The variety of our genealogical information is structured by the GEDCOM Standard into the following entity types:
Each entity type has defined properties, e.g. a name. Between the entities there are relationships, e.g. 'is son'.
Each entity, e.g. a person, is represented by and described in a record. The properties and relationships of the entity are recorded in fields within the record, called tags. We can add notes, pointers to notes, sources and multimedia objects to most of the properties and relationships.
The tags can be seen in the GEDCOM mode of the Edit View.
How much and how detailed information we will compile depends on the scientific quality of our work we want to achieve.
In any case the following principles should apply:
- Every information piece collected should be recorded in the file.
- Our documentation should easily allow us or other genealogists or, maybe, our successors, to continue the research even after years.
GEDCOM allows very complex structures: records of persons linked with multimedia records that are linked in turn with source records that are linked in turn with notes; properties of properties of properties a.s.o.
Almost no genealogy program is able to process all possible structures and properties allowed by the standard. Therefore it might be wise to save those information in notes that are not likely to be interpreted automatically by a program, e.g. for statistics or sorting.
Often the standard leaves open whether we store information as embedded (aka inline) property or in an own data record, e.g. for notes, multimedia objects, and repositories; for sources it recommends deliberately data records.
What should we consider?
- The creation, editing, and presentation of information in records and properties differs in the various genealogical programs and may be easier or more cumbersome.
- Information in a property cannot be referenced from other records. Other records can only point to records.
- Data records should principally contain all the information about the object, e.g. a source, as a whole. Information specific for a reference, e.g. a multimedia link, a source citation, is stored with the reference. Typical example: the page number.
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