Facts and Events

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The naming conventions in Gedcom standard have „Events” and „Facts” (sometimes called „Attributes”). They can both apply to individuals and families. The conceptual difference between events and facts is that Events occur at a definite point in time (while the point may extend as far as a day), while Facts are either extended in time, or don't have a specific time attached to them. The real life and the reality of information gathering blurs somewhat this distinction. An example of a definite Event is birth, which occurs at a specific time and place (even if date or place is unknown, we expect this to be self-evident). A definite Fact could be Number of Children for an individual or family: we usually do not assign a date to such number. However, if you describe the education, you can use the „Education” Fact extended in time, or „Graduation” Event, or both. A person's medal or distinction can be described as fact of having or as event of receiving this medal or distinction, etc.

Facts and Events are designated in Gedcom by Tags - short, 4 character labels that are visible in the Gedcom file, and by descriptive names. There is a number of pre-defined Events tags, like Birth (BIRT) for individual or Marriage (MARR) for family, and a generic „Event” (EVEN) tag. There is also a number of pre-defined Facts (Attributes) like Residence (RESI) or Number Of Children (NCHI), and a generic „Fact” (FACT) tag. There can be also non-standard tags, some of which are used in PGV, for example Military (_MILI); they are preceded by an underline character to distinguish them from standard tags. If possible, try to use the available, pre-defined tags (standard or non-standard), as there is a better chance that they will be understood by PGV and processed by other software that may use the Gedcom file, and resort to generic FACT or EVEN only if existing tags won't do.

Events and facts can aply to an individual, family or both. Family events and facts are displayed by PGV for both spouses (but not for children). The Administrator can configure the system to select the facts and events you can add, and whether multiples can be added.

When entering a fact and event you are presented with a list of fields (tags), to fill. The commonly encountered elements are described separately, and will not be repeated here except to indicate the differences.

Life and death

Birth (BIRT)
You should include as much details as possible for the birth event: date and time, place, address, and all associates. Birth was often recorded together with christening, see the Christening event.
Death (DEAT)
Record here all details of death, date, place, etc. You can also record the cause of death and age at death, useful if exact date is not known.
Burial (BURI)
Record the burial details. Cementery can be added as (non-standard) tag; you can also put cemetary as the most detailed element of Place data.
Cremation (CREM)
Cremation has its own tag, with similar details as Burial (except for cementery)

Family related

Number of Children (NCHI)
Sometimes the number of children is known, but not their names (or not all of them). Put here the total number irrespective of listing some of them. When zero is used, it indicates childless family or person. When applied to an individual, designates the total number of children of this person. When applied to a family, it is the total number of children in this family.
Number of Marriages (NMR)
Indicates the number of marriages for this individual. Not necessary if all the marriages are known and described in the database. Use zero to indicate that the person never married.
Adoption (ADOP)
The adoption event applies to individual (adoptee), and allows you to specify if the husband, wife or both adopted the child. In addition to the adoption event, you should record the role of the child (Pedigree:adopted) when adding him/her to a family.


Marriage (MARR)
For married couple, the marriage event should be added, even if no details are known (only the „yes” checkbox is checked then). You can add marriage details (time, place, address stc) and indicate the type of marriage if known – a list is provided:
  • Civil marriage
  • Religious marriage
  • Registered partnership
Selecting Religious marriage, Civil Marriage or Registered Partnership from the list is equivalent to selecting the type of marriage as above.
Divorce (DIV)
Note here the event of dissolving a marriage - typically through civil action.

Other events related to marriage; some of them, like Announcement and Bann or Settlement and Contract appear to duplicate each other, usually it is sufficient to select one of them:

Engagement (ENGA)
Recording or announcing an agreement between two people to become married.
Marriage Bann (MARB)
An official public notice given that two people intend to marry.
Marriage License (MARL)
An event of obtaining a legal license to marry.
Marriage Settlement (MARS)
An agreement between two people contemplating marriage, at which time they agree to release or modify property rights that would otherwise arise from the marriage.
Marriage Contract (MARC)
Recording a formal agreement of marriage, including the prenuptial agreement in which marriage partners reach agreement about the property rights of one or both, securing property to their children.
Divorce Filled (DIVF)
Filing for a divorce by a spouse.
Annulment (ANUL)
Declaring a marriage void from the beginning.

Lifetime achievements and facts

Residence (RESI)
A preferred way of entering the address data for individual or family. You can indicate, when person or family lived at this location or, for current residence, only the starting point (from...). Enter Place using the rules for place names, and the following fields if known:
Address (ADDR)
Fax number (FAX)
Phone number (PHON)
Email address (EMAI)
Web page (WWW)
PGV allows you also to add the above tags in non-standard way, as personal attributes (not as sub-tags of the Residence fact), and will display them if found in Gedcom file. While not strictly following standards, it is sometimes useful to attach data like email and cell phone number to a person, not location (Residence), since they tend to move around with a person rather than stay with an address.
Education (EDUC)
The education data (fact) for individual. The Education tag is used to describe the education level (high School, university etc.). Enter the name of the school in the Agency field, add dates (From...To) and Address if known.
Graduation (GRAD)
The graduation event accepts the Type tag describing the level, Agency for school name and Address. As for all events, enter the date of graduation.
Occupation (OCCU)
The Occuation fact describes the occupation and/or job for individual. The Occupation tag is used to escribe the occupation name or jub title, Agency tag contains the name of the employer, with address, phone etc. tags available as well. Use date interval to indicate the term of employment or occupation.
Retirement (RETI)
Describes the Retirement event, using date, Agency for employer name, and place data.
Military (_MILI)
A general fact or event used to describe any military involvement, campaing, service etc. Use the Military and Type tags to describe the event or fact, Agency to descibe the military unit pertaining to the fact. This is a non-standard tag.
Physical Description (DSCR)
The physical description of a person (e.g. Tall, dark and handsome or Brown Hair, Blue Eyes, Height 165 cm) in lieu of photograph of a portrait. A date can be attached to this fact to indicate the time the description was in effect.

