[TSC-public] Progress on ELF / user defined tags

Albert Emmerich Emmerich.Albert at t-online.de
Sat Oct 28 13:47:50 CDT 2017

1. I do not know any program which cannot handle GEDCOM files with 
"unknown" tags. The most common reactions are to ignore, to wrap in 
NOTE, and/or to create a problem list for the import.

2. I will discuss this with the Gedom-L group. I think we will propose 
to add some more tags to this group.

I agree to your point with _UID. The Gedcom-L group has different 
solutions within the group, and we have not agreed for a common solution 
how to handle this. However most programs of the group use _UID.

3. ok.

4. We had a discussion in our group about how to handle _MARN, however I 
do not know how often it is used. I do know about _MREL and _FREL in 
Family Tree Maker declaring the relationship of a child to its parents, 
which makes a lot of headaches as the program Family Tree Maker does not 
import correctly GEDCOM standard files using PEDI, however every 
relation is put to _MREL natural, _FREL natural, which often is the 
wrong information. Every FTM file has theses tags in FAM records; and 
the information should be formed by PEDI in the INDI record of the child.


Am 28.10.2017 um 18:15 schrieb Richard Smith:
> On 28/10/17 07:32, Albert Emmerich wrote:
>> In Gedcom-L we had four groups of "wild" tags:
>> 1. tags without underscore as first character, not defined in GEDCOM
>> standard, by that violating the standard. At import we recommend to
>> replace these tags with other tags. We recommend not to export these
>> tags.
> Are you aware of any applications that fail to import GEDCOM files 
> containing such tags?  We're currently planning to add several new 
> tags without underscores to ELF, and so far as we're aware current 
> applications will just ignore such tags, or perhaps preserve wrapped 
> in a NOTE field.  If that assumption is wrong, we may need to rethink 
> this.
>> 2. tags with underscore as first character, user defined, because
>> this tag is not defined in GEDCOM standard, however is needed. Some
>> of these tags we recommended to use, and they are used very often (as
>> _RUFNAME, _GODP, _WITN, _GOV, _LOC, _UID): de facto standard. These
>> tags should be shown as standard elements in ELF.
> Would you be willing to produce a list of tags that you think belong 
> in this category?  Or do you think it's just these six?  It would also 
> be helpful to know to what extent these have multiple independent and
> mutually compatible implementations.  We haven't definitely decided 
> that's a criterion for inclusion in ELF, but I think knowing that 
> would help.
> I have some concerns about standardising _UID, due to the way it has 
> been used somewhat incompatibly by various providers, e.g. as 
> documented by Tamura Jones, here:
>   https://www.tamurajones.net/The_UIDTag.xhtml
> I'm not saying that means we can't include it in ELF, but we will need 
> to take care how we do it.
>> 3. tags with underscore as first character, defined in GEDCOM
>> standard without underscore, however not allowed under another tag
>> where we needed it. Example _POST: We use
>>     2 PLAC <name of place>
>>     3 _POST <postal code>
>> If GEDCOM standard would allow we had (and I think that to be the
>> better version for ELF):
>>     2 PLAC <name of place>
>>     3 POST <postal code>
>> with POST as defined in GEDCOM standard. Other example is _ASSO /
>> ASSO in FAM records / under event tags.
> I agree.  If any of these uses are to be included in ELF, I'd rather 
> it was with the natural spelling (i.e. without an underscore).
>> 4. tags with underscore, user defined, however the same content can
>> be  described with structures and tags of GEDCOM standard. We 
>> recommend not
>> to use these tags. Example: _MARN or _MARNM for the name after marriage.
>> The multiple name structure in GEDCOM standard allows to show this name
>> without any user defined tag.
> Have any of these have been widely used?  I can't immediately think of 
> any that have.
>> As user defined tags may be defined in any way according to GEDCOM
>> standard, and by this may be program specific, we recommend to explain
>> the user defined tags in the HEAD record. This recommendation is 
>> found in
>> http://wiki-en.genealogy.net/GEDCOM/_UserDef-Tag#N5_Description_of_User-defined_Tags
>> I think ELF will replace this definition by a more general one...
> Interestingly, we were discussing this only two days ago.  Our current 
> feeling is that there should be something like this, and that it may 
> well use SCHEMA tag form GEDCOM 5.3 but it will certainly go beyond 
> the facilities that facilities of the GEDCOM 5.3 SCHEMA tag.
> We haven't really discussed how much we care about about compatibility 
> with the GEDCOM 5.3 SCHEMA tag syntax.  How many applications actually 
> read it?

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