How to display the family tree?

I created 2 people: People, +, ok
I created a family: Families, +, select the 2 previously created people, ok (it took me maybe 20 min to work out how to indicate a marriage!!! This was incredibly difficult to work out. Could somebody please write a Getting Started for Gramps?)
Click Charts, Pedigree (btw what is a pedigree?)
Here is the problem - I don’t see the two married people, just one of them with two small blank boxes to the right. I’ve no idea what those blank boxes are. There is a * and a + in the Name box - I have no idea what they are. This is not a family tree.
How can I display a family tree in the normal way showing the marriage?
Is Gramps unusually difficult? All I want to do is put in a mum & dad, give them 2 children and display it as a normal looking family tree!

(PS What is a Gramplet?)
Gramps 5.1.2 Ubuntu 20.04

Actually there is a Welcome on the Dashboard that shows for first time users. I have attempted to fill in more information to get the new user started but it would not be available until 5.2 at the earliest.

The View that I use most often is the Relationships. Select one of the people in the list of People making that person the Active Person. Then switching to the Relationships view will show their Families. Their Parents, their Spouses and any children from these marriages. Within the view you can select another person making them the Active Person. Once you get past two people, this will become more dynamic as the view shifts to show the Relationships to the Active Person.

Once in the Relationships view, there will be icons across the toolbar to add more people to the Active person’s family. There will be more icons added throughout the screen where you can add people to these families.

All the different Views are listed down the left-hand side of the Gramps window. Some of the views will be grouped together. Each View will handle different parts of the database as its focus. Events, Sources, Places, etc. The Graphical views of families will also allow you to add to those families.

Gramplets (also known as Addons and Plugins) are additional little bits of code that you can load to help display and manipulate the database. Gramps comes with many already loaded. In the People list, there are Tabs in the Bottombar. Each of these is a Gramplet. You can add others.

There is also a fairly large library of other Gramplets available that can be loaded through the menu >> Edit >> Preferences >> General tab.

Welcome. And for some new users, Gramps has a steep learning curve often because it does not spoon feed a how-to to the new user. I posted above I do most of my work in the Relationships view. Other users will have their own views that they use to expand and document their work.

But you found us here on Discourse and there is an email user list. Please feel free to ask any question.

Thanks for your reply Dave.

My question is actually about the Charts view - useful though the other views may be for entering data or for examining features of relationships.

I just need to display a standard family tree chart - and I’m not sure if Gramps is capable, though that is probably what most beginners need!

Enclosed is a (very poor) picture of what I am looking for. I may need to display just the couple if they don’t nave children.

Okay. What you are looking for is the Graph View which is one of those Gramplets that do not come with the main installation but needs to be added.

Go to your Edit menu >> Preferences >> and on the General tab Third party addons management

You can install all the available addons or scroll through the list to Gramps Views to select Graph View (you may want to install all these views.)

If you already tried this in your initial exploration but did not do any install you will need to uncheck the Do not ask about previously notified addons. I uncheck this so I can always see the list of available addons/gramplets.

You will be able to edit People and Families from within this view by right-click on a person or the Family node. There is also a Configure active view icon (all views have this icon) on the toolbar in addition to the Generation and Spacing settings.

I do all my major editing using the Relationships view and use a view like Graph as a representation of what I have done. As I said in the earlier post other users will do most of the editing in this or other views.

In the standard charts view it will only show selected person plus its Parents and then their parents and so on. So if you want to show both jane and John in your example, then you would have to select pone of the children as home person.
You can change it from being left to right to top to bottom or bottom to top in the “confugre active view” button (looks like a window with some tools in a cross over).
Marriage date with show up in between the two persons.

It will now show the selected persons sisters and uncles tho.

You can show the other way around in the Fan Decendant fan view.

If you want everyone to be shown at once, you can either make a report like the " Relationship graph" one.

Antother option that I use is using the “Graphs View” plugin.
In that plugin there is a newly added button that is “All connected” that show everyone in the tree. Some report that it can become messy if your tree is big tho.

There are people like me that likes an overall view because it makes it much easier to see things instead of having to click around multiple places and stuff to try to visualize the hole picture.

I personally Edit everything form Graph view with all conected on.
Editing a person? Just dubble click on that person.
Adding an parent? Rigt click and click add parent
Editing a family? Just dubble click the family circle.

For me that is much more intuitive/simpler to do.

I dont have the hole family tree at all in my head, and have a poor memory of names.

Thanks very much Dave and Mihle - all sorted!
For software I always look for two things: first that the project is active (has had some updates fairly recently), and that it has an active and helpful user base. I have to say that Gramps succeeds brilliantly on both counts!

