Why is it called GEDCOM X? I guess that it got a name early on because someone at FamilySearch said "We really need to improve the current GEDCOM Standard to incorporate modern genealogy software features," funding the project, and then while thinking that through, the need for the New FamilySearch API arose, and that morphed into FamilySearch Family Tree and someone at FamilySearch said "Let's make GEDCOM X do both functions, and maybe it will become the standard for the industry."
Will GEDCOM X be a standard? It will be if the genealogy data providers (e.g., Ancestry, MyHeritage, FindMyPast, etc.), the online family tree providers, and genealogy software providers adopt and use the API for competitive and commercial reasons. If they want to interface with the FamilySearch Family Tree, they will have to adopt it. I can see all genealogy providers being able to handle both the current GEDCOM file structure and the GEDCOM X structure to transfer family tree information from one platform to another. This is truly and example of "Build it, and they will come!"
The big issue for me, and for many others, is how the accuracy, completeness and format of genealogical data will be transferred between platforms. I think that the most difficult issue is source citations, since each software company and online family tree site has created their own custom fields for source citations using the Evidence! Explained models, and reading those from one platform to another using GEDCOM often creates a mess that is not easily rectified. I think that most of the other GEDCOM issues are more easily resolved.
My conclusion is that FamilySearch has created a de facto standard for transferring genealogical data from one platform to another, and that the other genealogical industry entities will accept that standard and use it. Hopefully, FamilySearch will be open to suggestions and modifications suggested by companies and researchers to add features and resolve problems as they arise.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/06/gedcom-x-matures-into-familysearch-api.html
Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver