XYFT is your answer
XY Family Tree has been around since 2004. It uses CSV files to store data. XYFT works in much the same way as XY Family Tree, but is a significant step forward in providing data open to use by other apps or simply editing with a text editor.
There is a page dealing with character set problems when importing GEDCOM. This page shows how you can use almost any GEDCOM file as a starting point if you know how to deal with its BOM! This is a bit technical but easily solved.
There is much written about GEDCOM using XML but all attempts to move from the original GEDCOM seem to have floundered. GEDCOM is very prescriptive and has a data model designed to fulfil obligations to one church, the LDS. If you’re not a Mormon, as most people aren’t, why use THEIR data model? The LDS data model requires a “believed reality” rather than the actual reality and defines a data format that is now obsolete (last version 1995). The “believed reality” (and sometimes, adjusted reality) is then passed on and the facts are lost. Ask any normal database designer to make a family tree database and NONE would come up with the GEDCOM model.
XYFT is not prescriptive and allows you to build a secular family tree in logical steps. XYFT does not use a complicated technical spec. Just try it. It is very flexible.
Please explore the pages and make comments. With your help this could be a route to sanity.