Indexed GEDCOM Method

for Genweb Authoring


The Indexed GEDCOM Method (IGM) is a powerful and flexible method for formatting and presenting genealogical data on the Internet. It employs CGI scripts to operate on an ordinary GEDCOM file in order to index it, and also to format various reports and charts in response to user requests.

Once the GEDCOM is indexed, users can access the automatically generated HTML index files or use the built-in search engine to find the person they are interested in. When they request information on any person in the database, the Web Server generates an HTML file containing all available information about that person, and sends that HTML file back to the user. The generated page contains links to request customized pedigree or descendancy charts for the subject of interest, to request a downloaded GEDCOM centered on the person, and to add a link to information about this person anywhere else on the web.

An important thing to note is that the HTML file sent to the user is generated on the fly at the time of the request. This approach allows much greater flexibility in formatting information than methods which rely on a fixed set of pre-generated static webpages.

All of the scripts which make up the Indexed GEDCOM Method, IGMMak, IGMMake, IGMLivng, IGMGet, IGMFind, IGMSrch, IGMLink, IGMPed, IGMDesc, IGMGed, IGMPedTree, IGMDescTree, IGMLib, and IGMIni are written in the Perl programming language and can be modified, provided that the original copyright information is not removed or modified.



The IGM programs are fairly straightforward to install and use. No programming experience is needed. However, to get them up and running will require a minimal level of familiarity with editing text files on your own computer and with uploading and downloading files from your web hosting provider. Detailed instructions are provided (see links below) which should walk you through all the steps of setting up your site.

  1. To use these files, you will need an account with a web hosting provider which allows you to run user-written CGI scripts in the PERL language. If you are not sure whether this is the case, contact your web hosting provider.
  2. Download the IGM programs by clicking on the link below.
    Download IGM Suite
    It will be most convenient if you create a directory to save them to. The scripts are in the form of a self-extracting ZIP file called igm.exe.
  3. Unpack the scripts by running the file igm.exe. The files making up the IGM program suite will be unpacked into the same directory the ZIP file is in.
  4. Download and print the detailed setup instructions. These instructions are more than 10 pages long, which may be intimidating, or make it appear as if this is a complicated program, but it really isn't. These instructions are very detailed, and should walk you through the process step-by-step. The goal is to get you up and running on the first try.
  5. If you plan to add photographs to your database, download and print the instructions for adding photographs.
  6. If you want to add your database to the master Gendex database of databases, download instructions here.

Original Programs Copyright 1996 by Tim Doyle
Some programs Copyright 1996 by Randy Winch
Some programs Copyright 1999 by Doug Macdonald <>