Adding maiden (birth) name?

I have been entering wives with their married names followed by their maiden name in parens. (I see I can choose either Married or Birth name from the menu.)

What is the standard practice?

I am guessing I should just add their maiden name (and choose Birth name), as the link to husband will describe the relationship :slight_smile:

You can add multiple names for a person. Birth name is generally the one a person was given at birth or shortly thereafter. Then you can click on the Names tab, and the + (plus) sign to add another name, which you can given a type of Married Name and add that too. Not everyone adds married names. I’m pretty explicit about adding them because some women don’t take their husband’s name (Swedes didn’t until recently, for instance). In my DB, I’d prefer to be explicit. But whatever works for you.

Thanks that makes sense to me.

Struggling here… added a man and woman who are married (no kids) and cannot figure out how to link them as married (I don’t know date of marriage). ugh!

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Since you’ve already added both spouses, open one of them in the Relationships view and select “Add a new family with person as parent” (the icon that looks like the heads and shoulders of two people). This will open a Family editor. For the missing spouse, select “Select a person as the mother” (or father, depending on which spouse is missing).

This will open a dialog to select the other person. After you’ve done this, you can change the relationship type if needed (depending on your default) and add any other data you may have if relevant.

You can save yourself a LOT of grief by watching a couple of video tutorials on data entry.

The are many ways of doing most things. That’s because Gramps supports different styles of doing Genealogy.

For instance, to enter a family, you can:

  • Add a Person, then grow the Family around the Person. (By making the Person a child of a new family or the Spouse in a new family via button in the Relationship view’s toolbar.)
  • Add a blank Family via the Add menu, then add new (or existing) people to blank spots in the Family. (Drag’n’drop works well here.)

  • Use the Data Entry Gramplet add-on to create people in selected relationships to the currently selected person.

  • After adding 1 person & selecting them, the pedigree chart view can be used to add people. Double-clicking one of the blank boxes at the edges of the diagram will add a person at that spot.


It is VERY important that you add Marriage/Divorce/Engagement Event as FAMILY events, not Person events. Family Events are applied equally to both Spouses. (But not to the Children)

Answer to your question is culture-related. There is no “standard” practice.

In some countries, name-at-birth is a personal asset which is never lost and authorities always use name-at-birth optionally augmenting it with usage-name(s) like spouse name, nickname, …

In this administrative role, name-at-birth may be replaced by an acquired name if it has been endorsed by some official decision and duly transcribed as an additional note in the birth record.

As already mentioned, Gramps can manage several names for any person. You just choose which one is the preferred name to be displayed in reports.

I use this feature to track the various typos in the records. I don’t “patch” original names with “contextual usage names” (e.g. maiden name) because I want to keep the unaltered name form in order to apply various processes to them and avoid false positives in my queries. In my practice, married name is implied by being a member of a “family-by-marriage”. (I also use families to record extra-marital relationships and in this case, it is obvious that the partner will not use the other’s name.)

Note also that the concept of name varies tremendously among cultures. IMHO, only the multi-name feature can cope with this variety.

So, sorry to not give a definitive answer. Just devise YOUR practice and stick to it. Be consistent, don’t change in the middle of the road. Use a single practice. If you want to change, don’t forget to review your whole tree.

I have a similar problem. Have imported the data from MyHeritage. There was the field “Name” filled with the name after marriage. And there was a field “Birth Name”.
The names are correct imported by Gramps, but the birth name was set as preferred name.
I’m serching for a functionality to change all records so that the name after marriage is the preferred name. Doing this for each entry is very much work.

If you have only just now imported the data from MyHeritage, and not yet added a lot of other data, you might consider starting over with an altered version of the GEDCOM file. I don’t know the details, but I imagine you could do some find all / change all in a text editor to make the file import the way you want it to. Try importing into a separate (new) Gramps tree first.

Otherwise, you can try a similar approach with a Gramps XML export but it would probably be trickier. Always work with a copy and try importing into a new tree before discarding or adding to your original tree.