Modern Software Experience


n. The 1 MB GEDCOM is a GEDCOM file of close to 1MB. I often use this file to get a first impression of GEDCOM import speed.
n. The 100k INDI GEDCOM is a GEDCOM file with just a few more than 100.000 individuals in it. It is great test of genealogy software performance. Well-designed programs import the file in a few minutes, lesser programs take hours to import it, run out of memory or crash.
Note that it is 100k, with a lowercase k for kilo meaning thousand, not 100K with an uppercase K meaning 1024.
abbreviated tags
n. “abbreviated tags” is a nonsensical and deliberately misleading term used by the makers of Family Tree Maker (FTM). GEDCOM tags are quite short, most are just four characters longs, and they are never abbreviated. Every FTM reference to abbreviated tags should be read as normal GEDCOM tags!
See also long tags.
ahnen numbering
n. Partly German. Literally ancestors numbering; a popular numbering scheme for numbering all ancestors, known and unknown ones.
It is known by several other names, including ahnentafel numbering, but it mostly used with ahnenlists. See Ahnen Numbering for a detailed discussion with examples.
ahnen sequence
n. Partly German. Literally ancestors sequence; the sequence in ahnen numbering numbers ancestors. Example usage: An ahnenlist lists ancestors in ahnen sequence. See also ahnen numbering.
Ahnenblatt Anorexic
Ahnenblatt Anorexic is how the It’s Our Tree Home Edition 1.0 (IOTHE 1.0) review summed up the product:

I'd love to say that IOTHE is a Light edition of Ahnenblatt, but it is a half-destroyed Ahnenblatt. It's Our Tree Home Edition is not Ahnenblatt Lite but Ahnenblatt Anorexic. It is Ahnenblatt without a native database format. Its muscles have been ripped out, and it is left gasping for CPU cycles, to try and move its bones with nothing but skin and tendons.

