Modern genealogy programs are marvelous monuments to the programmers' skills and arts. Today's family tree programs can record your data, sort and analyze in multiple ways, and then create a wide variety of reports. There must be more than 100 programmers writing genealogy programs today. With this many people "on the job," you would think that they thought of everything, right?
Wrong! I have never seen a perfect genealogy program. With every genealogy program that I have reviewed over the years in this newsletter, I have always thought, "If only it would…".
Luckily, we (the customers of these programs) do not need to be expert programmers and do not need to create our own programs that will meet our needs and desires. Many talented people have created add-on utilities that create extra capability that might not be found in the genealogy program you are using today. Finding and using the appropriate add-on utility can extend the functionality of your present genealogy program to make it more useful to you.
One nifty add-on program is called Ged2Csv. It you are an expert in genealogy software, you will recognize the letters "Ged" in that program name, indicating GEDCOM, a file format that allows for exporting and importing genealogy data between different genealogy programs. Likewise, if you are an expert in spreadsheets and databases, you will recognize the letters "Csv" as an abbreviation for "comma separated values," a common format used to exchange data between different spreadsheet and database programs. In short, Ged2Csv is a conversion tool: it translates the data in your genealogy into a format that can be used by Microsoft Excel, Access, SQL, and a number of other databases and spreadsheets.
Ged2Csv is very useful when you want to analyze data within your database in ways that your present genealogy program cannot do. Would you like to find all the females in your database that were born between 1810 and 1835 in Ohio but died in Iowa after 1885? You could easily do that if your data is in Excel, assuming you are familiar with Excel. Likewise, you could do something similar in any other spreadsheet or database program.
Once your data is stored within a spreadsheet or database, other reporting tools allow you to create all sorts of reports. For instance, if you are already familiar with Crystal Reports, you know that you could create hundreds, perhaps thousands, of different reports from your data. (Crystal Reports is a powerful reporting program that sells for more than $500. I doubt if many people purchase this for home use, but it is very popular in the business world. I suspect that many readers of this newsletter have it at work and are familiar with its use.)
To transfer your genealogy data to a spreadsheet or database, you first need to launch your present genealogy program and create a GEDCOM file. All modern genealogy programs are capable of creating GEDCOM files. (For an explanation of GEDCOM, see my earlier "GEDCOM Explained" article. When you export your data to GEDCOM, note the location of the GEDCOM file. Then launch Ged2Csv, select File: Open, and open the GEDCOM file that you created earlier. Ged2Csv initially displays summary information about your data. Once you select File: Save, the program quickly creates comma-separated text files in the program's folder, listing each file as it completes.
The files include lists of individuals, families, relations, facts, notes, sources, citations, and children. The first field of each file provides a reference number; these numbers can be used to link the data when you import it into Excel or a database program. The program will create individual files: one for individuals, another for relationships, another for families, still another for citations and so forth. Ged2Csv does not create one master flat file. Instead, it creates individual files of different types. Anyone used to programming relational databases will quickly recognize this format. However, it is not as useful in a spreadsheet as one might expect.
Here are some of the features found in Ged2Csv:
- Extremely fast - converts 10,000 individuals in under 2 seconds
- Output to delimited text files or to Microsoft Access
- Upload directly to MySQL via FTP and PHP script (useful if you operate a sophisticated genealogy web site)
- Configurable quote and delimiter characters
- Configurable output file and table names
- Configurable paragraph separator
- Option to remove double-quotes from notes and sources
- Option to word-wrap note lines
- Converts Master Sources and Source Citations
- Converts most custom facts/events
- Automatic updates via the Internet
- Compatible with Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
I haven't yet used the more sophisticated functions of Ged2Csv as I am still enjoying the capability to sort, filter and analyze my data within a spreadsheet. I must say that I am very pleased with the program so far.
Ged2Csv is available in two versions:
- A "lite version" of Ged2Csv is available as "freeware." That is, it is completely free, no registration or payment is required. However, the free version only supports export to delimited files. It will not directly create Microsoft Access files, nor will it upload directly to MySQL. It downloads as a zipped file of 1.7 megabytes. My guess is that the free version will satisfy the needs of most genealogists.
- The full-featured version of Ged2Csv is available as shareware. You can download a fully functional trial version and use it at no charge for up to 30 days. At that time, if you decide that you want to keep using the program, you will need to pay $25.00 for a license and registration key.
At 14 megabytes, the download is big. That will take a while on a dial-up connection but is not unreasonable. Anyone with a broadband connection will find that they can download 14 megabytes within a few minutes. Installation is simple: double-click on the newly-downloaded file, and then follow the instructions on your screen. It only requires a minute or so.
For more information about Ged2Csv, or to download either version, go to http://www.infused-solutions.com/software/ged2csv