Thursday 28 June 2007

HOW TO BE PUBLISHED IN FAMILIA

On 16 June 2007 Richard Ford, editor of FAMILIA, addressed the West Gauteng Branch of the GSSA on the matter of “How to be Published in Familia, the quarterly journal of the Genealogical Society of South Africa”.

Below follows Richard’s summary.

Background

Familia was launched 43 years ago when the Genealogical Society of SA was founded in August 1964. In all this time it has had only four editors:
  • Cor Pama served in that position for 30 years until 1994;
  • Next was Gideon de Kock of Port Elizabeth who served for two years till 1996;
  • Thys du Preez followed him and held the reins for nine years until 2005;
  • The National Executive Committee appointed me two years ago.
When I took over from Thys du Preez, I drove to Pretoria for a formal hand-over. I asked him three questions – more to show him how clever I was and that I knew what I was doing, than for advice:
  • How many articles did he have on hand after he had published the March 2005 edition? It was a record 56-pager, and he told me that he had printed every word he had received;
  • Second question: how did he generate articles? Simple, he said, one waits for people to send them in and those are published. The size of every edition, thus, depended on what one received from contributors and
  • Lastly I wanted to know how the editorial committee worked. How often did it meet? Did it give him a rough time, and was I supposed to keep the committee on? He suggested that the committee members would probably be relieved if they never heard from me.
Having gleaned all that I could I then I sat through that first March, April and May – waiting for the articles to come streaming in. And that is more or less how it has worked. Until recently, almost every edition followed the same pattern of famine and flood.

Turning to the now: what should you do to have your hard work published in Familia?

The product and readership

One must bear in mind that Familia is the official mouthpiece of the Society. It was created by Cor Pama to serve the members – to give them information to help them in their research and to provide them with the means to display their work to the genealogical community.

For many members Familia is the only visible manifestation of what the Genealogical Society is about. It can be likened to a product sold by any supplier. Customers will keep on buying this product and it will attract more customers, depending on the extent that it satisfies the customer’s expectations and needs.

For this reason the editor must do his job with the understanding that the customer, the reader is the important person, not the writer of the article. This is a judgement call. One man, with the help of his editorial committee, decides what the reader wants and what he or she will find interesting and useful.

If we were to run the Society like any company that believes the customer is king, we would use some basic marketing disciplines to determine the level of customer satisfaction. To find out what improvements to the product would result in a greater level of membership renewals and would attract new customers, we would do a remarkably simple thing. We would ask the customer.

However, in the absence of formal research, I have adopted a different approach. That is to sell the sizzle not the steak. So I focused on appearance and delivery. It seems to have worked – the journals now reach subscribers in the month of publication and this swifter delivery has spurred contributors to speed up their submissions.

Content

Until we do carry out any research, you as the potential contributor to Familia, need to know what the editor wants from you. It’s not difficult. Typically we welcome articles such as:
  • Family trees;
  • Character stories, irrespective of how well known or unknown they are;
  • Historical events and
  • Advice on doing research.
Two things we don’t want are, for example:
  • Character assassinations and
  • Blatant promotion of an interest or a product.
Language and style

In our multicultural society, the question of language is always an interesting one. As a rule we try and give equal prominence to English and Afrikaans. To put a frame around this issue:
  • I have been responsible for the publication of nine editions of the journal;
  • Those nine editions carried a total of 60 articles and
  • 33 Afrikaans and 27 English or, if you like, a split of 55:45 percent in favour of Afrikaans.
Near enough, in my opinion, to prove that this is truly a bilingual publication. For that reason English authors should not feel that they are unwelcome.

Something else that should not frighten off any author is a belief that you can’t write well. As editor, I retain the right to edit your contribution for language and style. By that I mean that I read every article with an imaginary blue pencil in hand. I scratch and delete and fix. Where I can, I check published sources for names and places. When I need the author to do some more work on an article, I send it back with a list of questions and suggestions.

In other words, it is a collaborative process.

To borrow the classic approach from the real estate industry, position, position, position – my final word of advice to you is: submit, submit, submit.

