with Lorelle and Brent VanFossen

What is GEDCOM?

If you are doing any family history or genealogy research, you will run across the term GEDCOM. I finally found a good explanation on the term and history at Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter: GEDCOM Explained. This is how he explains it:

Basically, GEDCOM is an abbreviation that stands for GEnealogy Data COMmunications. In short, GEDCOM is the language by which different genealogy software programs talk to one another. The purpose is to exchange data between dissimilar programs without having to manually re-enter all the data on a keyboard.

Now, GEDCOM is not a program but a “standard”. This means that data in one genealogy program can be transfered from one GEDCOM compatible program to another. If you are trying out different genealogy software programs, make sure you get one that supports this GEDCOM standard. It’s fairly universal now, but double check to make sure.

This GEDCOM standard applies to websites that allow you to import information into their databases, too.

Understanding the term GEDCOM helps every genealogy researcher. It helped me, that’s for sure.

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