Can't Open Older Version GRAMPS Files With Latest Version

GRAMPS: 5.1.4
macOS Monterey 12.6.3


After a long absence, I am returning to genealogy so that many older files won’t open with the latest software.

When I try to import an older file into the latest version of a new GRAMPS database, I get error messages giving the older file’s version #, for example, 3.0.x, for one file though I also found one that is a 1.0 version.

And the error message tells me to export to XML, update software, import XML, and repeat. If this is the way, where can I find the older versions to download, and will this work?

Or can I export to GEDCOMs or CSVs and import those files into the latest software? If so, will I lose anything in the export and import?

Or are there other options?

Thank you.

Just added a new tag “data-recovery” to this Forum and tagged several earlier threads.

Here’s are some of the resources you might want for identifying the version of your Gramps data. (Which is just a bit more info than in my reply to your Gramps for Genealogists group on Facebook posting).

Thank you again for your help. :grinning:

How long is that? Gramps version 3 is about 10 years old, and for that you can still find downloads for macOS. I don’t see any older versions though, only for Linux.

In older database folders, you may find files named bdbversion.txt, pythonversion.txt, and schemaversion.txt. Can you check their contents for clues?

TBH, the error message looks quite silly, because you can only export if you have that old version somewhere, and when you get that message, you probably don’t have it.

According to the Releases wiki page, Gramps 3.1.2 in June of 2009 was the first Mac binary .dmg installation file by Emrys Williams. Before that Mac users had to build from source with the Macports package manager. (The Windows All-In-One installer didn’t appear until Gramps 3.4.2 in October 2012.)

And that means that the user’s files are pretty old, because I know by experience that Gramps 5.1 can import 3.4 databases.

And a couple of years ago, I have also seen that macOS database files can be read on Linux or Windows if their BSDDB version number is lower than or equal to that of the importing Gramps version.

I don’t know if this works accross CPU architectures though.

@LRL can you tell us if your efforts were succesful? I saw your message on Facebook too, and if you want, you can send a personal message to me, to get my email, so that you can send a zipped copy of an old database folder to check.

I only have Linux and Windows here, but I helped a friend with a macBook a couple of times, and when I can decode you database, I can create a backup file that you can then import into a new database in Gramps 5.1.

If you send a file, I will check it for familiar names, just in case we might be related, and destroy it after conversion. And if we are related, I will let you know.

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Thank you for the offer. I still have lots of work to do, separating what I can open and cannot, but I will keep it in mind.

I was able to import a lot of my files and do backups. So I haven’t lost all of my work.

The ones that won’t open trigger an error message stating that “the database version is not supported by this version of Gramps and that I should use an old copy of Gramps at version 3.0.x and import my database into the version”. However, I also got messages stating to use version 1.0.11-1.

And on another topic that I will deal with later, I am having the same issue with gedcoms that are too old to be opened by GRAMPS.

I am so happy to have not lost all of my work and now have a plan to organize and update my work. This has been bothering me so some time but I wasn’t sure how to start.

Thank you.

ok, I understand, first things first.

I’m also suggesting this, because for me, as a software engineer, with autism, it is often way easier to look at the actual files, and see their contents, including version numbers and so on, than to have a discussion, in which I ask you to look at them, report back here, and write another reply, and so on.

And in case of those old GEDCOM files, I may also have the means, or be able to find them, to load those, like by installing a really old version of PAF, or another program, or using some script to convert them to GEDCOM 5.5, or at least to extract names and things.