Has anyone tried Gramps?

+9 votes


Has anyone tried or is using this program? Do you like it? What are the drawbacks to the program?

in The Tree House by Yvonne Butler G2G3 (3.6k points)
I keep all my research in gramps and use it to contribute to other sites, such as Wikitree. With it, you store everything on your computer. It makes life easy because you don't have to worry about how to resolve disputes and you don't have to pay a thing.

I use Gramps on Linux and highly recommend some using forms. It isn't simple to enable them, but I use forms for things like births, deaths, marriages, and census information. The great thing is that forms cause events to be created on the pages of all parties involved. For instance, the parents get an event created listing them have had the kid, while the kid gets an event created documenting their birth. By doing it like this, parents tend to collect a lot of events and you get a nice way to evaluate the timeline of event for an individual.

I am rambling, but I am willing to answer any question on Gramps.
So if you enter a census, for example, you can make it connect with all the household members, instead of having to manually enter?  How do you do that?  By forms, do you mean the little box that you can click add and it has things like residence, academic, family, etc and you can enter it or is there something different?  The user manual seems virtually worthless.  And I kind of hate the set up... but I want a safe place to stick it all - I'm not planning to pay ancestry forever, after all
Forms are documented here: https://www.gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php/Form_Addons

The only weird part is installing the forms. You do this by creating a Source and setting an attribute within the source called "Form" and enter the name of the form you want to install.

There are lots of forms that are already defined and you need only install them by creating the source. You can see them here.

For instance, I created a source named "United States Census, 1790". I then added an attribute or type Form with the value "US1790". Then when you use the form gramplet on the People or Relationship page, the "United States Census, 1790". You then just click New in the Form gramplet and a window will pop up so you can enter the information. It seems awkward at first, but the form lets you enter all the people from the census and their information.  Hope this helps.
Thank you for that information - could eliminate my biggest frustration. I will give it a try.

I was able to get the add-ons, but I have not been able to figure out how to use it.  I went to source and tried to create one, but all I can do is type in form and it doesn't do anything... I've gone through the instructions repeatedly and can't make any sense of them.  If it's not too much bother, would you mind going step by step once you select adding a source?
Once you have created the source you have to use the forms gramphlet. Add the forms gramphlet to the relationships and/or person page. It works best added to the bottom of the page. Then select the forms gramplet tab. On that gramplet you should see two buttons at the bottom, new and edit. Click the new button to add a new form. A window will pop up says select from. If you correctly created the source for the type of form, then that form should show up. Select it and click okay. Then is is just a matter of filling in the form.

5 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer

I have, and I like it.

It has a pretty steep learning curve and you have to be willing to poke around at it on your own. There's no real good tutorials out there for it in my opinion, or at least, there wasn't when I downloaded it.

That being said...


  • There's a category for everything
  • It can find duplicates you put in
  • It can tell you the relationship between any two people if it exists
  • It can export to most file types
  • It can and does crash (Windows 10) especially if you have more than 6k people in your file
  • It can be a little buggy (windows getting stuck behind other windows that you can't click but need to close in order to go back to the main window)
  • Steep learning curve / little literature on its usage
Personally, I like it and sometimes use it instead of putting a tree up on Ancestry.
by G. Borrero G2G6 Pilot (109k points)
selected by Yvonne Butler
This is why I like WikiTree over GRAMPS. The pros you listed can be applied to WikiTree too. But WikiTree doesn't crash and it's not as buggy. Supposedly WikiTree also has a learn curve (but I would say that is only applicable for those who don't understand how a wiki works), but it has a lot of documentation.

In short, I can't find a good reason to use GRAMPS anymore.

+2 votes
I just started playing with it. I have found no major problems so far but it does have a very steep learning curve. I have transferred most of my files to it for working on my computer. It is another way for me to be sure my work is backed up and less likely to be deleted my any errors, computer or human.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+3 votes
I downloaded Gramps for use on Linux, not Windows or Mac. Transferred GEDCOM files to it from Ancestry.com. Mostly everything did transfer, but not pictures or documents. The document kind of sucks. I was hoping for a complete pdf file. The way it is set up, one needs to be online to access help. I would prefer to have the book nearby. I hope the files can be transferred to WikiTree and/or Family Search.
by Living Mattson G2G Crew (440 points)
Gramps is what I use. I am not sure how you tried to transfer the images and documents. A gedcom won't do that. You have to copy the files to your computer. Gramps is a great way to have a personal copy of your tree that doesn't depend upon a paid subscription.
+1 vote

Gramps is my primary program for managing my data. Currently, I have 10865 individuals, with 9218 unique media objects, mainly scans of primary source documents.

It does have a bit of a learning curve, but is very powerful. As far as I can tell, it implements the full Gedcom 5.5 standard. 

The main piece of advice I can give is to keep a clipboard window open always. Whenever you come across a place, source, citation, or event, drag and drop it into the clipboard, so you can refer to it again easily. 

It has a good website creation feature. You can find my data at http://www.boldts.net/gramps/.

by Hans Boldt G2G1 (1.1k points)
+2 votes
I used GRAMPS in the past. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But I never fully used it, or entered all my information in it.

Then I found WikiTree and have no need for GRAMPS.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (388k points)
I can't speak to your (or anyone else's) individual needs, but one obvious use case where GRAMPS works and WT doesn't is any impediment to Internet access.

Ideally one could envision a GRAMPS that syncs with WikiTree so one upload local changes (with some sort of spam control), but that would be way off in the future.
An impediment to internet access would have been an issue, say 20 years ago. But in these days, it's pretty much ubiquitous, unless you live in a non-developed country.

That's one of the many reasons that I prefer WikiTree. It's in the cloud, and I don't have to worry about storing and backing up my data, or it getting lost.
Not necessarily Eric - those of us with low income and living out in the sticks can not always count on having the web even when we can afford it - the towers go out lightning and so forth

Much of the world's population lives in locations with good enough Internet access to occasionally access a site such as WT but not consistent enough access to assume "always on" connectivity. What's the philosophical rationale for excluding that segment of earth's population from genealogical recordkeeping or from the occasional sync-up with WikiTree when conditions are favorable?

(Some of us who live in higher-income countries also have occasions when we're disconnected, more or less by choice.)

Your original statement is that you see no need for GRAMPS (or presumably for any local DB) and that's fine. But others might have a need.

Remember what we are talking about: Personal opinion about using GRAMPS. We're not talking about generic use cases, or the philosophy of access to genealogical software. As to living out in the sticks and having occasional disruption to internet service, I also lived that too for many years. Personally, I still would not find that an impediment to using WikiTree. I personally find the advantages of WikiTree outweighing the disadvantages of WT or the advantages of any other personal, desktop software.

@Philip, Navarro: I would suggest posting your own answer to this thread, and provide commentary and opinion on your own usage of GRAMPS.

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