How have you handled guardianship relations in Gramps?

How have you handled guardianship relations in Gramps, especially in cases where the appointed guardian is not an adoptive or step-parent (and may not even be part of the same household)?

The relationship would end when the guardian’s charge or ward (I don’t know all of the correct terminology) comes of age or is no longer in need of guardianship, or when either person dies. So I can imagine using an event with a from/to date, and linking both parties to it, but that doesn’t automatically indicate which person is the guardian.

I can also imagine creating a separate “family” with the guardian as a “parent” and the other person as a “child”, but that doesn’t seem appropriate, especially in the case where a guardian is been appointed for an adult who is unable to manage their own affairs.

How have you handled this?

In the Family’s Children tab, there is the relationship of the child to the parents. The defaults are Birth. Clicking on the child, you can change one or both of the child’s relationship to the parents. Adoption is an obvious choice.

In the scenario you pose, “Foster” would seem to be appropriate.

Note: The Relationship in the Status Bar and in reports lists children as either “Birth” or “Step…” for any relationship other than Birth. I filed a bug when this showed up in the NarrWeb but it seems to have its roots in how all relationships are calculated. The bug deals with “Adopted” children but the same issue applies to all non Birth or Step children

Where the child lived with their Guardian’s family, I added the Ward as a child of the family and added a custom Relationship type of ‘Guardianship’ (Most of the Guardianship relations I’ve logged have been a close relative: elder sibling, grandparent or aunt/uncle.)

To support the limited timeframe, I’d also added a custom legal Event beginning with a date range when the judge designated the Guardian through their majority (which varied from 13 to 25 years of age.) The event was shared with appropriate Roles for each. (I tend to use ‘Officiant[use ‘Officiator’ for GEDCOM7 Roles compliance] as a role because it can be used without discrimination for the presiding person in any religious or civil/legal Event. I had also added ‘dependant’ for Census roles but then found it generically useful elsewhere.)

The situation you described hadn’t arisen: where the legal guardian wasn’t in the same household. Although I suppose I’d probably added a distinct 2nd family without a spouse and then added the Ward to that ‘Family’ as a child.

This subject has come up in the maillist. The 2 approaches offered each had merits & drawbacks:

  1. [Gramps-users] Recording Guardian/Ward relationships

  2. Another recommends using the Associations tab for this situation. But that seems to require setting up reciprocal Associations relationships for Guardian & Ward pointing at the other.
    [Gramps-users] Disconnected Individuals vs. Associations

See also, the wiki articles:

Note that, unlike other places where a custom type can be added, Association types is not a pop-up menu. I’m unsure how you’d get a list of the current Associations.

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In thinking about this issue, Should a person that is not either Birth, Adopted, or Step…have their relationship listed to other “relatives” in the database? i.e. “eighth cousin, 3 times removed (up)”. Their relationship to the immediate family should be stated, but should it extend beyond that family?

The set list of Relationship types are

  • Birth (default)
  • Adopted
  • Stepchild
  • Sponsored
  • Foster
  • None
  • Unknown
  • Custom
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I imagine the legal definitions and customary uses of the different Relationship types vary somewhat from place to place, and I’m certainly not familiar with all of those nuances.

What I’ve usually done so far, in the absence of any evidence of official adoption or guardianship, is to add children to the second family of a remarried parent (when the other parent has died), and mark the relationship to the new parent as “step”. But if a person remarried after some of their children had grown up and moved out, I usually don’t add those children to the second family. I haven’t yet dealt with this for cases of marital separation and divorce (though I need to at some point), other than just recording the event.

Thanks @emyoulation for alerting me to Associations; those might come in handy in other ways too, perhaps for extended (unrelated) household members who sometimes appear in a census.

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