n. German, literally ancestors list; a list of known ancestors presented in a particular sequence. See Ahnenlist for a detailed explanation of ahnenlist and an example. Most ahnenlist use ahnen numbering. Many authors and lots of software erroneously refer to an ahnenlist as an ahnentafel.
ahnentafel numbering
n. Partly German. Older, apparently confusing and therefore deprecated synonym for ahnen numbering.
ahnentafel sequence
n. Partly German. Rarely used and somewhat confusing expression for the sequence ahnen numbers are in. Deprecated in favour of shorter, simpler and less confusing ahnen sequence.
n. German, literally ancestors table; ancestry presented in a table form. See Ahnentafel for a detailed explanation of ahnentafel with examples. The term ahnentafel has been abused a lot, most often as if it meant either ahnenlist or ahnen numbering.
adapted ahnenlist
n. An extended ahnenlist that can support multiple parents, thus allowing listing both the adoptive and the birth parents.
Introduced in Adapted Ahnenlist.
adoptive family tree
n. An adoptive family tree is a family tree in which everyone is adopted.
This definition exist only to highlight how awkward the notion of an adoptive family tree is. Introduced in Adoption in Genealogy.
birth ahnenlist
n. An ahnenlist that traces back through the families that did the parenting.
If the ahnenlist is an adapted ahnenlist, it shows all birth and adoptive parents. Contrast with family ahnenlist.
Introduced in Adapted Ahnenlist.
brick wall ancestor
n. Ancestors for which you need to visit a brick wall archive.
Originally tweeted on 2010 Aug 1: #genealogy Brick wall ancestor: ancestor for which you need to visit a brick wall archive.
citation critic
n. Someone who cares more about the format of their citations than the content of their genealogy.
Originally tweeted on 2011 Mar 21.
classical genealogy
n. genealogy without the complications introduced by modern medical techniques.
Contrast with modern genealogy.
Introduced in A Framework for Classical Genealogy.
Classical Genealogy Framework
The Classical Genealogy Framework is a conceptual framework that provides clarity of thought for classical genealogy. Genealogy build on these scientifically honest concepts is known as scientific genealogy.
See also Genealogy Framework, classical genealogy, scientific genealogy.
code-page think
n. Code-page think is thinking in code-pages, putting a code page central in the design of an applications.
Many ostensible modern genealogy programs, even ones that run on top of Unicode platforms, are coded as if they had just one single code page available. This is typically the case when old 16-code has been ported to a 32-bit platform without the necessary redesign, but code-page think is also evident in several programs that have been rewritten from scratch to run on a Unicode-based platform.
Programs that suffer from code-page think have serious character set limitations that make them unsuitable for serious genealogist. Typical deficiencies are lack of UTF-8 support and limited LANSEL support.
Confucius Cascade
n. The Confucius Cascade is a cascade of increasing difficult import challenges that culminates with the Confucius database itself. Thus, the Confucius Cascade a practical approach to testing a program's ability to complete the import part of the Confucius Challenge.
Introduced in Confucius Cascade.
n. Confusion about what ahnentafel does and does not mean.
First used in Ahnen Chaos.
Confucius Challenge
n. The Confucius Challenge is a practical challenge for genealogical software; the ability to handle the database of Confucius's descendants. The software should be able to import the database, let you work with it, and export it again. All interactive operations such as start-up, navigation, editing, saving, and searching should perform at acceptable speeds. It should not just work, but be workable too.
Introduced in The Confucius Challenge.
DynasTree Free Tree Promise
n. The DynasTree Free Tree Promise is the promise by DynasTree (Verwandt) that building and expanding your tree will always be free. That promise was a major part of their public image.
In 2010 Feb, MyHeritage acquired Verwandt, and that makes MyHeritage the new owner of the Free Tree Promise.
See DynasTree Free Tree Promise.
family ahnenlist
n. An ahnenlist that traces back through birth families.
If the ahnenlist is an adapted ahnenlist, it shows all adoptive parents in addition to the birth parents. Contrast with birth ahnenlist.
Introduced in Adapted Ahnenlist.
Family Tree Maker Classic
n. Family Tree Maker Classic is Family Tree as it was before FTM 2008. The last version of Family Tree Maker Classic is Family Tree Maker 16.
Family Tree Maker Classic was originally known as Family Tree Maker for Windows to distinguish it from Family Tree Maker for DOS, and is usually abbreviated FTW, with the FTM abbreviation reserved for the original DOS product and New Family Tree Maker.
The phrase is used to refer to all FTW version based on the original Family Tree Maker for Windows code, and to distinguish from or contrast with New Family Tree Maker.
First used in Genealogy Software is slow.
Contrast New Family Tree Maker
n. FTM GEDCOM is the GEDCOM dialect of either the original Family Tree Maker (for DOS), or New Family Tree Maker.
Contrast FTW GEDCOM.
n. FTW GEDCOM is the GEDCOM dialect of Family Tree Maker Classic.
Some of the peculiarities of FTW GEDCOM are discussed in FTW GEDCOM.
n. FTW TEXT is a proprietary text format of Family Tree Maker for Windows (FTW). It is similar to FTW GEDCOM, but the differences make it incompatible with GEDCOM. It uses proprietary long tags instead of GEDCOM tags and - in direct violation of the GEDCOM specification - indents lines to highlight the record structure.
Tip: You can easily distinguish between GEDCOM and FTW TEXT files; GEDCOM files start with “0 HEAD”, FTW TEXT files start with ”0 HEADER”.
Contrast FTW GEDCOM.
FTW TEXT articles provides a quick overview of the articles that explore the FTW TEXT problems and solutions.
n. FGTEWDTCEOXMT (pronounced: FTW-GED-TEXT-COM) is a mix of FTW TEXT and GEDCOM. Various file readers for applications that were meant to support both GEDCOM and FTW TEXT actually fail to report tags that are legal in one but illegal in the other because they were mistakenly coded to accept a mix of both. That mix is known as FGTEWDTCEOXMT.
First used in Supporting FTW TEXT.
See also FTW TEXT.
n. GEDCOM is an abbreviation of Genealogical Data Communication. GEDCOM is the de facto standard for data exchange between different genealogical applications.
GEDCOM was created by FamilySearch, a part of the Church of the Latter Day Saints (LDS). GEDCOM contains LDS-specific things that genealogical research does not need, and many genealogy applications do not support.