Tuesday 12 June 2007

DIGITALE "SCRAPBOOKING" EN GENEALOGIE

Vir die persoon wat fotogestalte aan sy genealogiese werk wil gee, is digitale "scrap- booking" 'n groot aanwins. Dit sal enige publikasie, veral as dit vir die onmiddellike familie bedoel is, 'n pronkwerk maak.

Tradisionele “scrapbooking” , met al die tierlantyntjies wat bygekoop moet word, kan 'n duur affêre word. Daarenteen kan digitale “scrapbooking” gratis wees, op voorwaarde dat u reeds 'n skandeerder (scanner) het.

Dis boonop maklik.

Die groot voordeel van digitale "scrapbooking is dat dit familiegeskiedenis in beeld kan vaslê. Dit kan op papier of digitaal vasgelê asook deur die internet versprei word.

Gedagtig daaraan dat ons dikwels heelwat tyd bestee om 'n voorouer se besonderhede op te spoor, bied digitale "scrapbooking" eweneens 'n nalentskap wat baie waarde sal hê. Met hedendaagse tegnologie in ons huise sal ons ons nageslag iets waardevol ontsê as ons nie bêre wat ons kan nie. Ons sal selfs verkwalik word.

Daar word nie verniet gesê dat 'n foto 'n duisende woorde vertel nie. Die voorbeeld links bo van Veronica Bosch (nou Fourie) , se gesigte -- van hoërskooldogter tot beroepsvrou -- illustreer dit. 'n Mens kan met een opslag veel van haar karakter te wete kom: 'n vrolike, positiewe, energieke mens, deurgaans goed versorg. Is dit nie juis wat ons graag van mense wil weet nie?

Heelwat mense is van mening dat "scrapbooking" uit allerlei sentimentele goetertjies bestaan en hoofsaaklik vir vroue bedoel is. Dit is allermins die geval as dit digitaal-genealogies reg aangewend word.

Die meeste “scrapbooking”- programme het sogenaamde “embelishments”. Dis daardie krulletjies en draatjies en ekstra prentjies om ‘n bladsy ‘n kunsinslag te gee, soos dié een regs. Self het ek dit nooit gebruik nie. Moenie ‘n fout maak nie, sommiges daarvan is mooi en baie bruikbaar.

In my publikasie-in-wording oor die “Bosch’e van Braamfontein” het ek ‘n bladsy met vier gesigte, soos dié van Veronica (my suster), aan elke persoon oor wie ek skryf, afgestaan. Ek het ‘n bietjie verder as “scrapbooking” gegaan deur sommige foto’s eers met Photoshop mooi te maak en soms te restoureer. Dít kan nogal tydsaam wees, veral met ou en beskadigde foto’s, maar dis 'n ander onderwerp. Nie almal sal dit nodig vind nie.

Hier en daar het ek iets anders gedoen, omdat ek ‘n sekere aspek wou beklemtoon, soos met my oupa en ouma (links). In hul huweliks- kontrak staan onder meer die volgende (sic):

“Fifthly:- The appearer of the first part did declare for and in consideration of the said intended marriage and of the love and affection he bore towards the appearerof the second part, to give and donate to and on behalf of the said appearer of the second part the undermentioned live-stock to be her in future solely an exclusively owned, to wit:-
  • 600 merino ewes, all to be properly marked with a square in the left ear behind.
  • 10 cows, all to be properly branded H on the left hind quarter.
And the appearer of the second part, duly assisted as aforsaid did declare to accept the gifts with gratitude.”

Voorgaande het hom tot illustrasie geleen. Die rame om die foto's is deel van die "scrapbooking". Dít sowel as die foto's, die skrif en die uittreksel uit die huwelikskontrak kan na enige grootte gerek word. Vanselfsprekend moet 'n mens meet en pas, sodat laasgenoemde leesbaar is en sodat daar balans is


