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May 28, 2009 at 3:52 AM

Is the .familyx extension supposed to be a strictly XML file or not?  Based on what I've seen, it has binary stuff outside of the XML thereby making it uneditable by hand.

May 30, 2009 at 1:18 PM
Edited Dec 28, 2009 at 11:11 AM


A *.familyx file is basically a compressed archive i.e. a *.zip file but using a *.familyx extension.  If you rename to .zip and extract the contents, you will see a file called content.xml and various other files and folders relating to packaging of images and stories in the file.

So in answer to your query:

  • A *.familyx file is a compressed archive.
  • The content.xml file is a proper xml file compressed in the *.familyx file which stores all the data regarding your tree.

Editing by hand should be done with care, basically, so long as you only edit simple data fields in the content.xml file you should be OK. Then recompress the extracted contents to *.zip and rename extension to *.familyx.  However, be warned that if you make a single mistake, it may cause the program to crash, or the tree simply won't load.

Hope that helps.

May 31, 2009 at 4:25 PM

That can't be true since if you open up the familyx file in Notepad, most of the file is readable.  If it was a zip file then most of it would be gibberish.

Jun 1, 2009 at 9:53 AM
Edited Dec 28, 2009 at 11:10 AM

Other users on this forum have also confirmed the structure.  Whether you can see any text in a compressed file is purely coincidental.  If you zip it with Power Archiver, it looks like gibberish, however *.familyx files tend to show a large amount of the content.xml file as text if you open a familyx file in notepad. shows the structure of such a file for reference.

Jun 1, 2009 at 2:24 PM

Just finished researching content.xml in ZIP.  According to, the content.xml file in ZIP says what to encrypt and what not to.  It would seem that the Family XML file is left alone to allow users to manually edit it.  That is tricky and a little dangerous.

Dec 27, 2009 at 5:06 PM

Which compression utility tool is compatible with Family.Show? I used Winzip 12 (the free version) and when I de-compressed back to .familyx the files size is smaller than the original without modifying any of the internal contents familyx.

Has anyone tried to extract the code for compressing and de-compressing and creating a utility simply for the use with familyx files?


Dec 28, 2009 at 11:08 AM
Edited Dec 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM

I tried with PowerArchiver 2010 and also with the tools available in Windows.  I expect that only the ZIP compression is compatible.  Also in the latest source, there was a utility to extract the contents of a *.familyx file under Save>Extract Contents...

Hope that helps.

Dec 28, 2009 at 4:11 PM

The familyx file is a “simple” rar file. If you drop tit on winrar it will open in a folder with a xlm file and a couple of folders with attachments and pictures.

But repacking it back it’s just a NoNo. I’ve unpacked and repacked without any change. The program refuses to load it! The difference is only in the “_rels” folder. The file inside, “.rels”, shrinks and becomes smaller, much smaller. Unraring it after the first raring gives a file just the same as the previous, size and contents. Maybe if you add it to the rar file without any rarshrinking, (is that possible?) the program accepts it allowing other interventions.

I’ve, once, messed with the xml file, just to clean some relationships hard to modify in the program… It took only a few tries to get back to the program and “do the thing” the proper way.

It doesn't help, I know, but that's my experience.


Dec 29, 2009 at 11:13 AM

I expect the rar format behaves differently to zip, especially as it uses a different compression algorithm with compresses the data to a greater extent than zip.  The _rels folder is unmodified when I decompress and then recompress, with edits to the content.xml using the method explained above.  I've fixed several users files using this method and they were always able to open their files afterwards.

The other thing to check is that you have the same file structure in the zip file after recompression i.e.>folders.  Some software will create a file>foldername>folders which is incorrect for Family.Show.


Dec 30, 2009 at 1:32 AM
Edited Dec 30, 2009 at 1:40 AM

Hi elyoh!

I've tried PowerArchiver 2010 and it did for me.