Anyone see this project? Rosetta

+10 votes

Not a question. I came across an interesting tool that may solve some of the little issues with GEDCOM. Here's the link:

"The goal of Rosetta is to provide support for users of popular genealogy programs to freely and easily move their data from one supported application to another."

asked in WikiTree Tech by Billy Dunn G2G6 (6.4k points)
Thank you for sharing this!  If it works as intended, it may help me with some programs I've had difficulties with in the past couple of years.  Now I have to go check it out more closely.  


Exactly what issues with GEDCOM files are you referring to?

If you are referring to how GEDCOM files are uploaded and then imported into WikiTree one name at a time, this is not a problem but a decision by WikiTree on how GEDCOM files are transferred to the database.  It is a control to insure that names entered from GEDCOM files are not duplicates of existing WikiTree Profiles.  Please remember the WIkiTree database is One Name, One Profile.  Other systems/sites permit you to have duplicates. On Ancestry I must have 6 separate trees with just my maternal grandfather in them alone.  Can't have that on WikiTree.  On Ancestry, those trees are separate, on WIkiTree theoretically everyone is connected and part of the One Global Tree.

If you're having issues with transferring a GEDCOM file to WIkiTree, this page may give you some background and help.  Some tips, hints and specific WikiTree Help Pages.

GEDCOM FIle Usage Primer

From the project page:

Isn't that what GEDCOM is for?

Sort of. According to Wikipedia, gedcom is an open de facto specification for exchanging genealogical data between different genealogy software. GEDCOM was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as an aid to genealogical research.

The problems with GEDCOM are:

  • It is controlled by one group - the LDS Church. Nothing against them, or their support of GEDCOM, but it is "their" standard and not able to be extended/adapted by others, at least not easily
  • GEDCOM was developed in 1984 and last updated in 1996. Things in the technology and genealogy worlds have changed since then, but GEDCOM has not.
  • The standard itself is extremely dense and academic. Writing a fully GEDCOM-compliant parser is difficult. No two software products currently on the market read/write GEDCOM exactly the same way, and trying to import a GEDCOM file exported from one program into another program will result in lost data, often without advance warning.
  • The GEDCOM specification defines a minimum set of attributes. It does not support all of the data and features added to popular genealogy programs.
  • Various attempts to update GEDCOM (primarily v6, and GEDCOMX) suffer from most of these same problems.
  • GEDCOM is based on old EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) schemas.

1 Answer

+2 votes

While I agree with the basics of your reply taken from the Rosetta page, that the GEDCOM concept is old, Rosetta is a hub and spoke system of standardizing data transference across a shared system where the databases of said system are of different platforms, ex: DB2, SQL variants, Oracle, et al.  It is a centralized  means of incorporating various databases into one cohesive whole.

From Rosetta:

Rosetta is designed as a hub-and-spoke model where a common, open/extensible storage format forms the hub, and pluggable connectors to each supported application act as the spoke. Each application-specific plugin is tasked with handling the work necessary to Import and Export directly to the databases involved. My italics.

If Rosetta can get the pay for use sites, Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, etc and the free sites or almost free, Geni, WIkiTree, Family Search, etc, to permit a plug-in application to have direct and unencumbered access to their proprietary databases, good luck to them.

A GEDCOM file is exactly that, a file.  It is not a separate database.  It is a means of transferring data from one site/program to another in a standardized format.  Is it perfect, no.  Does it work, mostly yes.  Does a new standard  need to be created as the computing world progresses, yes.  Is the Rosetta standard it, not at this time.  A nice dream, but given the legal constraints of the ownership of the various genealogy databases in this day and age, no.

To paraphrase Lincoln, you can't be all things to all people at all times.

answered by LJ Russell G2G6 Mach 6 (66.8k points)
"A GEDCOM file is exactly that, a file.  It is not a separate database."

This is true, of course, but there are nevertheless programs out there that offer a GEDCOM look and feel, and therefore appear to the user as if using GEDCOM as their database.

Direct editing of INDI records is supported by LifeLInes, PHPGedView, WebTrees etc.

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