For computer users of the PAF and other genealogical programs, there is much confusion on using GEDCOM files in transferring data. The following is a reprint from the Italian Genealogical Group Newsletter of June 1996.
Having problems with switching to your new computer program?
The Computer section of the March/April 1996 issue of the NGS Digest has a lengthy but illuminating article on GEDCOM. For those of you using computer programs for your genealogy, GEDCOM, which is a means of data transfer from one program to another, is extremely important. Many genealogists like to change genealogy computer programs and must transfer their information to the new program from the old. Unfortunately, they lose a lot of information. George Archer's article gives some insight on the problems involved. New genealogical programs support different versions of GEDCOM (4.0 and 5.2). As computer programs have become more complex, GEDCOM s shortcomings have gotten worse. A newly released version of GEDCOM (5.5) promises not to solve anything. Data transferred between the various versions of GEDCOM becomes mangled and lost. This is especially so when someone sends you their data from their program. You have no way to know what was lost or changed from the original. Archer states his opinion that "PAF's role as the GEDCOM standard bearer probably is already over." PAF has never come out with a Windows version and is reported to have shelved the project. They have virtually abandoned their market leadership to other Windows compatible genealogy programs. If the credibility of PAF is lessened, GEDCOM becomes superfluous. Archer states "The market leaders of Windows-based programs will probably determine the data transfer standards. LDS has been and needs to continue to be in the business' of genealogical software and compete in this marketplace if for no other reason than to help maintain an open standard for data exchange." He concludes that "LDS should reconsider its decision to abandon PAF for Windows, so they can stay in the developer's circle as a major player and give others the benefit of many years of experience." All of the above is an explanation of why important data is lost or changed when you switch computer programs for genealogy or import data from someone else into your program.
Our members enjoy receiving a monthly newsletter that is chock full of different articles relating to genealogy. Some articles re-cap what our various guest speakers have lectured about. Other articles discuss computing in genealogy, including the internet. Still other columns touch on genealogical tools and research aids.
We invite you to browse through the following articles from our newsletter. We're sure that there is something we've written about that will interest anyone researching their Italian roots...
Enjoy these articles:
- Italian Genealogy Info by Trafford Cole
- Using GEDCOM to transfer genealogical data
- Italian Citizenship for You!
- Photos of ANY NYC house/building circa 1939
- New York State Vital Records -- How and Where to Get Them
- NYC Area Cemeteries - Names, Addresses, Phone Numbers
- Aspects of Passenger Lists of Ships for Genealogists
- Research Material Available at Your Local Family History Center
- Rivelli Records - Special Tax Census Records
- WW I Draft Board List for NYC - Italians & Other Aliens Had to Register
- Federal Census Records - What Can They Tell You?
- City Directories - Like Mamma's Chicken, Use all of it!
- Resources on Italian Parishes and Italian Catholics (Diocese of Brooklyn)