One 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.