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Technical Work

The mission of the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO) is to develop open and international standards to benefit the genealogical community.

Our current focus is a suite of standards on Citation Elements to provide an extensible framework and vocabulary for encoding information about genealogical sources that normally appears in formatted citations. These standards will include bindings for both GEDCOM and GEDCOM-X. Because GEDCOM is unmaintained and has only an ad hoc extension mechanism, we are developing a Extended Legacy Format (ELF) that is fully compatible with GEDCOM, but with the addition of a structured extensibility mechanism.

The Technical Standing Committee (TSC) is responsible for coordinating the organisation’s technical work which is currently proceeding in a under a simplified governance structure. At present the TSC has three members:

We can be contacted by email at

Get involved

We welcome participation from anyone, whether or not a member of FHISO, who is willing to abide by our code of conduct.

Keep in touch

We recommend that all interested parties subscribe to the tsc-announce mailing list, which is a read-only low volume list where technical announcements are posted by the TSC.

Join the work

Over the last year, the TSC have been hammering out the technical details needed of our Citation Elements and ELF standards. We are happy to announce that several drafts have reached the point where we would like to encourage comment and feedback from interested parties. The tsc-public mailing list is the preferred place for discussing this work.

Current priorities for technical work are outlined in the priorities document and discussed in detail in the strategy document. These documents will be updated as opportunities, resources, and member interest change.

Submit papers

The FHISO is operating a call for papers. This is our preferred means of receiving technical proposals, suggestions for functional requirements, or other detailed comment of the technical work of the TSC. In due course we aim to consider all the suggestions made in these papers and respond to them, but this will take time.

Contribute to our bibliography

We are maintaining an informal bibliography of material that might be useful to our standardisation work. Please email with suggestions of what else should be included.