Some GEDCOM tips and techniques

Tip version: 38.3

Modified date: 13 May 2001

Software version: v5.2 and above (see section notes)


1 - Gary Bonham's shareware Gedcom Explorer program

2 - Gedcoms from the LDS Familysearch website

3 - Gedcoms created from Ultimate Family Tree

Section 1 - Gary Bonham's shareware Gedcom Explorer program

A recommended solution for many Gedcom problems is Gary Bonham's excellent Gedcom Explorer shareware program, available at This program does a good job at analyzing gedcom files and reporting potential problems. There are also a large array of filters included with the program which help in converting from a particular gedcom source program (or site) to a different gedcom destination program. A filter for the LDS Familysearch website to the Generations software is now included with the Gedcom Explorer program (see the next section).

Section 2 - Gedcoms from the LDS Familysearch website (fixed in v8 and above)

The Generations software (v5.2+) supports Gedcom imports and exports with either the Gedcom v4 or Gedcom v5.5 standards. The software is, however, somewhat sensitive to gedcom files which do not conform to what it considers "proper" construction. This includes things such as missing links in the file or items such as the SUBN (for SubNote) gedcom tag. The latter point is quite important as these are almost always present in Gedcom files downloaded from the LDS Familysearch website, A straightforward solution to this problem is to use the Gedcom Explorer program mentioned above with the appropriate filter. An alternate way to correct the LDS familysearch website gedcom files is to remove all lines with the SUBN tag with a text editor (not a word processor, it is important to keep gedcom files as pure text). Text editors include the Microsoft Notepad, included with all versions of Windows, adequate for files up to 64 Kb in size. There are many free and shareware text editors which may also be used and which handle larger files. Two examples of good free text editors are Notepad Plus and Texturizer. [See "Generations Tip #37 - Generations and Lotus Wordpro" for links to the home pages for these programs.

Section 3 - Gedcoms created from Ultimate Family Tree

The Ultimate Family Tree program can produce gedcoms of two types, one is the standard gedcom format. The other is a non-standard "event-oriented" gedcom that is only read by Ultimate Family Tree. You can tell if the gedcom is in that format if the Gedcom Version is shown as 1.00 on the analysis screen. Generations cannot import these gedcoms. [Note that Legacy 2.0 will refuse to even attempt to import them, PAF 4.0 will do a partial import but will report a huge number of errors]. If you get one of these gedcoms ask the person who provided it to recreate the gedcom in the "lineage-oriented" format.

Regards, Mike Hobart

Copyright © 1999-2001 Michael A. Hobart, commercial reuse restricted.

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