[The GEDCOM was updated on 26 February 2009]

About "Metcalf GEDCOM"

I have prepared a "bare bones" GEDCOM file. This file generally parallels the forthcoming second edition of the Metcalf book as it exists so far. This file contains ten generations but without any source notes. Just click here Metcalf GEDCOM to download the GEDCOM file.

You may need a PC "zip" utility to "unzip" the file into its original GEDCOM format. The best known one for PCs is available at the WinZip Download Page.

The GEDCOM file generally follows the version 5.5 GEDCOM standard. Some exceptions (inherited from Macintosh PAF which was discontinued after release 2.3.1) are the use of STILLBORN, INFANT, CHILD or DEAD in the Death Date field and NOT MARRIED in the Marriage Date field. These codes are used only if a specific date is not available. INFANT is used for an infant dying before a year old ("died in infancy"). CHILD is used for an unmarried child dying before attaining the age of majority ("died young"). DEAD is used only for people born less than a hundred years ago at the time of entry. NOT MARRIED indicates either a short-term liaison resulting in a child or a longer-term unmarried domestic partnership which may or may not have produced children.

A person's name field can include as many as five given names (first name and four middle names) as well as a surname. A question mark entered in the surname field or the first given name field is used to indicate an otherwise blank name for a person. An example would be a spouse whose name is unknown but for whom a birth or death year is known.

Title (name prefix, e.g., Capt.), postnominal (name suffix, e.g. Esq.) and nickname fields may also be included.

Dates can be preceded by the words "ABT", "BEF", "AFT" or "EST", to indicate respectively an approximate dats, some date before the given date, some date after the given date or an estimated date (aka a "say" date) based on indirect evidence.

Place names can be preceded the words "probably", "possibly" and "near". Birth place names can be preceded by the word "of" to indicate the person was "of" a place rather than born there.

The Reference Number (aka ID) field is generally used for reference to any pertinent Ancestral File record or other external source identifier.

About Names

Married women are always entered under their maiden surnames. "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Miss" appearing in source documents are not placed in name nor title fields. "Mr." in olden times was used as an honorific title, indicating the high position of "gentleman." It may be recorded in the notes field. "Mrs." indicated either an honorific title similar to "Mr." or widowhood. If it was an honorific title, it is entered in the notes field. If it indicated widowhood, the lady is entered under her maiden surname (or a blank surname if her maiden surname is not known), and a previous husband with the proper surname is added to the file. "Miss", indicating that the lady was not previously married, is ignored.

Generational designations such as Senior, Junior, I, II, III, etc., are not included since their usage varies over time. Senior and Junior historically were used interchangeably as the generations progressed and a previous junior became senior to a new junior. Further, unrelated people, and people related other than as father and son, who carried the same name and lived in the same immediate area, were often discriminated amongst by local residents as Senior and Junior according to their age difference.

For the most part, such appellations applied to a father-son relationship are deducible in the context of the family in which they appear. They are, however, included in the notes field for those people whose parents are not recorded, or for unrelated people discrimated amongst based on their seniority.

About Places

For ease of locating places today (but contrary to standard genealogical practice), places are given in terms of today's geographic boundaries. The location of a U.S. place at the time of the event may be entered in the notes field--it usually can be found in the source document and/or in various books. For instance, county boundary changes are shown in Bill Dollarhide's book, "Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Census, 1790-1920."

The location of (and geopolitical boundaries surrounding) many of the places can be found on the Internet in the "Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names." This online database contains nearly one million place names representing approximately 900,000 places around the globe, including their latitude and longitude. It can be found at: www.getty.edu.

U.S. Place names (including those which were deserted) can be found at the "USGS National Mapping Information" Internet site at: geonames.usgs.gov.

About Dates

One should be aware that in countries under English rule, prior to 1752 each year began on March 25th. By act of Parliament in 1751, the year 1752 and those following began on January 1st. Therefore, the days of January 1st through March 24th, which prior to 1752 were in the old year, now were in the new year. Here, such days prior to 25 March 1752 are shown with both years. For example, 22 February 1751 is shown as 22 February 1751/2 (1751 old style--they way it was then--and 1752 new style--the way it would be now). In a few cases it is not possible to tell which date was used in a source work; then the single date shown in that work is used.

All other cases where double years are entered, for example 25 June 1731/2, indicate that the event to which it pertains fell in either 1731 or 1732, and the source work is unclear as to which year is applicable.

Prior to 25 March 1752 the months were frequently numbered in an old style "1" for March, "2" for April, through "12" for February. So an appearance of "9ber" in a source work is rendered here as November. The conversion may be noted in the notes field.

Finally, when people woke up on September 3rd in 1752 they found that it had become September 14th. The error in the length of the old Julian year had accumulated since 45 B. C. and the time had come to fix it, changing to the Gregorian calendar. Although no corrections are applied here, one may add ten days to all dates prior to 1 March 1700, and eleven days to any date from 1 March 1700 through 2 September 1752, to obtain the date we would use today.

In Sweden the change was made on 18 February 1753 which became 1 March. Thus one would add eleven days to any date up through 17 February 1753 to obtain the date we would use today. Other countries followed other rules.