Omdat ek nie veel oor allerhande tiertlantyntjies begaan is nie, het ek nie lank na ‘n gratis “scrapbooking”-program gesoek nie. Ek het op Scrapbookflair afgekom. Dit is gratis en by www. scrapbookflair.com aflaaibaar. Dit is redelik maklik om te bemeester. Dis 'n kwessie van 'n bietjie leeswerk en probeer, ek wil amper sê: probeer-en-tref.
  • Die eerste stap in die program is om die grootte van die bladsy te kies. Al my samestellings is "letter size", d.i. 8.5 x 11 duim -- ongeveer A4-grootte. (As 'n mens, ná voltooiing, dit op 'n woorverwerker soos WORD inkopieer, pas dit perfek.)
  • Daarna kan 'n mens voortgaan deur die aanwysings te volg of deur op "Show Standard Templates" te klik. Dit bied verskeie moontlikhede van hoe jou foto's gerangskik kan wees.
  • Volg daarna die eenvoudige aanwysings.
Skrif kan ook in verskeie fonts en groottes ingevoeg word.

Soos 'n mens meer vertroud met die program raak, kan verskeie ander prosesse volg, soos om jou eie agtergronde en ander "add-ons" van elders in te voer.

Hieronder is nog voorbeelde. Nie almal is my voorkeur nie. Dit illustreer nietemin hoe elke persoon genealogies-digitale "scrapbooking" na sy smaak kan doen.




Klik op foto's om dit te vergroot.

Japie Bosch, Johannesburg

Monday 04 June 2007

NÁ 79 JAAR KRY SY HAAR MA SE FOTO ÉN 'N HALFSUSTER

“Kan jy dit glo? Op 79 het ek vanoggend die eerste keer ’n foto van my ma gesien.

Dit was die woorde van die 79-jarige me Felicia Jacobs (gebore Fleischack), toe sy Saterdag, 2 Junie 2007, haar halfsuster vir die eerste keer gesien het, tesame met 'n foto van hul ma.

Dié verhaal hieragter het op 4 Junie 2007 in Beeld verskyn. Die berig illustreer die waarde van die Transvaal Argief in Pretoria (asook dié in ander provinsies) as 'n vertrekpunt met die opspoor van familie.

Links: Me Felicia Jacobs (links) en haar halfsuster, Ruth Milne, met 'n foto van hul ma.

Jacobs se susterskinders het me Ruth Milne (72, gebore Hoyle) verlede Maandag ná ’n lang soektog in Port Elizabeth opgespoor. Familie het die twee halfsusters in Pretoria byeengebring.

Jacobs en haar suster, Alma, het hul ma, Hester Jacoba Hoyle (gebore Liebenberg en voorheen Fleischack), nooit geken nie.

Sy en Alma, wat intussen oorlede is, was onderskeidelik drie jaar en sewe jaar oud toe hul ouers geskei is. Hul pa, Gilbert Fleischack, het toesig en beheer oor die kinders gekry. Hy is kort daarna weer getroud. Dié twee dogters het nooit weer iets van hul ma gehoor nie. Niemand is toegelaat om oor haar te praat nie.

Nadat hulle uit die huis is, het hulle haar vergeefs probeer opspoor, maar hulle het nie eers hul ma se volle name en nooiensvan geken nie. Hulle het ook nie geweet dat hul onbekende ma ná die egskeiding weer getrou het en saam met haar tweede man, Edward Ernest Hoyle, na die dorp Mufulira in Zambië getrek het nie. Ruth en Ernest Hoyle jr. is uit dié huwelik gebore.

In 1942 is Hester (die ma) weens breinvliesontsteking in Zambië oorlede, maar die dogters uit die eerste huwelik het dit nooit geweet nie. Hulle was toe 18 en 14 jaar oud. Die kinders uit die ma se tweede huwelik, Ruth en Ernest, was 7 en 6 jaar oud.

Die twee pare kinders het nie geweet waar een die ander is nie.

Die soektog na familie het begin toe me. Lieschen Bernatz, Alma se dogter wat in Duitsland woon, ’n familieregister wou begin.

Met behulp van ’n betaalde navorser is Gilbert en Hester (die pa en ma) se egskeidingsdokumente in die Transvaalse argief opgespoor.

“Dit was ’n openbaring, want toe het ons geweet wat haar naam was. Haar boedel is ook opgespoor. Ons het tóé eers agtergekom sy het nog twee kinders gehad en dat sy in Zambië oorlede is, het mnr Hein Gehle, Alma se seun, vertel.

