Tuesday, December 3, 2013


If you are not sure what a GEDCOM is or why you might use one, you can read about them HERE.  One thing that you need to know about GEDCOMs is that genealogy database programs have advanced faster than the GEDCOM protocol has so your file will probably not transfer 100% intact.  Also, different genealogy programs have different options when importing and exporting GEDCOMs which means some programs handle GEDCOM files better than others.   Here are a few tips to make your GEDCOM transfer less painful.  The tips are pretty generic because every software program is a little different.

Exporting a GEDCOM

  • Clean up your file.  Your data needs to be in a consistent, standardized format.  The GEDCOM protocol was written by the LDS church so it is a good idea to make sure your data matches their standards so that it can “see” your data better.
  • Purge any data that isn’t being used by anyone in your file (things like locations, events, addresses, names).
  • Do any “file maintenance” routines your software has and compact your file as much as possible. If you software allows you to reuse abandoned RINs and MRINs it will compact your file even further.
  • Pay attention to the export options and tailor it to WHY you are exporting to a GEDCOM.


Importing a GEDCOM

  • Import the GEDCOM into a new file.  Do not import it directly into your working file.
  • Pay attention to the import options.  The options you chose will greatly affect how the data comes over.
  • Once you have the GEDCOM imported and converted to your file format, do the same cleanup process that is described above in the Exporting section.
  • Once you have the file cleaned up, you can work on merging the information into your working file if that is what you want to do (that is another subject entirely).  How you do this depends greatly on what genealogy software program you are using.


Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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