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Needs an expert on GEDCOM[edit]

Needs attention from an expert on GEDCOM. For the Myths & Limitations section and the article in general.

  • I have some additional material for an attempt at a history section here.

gioto (talk) 23:14, 16 February 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Interesting read, I'll see what I can do. Narracan3824 (talk) 13:16, 21 December 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Unrelated Comment[edit]

Really needs an expert on GEDCOM. I think the focus on the problems with sideways relationships, ie, marriages etc, is a bit of a red herring. GEDCOM and genealogy is more about the vertical relationships - parent / child. The sideways relationships can be left out completely without a problem. I know society generally emphasises the 'marriage', but genealogy is mostly about who had which kids. The only use for marriage certificates is that there is usually information that would help track the connections further along. The the only reason I have for using programs using gedcoms is to document and keep track of the vertical, and as such I usually only make a very brief note of relationships that didn't produce children relevant to me. Quite frankly, there might be an interesting story in other relationships, but it doesn't add to my genealogy, and a program or system that emphasises the sideways relos would be useless to me. I think the problems stated in the article aren't actually relevant to genealogy, therefore not relevant to GEDCOMs. jayoval (talk) 00:58, 5 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]


I'm a senior software engineer who has been working in the genealogy field for many years, and consider myself extremely familiar with GEDCOM. I'll be glad to work on this page a little, but I'm new to Wikipedia (although I have worked with other Wikis before) so I'm unclear on the requirements for adding citations to my changes.

  • How do I add a citation to a myth? Maybe just rewrite that whole section as a "here are some things GEDCOM can do that most users don't realize"?
  • How do I add a citation where the answer is hidden deep in the GEDCOM spec, and not specifically stated but rather implied?
  • Since an official searchable version of the GEDCOM spec is not available online (you can download it, and there are individual users who have uploaded a copy), if I want to point to a particular portion of the spec, is it acceptable to use a non-official version (I'm thinking specifically about Paul McBride's version, referenced already in the article).


Cscooper (talk) 13:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)[reply]

There are plenty of good examples of how to reference to various things in the article itself. So just look at how the code of them works. You'll get the picture, it's a very simple markup system. As for making citations to implied aspects of GEDCOM, I think the issue would be rather can you find someone who describes the conclusion you're discussing? On your last point it should be fine to refer to another online copy of the sprc, if you're confident that it won't suddenly go off-line.

--DuLithgow (talk) 15:02, 23 September 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Can I float a ferinstance or consideration? The question concerns the treatment of nobility. Firstly, there is a confusion between the use of TITL as a citation and TITL as rank. Secondly, there is disparity between TITL and the individual's honorific, which does not appear to be considered in the specification: for example, a member of the UK Privy Council is entitled to the honorific "Right Honourable", in addition to any other titles he may hold. In general, but not in every instance, an individual's rank in nobility is that of his highest title, Duke of Buckingham, Count of Erewhon, Lord of Underbucket. Each of these will presumably be listed as a separate TITL with its subordinate EVENts - but then there arises the question of enumerotation. [King Henry IXth | 20th Duke of Bermondsea | Harry Kiri IV, 8th Count of Outremer] are all simultaneously possible in the same person. There have even been cases of Kings wishing to be known as commoners (George II of England, for example).

How would someone explain that lot? I thinbk you also need a Herald! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:32, 21 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Limitations/Place section[edit]

I removed the Limitations/Place section. The alleged limitation only makes sense if GEDCOM is used to store data; it does not make sense when GEDCOM is used to transmit data, which is what it was designed to do. Although GEDCOM requires the PLAC be spelled out each time it is used, nothing stops the software writing or reading GEDCOM from normalizing its data. Tms (talk) 20:54, 11 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Developing a "better GEDCOM"[edit]

