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Who Are We?
All are invited to participate in the wiki and the blog to move the discussion forward.
Simply put, if you will participate, we are you. This is user-driven project completely independent of any other genealogical organization and will remain so. This community relies on your participation to work. Please jump in and lend a hand! Add your name and profile info as you see fit.
The organizers of BetterGEDCOM are members of the genealogy user community not affiliated with any particular genealogical organization and not advocating for any particular constituency except the end-users.
The organizing team at BetterGEDCOM was set in place to advertise the BetterGEDCOM workspace designed to bring groups from all parts of the net into one place for decision making. We hold joint voice meetings weekly for reporting purposes, and are in constant communication in the mean time. As BetterGEDCOM expands and actually makes decisions by consensus, the organizing team will not exercise control. Our goal is to organize large-group meetings and report progress to the world at the direction of the consensus of participants.
- Tamura Jones, a computer scientist writing about genealogy and technology on Modern Software Experience.
Creator of the Genealogy Framework, the basis for scientific genealogy. A Hurried introduction to Scientific Genealogy provides a quick introduction of scientific genealogy. GEDCOM and GenTech are products of traditional genealogy thinking designed for traditional genealogy, incapable of supporting scientific genealogy.
Encourages better GEDCOM implementation through highly-acclaimed genealogy software reviews that critique vendor's GEDCOM support in detail. Created Three Torture Test and Some GEDCOM Torture Tests Resultsto highlight common failings of current GEDCOM implementations, thus challenging vendors to improve their GEDCOM support.Publishes annual GeneAwards, which highlight the year's best and worst of genealogy technology, with attention for the status of genealogy standards; both the GeneAwards 2008 and GeneAwards 2009 gave FamilySearch a dishonourable mention for neglecting its responsibilities as keeper of the GEDCOM standard.
Has moved understanding and specification of GEDCOM forward while FamilySearch did not. GEDCOM Usage Conventions, documents the usage conventions that have evolved around "GEDCOM". A Gentle Introduction to GEDCOM, is likely the first text that introduces GEDCOM at a practical level instead of merely discussing the file format. An extensive series about FTW TEXT, the GEDCOM-like but incompatible format supported by Family Tree Maker Classic document the issues and presents practical solutions. The GEDCOM Magicis essentially a technical note on the GEDCOM specification that provides the first correct description of how to detect GEDCOM files (and while doing so, avoid misdetecting FTW TEXT files as such), because the specification itself is incorrect.
- James Tanner, A former Apple computer dealer and technician, owned an Apple Macintosh software development company, has extensive genealogical experience. Supported GEDCOM file transfers for years. Has been writing about genealogy for some time on Genealogy's Star. Is retiring from practicing law as a trial attorney for almost 36 years.
- Doug Blank, professor of computer science and a volunteer developer for the open source genealogy program Gramps.
- Kristiina Ruokoja, ICT + genealogy, interested in information quality, usability, interaction design, and localization.
- DearMYRTLE a genealogy blogger, podcaster and lecturer, who feels the issue of GEDCOM incompatibility is too important to sit quietly on the shelf for another 14 years and provided the Wiki space. "Regular" folks want to exchange genealogy data and cannot do this without losing important data along the way.
- Russ Worthington, an End User wanting to be able to share my research with another family researcher. That can not be done today. This Wiki is defining a long term project that is very technical, and work that really needs to be done. The reason that we started, came from the inability to Share, successfully, data from one software package to another. This Wiki is a great place for this long term technical discussion. The BetterGEDOM Blog will have posting's there about the End User experience with the current GEDCOM format.
- Brant Gurganus, a genealogy enthusiast and software developer.
- Xavier Van Dessel, working 15+ years in IT (banking sector) and since 20+ active (when I have time ...) researching genealogy. I think I may say I have a good vision on data modeling, and I would like to bring that to this community. As I live in Europe, I'm rather familiar with specific issues that arise there, like alternate calendars (Napoleon, Pope Gregory XIII, etc), language issues, changing borders, countries that disappear, foreign occupation etc.
