Do you have input on tag usage in WikiTree GEDCOM exports?

+4 votes


Hi All,
This is especially for Roland Arsenault, Bob Fields, Daniel Bouman and others who do processing on exported GEDCOMs but anyone who imports WikiTree-generated GEDCOMs elsewhere might have input.
We made various little changes to the export format today. Some of these were technical things that won't interest many WikiTreers. Tamura Jones "highlighted several problems and provided solutionsso we fixed the following:
  • Changed version number from 5.5 to 5.5.1.
  • Changed _EMAIL to EMAIL since the latter is standard in 5.5.1.
  • Changed _URL to WWW since the latter is standard in 5.5.1.
  • Fixed the number for SURN so it's 2 instead of 1.
  • Fixed SUBM so it's a proper @SUBM@ reference with a separate record.
Here's a change that we've discussed here in the past:
  • Changed _BIO to NOTE for the body of the page since it's more universal.
And another one we've discussed here on G2G:
  • Added the WikiTree Privacy Level with "1 REFN {X}" and "2 TYPE wikitree.privacy".
Is this the best way to include the privacy level? Maybe it would be better to do a new tag, e.g. _PRVC? Roland, Bob, any input?
We also made a number of little changes to the application of the name fields. This is a tricky area since our name fields have their own unique usages but we want them to be as generally transferrable as possible.
Note that the following only applies if you're on the Trusted List. If a name is included because they're a family member of someone in your Watchlist you just get:
NAME: {Preferred First Name} + {Middle Initial if there's a middle name} + {Last Name at Birth}
Here is what you'd get for INDIviduals on your Trusted List BEFORE today:
NAME: {Preferred First Name} + {Last Name at Birth}
NPFX: {Prefix if there is one}
GIVN: {Formal First Name if different from Preferred First Name}
_MIDN: {Middle Name if there is one}
NICK: {Nicknames if there are any}
SURN: {Last Name at Birth}
NSFX: {Suffix if there is one}
_MARN: {Current Last Name if different from Last Name at Birth}
_AKA: {Other Last Names if there are any}
Here is what it was changed to TODAY:
NAME: {Formal First Name} + {Middle Name if there is one} + {Last Name at Birth}
NPFX: {Prefix if there is one}
GIVN: {Formal First Name}
_PGVN: {Preferred First Name if different from Formal First Name}
_MIDN: {Middle Name if there is one}
NICK: {Nicknames if there are any}
SURN: {Last Name at Birth}
NSFX: {Suffix if there is one}
_MARN: {Current Last Name if different from Last Name at Birth}
_AKA: {Other Last Names if there are any}
Any input?
Some questions I have:
  1. I created _PGVN for Preferred First Name. Is there another tag that's used by some companies that would be more appropriate? This is why I use _MARN instead of one we make up ourselves. It's not exactly right for Current Last Name, but it's close, and there's a better chance it will be understood by other systems since so many use it. Tamura has pointed out GEDCOM 5.5 EL which uses a "rufname" convention. But I'm not sure that's exactly right or would be widely understood.
  2. Should we do an additional NAME field if there is a Preferred First Name and/or Current Last Name?
  3. Should NSFX go in parantheses in the NAME field? We could do this for Prefix as well, but I'm not sure if that would cause more trouble than it's worth.
P.S. Daniel has identified an important problem regarding missing relationships. This is still being investigated.
Here are some other changes and improvements for down the road:
  • See if we can parse sources and footnotes out of the wikitext when properly formatted.
  • Add option to exclude private profiles with the use of "Living" or "Private"
  • Add option to limit to a certain individual's tree instead of full Watchlist.
  • Add option to include Open profiles not on Watchlist.
  • Add option to limit to just profiles you're managing.
  • Add option to include WikiSpace pages.
in Genealogy Help by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
edited by Chris Whitten
Thanks for the changes Chris! I'm about to take off for the arctic so I'll be off the grid until October and might not get to check out the changes until then. Still being a gedcom newbie, I have no preferences on how the privacy level is coded. I can work with whatever you come up with.
Wow!  You guys to rock!

3 Answers

+1 vote
Yay! I'm very excited, especially for middle names being made part of the name, and options being added for exporting GEDCOMs!

