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GEDCOM 5.5 Torture Test Files

The following download contains some files that use every tag in GEDCOM 5.5 in every possible location. These files can be used to test GEDCOM importing and exporting of applications that claim to support GEDCOM. To test importing, read the files using an application's GEDCOM importing option and then compare the decoded data to the actual data in the file. To test exporting, use an application's GEDCOM exporting option and then compare the exported GEDCOM file to the original GEDCOM file. You can test web site creation as discussed below in section 3. There are many more details in the ReadMe.txt file included in the downloaded files that describe the contents of the download.

GEDitCOM Download Size (kB) Updated
Download GEDCOM Torture Test Files 648 18 FEB 2003

GEDCOM Verification

  • These test files have been verified as 100% valid GEDCOM. The files were checked with the GEDCOM utility GEDCHK.EXE and with the grammar checking feature of GEDitCOM.
  • There are some places where these torture files test extensions to standard GEDCOM multimedia file links. The GEDCOM standard mentions only a few multimedia file formats (in the FORM tag). These files try additional multimedia file links simply by setting the FORM tag to specify the appropriate file format. One such extension is to let FORM have a value of URL and let the FILE tag specify a URL address. Three of these test links use email addresses which have single @ signs. GEDCHK.EXE flags these single @ signs as violating the GEDCOM standard of outputting @ signs using pairs of @ signs (@@). They have been left as single @ signs in the files because they are part of email URLs.

Tests of Web Site Creation

One use of the test files is to try to create a web site from them. The two options are to use the various tools that directly convert a GEDCOM file to a web site or to import the files into any genealogy application that has web-site creation options.

One sample web site is posted here. This web site was created by GEDitCOM. This application has customizable exporting which can create web sites. The export style used for this web site was not intended to insert 100% of the GEDCOM data into the web site. It does, however, get most of the data. Specifically, it includes all individuals, all families, all sources, all events and attributes, all notes, and all linked URLs, jpeg or gif images, movies, or PDF documents. GEDitCOM can be customized to export more and alternative results may be posted in the future.

After testing web site creation tools, it is a good idea to make sure that process created valid HTML file. You can check any files for validity using the free HTML Validation Service. All files in the sample web site from GEDitCOM are valid.

Tests of GEDCOM Support in Various Genealogy Applications

In the future, some results of using these files to test GEDCOM support of various genealogy applications may be posted on this web site. Anyone interested in contributing to the tests can send email to john@geditcom.com.


A few people pointed out some GEDCOM errors in the first posted files. All known errors have been fixed in the currently posted files. The previous errors were

  1. Incorrect use of SOUR tag in OBJE Record.
  2. SOUR tag subordinate to a NOTE structure that was different than just a single link to a SOURCE record was fixed.
  3. The BLOB data in the only OBJE Record started the encoded data on the BLOB line. That data now starts on the first subordinate CONT line.


These test files were extended from similar test files found on the Internet and then used while developing the genealogy application GEDitCOM for the Macintosh. The test files were instrumental in developing GEDitCOM to fully support GEDCOM file. GEDitCOM can read every tag in these files with no loss of data. It can write (or export) a new file that is identical to the original file.

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Last Updated: 30 OCT 2007