- Geir Thorud, retired computer geek who used to work on national and international standardization of data/mobile communication, and structured business data interchange standards, in the 1980s and 90s. On the Internet since 1984. During the last decade I have been working on solutions for freely available source transcriptions and I am a frustrated user of genealogy software that have some shortcomings wrt support of customs in my country (Norway), and in most cases have shown little innovation during the last decade.
- Louis Kessler, software developer and genealogist, both for 35 years. Started chess programming (See: Brute Force) in the 70's. At the same time, I started programming my genealogy with a SCRIPT text-based wordprocessor. I tried many software programs for genealogy. I really liked the reports produced by Phillip Brown's Family History System. For data input, I moved to Reunion for Windows and had many discussions with Frank Leister and Brad Walter regarding features and my suggestions. When Leister Productions sold their Windows rights to Sierra, I became a beta tester for the newly named Generations and again had input with them. But then Generations was bought and dropped by Genealogy.com. I put up my own website in 1997 and included a Genealogy Software Links page, which has now evolved into GenSoftReviews. I have been developing my own genealogy software: Behold, which is now an output-based GEDCOM reader that will, in Version 2, introduce formless word-processer-like editing to the genealogy community. I've worked with GEDCOM for decades. It has served us well, and if it is to be replaced, I think I can contribute to the effort.
- Adrian Bruce - took a maths degree in 1972, so please excuse any pedantry with logic from me, I can't help it, it's the way my mind was shaped. During the maths degree, I first met programming in the shape of ALGOL-60 (your first language is always the best). Spent 30 years working for British Rail and its successor organisations in IT, writing, designing, specifying software for business systems relating to trains. Have made some use of data modelling but never past the Third Normal Form. First came across XML when we commissioned software to publish train schedules and events. Latterly, ran a 2nd level support team for the trains systems, so I'm used to translating between software propeller-heads and users who "call a spade a spade", to use a British phrase. Throughout my career, I always tried to balance pragmatism with that logical pedantry - i.e. I can make a pragmatic decision if I know why. Retired in 2008 to spend more time with my family history - I use Family Historian software from Calico Pie,which is unusual in that it uses GEDCOM as its native file format - hence my interest in ensuring ease of conversion from GEDCOM to BetterGEDCOM formats.
- Brian J Densmore - Information Technology Consultant, part time genealogist and all around geek. I have 14 professional years experience in various platforms and have designed and implemented financial and transportation systems, transfer protocols and migrations. I have degrees in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science. Part time inventor and engineer. My first program was a "compiler" written in GW-BASIC on my 1983 XT clone. I have been an amateur genealogist for more than 30 years, and seriously for the past 20, using mostly Gramps, phpgedview and Open Office to record my results.
- Andrew G. Hatchett - Amateur genealogist for 50+ years. I've beta tested for several companies in the past. Presently a user of The Master Genealogist. Before retiring I held the position of Data Entry Quality Control Supervisor with LabCorp at their Nashville STAT Laboratory.
- Roger Moffat aka “theKiwi” - amateur genealogist since about 1989 when I first delved into genealogy and its software as a way of using my new Macintosh computer to keep track of what a cousin had compiled and then presented as a set of over 20 typewritten pages - which then had to all be retyped as soon as there was a change on the first page. As well as my own genealogy first put online in 1997 (I think) using Brad Mohr's SparrowHawk but now is using Darrin Lythgoes' TNG - The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding, I'm the Genealogist for the Clan Moffat Society and so am often being presented with GEDCOM files, or native files from various genealogy software for addition to our master database which I maintain in Reunion for Macintosh and then present online using TNG. So I'm certainly interested in easy and complete data transfer between applications and platforms.
- testuser42 (realname Klemens Maier), hobby genealogist.
- Robert Burkhead - Software developer, amateur genealogist.
- Tony Proctor (ACProctor) - See profile.