Printed charts are a good way to share information with family members and other researchers however when you need to exchange large volumes of data, sharing information electronically is more efficient.
Most genealogy software and online family tree creators store data in their own unique file format, as a result, one platform may not be able to process data created with another program. To solve this issue the great minds created the GEDCOM file format, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications. A GEDCOM format is a plain text containing genealogy information, such as names, marriage and death dates, and metadata linking these records together. It can be sent as an attachment to an email message, be uploaded to a website or shared via a floppy disk. Since the GEDCOM format is text-only, you can’t share pictures, charts, books, and similar items.
Why You Do Need to Know About GEDCOM
Imagine you’ve created a family tree on a website, filled in all the lines with required names, dates, places, and other data, and after some time you find better software with easier navigation and more beautiful templates. As we have previously emphasized, you will have to reenter all information in the new system since each software provider uses their own file format. Would you consider starting all over again? Just the thought of it makes you shiver, right?
If you have your data saved into GEDCOM you won’t have to waste time on reentering data. It means you can play with as much family tree makers as you want until you find your perfect one.
Another reason to use GEDCOM is the possibility to share the results of your genealogy findings with family members or other researchers. If they are using other platforms the safest way to send them copies of the information is to save your file as a .GED and send it. Also, you can contribute your work to online databases, or download other researchers’ data and add it to your own file, without retyping anything.
Though GEDCOM is a great tool, it isn’t perfect. Some data fields in your genealogy software might not be specified precisely in GEDCOM. Or your current platform might be perfectly happy with a birth date listed as, “after 1901 but before 1905” but when the data is exported to a GEDCOM file and then imported into another software, the birth date is typically left blank.
Generally, dates, names, places, and similar information can be easily transferred but text, source citations, notes and events can create problems depending on the kind of software involved. Anyway, most of the information will transfer properly, and you can easily review it to look for errors.
Even so, GEDCOM still saves a lot of work, especially if you need to transfer a family tree which contains, let’s say, 300 family members. Imagine how much time it would take to retype all that data.
How to Build a Family Tree Through a GEDCOM File on Treemily
- Select the GEDCOM file you want to import and click the ‘import’ button.
- Once the system finishes importing you will receive a notification.
- After that, you need to click on the ‘finish configuration’ button and select a person your family tree will be based on. Use the search bar to find the root person.
As you can see the process is easy and doesn’t take much time to accomplish. In fact, there is no better way to avoid retyping your family data. Upload your GEDCOM file on Treemily and start making your own online family tree right now! We provide multiple customizable templates so that you could create a visual map that documents your ancestry.