What is a GEDCOM file?
A GEDCOM file is a specialized file format for genealogy information that all genealogy programs support.
The beauty of the GEDCOM file format is its simplicity. It is actually a simple text file with labels telling what the data following the label is. When a genealogy program gets data from a GEDCOM file, it doesn't open the file and read the data by itself. Instead it "imports" the data into the genealogy programs already existing data files.
Genealogy programs "import data" from GEDCOM files
or "export data" to GEDCOM files to share data with
others. The best thing about it is even though "Family
Origins" is my favorite genealogy software, I can share data
with people who prefer other products and not care about what
format they have their data in (as long as they entered their
data in the correct fields in their program).
Importing a GEDCOM file with data on a hundred people only takes a few mouse clicks and waiting a few seconds. So now you know how I got so much data on my web site without quitting my day job and working full time on it.
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Updated: December 21, 2004.