For nearly a decade now, the GEDCOM 5.5 specification (1995-12-11 GC) is the official and GEDCOM 5.5.1 draft (1999-10-02 GC) the actual standard. The GEDCOM 6.0 draft (2001-12-28 GC) was never developed into an official specification.
See also GEDCOM dialect.
GEDCOM dialect
n. A GEDCOM dialect is the variation of GEDCOM supported by a particular application. Generally, a GEDCOM dialect does not just add some vendor-specific things, but also omits support for some GEDCOM things, and implements a liberal interpretation of some others, even violates the specification. Some serious but all too common violations are the use of illegal character sets and vendor-specific tags that do not start with an underscore as they should.
Documentation for GEDCOM dialects is hard to come by. Typically, the application vendor does not bother to document the GEDCOM dialect at all, and users are left to discover the possibilities and limitations on their own.
GEDCOM dialects are referred to by application name, and sometimes by application and version number to distinguish them from other applications. For example, the GEDCOM supported by PAF is referred to as PAF GEDCOM.
n. The GEDCOM Four is the group of four major calendars supported by GEDCOM; the Julian Calendar, Gregorian Calendar, French Revolutionary Calendar and Hebrew Calendar.
First used in Genealogy Date Basics.
n. GEDCOM XML is another name for GEDCOM 6.0. This is because a key characteristic of the GEDCOM 6 draft is that it breaks with the old GEDCOM data format, and is based on XML instead.
n. Geneablog is a contraction of genealogy blog.
n. Geneasphere seems a contraction of genealogy sphere, and that is its obvious meaning, but is has a more specific meaning; geneasphere is a contraction of genealogy blogosphere, the sphere created by genealogy blogs.
n. Genealogy is the study of family relationships, including blood relationships, official relationship and legal relationship, based on biological proof, recorded vital events and legal documents.
For some thoughts behind that brief definition, read What is Genealogy?.
n. the study of genealogists.
First use of the word genealogistologist in Kerry Scott's Scientists Discover Virus Responsible for Genea-Skankery.
genealogy editor
n. A genealogy editor is genealogy application that lets you load, edit, and save a genealogical database.
Contrast genealogy viewer.
Genealogy Framework
The Genealogy Framework is a conceptual framework that provides the clarity of thought for scientific genealogy that traditional genealogy lacks. The recognition that modern genealogy has been complicated by medical possibilities, but that the problem of traditional genealogy is dishonesty in classical genealogy, led to the introduction of the Classical Genealogy Framework in the A Framework for Classical Genealogy.
See also classical genealogy, scientific genealogy, Classical Genealogy Framework.
genealogy viewer
n. A genealogy viewer is genealogy application that lets you load and view a genealogical database, but does not let you edit it and save your edits.
Contrast genealogy editor.
n. Geneatheology is a portmanteau word, created from genealogy and theology. The assumption that any holy book is a reliable genealogical source is geneatheology. Geneathology isn't genealogy, or even part of genealogy, it is part of theology.
First used in Genealogy without Documentation is Mythology.
n. Geneatheology is a portmanteau word, created from genealogy and mythology. The word is inspired by the aphorism that genealogy without documentation is mythology. An ostensible genealogy that does not present sources, isn't a proper genealogy, but a geneathology.
First used in Genealogy without Documentation is Mythology.
n. The GeneAwards (pronounced ge-ne-a-ward) are yearly awards that honours the best and highlights the worst genealogy products, companies and services. The GeneAwards started with a Best and Worst of Genealogy post in 2006. By 2007 this had become the GeneAwards. The graphic design was done during 2008, and retroactively provided for the 2007 winners.
For more info, see GeneAwards.
n. IntelliMurder is a genealogy software feature that changes the status of individuals for whom no dates are known from Living to Death based on dates known for their descendants.
Introduced by Millennia Corporation in Legacy News 2010-07-08: Legacy Tip - Using the Advanced Set Living feature.
long tags
long tags is what the makers of Family Tree Maker call the proprietary tags they use in FTW TEXT, not in addition to, but instead of the normal GEDCOM tags. These long tags are full words corresponding to GEDCOM tags, but the use of these longer forms makes FTW TEXT both different from and incompatible with GEDCOM.
See also abbreviated tags.
LANSEL is an acronym for “LDS’ Adaptation of the National Standard for Extended Latin”, or simply “LDS ANSEL”.
I introduced this term to distinguish between ANSEL and LANSEL. The LDS claims that its GEDCOM specification supports ANSEL, but the table they publish as an appendix to the GEDCOM specification is different from ANSEL. It is not ANSEL, but LDS' adaptation of ANSEL. Calling it ANSEL is not just wrong, but even a violation of the ANSEL standard. To properly identify this adaptation of ANSEL, it should be referred to as LANSEL.
Medium Size Genealogy
n. Medium Size Genealogy is the size of a well-researched ancestry of a (young) living person. This number is dependent on the availability of vital records, which varies among regions. Barring destruction of these records, it also increases with each generation.
Introduced in Medium Size Genealogy.
modern genealogy
n. genealogy complete with the complications introduced by modern medical techniques.
Contrast with classical genealogy.
Introduced in A Framework for Classical Genealogy.
MyHeist Family Tree Bandit
n. MyHeist Family Tree Bandit is an acronym-preserving name for MyHeritage Family Tree Builder, which sums up what is wrong with this program's behaviour.
First used in MyHeritage Family Tree Builder 4.0 Installation.
New Family Tree Maker
New Family Tree Maker is Family Tree Maker 2008 and its successors. Family Tree Maker 2008 is a complete rebuild of the Family Tree Maker product on top of Microsoft .NET. The phrase New Family Tree Maker (New FTM) is used to refer to all versions based on FTM 2008 code, and to distinguish from and contrast with Family Tree Maker Classic.
Contrast Family Tree Maker Classic.
Petty's Paradigm
n. Petty's Paradigm on Prevaricated Pedigrees is a cynical observation about published pedigrees by James W. Petty. In full, the observation is:

