Possible Duplicate:
What standards exist for the exchange of genealogical information?

The GEDCOM standard has been moribund for many years since it was abandoned by the Mormon church. There have been a number of efforts to create a more robust and feature-full standard, but they've all collapsed under their own weight before achieving critical mass. One such effort was the Gentech Data Model developed in 1998 as the core of a next generation standard.

The answers to the related question What standards exist for the exchange of genealogical information? mention a number of more recent efforts including OpenGen, BetterGEDCOM, FHISO, and GEDCOM-X.

Are there any other alternatives to GEDCOM being actively developed? Where are they being discussed? How do the various efforts compare among them in terms of features, backers, technology basis, etc?

  • See also: genealogy.stackexchange.com/questions/25/…
    – bstpierre
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 16:43
  • Thanks. I've edited the question to reflect the information already provided and narrowed its focus to extending that information and comparing the alternatives.
    – Tom Morris
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:05
  • BetterGECOM is a wiki; it is sponsored today by FHISO.
    – GeneJ
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:11
  • 1
    "Exact duplicate"? That's strange since the other question asks about current standards (there's only one, GEDCOM) and this one asks about potential future standards and, more specifically, where they're being developed/discussed. Perhaps those who closed it could suggest how it could be reworded to be acceptable to them?
    – Tom Morris
    Commented Nov 30, 2012 at 5:53
  • Tom, the question might not be a duplicate if you could be clearer about what is the information you're seeking that isn't provided in the answers to the question that this one is marked as a duplicate for? And about the actual problem you're trying to solve?
    – user104
    Commented Dec 8, 2012 at 17:47

2 Answers 2


One effort underway is organized by FHISO:

Family History Information Standards Organisation, or FHISO, is a newly-formed international organisation created to develop standards for the digital representation and sharing of family history and genealogical information. The standards will solve today’s interoperability issues independently of technology platforms, genealogy products or services. They will provide opportunities for innovation and will address robust user requirements such as search, capture and research administration.

  • Thanks for the answer. I've edited my question since you answered based on the reference provided by @bstpierre. Do you know enough about the various groups/efforts to compare and contrast FHISO with them?
    – Tom Morris
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:10
  • Actually, I hadn't noticed @bstpierre's comment... sorry about that. FHISO is the only one I've heard of. Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:19
  • Ambiguous phraseology on my part. After you answered my original question, I edited that question based on @bstpierre's comment. Sorry for the confusion! Thanks again for answering.
    – Tom Morris
    Commented Oct 16, 2012 at 23:23

As you say, there are a number of data models in existence or being developed. These are generally proprietary in nature (usually associated with a commercial product) or private developments. OpenGen and GenTech were attempts at an open standard but neither are active now. The BetterGEDCOM wiki (mentioned above) has a review/comparison of the main models at Data Models.

Ideally, there should be a single model developed-by and accepted-by all the major stakeholders in the genealogical community, and this is the goal of FHISO.

That ideal model will probably borrow ideas and innovations from all the existing models. However, support and recognition by all parties is just as important as a great design. So, from that point of view, we don't have any alternatives at the moment.

  • Thanks for the link to the Data Models page. That plus the associated spreadsheet (which I apparently don't have permission to access) mentioned on the associated page bettergedcom.wikispaces.com/BetterGEDCOM+Comparisons could form the core of an answer, particularly if the spreadsheet covered both technical and non-technical aspects (and I can get access to it).
    – Tom Morris
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 20:32
  • Did you get access OK Tom? It's hosted in GoogleDocs so someone has to add your email address to the access list.
    – ACProctor
    Commented Oct 19, 2012 at 22:41
  • Yes, I did. Thanks very much. Google Docs has a public sharing mode too, BTW, where no manual processing is required. The models covered don't include GEDCOM X or, as far as I can tell, anything FHISO related. The included ones are: GEDCOM 5.5, GEDCOM 6.0 XML, Event GEDCOM, GENTECH GDM, DeadEnds, GRAMPS, SFTxml, and STEMMA.
    – Tom Morris
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 14:49
  • Thanks Tom, There was some discussion threads on the various models, incl. GEDCOM-X (bettergedcom.wikispaces.com/GEDCOM+X+Framework), but the wiki has largely dried up since FHISO was launched. However, FHISO is currently concentrating on garnering worldwide support before any specific design work begins. This is a different approach to the previous failed ventures,
    – ACProctor
    Commented Oct 22, 2012 at 11:30

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