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GEDCOM is a standard format for exchanging genealogical information between computer users. You can view a GEDCOM file, but it isn't to readable. You need computer program that can generate/view GEDCOM files. These programs can be found in the computer stores as well as shareware versions from various on-line networks. I personally like Parson's Family Origins for Windows, despite a number of shortcomings. I've tried others, but think this is the best. Hopefully, the new version fixes some old limitations.
If you think you're going to be exchanging a lot of information, by a program. If you might be downloading the work of others, same thing. I recommend it. After learning a few quirks about computers, you'll be glad you did!
On on-line network requests: I can't believe some of the titles such as "Smith, PA". There were gazillions of Smiths and after a short period of time, I stopped reading all but the more obviously relevant postings. I figure that even "Misc families, Tulp TwpBerks, 1780" is more likely to be a hit than the Smith posting. I'd recommend being as specific as possible, including last name, place, and time period. If someone sees that, they'll know if it's worth going further. And this is a courtesy to those paying by the minute to view these lists. That's just my thoughts - the better more thought out request titles will probably get the most positive responses.
And in the body of the posting, don't just say "looking for John Smith of PA"!! Put in more details of the location, as best you know it, and anything else you know. It doesn't cost that much more to type in a few more details like "looking for John Smith. Lived in Pottsville, Schuylkill Co before 1820, moved to Eldred Twp around 1820, married Magdalena Snyder and died in this township in 1852. Born 1802. Looking for his parents probably of Brunswick or Manheim Townships in Schuylkill Co. John was of German descent."
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