If you have an idea, It’s a Possibility,
If you write it down, It becomes a Probability,
If you publish it, It becomes a Fact,
And If it get’s quoted, It is Gospel Truth!

First published by James W. Petty: Heirlines blog 2010-01-03: Petty’s Paradigm on Prevaricated Pedigree ©.
primary event
n. Primary event is a term for particular events, used to distinguish those events from the secondary events associated with them.
First used in Genealogical Principle: Facts. See also secondary event.
primary vital event
n. Primary vital event is a more precise term for vital events, used to distinguish those events from the secondary vital events associated with them.
First used in Genealogical Principle: Facts. See also vital event, vital event, secondary vital event.
Profile/Fragment ratio
n. Profile/Fragment ratio (abbreviated P/F ratio) is a social genealogy metric.
This ratio is social genealogy equivalent of average size. See also Social Genealogy Metrics.
Profile/User ratio
n. Profile/User ratio (abbreviated P/U ratio) is a social genealogy metric.
See also Social Genealogy Metrics.
scientific genealogy
n. Scientific genealogy is scientifically honest genealogy. Scientific genealogy does not pretend that official records document biological relationships, or that adoption doesn't belong in genealogy. Scientific genealogy builds on the clarity of thought provided by the Genealogy Framework, which recognises that there is more than one genealogy, and that biological, official and legal genealogy are different things.
See also Genealogy Framework, Classical Genealogy Framework. Contrast with traditional genealogy. .
secondary event
n. A secondary events is an event associated with a primary event, that only exist because of the primary event. For example, a baptism is a secondary event associated with birth, and a marriage announcement is a secondary events associated with the primary event marriage. Old records used in genealogy often recorded a secondary events without recording the primary event. First used in Genealogical Principle: Facts. See also primary event.
secondary vital event
n. Secondary vital events are events associated with primary vital events. For example, christening is a secondary vital event associated with the primary vital event birth, while burial and cremation are secondary vital events associated with the primary vital event death. Old records used in genealogy often recorded secondary vital events without recording the primary vital event. First used in Genealogical Principle: Facts. See also vital event, vital event, primary vital event.
Social Genealogy Metrics
n. Social Genealogy Metrics (SGM) are metrics for social genealogy sites.
Some metrics are number of users, number of profiles, number of fragments, the P/U ratio, the P/F ratio, and the U/F ratio.
See also Profile/Fragment ratio, Profile/User ratio & User/Fragment ratio.
Social Genealogy Metrics were introduced in Social Genealogy Metrics.
traditional genealogy
n. Traditional genealogy is genealogy that pretends there is just one genealogy. It does not make clear distinctions between biological, official and legal relationships. On the contrary, traditional genealogy treats official records as proof of biological relationship.
Traditional genealogist have argued that adoption has no place in genealogy, because genealogy is about blood relationships, while choosing to ignore the fact that official relationships need not correspond to biological relationships.
Contrast with scientific genealogy. .
User/Fragment ratio
n. User/Fragment ratio (abbreviated U/F ratio) is a social genealogy metric.
See also Social Genealogy Metrics.
vital event
n. Traditional genealogist do not agree on a definition of vital events. They often define it as birth, marriage and death (BMD), but that is illogical and oddly inconsistent. The article “Vital Records” in Traditional Genealogy provides an extensive discussion.
Scientific genealogists consider birth and death to be only vital events.
Vital events may be referred to as primary vital events to distinguish them from secondary vital events (such as baptism and burial) associated with those primary vital events. The article Vital Events provides an extensive discussion.
See also primary vital event, secondary vital event.

