One of the questions just posed to me was: “What are your plans to support the combining of several GEDCOM files into one’s own file?” If you’ve read some of my blog posts, you’ll know I feel quite strongly on this.
After putting my thoughts together, I decided to formalize what I will be doing with this, and here is my answer:
My concept with Behold will be to introduce “Virtual Merging”. You will be
able to keep the GEDCOMs separate and simply designate which people are the
same in the two files. Then Behold will produce its Everything Report and
use the data from the two (or more) files together.
When you get updates to those GEDCOM files, you might have to match a few new people, but you will almost immediately be able to use them.
Personally, when I get data from someone on a side of my family that knows
more about that side than mine, I prefer to let them be the “expert
genealogist” of that family. I send them any info I have that they may not
have about their side and ask them for an updated GEDCOM in return. That
way, I don’t have to keep up that side myself. When I implement Virtual
Merging in Behold, I expect I may even delete their side from my GEDCOM.
Also when I get information from someone who has a lot of info but isn’t
computerizing it, I create a separate GEDCOM with just their data, again
designating them as the expert. The only difference is that I am entering
the data rather than them.
If I find GEDCOMs with relevant information, but I cannot locate the person who is the source of it, I keep that GEDCOM separate, and would never consider physically merging it into my own.
I haven’t pushed this concept much, but I think it is the correct way to do
it. The reason why it hasn’t been done is that there are few programs
available that can read in multiple GEDCOMs and program developers thought
that adding data merging tools was a neat thing to do. Then every developer
seemed to follow the trend. And by now, you know I think this is very wrong.
I don’t plan to complete my Virtual Merging until Version 1.3 which is currently
scheduled for about a year from now (if all goes well), but I’ve had several
people ask me about it, and if interest continues, I may consider implementing it
If you’re reading this blog and have an opinion on combining GEDCOMs, I’d be very interested in hearing your opinion. Does my proposal of “Virtual Merging” sound like the right way to do it and the way to go, or am I full of baloney?
The best way to reply is to hit the “Comments” button on my Behold blog and to start a thread or add a new thread in the Behold Comments section of my user forum.
Unless I hear good arguments against this, I plan to make it yet another core component concept of Behold. The AFN person matching that I’ll be working on shortly will begin the framework of “Virtual Merging” in Behold.