The GEDCOM Validator tool can check if GEDCOM files follow the relevant specification. Select a file to begin validation check.
Fig 1. The GEDCOM Validator tool.
Once the check is complete, a list of potential compatibility issues is displayed. You can right click on any issues found to get help on how to fix the error or open the file in a text editor (see Options). You can limit the display of duplicate issues by checking "Show fewer duplicates".
Fig 2. GEDCOM Validator actions.
Results can be filtered by typing in the filter box. You can filter on severity (error, warning, information, recommendation), code (e.g. W101, E102), line number and description. You can also use the column filters to hide specific severities or codes.
Fig 3. Column filters.
Results can be sorted by clicking on the column headings. Hold whilst clicking a column heading to clear a sort or hold to sort on multiple columns at the same time.
Compatibility issues are grouped into 4 categories.
Information: Provides additional context to warnings or errors.
Recommendations: Provide recommended actions which are likely to ease migration to future versions of GEDCOM. Developers are encouraged to review the documentation carefully before deciding whether it is appropriate to suppress a recommendation.
Warnings: Represent issues which have the potential to cause data loss / corruption when a GEDCOM file is interpreted. Some GEDCOM readers may be able to recognise and correct for such issues, but there is a risk of data loss. Failure to address the causes of any reported warnings is likely to cause data loss / corruption when the GEDCOM file is interpreted by a GEDCOM reader.
Errors: Represent critical flaws in the output of a GEDCOM writer which are likely to cause import failure or significant data loss / corruption when the GEDCOM file is interpreted by a GEDCOM readers. Errors are difficult for end users to correct and generally require fixes to be made to the GEDCOM writer that produced the GEDCOM file. Failure to address the causes of any reported errors is likely to cause import failure or significant data loss / corruption when the GEDCOM file is interpreted by a GEDCOM reader.
Supported GEDCOM Versions
Files are validated according to the version specified in the GEDCOM header, unless the file was produced by a GEDCOM writer which is known to report an incorrect GEDCOM version in the header.
Two validation modes are possible for GEDCOM 5.x files. "Best practice" mode is the default and takes into account a number of inconsistencies and errors in the GEDCOM specifications. Developers are advised to ensure that their GEDCOM writers produce GEDCOM files which pass the best practice validation mode without generating any errors or warnings. A second "Standards only" mode is provided for completeness, and validates against the GEDCOM specifications as written, including any errors.
The following table lists the support status for all official versions of the GEDCOM specifications.
|1.0, 2.0, 2.1, 3.0, 4.0, 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4||LDS Church||Not supported (obsolete)|
|5.5† and 5.6||LDS Church||Supported (obsolete)|
†GEDCOM 5.5 has three known variants: a paper version dated 11 Dec 1995, a 'final release' dated 02 Jan 1996 with minor non-breaking changes, and a version dated 10 Jan 1996 with several breaking changes. By default, GEDCOM 5.5 files are validated according to the specification dated 02 Jan 1996.