Formal Database Structure


Family Historian uses the GEDCOM data structure for its records, which is similar to many other genealogy products.


Data is stored using the following main record types:

  • Individual Records ~ Hold facts about each person such as Name, Birth & Death
  • Family Records ~ Hold parent child relationships and family facts such as Marriage
  • Source Records ~ Hold source document details cited by the facts
  • Repository Records ~ Hold details of source document repositories
  • Note Records ~ Hold general notes shared by multiple records
  • Multimedia Records ~ Hold details of external media files such as photos and documents
  • Place Records ~ Hold place name details such as latitude & longitude (only in V6 or later)

These all inter-relate by using data fields to link the records together. The diagram below shows some of the ways which records can be linked together to store your family history information.

Database structure in version 5

Facts are included on the diagram although they are not actually held as records in their own right. Citations are also not records in their own right, but are used to connect many of the other records to Sources, so are included to make the relationships clearer.

Note Records are linked to other records where local Note fields are allowed.

Place Records were introduced in Version 6, and are linked to each Place field by Name rather than Record Id.

In addition there are Header Record, Submitter Record and Submission Record types.

The last two pages of the GEDCOM Standard Release 5.5 specification has a GEDCOM 5.5 DATA MODEL CHART that illustrates the full data structure, which is formally defined within the linear-linked grammar on the earlier pages. Family Historian implements that data model, but with allowed customisations as defined by the GEDCOM Extension List.

Last update: 11 Jul 2020