Annual Report to Members for 2020 and 2021

Near the end of 2019, FHISO’s interactions with FamilySearch on the Extended Legacy Format (ELF) project and its relationship to GEDCOM led to what became the FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0 project. Gordon Clark (of FamilySearch) and Luther Tychonievich (of FHISO) were the two initial members of that project; additional FHISO members and others soon joined the project, which proceeded actively (though with limited publicity at FamilySearch’s request) throughout 2020 and into 2021. The resulting specification was released in May 2021 and included many (though not all) of the innovations suggested by FHISO members. Notably, it includes a version of the extensibility features that was the original motivation for FIHSO’s work on ELF. Following the release of FamilySearch GEDCOM 7 the FHISO board, in consultation with FHISO membership at our annual general meeting, decided to halt work on ELF and refocus on citations.

One missing component of FamilySearch GEDCOM 7.0 when it was released was a media type by which files could be defined. FHISO asked the GEDCOM steering committee to register a media type, but they were initially resistant to the idea. FHISO began drafting a media type registration of our own and showed it to the GEDCOM team; they agreed it was of value and filed one themselves, obtaining the media type text/vnd.familysearch.gedcom.

As 2021 ended, FHISO’s technical team conducted a survey of existing approaches to citations, resulting in a whitepaper outlining several expectations people have of citations and several high-level designs citation data can take. We look forward to making additional progress on citations and continuing our work in refining GEDCOM in 2022.