Authors are People too

This seem to wander outside the scope for purist genealogists but…

I’d like to see the Author field of Sources expand to recognize a Person (or even a Family, a group of Persons) object.

I regularly add authors of my reference materials to my Gramps tree. My standard author entry is: main author/editor with contributors separated by semicolons; where each author is listed last name comma, given name(s) birth year dash death year. And this generally means finding a death year. (But I also find it illuminating to research how they are related to the materials about which they wrote.) Given the scholarly prejudices of the past, it may include a bit of detective work for female author writing under a penname or just initials.

But using a Person(s) for the Author instead of using a freeform text opens a host of opportunities.

It would allow compiling Author subsections in bibliographies. It could add publication of a book to be inserted on the person’s timeline. It would allow a relationship chart to be generated between the author(s) and the focal person/family of the genealogy.


As a palliative solution you could add a citation to that book source citing its author and add that citation to the author person record. It’ll link both.

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That is my current workaround.

It would be better to have something more directly supported & structured. Otherwise, that data will never become an aspect of reports or analysis.

I add a note to the source with a link to the person’s record and a note on the person linking to the source. As I most often use the Narrated Web this seems to work.

I now have to double-check all my existing sources.

Yeah, I have documents written by a person in the tree, would be nice if I could actually choose that person in the Author field.

Maybe someone should ad it as a feature request on the bug tracker thingy.

It the discussion here

Probably will. But I want to see how others felt about the idea. And to discover if they saw implications / opportunities that I had missed.

I know some people react defensively where their ideas are questions. (I have to fight that urge myself.) But we create better suggestion when ideas are batted around.

So… Batter up and swing away!

One unpleasant implication just occurred to me…

If the author was ‘living’ or ‘Private’ then their information might be incorrectly filtered out of the bibliography and/or sources list. There isn’t a ‘public figure’ flag to offset the ‘Private’ flag in Gramps.

What happens to the “living” settings when the Birth event is locked Private?

Gramps doesn’t appear to pay any attention to ‘Private’ flags for its internal use & calculation. It only respects it when filtering output.

But if the Tree were exported or a report was generated (with the option selected to filter living & private data), I would expect that the Birth data would be gone. (The entire Person might be omitted if there wasn’t a death event or if the private birth data suggested they were ‘probably alive’.) Then Gramps would have to fallback to its “probably alive” routine.

If Gramps allowed People objects to be used for authors, the Source would probably become ‘unknown author’. Ugly possibility.

IT should have been a feature, for me it is a norm to add Authors to ALL sources where that information is available, that’s one of the reasons I use Zotero, and test Jabref and Citava.

Did I mention support for CSL.