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Digital Subscriptions > Family Tree > Family Tree July 2018 > Techy tips for fa mily historians

Techy tips for fa mily historians

Make the most of digital devices, websites, apps and gadgets, with genealogical web guru Paul Carter


The GEDCOM Standard

As a family historian, you may have come across the term ‘GEDCOM’ but perhaps not fully understood its meaning. GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications, a specification for a standard genealogy file format, launched in 1985 by the LDS Church (FamilySearch) and still used widely today.

GEDCOM files are structured using a series of tags which identify key information. For example, INDI marks an individual’s details, BIRT provides birth information, PLAC details where an event took place. Standard formats are intended to be software independent, meaning data entered into one family tree package could be seamlessly transferred to another, enabling us to switch between applications or send our research to a family member. In practice it’s not so straightforward as, while the GEDCOM standard is reasonably adhered to by most software providers, there is a tendency to include non-standard tags which don’t translate well. Today we still use GEDCOM 5.5, released in 1996, or the supplemental 5.5.1 from 1999, which includes additional tags to support web and email address information.

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About Family Tree

Join us as we celebrate the mothers, grandmothers, aunts and more on your family tree. It's vital to research the female ancestors, otherwise you're only learning half of your family history. This issue we have plenty to help and inspire your research into women's history and so gain a fuller understanding of your family members and their lives in times gone by.