Recently a new project has been started to develop a "better GEDCOM". The goals are set high (e.g. getting ISO-recognition), but the people working on it are highly knowlegeable and very motivated. I guess adding it to the article isn't necessary yet, but it's definitely worth keeping up with the development: http://bettergedcom.wikispaces.com/ -- (talk) 18:36, 12 November 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Yes worth watching. Probably best to list all similar groups gioto (talk) 21:58, 17 November 2010 (UTC)[reply]
At the bottom of this article (GEDCOM Alternatives 2010-11-05) it list BetterGEDCOM and another group called The OpenGen Alliance gioto (talk)
Please note that the link above for The OpenGen Alliance at http://www.opengen.org/ no longer works; the last working Internet Archive snapshot of the site is from June 2012. Readers may want to look to http://www.opengenalliance.org instead. — Asterisk*Splat 21:51, 12 November 2014 (UTC) [reply]
I am glad you were able to use my suggested fix for the broken link. Loveonearth (talk) 17:59, 13 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Someone removed the list of 'Alternatives' recently so no links are published now. OpenGen seems to have folded as their Web site is no longer reachable. The BetterGEDCOM wiki is still thriving but a group of contributors formed FHISO earlier this year in order to provide both the consolidation and consensus-building missing from that wiki. They aim to continue with the development of a standard within an international community. All they need is support from more of the 'big players' in the industry. TonyP (talk) 16:10, 26 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
For 10 years know there is a mailing list which does focus on further development of the current 5.5.1 de-facto-standard. There where several contradictions within the standard, which where resolved by common agreement, as well as further development to define required extensions. GEDCOM-L is mainly a German discussion group, while English comments are always welcome. Traut (talk) 09:43, 16 November 2019 (UTC)[reply]


GEDCOM data validation is not a notable enough topic (separate from GEDCOM) to merit it's own article. It should be merged here. -- (talk) 20:57, 6 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. And on some other issues mentioned in the discussion and in the article I wonder whether the article is in danger of losing its perspective as an encyclopedia article. An encyclopedia article presumably introduces the topic to the uninformed. It is not a resource for the informed or expert on the topic to gain in-depth knowledge, and a drift in that direction, tempting as it may be when writing these articles, only jeopardizes the value of the article for general use. An encyclopedia article can and perhaps should serve the additional purpose of pointing to more in-depth articles or resources for the benefit of those who want more information.
The comment at the beginning of the article under GEDCOM MODEL seems to be of this (questionable) nature. "This contrasts with evidence-based models, where data are structured to reflect the supporting evidence. In the GEDCOM lineage-linked data model, all data are structured to reflect the believed reality, that is, actual (or hypothesized) nuclear families and individuals.". Such comment is only comprehensible to experts in the field and rather than provide elaboration here, it would seem that "Other models and structures have been proposed." is all that is needed here, perhaps with references to other Wikipedia or explanatory articles.

-- (talk) 15:04, 4 August 2011 (UTC)[reply]


How is GEDCOM pronounced? "JED-com"? Casey (talk) 19:19, 14 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Jed (like in Jedidiah) Com (like in communication) -- (talk) 00:14, 17 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

GEDCOM proprietary standard status[edit]

Let's say a free software project wants to take GEDCOM syntax, modify it for other uses, change semantics and rename it, and use that as a format, would that be possible? --GRAMPS-user-NNNN (talk) 11:41, 1 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I'm not a lawyer, but I think the main thing to avoid would be referring to your modified project with the "GEDCOM" name. There have already been several proposals for HTML-ized or XML-ized GEDCOM... AnonMoos (talk) 05:25, 2 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

These proposals use GEDCOM semantics, but not its syntax, to my knowledge. --GRAMPS-user-NNNN (talk) 10:32, 2 February 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Broken link[edit]

On 2012-09-23, the '9.^ The Windows GEDCOM Validator' link produces a "404 Not Found" error message. (talk) 08:03, 23 September 2012 (UTC)[reply]

On 2013-12-30 the '3.^ "Genealogical Software Report Card". March 2005.' links to a site that does NOT contain said article. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:14, 30 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Proprietary and open?[edit]

