Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Whatever happened to FHISO?

It may be that there is lot going on beneath the surface but we haven't heard a lot lately from the Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO). In checking their website I noted that the last posting was dated back in July, 2013 and that the last couple of posts seemed to be concerned with personnel issues. Since I wrote recently about the status of GEDCOM X, I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at FHISO also especially since I got comments to that effect.

First of all, quoting from their website:
Family History Information Standards Organisation is a community-driven organisation established for the purpose of developing genealogy and family history information standards on a modern platform that is
  • Open
  • Multi-stakeholder
  • International
  • Self-governing
  • Balanced
At least part of the FHISO organization (they spell their word "organisation" using English spelling) has been very vocal, FHISO organiser Tony Proctor of the Parallax View blog, has been posting regularly about the issues surrounding genealogical data standardization. From my perspective, Tony almost seems to be the lone voice in the wilderness with about the right mixture of computer programmer and genealogist.

Consistent with my previous views on the subject of genealogical data standardization, I think that practical implementation speaks louder than words. There is no question that an agreement between two or more major genealogical database providers for standards in the method of file transfer would speak louder than all the discussion going on. I just thought it would be a good idea to weigh in on this subject from time to time. I would love to hear that progress is being made.


  1. I thought about this recently also... they appointed a leader, Drew Smith, and everything is quiet.

    GEDCOM is only one of the standards they were going to work on. Seems to me that GEDCOM X will eventually be the default standard if there is no other option. All of the software guys will go for it (and some have already with Certified Share to the FSFT). Will Ancestry, or MyHeritage? They both have agreements with FS now.

    1. I am not sure as to the extent of the sharing agreements with the and I guess we will have to see what happens and deduce the agreements from the sharing.

  2. Hi James,

    Progress in FHISO since July has indeed been going on, although it's the type of progress that has to do with creating a foundation for the organisation. Things like moving the website to a more collaborative platform (necessary for the work of FHISO), updating filings with state government agencies (the usual paperwork), and advertising to fill a few vacant board positions (such as the Co-coordinator for the Technical Standing Committee). It's all important work for FHISO, but not especially flashy. So all I can ask of everyone is: Stay tuned. Drew Smith, FHISO Chair

    1. I figured you folks were out there. I just thought you might need some equal time with GEDCOM X.

  3. Thanks for the mention James but I'd just like to clarify that although I was an organising member of FHISO, neither my blog nor STEMMA are connected with them.

    1. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow.