Instructions submitting GEDCOM Files
Since AHSGR was founded, we have actively solicited members to submit their genealogy information. This has been done to create a repository of genealogy information that patrons may use in their research, and also to enable AHSGR members to share information with each other. Initially, this member-submitted information was extracted from the genealogy forms (Ancestral Chart and Family Group Chart) and placed onto Family Group Cards. In the early 1990s, a database was developed to store and enable research of member-submitted genealogy data. This database has evolved to contain the paper form and GEDCOM information. There is no need for you to generate paper copies of genealogy forms if you are submitting a GEDCOM. If you chose not to submit a GEDCOM, AHSGR will then need the paper copies of the charts to enter your genealogical data in the genealogy database.
When you have acquired additional genealogical information and would like to update your information, you must submit a new GEDCOM that contains all of the previous information plus your new information. The old GEDCOM will be deleted and the new GEDCOM which contains your updates will be added in its place. This will eliminate duplication of previously submitted material by you and at the same time list the new information. You may only update material which you have submitted. If you identify information in the database which you know is incorrect, you must contact the original submitter and ask that they submit a change to their data.
In order to ensure uniformity of style and spelling, AHSGR has drawn up the following guidelines for entering data. Please follow these guidelines whenever possible when submitting data to AHSGR on a diskette in GEDCOM format (refer to your genealogy software manual for instructions on creating a GEDCOM file). The system presented here will serve AHSGR's needs best, but we are aware these requirements for completing the various fields may not agree with the system you have developed. Each person should use the system that he/she finds suits his/her needs best.
Do not use parentheses ( ) or quotation marks " " in any field. They will all have to be removed before we can add the data to our database. If data is unknown, leave that field blank. Do not enter "unknown" or "unk."
Umlauts and Symbols
While some genealogy programs will accept and properly use diacritic markings, this is not universal. Please spell out all umlauts: ä = ae, ö = oe, ü = ue. Spell out the German ß as "ss."
If you do not know a specific date, please do not use "before," "after," "circa," "ca," or "about." Instead, use the abbreviation ABT followed by a year. The software used by AHSGR will put the ABT into the month field and the year into the year field. Do not try to expedite this by putting the ABT into the month field. Type ABT where you would ordinarily type the day field. For example, type "abt 1896." It does not matter if you use lower- or uppercase for ABT. The software will convert it to upper case.
Capitalize the first letter only of each name. In the Full Name fields names should be entered last, first, middle. When typing in a name put your SEN following. Example: Smith, John Jacob S541. A screen comes up that will tell you that numbers are not usually part of an alpha field, just click OK to proceed. If you wish to put in a religious affiliation this is where to do it. Type a dash then use the first letter: C (Catholic), M (Mennonite), P (Protestant) followed by a dash and then the SEN. Example: Smith, John Jacob -P-S541. There are no other fields to enter religious data in.
Put any nickname in the nickname field provided by your program. If your program does not have such a field, then use "Field 3" of the name field. Do not use quotation marks!
Do not put a title such as "Dr.," "Prof.," "Miss," etc. in the title field of files to be sent to AHSGR. There is no title field in PAF 5.0 and titles are not used in the AHSGR database.
There are generally four sub-fields for indicating the place of an event such as birth, marriage and death. Some programs do not clearly separate the sub-fields. In PAF 5 below the Personal field there is Events. Here there are spaces for Birth: date, and below the place. This is the same for Christening, Death, and Burial. When entering places use the following format:
A completed field will look like this:
If any event places are not known, just leave the field (or space) blank. For events that took place in Canada or the United States, you should not have problems with these fields. Remember to capitalize the first letter of the name. When filling in the "county" field, do not use the abbreviation "Co" or "co" after the name of the county. Use the name only. (You may use the abbreviations "twp" for a township.) If you do not know the county name, leave this field blank. (You can find the county name in the zip code book at your post office.) This field should be left blank for events in Canada. Under the state or province field, do not use the standard, postal code two-letter abbreviation. Instead spell out the name of the state or province completely. For someone born in the U.S.A., you may use U.S.A. in "Field 4." This is the only abbreviation you should use in any place field. Otherwise spell out every place to the best of your ability.
In seeking to maintain uniformity and to facilitate future research, we are taking some liberties in place name designations, especially with the county field.
If the village has both a German and a Russian name, use the English transliteration of the German name only. Do not use the dialect spelling of a name (Denhof, Gliksthal) but rather the standard spelling of the name (Doenhof, Glueckstal). If the village has only a Russian name, use the English transliteration of the Cyrillic name, not the German transliteration as found on the Stumpp maps. For example:
There are various systems for transliterating from Cyrillic to Roman letters. AHSGR uses the system adopted by the U.S. Board of Standard Names. On file at AHSGR we have the seven-volume gazetteer published by the U.S. Board of Standard Names showing the transliterated spellings. This gazetteer has been extremely useful in determining the names (as of 1970) of the former German villages still in existence. If you are in doubt about the spelling of your ancestral village, contact AHSGR and we will give you our preferred spelling and the preferred place field designations.
State / Province
Again, this is a field with some variations. We have decided to use the names of the Stumpp maps (English transliteration where applicable), such as Bessarabia, Odessa, Zaporozhye, Dnepropetrovsk, Nikolaev, Caucasus, Crimea, Volga, Volhynia U (Ukraine Volhynia) or Volhynia P (Polish Volhynia), etc. Do not give any of these provinces the title "Ukraine" unless the event took place after 1991. Because this field will be one of the main criteria for searches, it is necessary that this field always be completed.
These variations are in keeping with historical designations, but have been adapted to meet AHSGR’s needs.
If at any time you have a question about spelling or how to fill out these four fields, please ask. You may telephone, e-mail, or send a self-addressed, stamped postcard or envelope for your answer. We do ask that you spell out all place fields completely to the best of your ability and do not use abbreviations (with the exception of U.S.A.).
Put your name and address in this frame so the information will be printed on any sheets printed from the diskette. Please also indicate your name, address, and SEN on the label of the diskette, as well as UPDATE if the data is an update to data currently held at AHSGR.
We realize the importance of documentation. Quite often your documentation is contained in your notes and we will store your notes and source documentation material with your individual GEDCOM. We are happy to serve as an outside repository for your genealogical information and your notes and sources may be included on the diskette you send to us.
Sample Place Fields
Home | Organization | News | Chapters | Find Your Ancestors | Villages | Products | Services | German-Russian Info | Get Involved | Conventions | Story Contest | Contact Us
Send mail to
Webmaster with functionality questions
or comments about this web site.
Copyright © American Historical Society of Germans from Russia