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Updated : 21/9/2014

Family Tree- Creating the database


Having sourced a GEDCOM based file of a family tree the next step is to translate it into a database format. Which database to use is entirely up to the user and depends on how you intend to use it. In my case I generally access a database via web based applications and have used SQLServer, MySQL, SQLite and MS-Access. For proof of concept purposes I elected to start with MS Access. There are several progammes available to convert GEDCOM format files to a database or spreadsheet format. One of the easiest to use is the free GEDxlate This programme quickly and easily translates genealogy data from standard GEDCOM format into MS Access dB (*.mdb), MS Excel Worksheet (*.xls), comma delimited (*.csv), and text file (*.txt) formats. Pick a GEDCOM file to translate; select which fields you want to include in your dB, spreadsheet, csv, or txt file; choose an output format and file name to save the translated data in; and you're there!

Unfortunately GEDxlate only converts the basic information for individuals and families. What I needed was a method that would also translate all of the available GEDCOM tags.

Aother programme that converts GEDCOM files is Oxy-Gen. This programme converts GED files to a varity of format and will also generate HTML files for incorporation into your web site to view the data. There are numerous configuration options so make sure you read the manual carefully. [ Note that if producing a CSV output the delimiter used is a semi-colon (;) and not a comma (,)].
Whilst this programme fulfilled many of my objectives it is limited to a fixed database-schema and does not allow viewers of the data using the web pages to to either correct or upload data.

Microsoft provide a Genealogy database Template that will import a GED file and create an Access database. In common with GEDxlate the database only processes limited GED tags but fortunately the VBA code to parse the GED is provided and so with a little tweaking you can process whatever GED tags you require.

Because this web already uses an access database all of the data uploading and updating routines already exist and so I created the required tables and incorporated a modified version of the Microsoft VBA into a web page to upload the GED data into the existing database.

So step 2 was now complete. Step 3 and final step was to develop the web pages, to view the data in a user friendly format, and to verify any user input prior to insertion into the database

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