Monday, March 30, 2009

Sharing gedcoms with sources

I have been over at Eastman's Newsletter reading his article about cloud computing. I am amazed at the comments that have been posted about the unreliable nature of all those gedcoms that are on the internet. There are many sites where the gedcoms are compared with each other and thereby it becomes possible to sort out the differences.
The problem arises when people copy their cousins gedcom and this is done numerous times and people assume that it is correct. They are not actively building there genealogy nor consider putting sources with the facts in there gedcom. Furthermore, they cannot be contacted. Even if they could be contacted they in all likelihood could not fathom what all the fuss is about. A smaller crowd is focused on having a reliable genealogy with source citations. Another crowd are the professionals who want all the T's crossed and the i's doted. Now with some of these sites you can link documents to people and events in your gedcom thereby documenting your research as you go. In the past I could not change someone else's gedcom; now the technology is allowing people with permission to edit a gedcom other than there own. They can add new names or edit existing data. Cloud computing for genealogy is about a collaborative effort to build a family tree using all the internet resources available. I put my gedcom on various websites without any source citation. This appears to be the norm. I think that the commercial websites need to go further to accommodate citing sources and make it less confusing to the average Joe. On my php site where I have more control I have source citations but am not happy with the capability of the php software to handle sources. I would assume that as time passes this capability will improve. The advantages of the php software far outweigh the negatives so I use it. By having my gedcom out in the cloud I can find and be found by relatives 24 hours a day.

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