a 'GEDCOM File' because of the way it is saved, transferred, or shared.

What are GEDCOM’s used for?

GEDCOM files are the genealogical standard method of formatting family tree data into a text file. Many genealogists use GEDCOM files to save, transfer or share genealogical content or data.

Geni already does a great job of replacing the need to share and transfer GEDCOM files amongst family members. Users can simply invite their family to join their family network and share the data. However, for sharing information with potential relatives is another story. Since Geni shows living and deceased relatives we do not suggest that you invite a potential relative to your family tree for privacy reasons. One way to determine whether they are indeed a relative is to exchange GEDCOM files with one another that only show deceased relatives. If you are indeed closely related and able to build a relationship path to one another then you should go ahead and invite that person to your Geni Tree.

Also, we recommend that Geni users use and anyone using any genealogy program back up their data as often as possible. You can do this through a process known as GEDCOM export, which Geni offers

How does a GEDCOM work?

A GEDCOM specification uses a set of TAGS to describe the information in your family file, such as INDI for individual, FAM for family, BIRT for birth and DATE for a date. GEDCOM is basically a connected database of records with pointers which keep all of the relationships straight.

How do I view a GEDCOM file?

While you should now be able to decipher a GEDCOM with a text editor, you will still find it much easier to read with the appropriate family tree program or a special GEDCOM viewer. Geni's import function can be used for this

How do I open and read a GEDCOM file?

Save the GEDCOM File to Your Computer:

Whether you are downloading the file from the Internet or opening it as an email attachment, the first thing you should do is save the file to a folder on your hard drive.

Determine whether it is really a GEDCOM:

Begin by ensuring that the file that you want to open is truly a GEDCOM file, and not a family tree file created in some proprietary format by a genealogy software program. A file is in GEDCOM format when it ends in the extension .ged. If the file ends with the extension .zip then it has been zipped (compressed) and needs to be unzipped first.

Import your GEDCOM file to Geni:

  1. Go to the GEDCOM Import page
  2. Fill out the form and upload your GEDCOM file. (There is currently a 5,000 Profile limit to Importing but no overall limit)
  3. Indicate who you are in your file.
  4. You're done

For detailed information on the formats and fields we support visit the GEDCOM page on the Geni User Wiki.

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