Friday, December 10, 2010

Use of a GEDCOM INDI Number

In working with a user of Family Tree Maker, and this problem is probably not just the program, a GEDCOM generated INDI number was used to link a person to an image, on  a Website. The user was using this INDI Number ot image on the website for a while and was working for him.

The user updated the computer, installed the program on the new computer, transferred the file from one PC to another using a GEDCOM file.

It appears that Family Tree Maker does nothing with the INDI number once that GEDCOM file in opened the program. That INDI number of for identifying a person within that GEDCOM file. Once in Family Tree Maker a new or internal number is assigned to each individual.

Now, when Family Tree Maker export this new file, from the new computer, a New INDI number is assigned to that person, again because that number is unique for that GEDCOM file. When uploaded to a website, where the INDI number was linked to a specific image, the links are no longer the same.

The problem now is that all of the Links are incorrect.

It appears that when transferring the GEDCOM file from one computer to the other, the next GEDCOM file created from the new computer will have a different INDI number.

There are other options of tracking a person within our programs, but the INDI may not be a reliable one to make these links.


GeneJ said...

Real time failures!!

Russ said...


I am not sure that it is a failure. An issue, yes, but not failure.

Why, you didn't ask .....

From what I understand that INDI is a "one time number" generated for that specific GEDCOM file. However, generating another GEDCOM file, from the same program, from the same file, will probably us the same INDI. A change in computer or program may change that INDI number, as I saw in this example.

What I told this user to do, is to use a built in Number. There is a way to Manually put an ID number for a Person. For example: a link to your filing system for an Individual or a Family. That way you control the number, both in the file and in your filing system.

From what I saw in Roots Magic, there is a number there, that probably will work as a fixed number. Haven't checked that theory against a RM4 GEDCOM file.

Bottom line, to me at least, Dont count on the INDI number to track a person in a GEDCOM file.

However, this IS an issue for the BetterGEDCOM file.


I send you a file, you update it and send it back. You and I should both, in our separate programs KNOW who person 1,009 is. If I update that person and send you an update, your person 1,009 will be updated.

I think that the BetterGEDCOM Wiki has been talking about this issue. My only take is, it needs to be a fixed number, for that person, in that file. At the User's option, either sending or receiving, that fixed number should be or not be included in the sharing of that file.

On the flip side, is if either of us were to merge the exchanged file, into our own file. That will / may create a problem if you already have a Person 1,009 in your file. Then the application (program) will have to deal with that.

I would call, the above example (the posting) a miss use of the INDI tag.

Failure ??? Needs to be fixed, You bet.

Thank you,


GeneJ said...

Well said. --GJ