These terms are somewhat exclusive, if we are using interpretations of open such as the open definition, the Open Source Definition, Freedom Defined, etc.. Is the GEDCOM a proprietary standard, or is it open, peer-reviewed, etc?--Brylie (talk) 08:35, 26 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Not sure about the technicalities of the definitions, but the Mormon church claims the right to determine the future direction of the standard (with indifferent success over the last 15 years), while current versions of the standard are perfectly free to be downloaded, and can be implemented by any software program without having to ask permission or pay royalties. It would also be possible to "fork" the standard, but probably the name "GEDCOM" would have to be removed from the title... AnonMoos (talk) 11:45, 27 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Depends on what version you are talking about. Per the GEDCOM FAQ, GEDCOM X is licensed under the Apache License and the documentation under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licence. These are opensource licenses. The name "GEDCOM" is trademarked, which is different than copyright. Almost all medium to large opensource projects trademark their name. When a project is forked, the name has to change. OpenOffice was forked and is called LibreOffice. The Red Hat Linux operating system has several forks, such as CentOS, Scientific Linux, and Oracle Linux. Also, as per most Open Source projects, an entity is in charge and leads the direction of the project. The entity can be a person, corporation or foundation. Bgwhite (talk) 22:29, 27 December 2013 (UTC)[reply]

FamilySearch removes GEDCOM specifications[edit]

See Tamura Jones' post at: FamilySearch removes GEDCOM specifications. He has decided to host them himself (see FamilySearch GEDCOM Specifications) as they are still required by developers who must deal with backwards compatibility with legacy software. What should this article do with its broken links? TonyP (talk) 14:51, 20 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

This should be resolved at Family Search soon - see Related standards should remain available from well-known URLs · Issue #273 · FamilySearch/gedcomx. ★NealMcB★ (talk) 13:48, 24 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]
The 5.5 and 5.5.1 specs are back up at the Family Search site where they were before (as referenced here previously), thanks to the folks working on gedcom x who noticed the issue I filed. I've linked to the 5.5 spec again from the article. Thanks, folks! ★NealMcB★ (talk) 23:48, 29 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

GEDCOM file structure[edit]

Does an EBNF specification of the syntax exist? If so it should be referenced. This section should mention what GEDCOM accepts for end-of-line. Regards, ... PeterEasthope (talk) 14:21, 22 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Looking at Extended Backus–Naur form, I'm not sure that it could be used to enforce correct level numbers at the beginning of each line. A lot of times, a multi-line structure is inserted into the middle of another structure so that the first line has level N (where the exact number depends on the surrounding context of where it's inserted), and the subsequent lines all have a level of at least N+1 (sometimes N+2 etc.). How would EBNF specify that the second line has to begin with a number one greater than whatever number the first line begins with?
As for line endings, the preponderance of implementations have been in the DOS/Windows world... AnonMoos (talk) 10:40, 25 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]
I downloaded and looked at the most recent versions of the specification (apparently the most recent version I had looked at before now was 5.3, which was quite a while ago). In the standards documents, there's a quite detailed discussion of the "data representation grammar" in which the "lineage-linked" form of GEDCOM is specified, but I'm not sure that the data representation grammar could be expressed in EBNF form, due to the special requirements on the level numbers at the beginning of each line (as I discussed above). AnonMoos (talk) 02:58, 28 November 2017 (UTC)[reply]

GEDCOM 5.5.1 final released[edit]

I replaced GEDCOM 5.5 by GEDCOM 5.5.1 as latest release because FamilySearch released GEDCOM 5.5.1 as standard on 2019-11-15[1]. The version (its release) should be described in the article as well. Markus -voks- Henn (talk) 16:38, 23 December 2019 (UTC)[reply]


Shouldn't list patch releases[edit]

In the table of GEDCOM versions, I propose using one entry for 7.0, not separate ones for 7.0.0, 7.0.1, 7.0.2, 7.0.3, etc. Starting with 7.0, GEDCOM uses semantic versioning, so 7.0.x differs from 7.0.y only in how it is described in the specification, not in the underlying data model it is describing. See https://gedcom.io/specifications/FamilySearchGEDCOMv7.html#a-guide-to-version-numbers for more.

Put another way: the file format version is 7.0. There have so far been four versions of the spec describing this same file format version: spec versions 7.0.0 through 7.0.3. There is at least one more patch in the works, and likely will be several more as developers from around the world continue to find parts of the spec that are difficult for them to understand and the steering committee patches the document to address those.

For clarity, this proposal does not apply to 5.5.1, which which was a breaking change from 5.5 and should be listed as its own version. Semantic Versioning was not adopted until 7.0.

Luther (talk) 11:10, 22 July 2021 (UTC)[reply]