I will just do a posting of the process that I went through on Ubuntu / Ubuntu Budgie 20.04 to help other users as I did need to install a couple of extra bits & bobs.


Hi DaveSch,

Could you say where the ‘All Connected On’ button is. I can’t see it. Otherwise this sounds like the solution to my own need to see all of what is a quite limited project to show my daughter how she is connected to all the living Family. Just 78 people in 4 generations. The Graph view which I have added is the best I have found so far.

Once I have all the people in the view, Ideally I would then like to export that as a PDF of something that could be printed out to an appropriate sized sheet, which might be A3 or A2, but that would be fine. Any tips on that or should I wait until I am seeing what we want on the screen, when the exporting will become obvious?

Many thanks for your help.

As another newbie, but one well used to implementing new software, I have found Gramps to be better documented and supported than many applications, but slightly frustrating as a piece of family tree software. Having spent some time searching the documentation and support I see a few other people interested like me in cousins and other ‘sideways’ relationships and struggling with Gramps not seeing this as a predictable point of interest.

I guess that Gramps is really designed for people who want to go deep into history and not really for people exploring complicated living families like ours (multiple divorces, remarriages and adoption). Do you happen to know of one that might be better suited, or should I plough on with Gramps, which does have some nice features, like the media and event management.

Many thanks,
best wishes.
and happy new year!


No because there is not one.

In the graph view, if you want to see more of the tree, you can increase the number of Generations shown.

You have to remember that the graph created is built off of an active person. The ancestors and descendants shown are those of the active person. So to see cousins, you need to select as the active person a common grandparent or great grandparent.

If you make your daughter the home person (go to People view, menu Edit >> Set Home Person) and then in Preferences (Edit >> Preferences) Display tab, you can set the Status bar to display the Relationship to the Home person.

To print (or send to PDF) you might want to check out the Family Lines Graph under the Reports >> Graphs. You may want to create a large custom paper size to better show the results. I am not an expert in these reports. I only explore them trying to answer questions. My go to report is the Narrative Web to send to cousins who want their branch of the family.

Gramps does all this quite easily. A person can have multiple Families by marriage. Gramps will know children in the other marriages are step- or half- relations. In the Family’s edit window, Children’s tab you can indicate when a child is adopted. And that child can have multiple Parents.

I use the Relationships View as my main edit window. One person at a time is the active person. And in the view you create their Relationships (plural) to their families, both as a child with parents and as a parent in families with children. And the person can have as many of these parents and families as needed to document it all.

The views like Graph I use as another visualization tool. But it not a static view because you can add and edit people and families and many users do most of their work here. Each user finds a view option to put together their genealogy that works for them. In Gramps, there is not just one way of doing things.

But only if you add the children to the other families. Otherwise, you get some interesting results. For example, if I don’t include my mother in the family headed by her father and her step-mother, then Gramps says that her step-mother is her mother-in-law, and that she is unrelated to her step-sisters.

I just checked some of my nephew’s blended families.

Keeping children in just their biological families, the children all showed as step and half as the case may be when I set one of the daughters as home person.

True, unless I added her to the family of her father and stepmother with the appropriate relationships did the stepmother display as such. Without adding her to this family, the stepmother had no relationship.

I do have step siblings marrying (pre 1800) and the mother-in-law shows as such. I do not normally add the stepchildren to the second families so do not know which relationship would be viewed as closest and thus displayed.

There is, but I forgot its not in the “live” version of the plugin.
That feature is in a development version of the plugin, I forgot. So it should become a part of the “live” version of the plugin eventually.

If you want to install it yourself, you have to go to this:

  1. Go here, and click to download a zip of the code:
  2. Go in to the downloaded folder, in the Graphs View folder, and find the file called “”.
  3. Replace the same file in your current Gramps files with that one. dont remember right now where that file is, can check anoter day when I am home if you want, but think it was in Gramps folder in Appdata on windows somewhere.

Remember that if there is a feature you want that isnt in gramps, you can put a feature request in this site, it might or might not happen tho and if it does it might take time:

You can just try all the different reports built in to gramps and look at their settings and see if they do what you want to, I have personally not looked at them all yet. Some have mentioned “Relationship graph” or something like tat as one that is capable of showing everyone but havent tried it.

but some say that with their tree, any solution that show everyone can become messy depending on how your tree looks like.

1 Like

Fantastic! I have extracted that file and replaced it in my local installation (It was in AppData as you said) and the Graph View now does exactly what I want.

I have looked at the exports, and there is one that includes all the relationship lines, but actually I think showing my daughter the Graph View on a screen will do just great. Despite being just 4 she is able to drag things with a mouse (!).

Many many thanks!

Best wishes,

1 Like