About GEDCOM

This site is designed for programmers and technical persons who are considering or are working on programs that will read and write the current version of FamilySearch GEDCOM.

The word GEDCOM is an acronym for GEnealogical Data Communication. GEDCOM was created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the specification for exchanging genealogical data between different family tree software products. The original GEDCOM specification was released in 1984, and the last update to it was version 5.5 in 1996 with an incremental upgrade to version 5.5.1 released in 2019.

FamilySearch GEDCOM is relevant to create a personal private backup of family tree information, maintaining local ownership and control. A FamilySearch GEDCOM file is a UTF-8 text file containing genealogical information about individuals, and also meta data linking these records together. The standard file extension used is a suffix “.ged” to indicate the file has been formatted using the FamilySearch GEDCOM specification. Hundreds of software products support the reading and writing of GEDCOM files. Individuals continue to share their files for collaboration, reports, charts, special analysis, and other innovative purposes. The FamilySearch GEDCOM file format allows users to preserve, collaborate, import, and export with different applications while maintaining control of the original copy. FamilySearch GEDCOM version 7.0 is the most recent update to GEDCOM.

Navigate to Specifications to review past and current versions. Tools will provide actual code and sample files that are useful for development. Guides provides helpful technical information and best practices. Community has links to current issues, discussions, the blog, and groups to join.

Go to the General FAQs to learn more.