Find Uncategorised Data Dialog

Although most genealogy applications support GEDCOM, it is surprisingly common for applications to make errors when generating GEDCOM files. When loading a GEDCOM file created by another application, Family Historian will (if requested) automatically detect and correct as many errors as it can. Sometimes in the process of correcting these errors, Family Historian will create special fields called “Uncategorised Data Fields” (also known as U.D.F.s) to store data that, owing to the GEDCOM error, it has been unable to categorise.

GEDCOM is designed to be extensible. It is valid for applications to provide their own extensions to GEDCOM (indeed Family Historian itself does this in certain cases). If Family Historian encounters a field which is another application’s extension to GEDCOM, it will load it (unless you specify not to, in Preferences). But it has no way of knowing what purpose the field was intended to serve; so again, the data is loaded into a U.D.F.

Should you be concerned if your file contains a large number of U.D.F.s? Not necessarily. U.D.F.s are treated as text fields, and if the stored data in fact is ordinary text, it may not matter much that it is held as a U.D.F. However, if the data is not text, you might wish to edit the file, to re-enter the U.D.F. data correctly. For example, if the U.D.F. field contained a date, Family Historian would preserve the date information, but it would not treat this field as a date for sorting purposes, or for purposes of calculating ages, etc. So it might be worthwhile replacing each occurrence with the equivalent correctly-formatted field. Equally, it may happen that the U.D.F. field contains data that is valueless, and you may wish simply to delete it.

Before you can decide what you wish to do about U.D.F. fields, you have to find them. The Find Uncategorised Data Dialog allows you to create a list of all records that contain U.D.F.s. This list can be accessed from the Named List Pane of the Records Window.

The Find Uncategorised Data Dialog displays an image of the distinctive marking used for U.D.F.s, making them easy to identify. Bear in mind that GEDCOM fields are hierarchical and you may need to full expand each ‘branch’ of the record to be sure that you have located all the U.D.F.s it contains.

Tip: If you wish to delete all occurrences of a given U.D.F., see “Delete Multiple Fields” in Chapter 12 of the manual Getting the Most from Family Historian, which tells you how to delete all (or a filtered set of) occurrences of any field.

The CHM file was converted to HTML by chm2web software.