The "Flat" File Format
The "Flat" file format is designed to cater for datasets stored in a database or
spreadsheet with all data for each entry on a single line (hence the name
Data submitted in this format is first translated into the
standard format, a fact which shouldn't affect you, but
seems worth mentioning anyway.
The essence of the flat format is that, so long as all required data is
available, it can be submitted in almost any layout. A line at the top of the
file defines what goes where.
Note that the format exported by packages such as Excel and Access, known
as CSV, is supported by FreeBMD, even though we don't document it
explicitly here - quotes are allowed around fields.
Example of Flat File Format
This example is taken from sample data kindly provided by John Verge.
Each file must start with two lines. First is the info line, which is
exactly the same as the dataset info line in the standard
format. The second is the format line, described below.
The format line consists of +FORMAT followed by a list of column
Each column type may have alternate names, which are shown in brackets after
the standard name.
- The surname of the subject of the entry.
- FirstNames (FirstName,Forename)
- The first names of the subject of the entry.
- OtherName optional
- If present, this is appended to the firstnames field.
- The district in which the event was registered.
- The volume number in which the event appears.
- The page number of the event.
- The date (month) registered. Ignored before 1984
- The quarter of the entry (i.e. Mar, Jun, Sep or Dec). You can use
QuarterNumber instead. Ignored from 1984
- The number of the quarter of the entry (in the range 1-4, 1 is Mar and so
on). You can use Quarter instead. Ignored from 1984
- The year of the entry.
- Type (Event) optional
- The event type - one of:
N.B. Event types cannot be mixed in a single file.
This field is therefore only useful as a crosscheck.
- B or BIRTH.
- M or MARRIAGE.
- D or DEATH.
Additional Optional Columns
- AgeAtDeath optional
- The age at death (death events only, of course).
- DateOfBirth optional
- The date of birth (death events only, replaces AgeAtDeath from 1969).
- Mother optional
- Mother's (maiden) name (birth events only).
- Spouse optional
- Spouse's surname (marriage events only).
- FicheRange optional
- The range of surnames covered by the fiche this entry was on.
- FicheNumber optional
- The number of the fiche this entry was on.
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