GEDCOM Files (.ged)

GEDCOM Files (.ged)
A GEDCOM file (pronounced "Jed-com") is an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunications and is a standard file format that genealogy applications use to share data. They usually use the ".ged" suffix on their filename.
Behold reads in GEDCOM files, interprets them for you, and presents them logically in its Everything Report.
GEDCOM files are sometimes problematic because not all genealogy programs export or import them perfectly. As a result, data does not always transfer smoothly using GEDCOM files. Behold is a very flexible GEDCOM reader allowing many variations and displays every bit of data that is possible to display. Behold also produces a log file that identifies problems with the GEDCOM file.


1. A GEDCOM Line
Most GEDCOM lines contain 3 parts.  A level number, a GEDCOM tag, and a data item or pointer.
In the above example, the level number is 1. Information at level 1 belongs to records at level 0. Information at level 2 belongs to the information at level 1, etc.


2. A GEDCOM Record
GEDCOM records begin with a level 0 line and include all the data up to the next level 0 line which starts the next record. A record is a complete unit. The above example has a HEAD record (GEDCOM Header), a SUBM record (LDS Submission), and an INDI record (information about an individual, i.e. a person).
All records (except the HEAD and TRLR records) have a record ID. Record ID's are surrounded by "@" characters. The record ID for the above SUBM record is "S0" and the record ID for the above INDI record is I1.

Events and Facts

3. Events and Facts
Most level 1 lines contain an event or a fact. The subsequent lines, with a level greater than 1, add information about the fact. Each tag has a meaning, and Behold lets you specify which tags to include and the how to display them on the Organize Tags page.

A Pointer

4. A Pointer
Sometimes a GEDCOM line has a pointer after the tag. A pointer is the ID of the record that it points to. In this example, this line points to a source record with the ID S64.  Here is the source record that the above pointer points to: