GenWeb Indexed GEDCOM Method

for Genweb Authoring

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The Indexed GEDCOM Method is simple to operate and to use. When a new or updated GEDCOM is to be made available, the program IGMMak is run. This program creates an index file as well as several HTML index files. This process takes about 1-2 minutes to index a 7,000+ person GEDCOM file, although this may vary based upon the system you are using.

Once the GEDCOM is indexed by IGMMak, users can access the automatically generated HTML index files to find the person they are interested in. When they request information on any person in the database, the HTML index instructs the Web Server to run the IGMGet program. IGMGet opens the GEDCOM and goes directly to the person directed. It then loads all of the information for that person and his/her family, generates an HTML file, and sends it back to the user.

The HTML files allow the user to search the database either by a range of names, or by an every surname index. The user can also search names and places with the IGMSrch program or the ENTIRE GEDCOM for any text with the program IGMFind.

An added feature is the ability for users to submit 'links' to other databases on the web for any individual. This is accomplished by the program IGMLink.

All of the scripts, IGMMak, IGMGet, IGMFind, IGMSrch, IGMLink, IGMPed, IGMDesc, IGMGed, 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.


These instructions are very detailed to make it easy for a novice to install. It really is easier than it looks at first glance.

  1. Make sure your system has an http server (and not just an ftp server).
  2. Make sure you have access to the cgi-bin directory on your system or a user cgi-bin directory.
  3. Make sure your system has Perl installed. To do this, type 'perl -v' from the prompt. You'll either get information about the current version of Perl or you'll get a message indicating that Perl was not found. You should also type 'which perl' to find out the directory where perl lives.
  4. Map out your directory structure on paper. This will help you with the installation. My system is as follows:

    I have referenced my directories listed above as examples in the steps below. This should help you in determining exactly which directory the steps are referring to.

  5. Get the IGM Perl scripts.
  6. Unpack the scripts. (pkunzip
  7. Modify the first line of each script (except igmini and igmlib) and replace the top line with the correct path for your perl.
  8. Use an FTP program to place all of the IGM scripts (except IGMMake, IGMMak and IGMLivng) in the cgi-bin directory [/home/gumby/public_html/cgi-bin]. Make sure that they are all set as executable programs (chmod a+x igmget, etc.). You might need to rename the scripts so that your server can execute them (igmget to igmget.cgi or
  9. Create your GenWeb directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb] under your web directory [/home/gumby/public_html].
  10. Place IGMMake, IGMMak, IGMLivng, photo.gif, and back.gif in your GenWeb directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb]. Make sure that IGMMake, IGMMak and IGMLivng are set as executable programs (chmod +x igmmak then chmod +x igmlivng).
  11. Edit IGMIni and change all of the variables to match your system configuration.
  12. Under your genweb directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb], create your database directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb/Winch]. It should have the same name as the name of the GEDCOM that it will hold (Upper/lower case is important). If you will be using the link functions, this directory needs to be world writable (chmod a+w Winch).
  13. Place your GEDCOM [Winch.ged] in your database directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb/Winch].
  14. Using Notepad or edit, create a two line file containing your name on line 1 and your email address on line 2. Place this file in your database directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb/Winch].
  15. Go to your GenWeb directory [/home/gumby/public_html/genweb].
  16. [Optional] Run IGMLivng with the name of your database [IGMLivng Winch]. The program should begin running and should create a new GEDCOM file that has the living people's birth information removed.
  17. Run IGMMak with the name of your database [IGMMak Winch]. The program should begin running and should create the index file and several html files.
  18. [Optional] Add your database to Gendex.
  19. [Optional] Add a link from your home page to the main index [] for your database.
  20. Use any Web browser [Microsoft IE, Netscape, Mosaic, WinWeb, Lynx, etc.] to access the main html for your database [].
  21. Access an individual in your database from the index.
  22. If you want to add more databases, start with step #10 above.
  23. If you want to update your database, start with step #11 above.

Original Programs © Copyright 1996 by Tim Doyle <>

Some programs © Copyright 1996 by Randy Winch <> "

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