Genealogy Formats

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Per the microformats process, towards the development of a genealogy microformat, this page documents previous/existing genealogy related formats.



GEDCOM has become pretty much the defacto standard for sharing data between genealogy systems. It is hierarchical and link based, much like HTML; but it encodes family structure (which is a general graph) outside of this structural hierarchy.
GEDCOM was developed (...) to provide a flexible, uniform format for exchanging computerized genealogical data.[1]
The only relationship links in GEDCOM are HUSBand, WIFE and CHILd. All other relationships (brother, sister, grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, cousins) can be inferred by traversing family records. This does mean that any collection of genealogical pages need some way to cross-reference to each other. This isn't a problem for all pages on a single Web site, which use RIN (Record Identifier) or REFN (User Reference Number). However, different Web pages maintained by different genealogists may have conflicting RINs and REFNs. There is a globally-unique AFN (Ancestral File Number) issued by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), but I don't know how they're issued and most genealogical sites don't use them anyway.
The GEDCOM format contains much other data specific to the LDS, but I don't know how widespread it is, nor how appropriate it would be to code it into a microformat intended to reach well beyond the LDS.
Regardless of whether an hGED microformat is developed, it would still be valuable to mark up genealogical information with microformats on Web pages for the semantic value.
Bob Jonkman 07:58, 9 Feb 2007 (PST)

GEDCOM Replacement Efforts

There are currently two major efforts to develop a replacement for the largely out-of-date GEDCOM format (last updated in 1999).


One effort is GEDCOM X [3], by FamilySearch, the original creator of GEDCOM. While the format is openly published on github and the development is fairly transparent, it is completely controlled by FamilySearch (a division of the Mormon church). Includes JSON and XML serialization formats, as well as a file format which includes many files compressed into a zip file.


The other effort is the Family History Information Standards Organization (FHSIO) [4] which is gathering member companies into a consortium to develop a replacement format. Part of the goal of FHISO is specifically to take genealogy standards out of the control of a single organization. FHISO was spawned out of a grass-roots effort to replace GEDCOM called BetterGEDCOM [5].

Wikipedia Persondata

Wikipedia's Persondata aligns very closely with hCard, but has additional date and place of birth & death fields. Andy Mabbett 13:04, 28 Jan 2007 (PST)

vCard birth death extensions

This vCard extension draft proposes new properties related to birth location, death date, and death location.

External Links

See also

Genealogy Formats was last modified: Thursday, July 25th, 2013