National / government

Nationality (NATI)
Enter the national or tribal origin of the individual here.
Imigration (IMMI)
Defined in the Gedcom as „an event of entering into a new locality with the intent of residing there”, may also be used independently of the intent, if the fact of residence in another place was established. Supply the date of the event and the (first) new place of residence. See also Emigration.
Emigration (EMIG)
Defined in the Gedcom as „an event of of leaving one's homeland with the intent of residing elsewhere.”. Linked with Emigration, can be described as either. For Emigration, supply the date of leaving the country of origin, and possibley the place (e.g .port) of departure.
Naturalization (NATU)
Record here the date and place of the event of obtaining a (new) citizenship.
Census (CENS)
Census is the periodic count of the population for a nation or state. Note here when and were the census count, applicable to the person or family, took place; you can also add an Address and age of the individual if mentioned in census document. Census documents are valuable search tools, and they are usually also desribed as Sources of personal data.
Social Security Number (SSN)
United States Social Security number, commonly used an national ID number for individuals. By default it is hidden from all but the Administrators, and is not shown in the PGV display. As all others, this setting is configurable.
National ID Number (IDNO)
A nationally-controlled number assigned to an individual; requires a Type to define national system and type of the ID. The US Social Security has its own tag (see SSN above). If used, privacy settings can be applied to hide it from view.

Earthly posessions and titles

Property (PROP)
This is the place to list real estate and other significant possessions of an individual. Construed as „Fact”, but can also be used as an „Event” of acquiring such possesion. The Property field is used to list the property (properties) being described.
Title (TITL)
Used to enter the title given to (or used by) a person, typically of noble class, royalty etc. Prince, Duke, Marquis, Baron, Rajah, Emir are just few examples of this vast domain of nobility ranks.
Will (WILL)
Notes an existence of the will - a legal document, by which a person disposes of his or her estate, to take effect after death. It is treated as an „Event”: enter date and place of signing the document. See also Probate.
Probate (PROB)
If the court determined that the Will is valid, note the fact here. Put a date of final determination, and note any intermediate court proceedings in Notes)

Religious and social

As the Gedcom standard was originally created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), it is perhaps not surprising that many of the events describe the christian rites and ordinances. With some creativity, however, one can use them to record events and rites in other religies as well.

Religious afiliation (RELI)
Name of religion with which the person is affiliated. Can be used as a „Fact” or as „Event” - in the second case supply the date when the affiliation occured (in infancy or later in life).
Christening (CHR)
Christening is a ceremony of baptizing and naming a child. Naming of a child appears to be universal in most cultures, and one can use this tag (possibly with an added Type) to indicate Jewish Zeved Habat or Brit Milah, Hindu Namskaran Samskar, Chinese Red Egg or Egyptian Sebou. See Wikipedia entries for Infant baptism,and for Naming ceremony. Enter date and place of the event.
Baptism (BAPM)
Baptism is a is the sacramental act of cleansing in water (that typically also admits one as a full member of the church). While a principal rite of Christianity, it has roots and equivalents in other cultures, and can be used as such.
Adult Christening (CHRA)
The religious event of baptizing an adult person – see baptism entry in Wikipedia.
Bar Mitzvah (BARM)
Coming of age event and ceremony held when a Jewish boy reaches age 13.
Bas Mitzvah (BASM)
Coming of age event and ceremony held when a Jewish girl reaches age 13.
Blessing (BLES)
A religious event of bestowing divine care or intercession. Blessing is a universal term and is applicable to many cultures and faiths.
First Communion (FCOM)
A Christian rite, the first act of sharing in the Lord's supper as part of church worship.
Ordination (ORDN)
The process by which individuals are consecrated, that is set apart as clergy to perform various religious rites and ceremonies in Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism etc.
Ordinance (ORDI)
Enter other religious facts and events under this heading.
Confirmation (CONF)
The religious event in many Christian churches of conferring the gift of the Holy Ghost and, among protestants, full church membership.
Caste (CAST)
A name assigned to a particular group (racial group, religious group, a group with an inherited status etc.) that this person was associated with.

LDS specfic events

Read more in the Wikipedia articles about the LDS church and the sealing ceremonies.

LDS Child Sealing (SLGC)
Sealing of a child to his or her parents in an LDS temple ceremony.
LDS Spouse Sealing (SLGS)
Sealing of a husband and wife in an LDS temple ceremony.
LDS Babtism ([[BAPL)
Baptism performed at age eight or later by priesthood authority of the LDS Church.
LDS Confirmation (CONL)
The religious event by which a person receives membership in the LDS Church.
LDS Endowment (ENDL)
An endowment ordinance for an individual performed in an LDS temple.


There are two generic tags, unsurprisingly called Fact and Event.

Fact (FACT)
Any fact that does not have its own definition. Requires a Type (TYPE) subordinate tag to specify the type of fact, while the Event tag contains the fact name.
Event (EVEN)
Any event that does not have its own definition. Requires a Type (TYPE) subordinate tag to specify the type of fact. You can add date and place to the generic Event.

In addition to generic fact and event, many genealogy programs define the custom tags. The tags that are not recognized by PGV will still be displayed, but marked as an error. The Administrator can change this behaviour, and also configure non standard tags to be recognized by PGV, see Non-standard GEDCOM codes.