Sunday, August 23, 2009


The Genealogy Corner… GEDCOM & NFS | Senior Sampler: "In a previous New FamilySearch (NFS) article I mentioned adding GEDCOM files to NFS and said it was an article for another day. A GEDCOM (GEnealogical Data COMmunications) is a computer format that lets computer users transfer genealogical data from one computer program to another. GEDCOM was created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (This standard format is used by many family history computer programs.) You can recognize a GEDCOM file on your computer because it has a .ged suffix on its file name. A GEDCOM allows one genealogy program to talk to another one.

For years we used GEDCOM files to download from Ancestral File or other data and then we would import these files into our own personal genealogy program, make changes and then upload it back. We would share information with other family members via GEDCOM.

In the New FamilySearch program there is a big red warning that comes up if you try to add a GEDCOM file. It says GEDCOM files can introduce duplication into the system. GEDCOM files cannot be deleted once you contribute them. The information in your GEDCOM file is likely already in FamilySearch.

Before you contribute a GEDCOM file, they recommend that you compare the information in your GEDCOM file with the information that FamilySearch already has about you and your ancestors. If you then decide to contribute a GEDCOM file, please contribute one or two small files first. Then you can see how FamilySearch will handle your information, and figure out if GEDCOM really is the best way. A GEDCOM file would include any sources or notes but not any multimedia files, pictures or video clips.

I can tell you that the most time consuming aspect of NFS is the combining of duplicate records so the last thing we want to do is add more. This is especially true if you have ancestry that comes from long time LDS members or pioneers.
Even if you think you are the only descendant working on your family tree, it is best to check first because you might be surprised to find your ancestors already in the file. Usually the only time I find individuals who are not in the NFS program already are the people whom I have found doing original research and even then I find some of them have been added because of extracted records or because they link into another previously researched family. So, be careful with those GEDCOMs!"


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