Die soektog is op die internet voortgesit. ’n Webtuiste van die Mufulira-klub het ’n doodsberig van Ernest Hoyle gehad. Die begrafnisondernemers in dié berig se adres was op Springs.

“Dit was soos om goud te ontdek,” het Gehle gesê. Deur verdere e-posse en die Mufulira-klub se webtuiste het hulle ’n kontaknommer gekry. Milne se skoonseun is daarna opgespoor. Dieselfde aand het Milne en Jacobs (die twee halfsusters) oor die telefoon vir die eerste keer met mekaar gepraat.

Geredigeerde berig geplaas met die toestemming van BEELD.

INTERESSANTHEDE UIT DIE e-SAGI (3)

DIE VLOEK OOR DIE DE WETS

DEUR LUCAS RINKEN

Daar word vertel dat ‘n reisiger met sy gesin op die plaas Boontjieskraal in die Caledon distrik, by ene Pieter Daniel de Wet, gebore 25 Mei 1861, wat op die plaas geboer het, aangeklop het. Die rivier was vol en die reisiger wou dit nie waag om deur te ry nie. Hy het gevra of hulle daar kon oornag. Om welke rede ookal, het Pieter de Wet geweier. Die reisiger moes noodgedwonge die vol rivier aandurf. Van sy kinders het in die poging verdrink.

Die reisiger het toe ‘n “vloek” oor die De Wets uigespreek, naamlik dat nie een van die manlike erfgename die voorreg sou hê om tot in hul oudag op die plaas te boer nie en voorts dat hulle aan onnatuurlike oorsake sou sterf.
  • Pieter was die eerste “slagoffer” toe hy in sy Model T-Ford, ná ‘n kerkdiens, van ‘n lae brug afgery het en gesterf het.

  • Sy oudste seun, Hendrik Christoffel (genoem Henry), gebore 21 April 1887, was die tweede "slagoffer". Hy het op 5 Desember 1945 op die plaas met ‘n dorsmasjien verongeluk.
  • Laasgenoemde se enigste seun, Pieter Daniel, gebore 6 Oktober 1916 , was derde. Hy het op 29 Junie 1959 gesterf. Hy en sy seun het in ‘n ingevoerde linkerhandstuur Packard, in digte mis op die pad naby Boontjieskraal van agter teen ‘n vragmotor vasry. Dié seun, ook Hendrik Christoffel, gebore 17 Augustus 1945, is sleg in die ongeluk beseer. Hy het sy skouerbeen gebreek. Daarna was hy betrokke by verskeie ander ongelukke.
  • In 1971 was Hendrik Christoffel die vierde een aan die beurt.
    Sy BMW het teen ‘n berg afgerol. Hy is ernstig beseer. Hy het die hele nag hulpeloos gelê voordat iemand hom gevind het. Hy was lank bewusteloos. Hoewel hy herstel het, was hy daarna ‘n invalide. Hy het ‘n bestuurder gekry om sy motor te bestuur. By geleentheid kon hy die versoeking om sy nuwe BMW te bestuur nie weerstaan nie. Op dieselfde pad waar sy vader en oupa gesterf het, het hy op 24 Junie 1972 in ‘n botsing met ‘n ander motor gesterf.
Só het die laaste manlike erfgenaam, ongetroud, gesterf. Sy oudste suster, Doreza Helena Marie de WET, gebore 19 Julie 1947, en getroud met Uwe KERSANT, het die plaas geërf. Dit is blykbaar vandag nog ‘n spogplaas.

Was dit alles toevallig of die gevolge van die “vloek”?

Sunday 03 June 2007

KOMITEEVERGADERING VAN 12 MEI 2007

Die takkomitee het op 12 Mei 2007 in Roodepoort vergader.
John Stephens, die taksekretaris, berig.

Elektroniese Suid-Afrikaanse Genealogiese Indeks (e-SAGI)

Die komitee het sy dank betuig teenoor Lucas Rinken vir sy feitlik heeltydse werk aan dié projek. Richard Ford en Dennis Pretorius is bedank vir hul bydrae om die nuwe CD te skep.

