Summary of XML/Genealogy Projects
From: Hans Fugal
Subject: GDMXML et. al.
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 2002 12:57:50 -0700
Hi Bob, good to hear from you.
* Bob Velke [Thu, 15 Aug 2002 at 07:56 -0400]
> I wonder if I can trouble you for a very brief summary of your views
> regarding your gdmxml project and its relationship to parallel or related
> projects: particularly Jerry Fitzpatrick's (GeniML), Christopher Owe's
> (GenXML), Michael Kay's (GedML), the LDS' (GEDCOM 6.0 XML), the TEI
> guidelines, Stanley Mitchell's (UML), George Farkas' (GenealogyXML) and any
> others that you know about?
I don't know how brief I can keep it but I'll try. :) I'll describe
what each project is as I understand it and how it relates to my
project, then give a summary at the end.
This is the oldest XML model that I am aware of. It is very literally a
mapping of GEDCOM 5.5 to XML. It doesn't have the advantages of other
data models (such as GDM) and retains all of the
advantages/disadvantages of GEDCOM. I think it is a valuable tool for
that reason and I have used his java tools  to parse GEDCOM files. The
SAX model is especially nice.
2) GEDCOM 6.0 XML
There are some problems IMHO with the last draft. I don't have specifics
but perhaps I should draft up my concerns and send my response to them
and cc you and the list. That is for another message though.
GeniML is the closest to a true paralell of this project. It is based on
the GDM and GEDCOM models but does not follow them strictly. I haven't
had the chance to fully assimilate it but I know from my participation
on the GenealogyXML list that Jerry thinks through these thing very
carefully and I think it is probably the most mature XML model we have
at this point. gdmxml is specifically an implementation of the GDM, I do
not try to second-guess the lexicon group. I think there is value in
both approaches: second-guessing the lexicon group and staying true to
their work. Naturally, mine is the easier task. For the added value
and also because I have commited to do this project I continue to work
I was not aware of this model until recently, and I haven't had a chance
to fully assimilate it either. Christopher has been participating
recently on the GenealogyXML list also.
This is the project that you referred to as GenealogyXML above. Members
of the GenealogyXML email list (hosted by Yahoo! Groups) have been
discussing a genealogical XML standards body. We all seem to agree that
there is a need for a standard and for cooperation. We have all
lamented the fact that so many individual projects are 'popping up like
daisies,' but it does show that the ground is fertile and it is
encouraging that nearly all of the authors of the different projects are
participating on the GenealogyXML list. The organization of the
standards body is in its infancy to be sure, but if we can get the
support of organizations and individuals something may come of it.
gdmxml is unique in that it is a model of the GDM itself. As I
mentioned above I think there is value in this even if the GDM is not
perfect, because it has been thought about by the Lexicon Group for
quite some time and is likely to be closer to target than any of us
developer's attempts at making a model. With the exception of GEDCOM
XML (and XGenML which aims to be an organization rather than a project)
all of the above mentioned projects are headed up by one developer who
has interest in genealogy but is not exactly a professional genealogist.
I believe we need a standard data model first, and a standard
implementation second. The GDM may become that standard, in which case
my work will be very valuable. If it is not the future standard it will
remain an important influence on that standard and my work will help in
the implementation of that standard either directly or indirectly. That
is my hope at least.
Which project(s) have the most promise? GeniML is the farthest along and
seems to have the most support. But it is far from universally accepted,
and it is definitely in a refining or refactoring process. XGenML is a
new effort but it has the most promise if it gains the support of
important people and organizations.
We have come a long way recently - it is currently possible to do real
work on genealogical data with XML thanks to GedML, GenXML, and GeniML.
And of course others have done work with home-grown solutions that is
There are people on this list who are as qualified or more than I to
comment - please do!
"Everybody is talking about the weather but nobody does anything about it."
-- Mark Twain
gdmxml mailing list
Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See: "Genealogical Data and XML."