gedcom tutorial

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In the following examples, I am highlighting what various different genealogical packages display for the HEADer records found in GEDCOM's. Please note that indenting is not a feature of GEDCOM, and in a normal GEDCOM, records and levels are all flushed left-aligned. I have formatted this to display clarity and readability.

Family Historian

0 HEAD
1 SOUR FAMILY_HISTORIAN
2 VERS 3.0
2 NAME Family Historian
2 CORP Calico Pie Limited
1 FILE D:\family history\gedcoms\_Master Family File.ged
1 GEDC
2 VERS 5.5
2 FORM LINEAGE-LINKED
1 CHAR ANSI
1 DEST Gedcom55
1 SUBM @U1@
1 _UID {84579D10-3F7A-4903-B22E-A8B3C3B5CBEA}
1 _LIST Key Individuals
1 _LIST Work in Progress
1 _LIST Bookmarks

In the above example, we can see clearly identify some of the key features and elements from the HEADer standard as shown from the previous page. Here we can see where the HEAD.SOUR follows the Standard and the name of the registered product has an underscore to ceate a single word. Included also are the version number of the product, product name and the company name that makes the product. It also includes the FILE details and path, GEDCOM type, CHARacter set, DESTination and a SUBMitter link. In this GEDCOM, you will also see tags preceded by an underscore (_UID and _LIST). These special tags are program specific and the Standard allows for this type of data transmission.

Legacy Family Tree

0 HEAD
1 SOUR Legacy
2 VERS 6.0
2 NAME Legacy (R)
2 CORP Millennia Corp.
3 ADDR PO Box 9410
4 CONT Surprise, AZ 85374
1 DEST Legacy
1 DATE 23 Sep 2006
1 SUBM @S0@
1 FILE legacy-ansi-gedcom export.ged
1 GEDC
2 VERS 5.5
2 FORM LINEAGE-LINKED
1 CHAR ANSI

In the Legacy example, an early difference between this and the Family Historian HEADer is that Legacy have included extra levels for the CORPoration tag and include the company's address. You'll also see that the DESTination tag is not the same and has the value of Legacy instead of Gedcom55. This is because within the Legacy program, the user can define the best possible file for the recipient. You'll also note that Legacy uses the DATE tag and also includes a SUBMission tag.

The Master Genealogist

0 HEAD
1 SOUR TMG
2 VERS v 6.08.000
1 SUBM @SUB1@
1 GEDC
2 VERS 5.5
2 FORM LINEAGE-LINKED
1 DEST GED55
1 DATE 23 SEP 2006
2 TIME 18:58
1 CHAR ANSI
1 FILE C:\Documents and Settings\Mark\Desktop\tmg-gedcom-export.ged

Again, we see similar styles when it comes to the HEADer record with subtle variations.

RootsMagic

0 HEAD
1 SOUR RootsMagic
2 NAME RootsMagic
2 VERS 3.2
2 CORP RootsMagic, Inc.
3 ADDR PO Box 495
4 CONT Springville, UT 84663
4 CONT USA
3 PHON 1-800-ROOTSMAGIC
3 WWW www.RootsMagic.com
1 DEST RootsMagic
1 DATE 23 SEP 2006
1 FILE rm-gedcom-export.ged
1 GEDC
2 VERS 5.5
2 FORM LINEAGE-LINKED
1 CHAR ANSI

In our last example, we see yet a different approach where the HEAD.SOUR structure includes thorough details including not only an address but a PHONe number and web URL.

In these four examples, you'll note there are similarities and differences, and yet they are all valid GEDCOM. The Standard specifies that "when the lines are of equal level number but have a different tag name then the order is not significant." This explains why in each example there is no uniformity in file output. In the Family Historian example, the SUBM tag comes 6th, while in the Legacy file, it comes 4th, in TMG, 2nd and in RootsMagic, there isn't one. In fact, the only consistant tag that is represented in all these four examples is the HEAD.SOUR and HEAD.SOUR.VERS tag.

The other pertinent and most obvious point is that the HEAD.FILE tag is represented differently in each of the four examples. In these examles, RootsMagic and Legacy follow the Standard with the filename and appropriate extension (.ged), whereas both Family Historian and The Master Genealogist include the file path and filename. I have had reports where some believe this "may be" a security point rendering aide to social engineers.

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