Submitted by GFA Terry@aol.com, GEDCOM Librarian
In my experience, most complaints about exchanging GEDCOM files come from people who create a GEDCOM file, then open it with a word processor, then save it in the native word processor format. It could still have the GED extension, but be in an entirely different format. Thus, the person on the receiving end can not use it.
Then, there are programs like Family Tree Maker that let you save the GEDCOM in various formats, some of which are not compatible with other programs that use GEDCOM.
If the file is very large, it is best to zip it. Very, very long transfers have a greater chance of being corrupted on any network -- a little static on someone's home phone line can do it (even though there is error checking with the modem).
I have seen GEDCOM files come across the Internet as MIME files. Those that come from outside AOL may have been converted to MIME sometime during the transfer. I think certain Internet programs or setups may automatically convert attached files to MIME format before they even get to AOL. The receiver would need to convert the MIME back to GEDCOM and may need to download a MIME unencoding program.
New people may not know how to send files very well -- often enough, someone clicks on the wrong file (not the one they intended to send) and what is sent is entirely different than what they thought.
Others new to computers think all they have to do is change a file name and the file automatically changes format. For example, they might have a Microsoft Word file, titled Family.Doc, and they simply change the file name to Family.Ged and they think they have a GEDCOM file (when it is really still a Word file).
Rarely, if ever, is it an AOL problem, I think. The problem probably originated with something else, but if all else fails and they are still convinced it is an AOL problem and either the sender or receiver is a member of AOL, they can go to the keyword of ACCESS and try a different access number to log onto AOL with or try sending the file at a different time of day. They may get a clearer connection.
For more information about GEDCOM, follow these steps:
(America Online Keyword: roots.) The Editors welcome your ideas and articles,
success stories, favorite genealogy research tips, comments and suggestions.
© 2000 Graphics By Carol, All Rights Reserved