The exchange of genealogical information used to be fueled by family group sheets. A family group sheet is a piece of paper with the names of a couple (in olden days, we knew that meant one man and one woman) and with the names of all children born to that union. In addition, the family group sheet would name the parents of the husband and the parents of the wife. (Yes, such old-fashioned terms.) And, the group sheet would give the names of the all spouses of the children. “Spouse” included someone with whom a child had been produced, even if there had been no legal marriage.
The sheet had the basics on the father, the mother, and each child: date & place born, date & place died, date & place married. A new group sheet was created for each child-producing union.
Then, we would arrange the family group sheets in manila folders and organize the folders in a way that we found useful.
In the 1980s, the LDS Church (Mormons, Latter-day Saints) introduced a DOS program called “Personal Ancestral File” that was “gedcom compatible.” And we began talking about “PAF” and “gedcoms.” With that advancement, the ability of genealogists to store, manipulate, and share genealogical data changed dramatically.
It so revolutionized the way genealogists store and share data that Amish genealogists now rent corners in offices to use computers to work with their data. My database contains over 20,000 names. It would not be possible for me to handle that amount of information with old-fashioned family group sheets and manila folders.
PAF has “grown up” and is now in a Windows format. (Don’t laugh, but I still use the old-fashioned DOS version that I began using in about 1994.)
You may download a free gedcom file of the descendants of Christian Hufford’s two-greats grandfather, Hans HOFFART who was born in about 1554 in Schwaigern, Germany. The file tracks eleven generations. CLICK HERE.
In order to read the gedcom file, you’ll need genealogy software, and you’ll need to know how to import a gedcom file. A gedcom file is a text file, and you’ll need gedcom compatible software to make sense of the gedcom file.
Periodically, I will upload updated versions of that file.