What is a GEDCOM File and Benefits of GEDCOM

By February 8, 2016GEDCOM
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With its first flight in 1984, GEDCOM has been on an expedition for success throughout the years since its inception.  GEDCOM is an acronym for Genealogical Data Communication but is not a communication tool; it is a file format to share data among genealogical software. GEDCOM was specially designed for transfer of genealogical data in a standard format. The benefits of GEDCOM have been widely documented.

Because of various data applications of genealogy, there had to be a standard mode of communication and exchange between these applications, thus few vendors created GEDCOM. The first application to support GEDCOM was an MS-DOS application named Family Historian System (FHS) which was created by Phillip Brown, the second application to support GEDCOM format was Personal Ancestral File (PAF) 2.0.

Benefits of GEDCOM File

There are certain widely acknowledged benefits of GEDCOM, such as

  1. Widely Used Format: The first and foremost point one could notice about this file format is that it is the only one widely used among genealogical applications. It is a de facto standard, which means there has been no law to regulate it among genealogical software but by practice, this has turned into an underlying norm. GEDCOM has by default become the standard format for file exchange among genealogy applications. There are other alternatives in the market as competition but none has come close in terms of support.
  2. A Structured Method: GEDCOM is an organized and structured method of data organization. This format has the ability to clearly communicate the data in written specifications. A majority of genealogy software has set on this format for input and output of data. Also, genealogists use GEDCOM to transfer or save information on genealogy.
  3. Data Backup: GEDCOM export provides backup solutions to genealogists and is a common feature of many applications of genealogy. It is essential to back up the data to avoid any mishandling of data.
  4. Easy to Identify Tags: GEDCOM is a text file formatted to read genealogy data records. GEDCOM files use Tags to identify specific information labelled for ease of use. Tags such as FAM for Family or BIRT for birth date helps seek information without going through all the records.
  5. Readability in Family Tree Mode: A GEDCOM file can be viewed by any text file format and with any text editor. It also presents the data in Family Tree Mode that clearly explains step by step the various divisions of data records and is easy to comprehend. It’s easy to read a GEDCOM file with software that gives family tree view.
  6. All About a Person: A GEDCOM file contains all the detailed information about a person such as birth date, death, marriage, divorce and other records such as those of census. An added advantage to this is that GEDCOM files also contain physical descriptions and attributes of a person.
  7. Multimedia: GEDCOM supports multimedia and this has been done after many applications strived for it because of the need of adding visual effects to genealogical information. The data transfer of these multimedia files is being worked upon.

GEDCOM is open to advancements and upgrades and enjoys an edge over other competitors for being the most widely supported file format among genealogy applications. Find out more about OneFam’s GEDCOM capabilities and the benefits of GEDCOM.

OneFam GEDCOM File

OneFam’s Web and Desktop software enable you to import and export your family tree. This ensures that you can take your family tree created on anothter platform and get up and running with OneFams family tree in no time.

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