Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is GEDCOM X backwards-compatible? Can GEDCOM X be read by consumers of legacy GEDCOM?

    No, a new parser is needed. But there is a lossless conversion from legacy GEDCOM to GEDCOM X. And there are open source libraries available for working with GEDCOM X to help ease the pain of migration.

  • Does GEDCOM X define a file format so I can save my data on my computer and work with it using my favorite applications?

    Yes. And it’s designed to address the major issues with legacy GEDCOM such as the lack of a well-defined source model, insufficient support for the proof standard, and no way to enclose multimedia files (e.g. images, audio, video, etc.).

    See file-format-specification.

  • How do I contribute? What if GEDCOM X is missing something?

    We’d love to have you participate! Have you checked out the community documentation?

  • What licenses govern GEDCOM X?

    Code is opened under an Apache II license. Other content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

  • What’s the governance model for GEDCOM X?

    The project is being managed in an open source manner with requirements and contributions being provided by the community. The licenses are open and the process is transparent, and feedback is readily invited. FamilySearch is the current admin for the project.

  • What’s up with the name “GEDCOM X”?


    • “GEDCOM X” denotes a clean break from “legacy” GEDCOM and clearly communicates a new revision that is different in scope and technology.
    • “GEDCOM X” doesn’t imply a project-level versioning scheme, making it convenient as an “umbrella” name for sections that can each be revisioned independently.
    • The “X” is a loosely-coupled reference to “XML”, which is a major technology being used to define the standard.
    • The “X” has a generally accepted reference to the ‘x’ in “next”, implying the “next” generation of a genealogical tools and specifications.
    • The “X” has a precedent in the genealogical space, e.g. “Generation X”.
    • The “X” has a precedent in the technology space, being used quite successfully to denote a new version or platform or system, e.g. “Apple OS X”, “Droid X”, “X11”, and all over the place by the W3C.
    • The “X” is simple, brief, one-syllable, and easy to pronounce.