How to store a text with citations and media?

Hi all,

I am in the process of reorganizing my genealogical data using an “everything in Gramps” approach. Rather than having a folder with collections of files and notes next to my family tree in Gramps, I want to make sure every document and file that has relevant information in it is correctly stored/linked in Gramps, linked with all the sources etc.

However, there is one thing I’m currently still struggling with: how to I store text - e.g. a summary article I wrote about a certain branch of the family -, associated with a date and an author, and linking it with the relevant media and sources?

My first idea was to use a note. This would allow me to use formatted text and I could link it from people etc. However, this does not work since notes cannot have source citations or media attached to them (and it seems this is intentional).

My next idea was to use citations. I could add a source called “My articles” or something, and store every article text as a note linked to a citation. The good thing about this would be that it can have an author (me), a date, and media. But it does not work either because a citation obviously cannot have source citations itself, and source citations are pretty crucial for a summary article.

Then I thought about using media. Media can have source citations and have a date. But how to store the text? Either as an external text file (but this would somehow defeat the “all in Gramps” approach) or as a media note (but then what is the actual media object?)… But the main reason why it doesn’t work either is that media objects cannot have media objects.

So now I’m out of ideas. Does anyone have a suggestion?

That is a Source – in this case, an unpublished manuscript. Save it as a PDF file and store that as media for the source. (Or if you wrote it by hand and want to preserve that, scan it and store the image.)

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I assume your summary of the family was written with a word processor.

Print the document out as a PDF document. Then put this into Gramps as a Media object.

Create your Source which is the PDF “Book” and attach the media record to the Source.

Then each person/family gets a Source/Citation in their main edit window with the appropriate Page:##

I use PDF books a often (from Google Books,, etc) and there is often a difference in the Book’s page number and the PDF’s page number. I put in the citation “Page:## (pdf:##)”

Note: You can keep formatted text in a Note record by checking the box “Preformatted

Thanks for your suggestions!

But then I have the problem mentioned above: I cannot add the source citations for the text. Of course I could mention the sources in the text file, but it would be a pity not being able to link the text with its sources.

But what I really want to do is to cite the sources I used for the text, and I cannot attach a source citation to a source.

In both your proposed solutions, I would have to edit the text externally rather than in Gramps, which is a pity. Note that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a long article - it could also be just a couple of sentences.

But I can’t add links to source and citation objects in the transcription note, since notes don’t support citations associated with them. Or do you suggest adding a citation and linking the note as citation note? Kind of like a “backwards citation”? That would be kind of illogical to me as it would invert source & conclusion.

I think I understand what you’re trying to do, and I think I was looking at it from a different angle. Suppose that the “summary article” had been written (even published) by someone else, and that it included a bunch of source citations, like any good genealogical document. You would treat it like any other source, right? So even though you wrote the article yourself, and haven’t published it yet, you can still use it as a source.

It sounds like you also want some linking within the summary article that you wrote. Apart from Gramps, that should be possible just within your word processor, creating footnotes and index entries, etc., whose internal links should be preserved in a pdf version.

@StoltHD thanks so much for your detailed answer! I actually had no idea about the “internal link” feature, and that’s brilliant! I looked briefly into the implementation, and it actually stores the link in the database as a string gramps://Person/handle/xyz... where xyz... is the object’s handle, so it would even work when changing the object’s Gramps ID.

So it looks like doing this purely within Gramps is possible after all, which makes me very happy :slight_smile:

To summarize, what I’ll probably do is:

  • Create a repository representing all those textual documents written by myself
  • Create a source for each of them
  • Write the text as a formatted note
  • Add any references to other sources, people, families, … as internal links
  • Add any existing (or new) media objects to the source

An alternative would be to replace “repository” in the above by “source” and “source” by “citation”. From what I can tell, this would work as well, and would have the advantage that a citation has a date (while a source has not). It’s also not too different from other cases when I am using a source to refer to a book and a citation to refer to individual pages/sections.

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No need to replace or swap anything. To store date you wrote your document, the source, you can use the publication/publishing information (Pub. Info.) to store it:

Source Title: the title of your document
Author: you
Pub. Info.: Redacted on date you wrote it

Yes, this is the best way to do it I think, else, its also possible to add any date to the source as an attribute, but it would not show the same way…

:boom: :boom: :boom:

Any Citation that is only linked to a note is subject to deletion through the use of Remove Unused Object tool.

Since the citation is not added to a record in the normal way, Gramps does not see it as referenced by any object within Gramps and thus “unused” and subject to deletion.

