Genealogical Data Communication


Genealogical Data Communication, or GEDCOM, is a standard file format used for exchanging genealogical information between different genealogy software platforms. It was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) in 1984. GEDCOM allows users to effortlessly transfer family tree data, such as names, dates, and relationships, without having to input the information manually when switching to a new software tool.


The phonetics of the keyword “Genealogical Data Communication” is:/ʤɪˌniːəˈlɑʤɪkəl ˈdeɪtə kəˌmjuːnɪˈkeɪʃən/Broken down by each word:Genealogical – /ʤɪˌniːəˈlɑʤɪkəl/Data – /ˈdeɪtə/Communication – /kəˌmjuːnɪˈkeɪʃən/

Key Takeaways

  1. Genealogical Data Communication (GEDCOM) is a standardized format for exchanging genealogy data between different software applications.
  2. GEDCOM allows for the storage and representation of complex family relationships and historical events through a plain text file format, making it highly versatile and accessible.
  3. As GEDCOM is both software and platform-independent, it enables users to preserve and share family history data without being limited by proprietary systems or future software updates.


Genealogical Data Communication (GEDCOM) is an important technology term as it refers to a standardized format for exchanging genealogical data between different software programs and databases.

This standardization enables genealogists, researchers, and family historians to easily share, store, and analyze vast amounts of lineage-linked information.

The GEDCOM format effectively eliminates duplication of efforts while ensuring more accurate and comprehensive information for genealogy enthusiasts worldwide.

Consequently, GEDCOM plays a crucial role in promoting better information exchange, collaboration, and interconnectivity among genealogists and researchers, ultimately advancing the study of genealogy as a whole.


Genealogical Data Communication (GEDCOM) is a digital file format specifically designed to facilitate the sharing and exchange of genealogical and family history data between different software applications and databases. The primary purpose of GEDCOM is to ensure that genealogists and researchers are able to easily transfer vital information about family trees, ancestries, and pedigrees between diverse sources, without losing any crucial data in the process.

As genealogical research often involves navigating through a vast array of records, sources, and family connections, GEDCOM plays a critical role in conserving the accuracy and integrity of information pertaining to family histories across generations. GEDCOM standardizes the representation of genealogical data, allowing various software programs to interpret and process the information seamlessly.

This empowers researchers to collaborate more efficiently, as they can share their findings with others, amalgamate data from multiple sources, and expand upon the collective knowledge of a family’s lineage. Moreover, GEDCOM enables individuals to preserve their own family’s history in a consolidated, universally accessible format, thus preventing the loss of invaluable historical information.

In conclusion, the GEDCOM format acts as a common language for genealogists, simplifying the process of data communication and fostering collaborative efforts in uncovering familial connections and heritage.

Examples of Genealogical Data Communication

Genealogical Data Communication (GEDCOM) is a standard file format used for exchanging genealogical information between different genealogy software applications. Here are three real-world examples of how GEDCOM is utilized:

Online Genealogy Platforms – Websites like, MyHeritage, and FamilySearch use GEDCOM to allow their users to import and export family tree information. This helps individuals to build, maintain, and share their family trees across various platforms, making it easier for them to collaborate with other researchers and discover new information about their ancestors.

Desktop Genealogy Software – GEDCOM files are used with desktop software such as Gramps, Legacy Family Tree, and Family Tree Maker. These programs enable genealogists to create, manage, and analyze their family tree data on a personal computer. The GEDCOM file format allows individuals to seamlessly transfer their data between different software programs, ensuring they can always use the best tools for their research needs.

Collaboration and Publishing – GEDCOM is often used to aid collaboration between genealogists and researchers who may use different software platforms or family tree applications. By standardizing the format of genealogical data, the GEDCOM specification allows researchers to efficiently share, compare, and combine family trees, ultimately leading to new discoveries about family histories and heritage. Additionally, GEDCOM files can be used to create and publish printed family histories or generate digital resources like family history websites and multimedia presentations.

FAQ: Genealogical Data Communication

What is Genealogical Data Communication?

Genealogical Data Communication (Gedcom) is a standard format for exchanging genealogical information between different software programs, allowing users to easily transfer information about family trees and records from one application to another.

How does Genealogical Data Communication work?

Gedcom works by providing a standardized structure and encoding format for genealogical data. This enables users to save their family tree data in a Gedcom file, which can be imported by other genealogy software programs that support the Gedcom standard. The data can then be altered and saved in the new program, or merged with other genealogy records.

Why is Genealogical Data Communication important?

Gedcom is important because it allows genealogists and researchers to easily share and transfer genealogical information between different software programs and databases. Prior to the advent of Gedcom, transferring data from one software to another could be cumbersome and prone to errors. Gedcom made the process simpler, encouraging collaboration and data sharing among the genealogy community.

What types of data can be represented in a Gedcom file?

A Gedcom file can represent a wide array of genealogical information, including individual records of people, relationships between them (such as parent-child and spouse), events, dates, locations, sources, and notes/documentation. It is a flexible format that supports a rich representation of data relevant to family history and genealogy research.

Which genealogy software programs support Genealogical Data Communication?

Most genealogy software programs support the Gedcom standard, including popular options like, Family Tree Maker, Gramps, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, and many others. Before choosing a software, it is a good idea to verify Gedcom support to ensure compatibility with other programs and ease of data sharing.

Related Technology Terms

  • GEDCOM (Genealogical Data Communication)
  • Family Tree Software
  • Lineage-linked Data
  • Genealogy Data Standards
  • Genealogy Data Interchange

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