How to add an email (.eml) as note to a person

is it possible (and how) to add an email (.eml format) as note to a person?

Thanks in advance

Gramps v 5.1.2. on Linux Mint v20.3

It always seemed like a missed opportunity that Gramps does not have a feature that leverages the Thunderbird formats & source code for managing a contact list (.mab file) and their eMail archive. Preferably OUTSIDE the Gramps DB but stored similarly to (and likewise, optionally) a media object during backup.

The Gramps interface & data structure for Addresses is only fragmentary. Thunderbird’s is mature & full featured. And an ability to store threaded communications about collaborative discussions with relatives would be so helpful!

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You could create a source for this email, add the .eml file to medias of that source, then create a citation with a note of what you want from this email and share that note to the person. You’ll have a sourced note associated to the email.

Says the man that started this …

You were right then, and still are, although you seem to be a little bit behind on Thunderbird itself, because its current database is SQLite.

Anyway, it’s an old wish from me too, to read the address book, to import mails and convert them to sources/citations, based on the idea that every email has an author, and a title, that can go the source, and every individual email has a timestamp, and could be assigned a sequence number, both of which go very well with the existing fields in the citation, which can then hold the email text in a note.

The only drawback here is, that when I can have a choice, I’d rather use the author as a source, to group all conversations with him or her, but for that I’d need a title field in the citation object, or abuse the vol/page for that. And the latter part goes very much against my autistic mind.

But the point I have is that vertical integration doesn’t require horizontal integration. All horizontal integration does is create synchronization and harmonization failure points. It is more work but better to leverage crosswalk pointers.

As for my suggestion about the “authors are people too” posting is that it would be more flexible if that field allowed a dynamic display formatted name (leveraging the individual record) as well as a simple static text field. So if we could use the Display Name Editor to create an author listing, I would only have to update the Person records to update ALL the author fields in the book. A hundred Sources with 2 authors & an editor would only create up to 300 Persons… who might not be directly related by genetics or marriage. But I’ve found most of the authors of pertinent histories had a familial connection to my tree too.

Likewise, if I pointed Gramps at my Thunderbird contact list and had a crosswalk field that linked a Gramps person to the Thunderbird person, everytime I updated that Thunderbird addressbook, Gramps would be able to poll the addressbook at need. (If Thunderbird was already running & using the same master account, there should not even be much latency and repeated API calls would have reduced penalties. If Thunderbird launched & terminated for each API call then things would get ugly.) It wouldn’t need a live data exchange or even regular batch harmonization. Gramps so rarely uses an address that is could poll 1 record at a time when needed to populate a screen form or a report. There would be no benefit in bulk transfers.

It is the same with Zotero. It is wasteful to try to replicate all the Zotero fields in Gramps attribute tuples then populate them in a synchronization nightmare & finally recreate Zotero’s citation generation capability. Instead, you’d just put in a crosswalk to the Zotero unique identifier in an Attributes field of the Gramps Source record. Then have a mechanism allow Zotero API calls. So your reports would Query Zotero for a MLA (or APA or Chicago) formatted string of the Citation Page field and its Zotero data about the Source.

As an optimization, each time a Citation was cited using the Zotero, it could store a temporary attribute string with the Formatted citation & and the ibid. (ibidem) form. So a Source cited 2 dozen times on a page of a report would neither waste footnote footer space nor repeated Zotero relaunching & API processing. (Gramps already does such optimizations with thumbnails, Place Titles, gender:“given name” stats, & few other things.)

Alternately, you COULD run a batch that looks for a use count of every Citation and stores temporary (Zotero API generated & formatted) citation attribute strings for the ones used frequently enough. There are storage versus processing savings tradeoffs.

IMHO all the discussion does go too far for the goal I have in mind.
I just want to add an email in the ‘eml’ format as note to person.
(here it was an email referring to the death of a person in my family tree).
No integration with Thunderbird, no import of email addresses a.s.o.
I also tried to follow a suggestion on this thread and tried to create a media type as ‘eml’ (via Source editor → Repostory Reference Editor. However the DDL for media type doesn’t allow a type of email (Audio, Book, Card, Electronic, Film, Fiche, Magazine, Manuscript, Map, Newspaper, Photo, Tombstone, Unknown, Video; no email there).
Not an entry for eml type.