Speaking of those options, I'd like to just be able to select who gets exported however I like, presumably by checking/unchecking people on my watchlist. That way I can include my distant relatives and their relatives, not just my direct ancestors (which I assume is what the tree option would give me), but still exclude profiles that I manage, but aren't related to me at all, eg. profiles in my one place study, and my work on the House of Windsor.

by Liander Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (460k points)
Wow Temura Jones put a lot of work into analyzing the GEDCOM export. I agree with all the changes, luckily I wrote my program so that if the middle name is already included then it does not re-duplicate. Privacy has been a non-issue for me because my exports so far are for internal use / analysis only, I can limit the private individuals when re-exporting from wherever I imported, but later on I will want to exclude private individuals for public publishing.

So was the _BIO to NOTE change implemented? Hard to tell from the message.

NSFX in NAME field - Just do whatever is compatible with the most programs. If they have a suffix that gets exported.

One wishlist item - I'd like to export an individual's direct ancestors plus ancestor siblings plus spouses. Now that my tree is connected with so many others due to merges, I'm really only interested in the relevant ancestors plus those whose names and birth years may help in more accurately pinpointing dates and locations. Similar to Lianne's request to pick which profiles get exported, though I am over 4000 now.

There was one other issue I mentioned earlier which didn't seem to make the TODO list: WikiTree always exports the DEAT tag on every record, with no PLAC or DATE info on the next line if that info has not been entered. All of the other import programs interpret this as 'dead', so imports list all of my living relatives as dead. Not sure what would happen with the import if the DEAT tag was removed.

It's been a couple months since I've done an export, I've been trying to clean up a lot of the profiles I manage but haven't quite gotten to a stable place yet. I'll try it again soon.
Hi Bob,

Yup, _BIO was changed to NOTE.

Sorry for missing your suggestion about DEAT. That's very important. Anything that can affect privacy is an urgent priority.

I just changed it so that DEATh tags do not appear if there is no death date and no death location, or there is an e-mail address, or the death date or death location are marked as intentionally blank.


0 votes

I willl split my answer in two parts. One for texts, and one for names. Here's my comment on texts.

First to say, I like most changes to support GEDCOM 5.5.1, including the change from _BIO to NOTE. It would help import in Gramps if it were syntactically correct, but alas it's not.

Where WikiTree writes:

2 TEXT CONT [[Category:Honolulu, Hawaiʻi]]
3 CONT [[Category:Leo]]

Notes should be like this:

1 NOTE This is a note field that is
2 CONT continued on the next line.

There's a similar error here:
2 FORM Message
2 DATE 11 Nov 2012
2 AUTH Lianne Lavoie
2 TEXT CONC To be clear, there isn't actually any evidence that Obama was adopted
3 CONC by his stepfather. I'm leaving the alternate last name Soetoro there o
3 CONC nly because it was used on some school records when he lived in Indone
3 CONC sia. It is not his legal name.

Here it's enough to remove the CONC right after TEXT.
I used the 5.5.1 PDF as a reference here.
by anonymous G2G6 Mach 2 (21.7k points)
Up to now, I didn't realize that the GEDCOM fixer mentioned by Tamura Jones is made by fellow WikiTree member Daniel Bouman. Knowing this opens new possibilities to adapt a couple of things.
0 votes
Where my other answer was about standards, this is more like a personal opinion, on names.

First, I don't see much sense in middle names. The software packages that I use don't support them, which results in middle names all being empty after a GEDCOM upload to the site. I have no time to move all middle names to the proper field on-line, but if middle names are important to you, I suggest that you simply extract them from the GIVN tag.

When my software (Gramps, Ancestral Quest, RootsMagic) reads a GEDCOM exported from this site, any information from the _MIDN tag is lost, and information from the GIVN tag takes precedence over the parts from the NAME tag. The net result is that the middle name, when used, is lost. This would not happen when the GIVN tag is not there, because the software will then use what's in the NAME instead.

For me, married names are quite redundant too, so I don't mind Gramps losing those.

My wishlist for export here: Append the middle name(s) to the GIVN tag, so that they don't get lost. Maybe make this optional.
by anonymous G2G6 Mach 2 (21.7k points)

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