Dié projek was voorheen bekend as die Rinken-De Wet-databasis. Die prys van die CD is van R100 na R120 verhoog, hoofsaaklik vanweë verhoogde produksiekoste.

Die omvang van die werk aan die projek het aansienlik vergroot. ‘n Beroep is op taklede gedoen om hulle vir dringende werk wat afgehandel moet word, beskikbaar te stel. Sodaniges kan Lucas bel by 011/760-3009.

Blog (webtuiste)

Die komitee het sy dank aan Japie Bosch ooregedra vir die skep en instandhouding hiervan. Japie het gemeld dat hy minstens een keer per week nuwe berigte op die blog sal plaas. Taklede is versoek om die blog se adres te bevorder. Dit is by www.westggsa.blogspot.com.

Lede is altyd baie welkom om bydraes te lewer en voorstelle te maak. Dit kan gestuur word aan: jrjbosch@telkomsa.net. Daar moet onthou word dat die Genootskap en veral die tak vir alle vlakke van genealoë voorsiening maak. Daarom hoef bydraes nie noodwendig lang artikels te wees nie. Enige betekenisvolle bydraes is welkom. Dit is 'n geleentheid vir taklede om mekaar te ondersteun -- een van die hoofdoelwitte van die tak.

Lede kan berigte wat hulle op papier wil hê, "copy" en "paste" in hul woordverwerker, soos WORD. Selfs die hele blog kan so gedruk word.

Die nuusbrief sal voorlopig nog per e-pos gestuur word. Dit sal uiteraard die berigte van die blog, met enkele wysigings, bevat. Die komitee sal weer hieroor besin.

100 Familie-webtuistes

Lucas Rinken het gemeld dat hy reeds meer as 100 familie-webtuistes se adresse op voorgaande ingevoer het. Dit kan gesien word by die GGSA se webtuiste.

Opleidingskursusse

Die tak het op 3 Februarie vanjaar ‘n opleidingkursus van drie ure lank vir beginners in Roodepoort aangebied. Dit was eweneens baie geslaagd. Sowat 25 mense het dit bygewoon.

Daar sal aanstaande jaar weer een gehou word. Daar is besluit om dit aan die Oos-Rand aan te bied, omdat die tak sowat 35 lede daar het.

Interssantshalwe: die koste was toe R50 per lid (R90 saam met 'n gade) en R75 vir nie-lede (R135 saam met 'n gade). Dit het 'n handleiding en verversings ingesluit. Die program het onder meer lesings ingesluit oor: werskwyses, ongepubliseerde bronne, internet bronne, amptelike bronne, wetenswaardighede en 'n aanbieding oor eie familiegeskiedenis. 'n Ware winskoop!

Iets om voor op die uitkyk te wees aanstaande jaar.

Finansies

Dennis Pretorius, voormalige tesourier, het die geldsake amptelik aan Kriek Fourie, die nuwe tesourier, oorhandig.

Ongelukkig is daar 'n klompie lede wat nog nie hul jaargeld betaal het nie. Kriek sal dit opvolg.

Biblioteek

Louise Dick, die bibliotekaresse, het tot nou die tak se biblioteek in haar huis gehuisves. Sy het verhuis en ‘n nuwe biblioteektuiste moet gevind word.

‘n Lys van boeke sal eersdaags op die blog verskyn.

Vraelys

‘n Vraelys is vroeër na lede gestuur waarin hulle hul voorkeure moes aandui met die oog op vergaderings/-aktiwiteite elke derde Saterdag van die maand. Lede se voorkeure (in volgorde) was soos volg:

1, British research (Reeds aangebied)
2. Transvaalse argief in Pretoria: (Ongelukkig is dit meer op Saterdae oop nie)
3. “Online Databases” (Reeds aangebied)
4. Besoek aan die Oorlogmuseum (Reeds plaasgevind)
5. ‘n Toer na Cullinan (Word ondersoek)
6. Begraafplaasoptekening. (Ferndale reeds opgeteken)
7. Begraafplaas-aantekening (Begraafplase: waar geleë)
8. Besoek aan die Vaaldriehoektak
9. Duitse Setlaars
10. 1820-Setlaars
11. Berlin Missionaries
12. De Wet-boek-skrywer

Skenking

Barbara Bouwer is bedank vir die skenking van breekware en eetgerei aan die tak vir gebruik met die bediening van verversings ná takvergaderings.

