You can get a pretty good handle on GEDCOM by reading Wikipedia and looking
at a small (5-10 people) GEDCOM file.

This page has a simple example:

Each line is (usually) a tag, and each line starts with a number. The
number indicates how deeply nested it is. So if you reach a line starting
with a 0 or a number lower than the current line's number you're on a new

Fortunately I didn't have to implement a GEDCOM parser or writer. Gramps
exports GEDCOM files, and someone had already implemented a GEDCOM parser
in PHP (

For completeness, here's the GEDCOM spec:

Michael Moore

On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 10:02 AM, Mike Miller <mbmiller+l at> wrote:

> That sounds really cool and I wish I had more time right not to check it
> out.  I'll have to study the GEDCOM format and concepts.  Do you now a good
> source for info?  It looks like Wikipedia has some good stuff.
> Mike
> On Thu, 5 Sep 2013, Michael Moore wrote:
>  I'm not sure if there are any genealogists on here, but I'd like to toot
>> my
>> own horn for a moment.
>> Over the summer I wrote TreeTrumpet, some Open Source genealogy software.
>> TL:DR: Demo -- , Code --
>> TreeTrumpet is meant to be extremely simple to use and search-engine
>> friendly. There's no database setup and no required config files.
>> To install it you simply upload the code and upload a GEDCOM* file. The
>> site parses the GEDCOM file to create the pages as they're requested.
>> It features a pedigree-tree view, a map of where ancestors lived, a
>> sortable/filterable table of the ancestors and individual pages for each
>> ancestor and family. There's also a contact form, a link to download the
>> GEDCOM file. The site generates a sitemap.xml file and pings Google and
>> Bing when the GEDCOM file is updated.
>> Anyways, if anyone is interested, check it out. I'm open to suggestions,
>> criticisms, complaints, bug reports, bug fixes, etc.
>> Thanks!
>> Michael Moore
>> * GEDCOM is a text-based genealogy database format. It's something like
>> CSV. Like CSV it's not the best format to store most data, but it is the
>> lowest common denominator and almost any genealogy program can export a
>> GEDCOM file.
>>  ______________________________**_________________
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