First of all, I want to keep it as simple as possible. That’s why I think to be able to add note as eml type would be the solution. :wink:

Gramps - new Source 2022-05-06 13-10-40

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@PLegoux suggestion of saving the .eml as a separate file in a folder, then adding that as a Media object should work… as long as you have a .eml viewer application installed on your computer & that file extension is associated the that application in your OS.

It would be like adding a PDF media object. Gramps does not have a PDF viewer built-in. But most people have a PDF viewer installed that they prefer. So double-clicking a .pdf format media object that has been added to a Gramps gallery open the user’s preferred viewer and displays that file. Gramps does nothing more that use an OS API to say “Hey! Load up this file.” (If the PDF viewer’s preferences were set to send loaded filed to printer or hide in the background, Gramps doesn’t care.)

So .eml would just be one more Media type your OS would have to recognize.

The part you’d have to decide for yourself is which Gallery makes sense for where to add the .eml file.

You could put them under individual Citation, collect them under a Source … or several other ways.

I would NOT put them in the top-level gallery of a Person. Because you’ll be fighting the thumbnail generator somewhere down the line.

Yes, this is exactly that.

That’s exactly what I like to have, in the end, meaning an import, an no integration, because that destroys the kind of indepence that I need.

In practical terms this means that I want the whole contents of the EML file stored in Gramps, so that I can delete the file afterwards. And that means that I want the import to store all relevant attributes that can be derived from the EML file, i.e. the author’s name, email address, the email subject (title), date and time, and possibly a sequence number.

In many cases, this can already be done manually, if you accept that the email text is stored in a note, with limited markup. And knowing that GEDCOM 7 supports HTML in notes, I think it’s reasonable to wish for HTML support in notes too, some time.

And as long as that is not available, and you really wish to have the whole EML with formatting, and possible attachments, you should be able to store it as media.

I see your point, which is why I too think that importing EML files is the easiest, even if it requires a manual export eveytime, from Thunderbird, or Windows Mail, or whatever tool there is in macOS.

That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t like horizontal integration too, but if we do work on that, I think it must be a two-way-street, and support more tools that just Thunderbird and Zotero. And for me, Zotero still is not the tool that I would choose, because it doesn’t get the meta data that I know to exist on the sites that I use. And if it doesn’t get it, I would need to type it anyway, in which case I prefer to add it to Gramps, just like I add an email source today.

When I look at the sort of citations that appear in documents that I find here, or that I might send to a local society, I see no need for a full blown citation engine, but just an extension of what we already have, with a handful to a dozen extra fields, impemented in a way that is quite similar to what you get in Family Historian, or Legacy, or RootsMagic.

You can always add a link in a note like in the folllowing snapshot

mmh, with which version of Gramps have you produced the ‘screenshot’?
It seems to me that there is a 2nd window (Link editor) overlaying the 1st one (‘Note’ window).

It appears that I can’t access the link editor from the Note window.
Can you please clarify the steps?


That was exactly what screen capture showed: a Link Editor floating over the Note Editor (with a dark theme.)

Refer to the wiki section on the Link Editor.

There are 3 primary things that will typically cause confusion for a person getting started with links:

  • Some text must be highlighted in the Note before the “Link” note toolbar button will work
  • Your copy buffer will be flushed because Gramps “copies” the highlighted text when the link toolbar button is clicked (VERY annoying since it is a ‘Link’ button, not a ‘copy’ button)
  • The link dialog in Gramps is ‘modal’, you cannot access any other windows in Gramps (except if you click the Select button to open a “Select Object” dialog) until the link window is closed.

So to hyperlink a chunk of text, click the Link button, choose the “Internet Address” link type in the link Editor, in an external browser window: find the destination URL & copy the URL to the OS clipboard, in Gramps: paste the URL, click the OK button in the Link Editors

The Link editor is activated from within the Note editor.

Links can be to any other object within Gramps or when using the Internet option, an object out side of Gramps most often a web page.

When used within Gramps, a right-click is needed. When done on a link within Gramps, it will bring up the object’s edit window.

The real power is when a website is created with these links. Using a normal click the link will bring you to that object’s web page in your created site.