Saturday 02 June 2007

BESOEK AAN DIE SUID-AFRIKAANSE NASIONALE MUSEUM VAN MILITÊRE GESKIEDENIS

Die tak het op 21 April 2007 bogenoemde in Saxonwold, Johannesburg besoek. Die museum is in die Johannesburgse dieretuin geleë. Mnr. Hamish Paterson (links) het die 18 teenwoordiges op ‘n interessante toer geneem. Hy het onder meer getoon hoe sekere kentekens moontlik kan help met die bepaling van datums van gebeurtenisse.

Baie van die lede het na agterna hul begeerte uitgespreek om die museum weer persoonlik te besoek en noukeuriger deur die museum te gaan. -- John Stephens

Friday 01 June 2007

GOOGLE ALERTS; GOOGLE IMAGES; WIKIPEDIA AND GEDCOM

GOOGLE ALERTS

Google Alerts is a very handy, easy- to- use, tool if you want the latest articles/news/developments about a subject on the internet and be automatically notified about them regularly via e-mail.

• Go to www.google.com.
• Under the “e” of “Google” you will notice the word “more”. If you click on that, it will take you to a another screen.
• Under “Search” the first choice is “Alerts”.
• Go there.

An alternative method is to go to www.google.com and search for Google Alerts. This will get you to: http://www.google.com/alerts. Go there.

Here you can key in a topic of your choice, such as: Genealogy; Ancestry; Family Search; Family Tree, Rugby, Cricket, Bridge, Photography, Cooking, UFO's, Gardening, Chess -- whatever you wish.

Complete the rest and await an e-mail to confirm that it was you who requested the alert. Hereafter you will receive e-mails of the latest on the web concerning that subject.

GOOGLE IMAGES

People, genealogists included, are often looking for a photograph or an image to illustrate something.
• Go to www.google.com.
• Under the “G” of “Google” you will notice the word Images. Click on it.
• Enter the name of the person whose photograph you require, a building name or whatever you need. If it is on the web, it will be displayed.

Recently, a friend was looking for a picture or sketch of a hartbeeshuisie. It was found within seconds.

To make your search more accurate, key your request between quotation marks. Try your own name!

WIKIPEDIA

This is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers; its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet. Wikipedia's name is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia. Its primary servers are in Tampa, Florida, with additional servers in Amsterdam and Seoul.

Wikipedia's English edition was launched on January 15, 2001. The project is currently operated by the Wikimedia Foundation, a non-profit organisation created by Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia. Wikipedia has approximately 7.2 million articles in 251 languages ,1.7 million of which are in the English edition. You will even find Afrikaans articles. It has steadily risen in popularity since its inception and currently ranks among the top fifteen most-visited websites worldwide.

Due to its open nature, critics have questioned Wikipedia's reliability and accuracy. The site has also been criticized for its susceptibility to vandalism, uneven quality, systemic bias and inconsistencies, and for favoring consensus over credentials in its editorial process. Wikipedia's content policies and sub-projects set up by contributors seek to address these concerns. Two scholarly studies have concluded that vandalism is generally short-lived and that Wikipedia is roughly as accurate as other encyclopedias. (Source: Wikipedia)

GEDCOM AND HOW TO USE IT

One of the biggest advantages to using the Internet for genealogy research, is the ability it provides to exchange information with other researchers. One of the most common methods used for this information exchange is the GEDCOM, an acronym for GEnealogical Data COMmunication. In simple terms it is a method of formatting your family tree data into a text file which can be easily read and converted by any genealogy software program.

GEDCOM was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as an aid in their extensive genealogical research. A GEDCOM file is plain text containing genealogical information about individuals, and data linking these records together.