Genealogy & Technology Acronyms and Abbreviations


American National Standard for Extended Latin Alphabet
American National Standards Institute
American Standard Code for Information Interchange
Birth Marriage Death
Byte Order Mark
Release Candidate
Classical Genealogy Framework
Code Page
Cascading Style Sheets
DesoxyriboNucleic Acid
Fan Value
Gregorian Calendar
Genealogical Data Model
GEnealogical Data COMmunication
Family History Society
Global Positioning System
HyperText Mark-up Language
International Organisation for Standardisation
LDS’ Adaptation of the National Standard for Extended Latin (LDS ANSEL)
Julian Calendar
Julian Date
Numeric Character Reference
P/U ratio
Profile / User ratio
P/F ratio
Profile / Fragment ratio
Preponderance of Evidence
Social Genealogy
Social Genealogy Metrics
Service Pack
Tiny Tafel
U/F ratio
User / Fragment ratio
8-bit Unicode Transformation Format
Vital Record
eXtensible HyperText Mark-up Language
eXtensible Mark-up Language


Board for Certification of Genealogists (USA)
Central Bureau for Genealogy (NL)
Family History Information Standards Organisation
General Registry Office (England and Wales)
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (USA)
National Genealogical Society (USA)


Ancestral File Number (LDS)
Ancestral Quest
Ancestry World Tree
Brother's Keeper
Dynastree Home Edition
Family ChArtist
Family Edge
Family Origins
Faces of America
Family Ordinance Request (LDS)
Family Origins for Windows
Family History Centre (LDS)
Family History Hosting
Family Tree Builder
Family Tree Legends
Family Tree Maker (for DOS or New FTM)
Family Tree Maker for Mac
Family Tree Maker World Express
Family Tree Maker for Windows (Classic FTM)
GensData Pro
Genealogy Enhancement Module (Embla Family Treasures)
Genes Reunited
International Genealogical Index (LDS)
It's Our Tree Home Edition
Legacy Family Tree
Map My Ancestors
New FamilySearch
Personal Ancestral File
Personal Historian 2
RootsMagic Essentials
Social Security Death Index (USA)
The Generations Network
The Master Genealogist
The Next Generation
Ultimate Family Tree
Who Do You Think You Are
Your Family History (magazine)