"The Web is a tremendous source of information, and can prove
highly satisfying to the armchair researcher-cum-detective. But as
you gather information, what can you do with it?
"As you might imagine, the answer lies in a database of some
sort, and no doubt the good database programmer could put together
something that's more than adequate. But at best, it would fall
short of GEDCOM, a standard that takes literally everything into
account. The real beauty of GEDCOM is that it is an interchangeable
format--almost all standard genealogy applications for any platform
read and write it. What's more, GEDCOM files can easily be pasted
together, so that you can find and drop in whole big sections of
your family tree. This also means that as you develop a large
database, you can send it to others so that they may add it to
their databases or, even better, put it online so that others may
find help in their research from your work. Genealogy is not
possible without the kind of information sharing that is strived
for in things like the GPL..."
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