I maintain my genealogical information using the Family Tree Maker program from Broderbund. It is easy to use, and has a good feature set to assist you in your genealogical search. There are also a handful of other genealogy utilities available on the web as shareware or demo's, like David Eppstein's Gene.
Whatever program you use, it should have the ability to export your data into a file format called "GEDCOM". Most genealogical databases will export GEDCOM format data. The GEDCOM file format is actually just a very structured ASCII format. Each line consists of three parts: a number indicating connection to other lines, a tag identifying the info on the line, and finally the information. It's fairly incomprehensible to read, but fortunately you don't have to. Those same databases that can export files as GEDCOM can read them and automatically load them into your database. So, you might say that GEDCOM is the universal currency of genealogy transactions.
Most programs will export your data into a GEDCOM (GED) format. You can then send this data in various ways. The first is just to attach it to your email and transmit it to the receiving party. This sometimes meets with varied levels of success. Problems with this method are most often associated with the various "gateway" (translation devices) your email must past through between sender and receiver. Another method that has a higher success rate is to first "zip" your file. This requires a program to do the "zipping". "Zipped" files have been compressed to make them smaller. This requires "zipping" at the sending end and "unzipping" at the receiving end. These Zip programs can be downloaded from many shareware sites on the Web.
If you are using Family Tree Maker (FTM) and wish to send me your family information, you may send it in FTW format. Using FTM to send your family records that pertain to any surnames mentioned here follow these steps.
1. Select the highest ancestoral order from the Index. Highlight that name and select FamPg
2. Select Outline to get a descendant outline report.
3. Select File, Copy/|Export Individuals in the Descendant Outline Tree.
4. Export this either into the GED or FTW format.
5. Zip it and send via e-mail
Please zip your GEDCOM files prior to transmittal.