Steps would need to be taken to ensure they are not erroneously deleted.

:boom: :boom: :boom:

Thanks for the warning!

I think I would not create any new citations for this purpose but only link to sources or to existing citations.

Example: there is a source corresponding to a church register, and a citation corresponding to the record of a person’s birth (with scan of the page as media object attached to the citation). Then I would “cite” this record by creating an internal link to the citation in the note, but the citation would anyway be attached to the birth event of the person.

But indeed it’s good to know that one should try to avoid creating “orphaned” citations.

The notes are attached to Sources and/or Citations that are used…

I never use that tool anyway, because its so often I add something I find, but don’t know where it belong at the moment…

I lost a lot of places and sources in a database because of that tool before I actually know what it did…
So for me its a tool that shouldn’t be possible to run in any database, it should only be possible to run with preset delete tags.
But that’s me.

I have a “person” named “Anchor Do Not Delete”.

He holds any objects that I create that I want to make sure do not get deleted. Most notably notes that I use in the NarrWeb. He (or his cousin in your family) could easily keep track of orphaned citations.

But the citation is not attached to anything in the normal Gramps way.

Of course Citations are connected, any Citation are connected to a source and to any other object you add them to.
you use the Gramps Citations as Connectors between sources and other Gramps object.
The Citation strings inside a Note is just a text string where there are been added an Internal Link pointing to any Gramps object in the database.

But the reason I NEVER use the delete unused objects tool, is because I add a lot of sources and Citations when I found anything, I don’t work the “lineage-linked” way. I work in a document (source), information, claim, fact, Place, Event way, and the people I connect is only because I find them in a document describing an EVENT in/on a PLACE.
For me Information is Information and all information is important until I see it are of no use.

So when I add something to my information store, it never get deleted unless I find other information that prove that the first is false.

I also add Disproven and Unexclusive information.

I add Places and Events without connecting them to any person or family, I add Newspaper with historic articles about a places where someone lived, but I only add them to a place, and most likely to an Event aand always in the form of Source --> Citation --> Event --> Place.

Thats why I have been so active about trying to get more focus on both Events (with sub-events) and on Places and using Places as subject for Events…
that is also why I really want Sources with sub-sources…

And that’s why I have asked for graphs focusing more on places and events… and why I asked for more export formats focusing on other types of relations/connection.
(All this I have given up on, because it’s clear that most users don’t care or don’t understand the benefits of none linkeage-linked research).

So for me, Gramps is only a storage of data now until I find something thats better, like Arches or Heurist, it’s no longer a research tool… it’s to many limitations, just as in any other lineage-linked software. It’s really sad, because it has an enormous potential to become a defacto historic research tool for a lot more researchers than genealogists…

I ran a test to make sure before I posted the warning.

I created a citation with a source, gave myself a new note and Linked the citation into the note.

I then ran the Remove Unused Object tool and the citation at issue was there ready to delete.

I too never use the tool (testing excluded). I have filters in Events, Citations and Notes that search for objects with Reference Counts = 0. I run the three filters in that order once a week to make sure that when I am deleting an unused object, I remember why I have deleted them from a person or family.

I too have added Sources and Places that I may not have used yet so make sure I never delete unused objects from these areas.

That’s because the tool are lineage-linked focus, it’s logic “says” that if something is not connected to a person or a family, it’s not used…
And that is why I never use it…

Same problem when you export a database, it deprecate all unused metadata like “types”, it’s just wrong…

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To me it seems like this is simply a bug in the remove unused objects plugins that needs fixing. At the moment, it only looks for objects in the database without backlink handles. But it would not be too hard iterating through all existing notes to find objects with links in notes.

For me the whole lineage-linked research approx has become one big bug…

Yes, it’s possible that the tool easily can be altered to look for any type of connections and links, but question is if the Creator want to do it or if it’s “as designed”.

StolHD, I think I work in the same way. Nothing exists until I find a document of some kind, even if I write it from a recording I made of my mother answering questions.

Once the document known, I can create or select a Repository and a Source within that Repository. A Citation references a specific item, a Person, Place and maybe an Event.

I create a citation for the statement “I grew up in Hopwood.” It isn’t really an event, and she may have been born elsewhere, and I know she moved away at some point, but not exactly when. At least not yet.

I create/link the person to the citation and create/link the place to the citation. I link the Person to the Place as well.

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I don’t have much to add here except to recommend against storing text as a PDF. Keep it as text. I’d suggest markdown or some other plain-text option, rather than a proprietary format that might go away (like Word). If you want a full-featured word-processing document, go open, like OpenOffice.