If a person changes the gender or the name or both: how can I interlink the two individuals in GEDCOM to declare them as the same person?

  • Are you using a particular piece of software?
    – user6485
    Commented Jun 5, 2021 at 5:03
  • Gender change is addressed at genealogy.stackexchange.com/q/15847/6485
    – user6485
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 5:37

2 Answers 2


What you are attempting to do is a bad idea. Each person should have one GEDCOM ID.

One of the basic principles of genealogy is that you (almost always) refer to people by their birth name. How you show name changes will depend on the software. You can always handle it parenthetically if the software doesn't have a good method.

Example, this person Americanized their name: Heinrich (Henry) Schroeder (Shrader)

Name changes due to marriage should not be shown in the person's name. In other records it will be obvious that they either took their husbands name or they didn't.

Gender is more tricky:

If the person is living and the gender change is not public knowledge, I would not reveal it in my family tree.

If the person is deceased and had children: Genealogy is recording history, so you should record them as the gender they were when they were parents. Indicate a gender change some other way (depends on the SW). My software only allows a Male/Female pair to be parents, so I would be forced to show them with their original gender.

If the person is deceased and didn't have children: I would list them the way that they would want to be listed, which is almost certainly with their new gender. Indicating the gender change elsewhere would be optional.


The proper way to do this in GEDCOM is to use the ALIA tag.

GEDCOM 5.5.1 says:

> +1 ALIA @<XREF:INDI>@      {0:M} p.25
> ALIA {ALIAS}:= An indicator to link different record descriptions of a
> person who may be the same person

However, a lot of programs use it improperly. See:

Tamura Jones in his article recommends that you not use the ALIA tag at all, but instead you can use the ASSO record to link an INDI record to another INDI record.


1 NAME Joe /Jacob/
1 ASSO @I30@
2 RELA same person
  • Many thanks! Will use both tags. ASSO for the short term solution and ALIA (bi-directionally) for better times (when applications get GEDCOM compliant). Commented Jun 11, 2021 at 7:02

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