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A property if a piece of information describing a characteristic of an entity.

A property consists essentially of two elements: its name, identified by a TAG, and its VALUE.



Let's consider the following three properties.

  • City : London
  • City : Paris
  • City : Rome

These three properties share the same name (City), but have different values: London, Paris and Rome.

The City is coded in the Gedcom file by the tag CITY, in capital letters.



The Gedcom standard defines a large number of genealogical properties.

Each of these properties is identified by a Tag, which make each of them unique and unambiguous.

Here are some examples of properties and their tags between parenthesis.

  • Name (tag NAME)
  • Date (tag DATE)
  • Place (tag PLAC)
  • Note (tag NOTE) - here we mean the NOTE property, not the NOTE entity.
  • Sex (tag SEX)
  • Birth (tag BIRT)
  • Marriage (tag MARR)
  • Death (tag DEAT)
  • Occupation (tag OCCU)
  • Religion (tag RELI)
  • Residence (tag RESI)

For more details:

  • For the properties available in a Gedcom file, see the Tags page
  • About Dates, please read the Date page.
  • About Places, please read the Places page.
  • About Events, please read the Events page.



In the Gedcom file, properties always keep the same structure and follow strictly the same syntax rules.

In Ancestris, properties exactly correspond to the Gedcom properties, but they may look different depending on the view that displays them.

Properties in the Gedcom file

Each line of the Gedcom file is a property.

Each property line has the following format:

  • Number Tag Value

Number is the hierarchical level of the property as described in the Gedcom page.


2 DATE 27 SEP 1601

The first item is the number 2, indicating the level of the row in the record entity.

The second element is the DATE tag, indicating that the property is a date.

The third element is the value of the date (27 SEP 1601).

Therefore, the whole line means that the date of the genealogical element above this line, is September 27, 1601.

Properties in the Gedcom editor

The Gedcom editor displays property lines in a manner quite similar to that of the Gedcom file: one line per property, containing the tag followed by its value.

However, the following differences exist.

  • The editor does not display the entire Gedcom file, but only one entity at a time: the ID number and the category of this entity appear on the first line, at the top
  • To the left of the label (tag), there is a symbol in the form of a mini-icon referring to the nature of the tag. The mini-icons added to the tree view make it much easier to read compared to the raw Gedcom file.
  • The editor does not display the line numbers, but represents them in a tree structure, with a more or less pronounced indentation depending on the situation of each line in the hierarchy. These lines are also provided with handles, which can  expand or hide the subdivisions of a particular branch.

    Properties in the other editors

    In editors, properties are displayed in the user's language.

    In the Aries and Cygnus editors, neither the labels, nor the lines, nor their tree structure appear: the name of each field, more explicit than a simple tag, simply invites the user to fill it in, as we fill in a form.

    Properties in the Entities Table

    In the Entity Table, each row represents an entity, and each column represents a property.

    It is possible to configure the Table in order to choose the properties to display.

    Properties displayed in windows

    Other windows display properties, and allow them to be viewed, printed or edited (Navigator, Dynamic tree, etc.).