Web Publishing for Genealogy

Genealogical Tools

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GEDCOM Conversion Tools

Using a GEDCOM converter is in some ways the easiest solution, since it does not matter which genealogical package you use, as long as it has a GEDCOM export facility.

Although you can edit pages after they have been through a converter, converters tend to produce a large number of fairly small pages, with many links between them. It is better to control the content by selecting the information to be included in the GEDCOM file and configuring the converter beforehand, as subsequent editing could be a major task.

There is a wide range of GEDCOM converters. The first and probably best known is Gene Stark's GED2HTML, which is available as shareware for Windows, Mac and UNIX systems. This program takes a GEDCOM file and turns it into a group of Web pages containing:

  • a set of pages with an entry for each individual, with notes, and with links to spouses, children, ancestors, and source references
  • an index of individuals, with links to the relevant entries for individuals;
  • an index of surnames, with links to the index of individuals;
  • a page containing the details of sources referred to;
  • a text file containing details of all included individuals, in the format required by the GENDEX project.

As you can see from Fig. 5, the ancestors are arranged in a tree format, and all individuals mentioned have links to their own pages. Source references (in square brackets) link to a sources page.

A Family Group Sheet from GED2HTML

There is a range of options to control various aspects of the pages created by ged2html. For example, you can specify how many generations of ancestors are to be included on each individual's entry, which can make a big difference to the amount of Web space needed for the pages.

While GED2HTML may be the best known, there are several alternatives with a range of different types of output. These programs also vary in whether:

  • notes and sources are or can be included
  • information on living individuals can be removed
  • a GENDEX file is produced
  • christening and burial information is or can be included
  • the pages created can be customised during the generation process
  • the number of individuals or family groups on each Web page can be modified

For christening and burial information, it should be noted that these details even when included in family group reports are often not included in the lists of individuals which act as an index to the pages.

Several of these programs are freeware, while the remainder are shareware with registration fees mostly of $20 or under. With the exception of HTMLgenie, the unregistered version of which only works with its own sample data, all of these can be evaluated with your own GEDCOM before registration.

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3. Genealogical Tools