What is a GEDCOM?

gedcomOne of the biggest advantages to using the Internet for genealogy research is the ability it provides to exchange information with other researchers. The most common method used for this information exchange is the GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication. GEDCOM is a method of formatting your family tree data into a text file which can be easily read and converted by any genealogy software program.

Thus, if you are using one genealogy software program, such as Family Tree Maker and your cousin is using The Master Genealogist, you can exchange research easily by emailing gedcoms.

The GEDCOM specification was originally developed in 1985 and is owned and managed by the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  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. Don’t try to open and read the file with a word processor. Theoretically, this can be done, but it is a very tedious task. GEDCOMS are best suited for opening with a family tree software program or a special GEDCOM viewer.

GEDView is a portable viewer for GEDCOM files. Save your GEDCOM to a USB drive with this utility and you’ll never be without access to your research. Provides name listing, individual screen, and pop up pedigree, descendant, Mitochondrial DNA, and Y Chromosome views.


This entry was posted in A to Z April Challenge, Genealogy Resources and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What is a GEDCOM?

  1. Tarkabarka says:

    Oh, this is good to know! I love genealogy, but most of the Hungarian records are not online yet. My boyfriend, who is American, has tons of fun researching his. I bookmarked your blog, I’ll be checking back!
    Thanks for stopping by! Cheers!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary – Tales of colors
    MopDog – The crazy thing about Hungarians…

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