Most genealogy software supports importing from and/or exporting to GEDCOM format.The GEDCOM specification was originally developed in 1985 and is owned and managed by the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

A GEDCOM specification uses a set of TAGS to describe the information in your family file, such as INDI for individual, FAM for family, BIRT for birth and DATE for a date. Many beginners make the mistake of trying to open and read the file with a word processor. Theoretically, this can be done, but it is a very tedious task. GEDCOMS are best suited for opening with a family tree software program or a special GEDCOM. Otherwise, they basically just look like a bunch of gibberish.

Anatomy of a GEDCOM File (for the more technical)

If you have ever opened a GEDCOM file using your word processor, you have probably been faced with a seeming jumble of numbers, abbreviations, and bits and pieces of data. There are no blank lines and no indentations in a GEDCOM file. That's because it is a specification for exchanging information from one computer to another, and was never really intended to be read as a text file.

GEDCOMS basically take your family information and put it in an outline format. Records in a GEDCOM file are arranged in groups of lines that hold information about one individual (INDI) or one family (FAM) and each line in an individual record has a level number. The first line of every record is numbered zero (0) to show that it is the beginning of a new record. Within that record, different level numbers are subdivisions of the next level above it. For example, the birth of an individual may be given level number one (1) and further information about the birth (date, place, etc.) would be given level two (2).

After the level number, you will see a descriptive tag, which refers to the type of data contained in that line. Most tags are obvious: BIRT for birth and PLAC for place, but some are a little more obscure, such as BARM for Bar Mitzvah.

A simple example of GEDCOM records (Explanations are in blue):

0 @I2@ INDI <- The level 0 means this is a new record. The INDI tag means the record is for an individual.
1 NAME Charles Phillip /Ingalls/ <-name of individual
1 SEX M <- level 1 info denotes data about the individual in level 0, Charles Ingalls
1 BIRT
2 DATE 10 JAN 1836 <- this is level 2, because it refers to the birth in level 1 above
2 PLAC Cuba, Allegheny, NY
1 DEAT
2 DATE 08 JUN 1902
2 PLAC De Smet, Kingsbury, Dakota Territory
1 FAMC @F2@
1 FAMS @F3@
0 @I3@ INDI <-A new record (level 0) for a new individual
1 NAME Caroline Lake /Quiner/
1 SEX F
1 BIRT
2 DATE 12 DEC 1839
2 PLAC Milwaukee Co., WI
1 DEAT
2 DATE 20 APR 1923
2 PLAC De Smet, Kingsbury, Dakota Territory
1 FAMC @F21@ <-FAMC indicates the FAM record where this person appears as a Child
1 FAMS @F3@
<-FAMS indicates the FAM record where this person appears as a Spouse

As you can see, a GEDCOM is basically a connected database of records with pointers which keep all of the relationships straight. While you should now be able to decipher a GEDCOM with a text editor, you will still find it much easier to read with the appropriate software. (Source: Wikipedia)

MONTHLY MEETING: 16 JUNE 2007

Date: 16 June 2007;

Venue: LDS Church, Philips Avenue, Discovery, Roodepoort,
(Scroll down for map).

Commencement time: 14:00.

Topic: How to be published in Familia

Speaker: Richard Y Ford,
editor of the Society’s quarterly journal, Familia.


Having been responsible for the publication of nine editions of the journal over the past two years, he maintains he is qualified to give advice to aspirant authors. And to explain to them what the editor looks for in deciding whether contributions are worthy for the Society’s journal. In his presentation he will touch on readership, contents, language and style.

Shortened CV

Richard was appointed editor of Familia in March 2005 when he was co-opted onto the National Executive Council of the Genealogical Society of SA at its annual general meeting held in Cape Town. He joined the Society in 2002 as a member of the West Gauteng branch where he also served as chairman for two years: 2004 and 2005. At the insistence of the branch management committee, he launched the alternate-monthly newsletter, West Gauteng News in 2004.

Now in semiretirement, Richard spent his working life in the United and Perm building societies, J Walter Thompson advertising agency, Systems Publishers and the Foundation for African Business and Consumer Services. He is the company secretary for the New Seasons group of companies, and is a media analyst at Ingeniso Business Intelligence in Ferndale, Randburg

Fee: R5,00 per person for refreshments.

Click on Map to enlarge. (Map: Mail and Guardian)

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