The Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO) is an international organisation established for the purpose of developing and recommending information standards for genealogy and family history purposes. It exists to bring together genealogy companies of all sizes, as well as professional genealogists and hobbyists, to collaborate on standards that will benefit the work of genealogists around the world.

The standards development process was initiated March 22, 2013, with an historic Open Call for Papers.

Drew Smith, Chair of FHISO, sums it up this way: “The mechanical, electrical, and digital products and services that we use every day function as well as they do because international standards organizations were formed in the early 20th century, and the standards they created were adopted by all successful manufacturers and service providers. FHISO was created to do the same thing for the information-based products and services of the genealogical community. When both companies and consumers join us in the work that we exist to do, they make it easier for all genealogists to create, transform, and share information without the risk of unintended change or loss.”

FHISO Board Meeting 5 June 2018

FHISO : June 7, 2018 9:36 am : Announcements

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 5 June 2018 at 18:05 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, technical work, and outreach.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-06-05

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FHISO Board Meeting 24 April 2018

FHISO : June 5, 2018 3:30 pm : Announcements

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 24 April 2018 at 18:00 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, technical work, and outreach.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-04-24/

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FHISO Board Meeting 13 March 2018

FHISO : March 19, 2018 8:10 pm : Announcements

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 13 March 2018 at 18:00 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, technical work, outreach, and bylaws.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-03-13/

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New Draft Standards Released

ACProctor : March 16, 2018 5:27 pm : Announcements
The Technical Standing Committee is happy to announce that several drafts have reached the point of public draft release.
Since our last public releases in September 2016, we have been working to resolve issues identified in the last set of drafts and provide a firm foundation for additional future extensions.  This release primarily provides a foundation layer on which future public-facing standards can be built.
Work continues on a full Citation Elements Vocabulary, on the Extended Legacy Format (ELF, a document model and file format we hope will be fully compatible with current uses of GEDCOM 5.5.1 but more readily extended, as discussed in the “Progress on ELF” thread last October), and bindings for Citation Elements in both ELF and GEDCOM-X.  However, in working on these it became clear that a variety of additional foundational mechanisms were needed, which foundations are presented in the current set of drafts.  While this material is not exciting, we are excited by the position these drafts put us in to be able to make more coherent progress on other, more inherently exciting standards.
The following drafts have reached the point where we would like broader comments, similar to the comments solicited for previous drafts of “Citation Elements: General Concepts” and “Citation Elements: Bindings for RDFa” that we circulated last June and September and “A microformat for creator’s names” we circulated in April 2016.  The three new and two updated drafts are:
This is the first draft of a new standard which defines various low-level concepts, including those relating to our use of strings and IRIs.  It also defines the abstract foundations of our data model. This is content which will be used in many FHISO standards and so does not logically belong in any one particular higher-level standard.
Another first draft.  This defines a simple, general-purpose discovery mechanism which provides a means for internet-connected applications to access information on any unfamiliar third-party extensions which they may encounter.
Another first draft.  This defines a dialect of regular expressions that is readily handled by many different regular expression engines, suitable for use in discovery and basic datatype validation.
The third draft of a standard defining the general concepts used in FHISO’s suite of Citation Elements standards, and the basic framework and data model underpinning them.  Some material from the second draft has been moved to Basic Concepts where it can be reused, and the definitions of many components have been tightened up significantly so they can be used with discovery; however, this draft does not include any major changes to the data model.
Another third draft.  This standard defines a means by which citation elements may be identified and tagged using RDFa attributes within formatted citations written in HTML or XML, allowing an application to recover them in a systematic manner.  This draft includes no major changes other than the addition of a new overview to processing RDFa.
We welcome any and all comments on our current drafts on the tsc-public mailing list, and as always invite anyone who would like to be more directly involved in writing and revising documents to let the TSC know.
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BetterGEDCOM Archive

ACProctor : February 4, 2018 1:02 pm : Announcements

FHISO has managed to resurrect an archive copy of the BetterGEDCOM wiki — the precursor of FHISO — under their domain name. The pages are based on a WikiSpaces export made after WikiSpaces locked the site in 2016, and because of this it lacks style information and does not include dynamic pages (such as “Recent Changes”) that WikiSpaces had been providing.

The archive may be found at:


That link goes to an index page we added as part of the archiving process; the original home page may be found at:


Note that there isn’t (yet) a ‘search’ function and so it’s currently more browse- than search-able, but it acknowledges the huge effort and deep insights contributed by so many people on multiple topics, many of which FHISO has yet to revisit.

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