Importing from Genbox - issues and best practice

Hi all. New user here, looking for help on migrating from Genbox. Has anybody done this that could give me some pointers on the best way to import? Hopefully this will build a knowledge base to help others who may want to do the same thing.

Here’s what I’ve found so far.

I’ve been using Genbox for a very long time but as it isn’t maintained I felt it was time to move to something that was being actively developed, and having found Gramps it looked ideal. So I created a little test database for familiarisation and practice, that went fine. My next step was to export a Gedcom from Genbox and see what happened.

I am running Windows 7. I exported from Genbox using all default settings except for selecting the unicode character set (default seemed to be Ansel).

I note Genbox has a “maximum line length” export parameter; I have so far left this at the default of 70 but perhaps a much longer setting may be advisable?

I note that Genbox has the possibility of selecting the target software: there are 10 possible selections here, including Rootsmagic, Legacy etc but not Gramps. So far I have simply used “unspecified”. I think it’s quite possible that some of these options may be better suited to Gramps than others, but with 10 to choose from it will take a time to experiment. As Genbox has not been updated for many years - the copyright statement is “1994 - 2007” so around 14 years - these targets will not be up to date. Any thoughts as to which options may be worth trying would be welcome. It could be that this one parameter alone may solve many of the issues. I will try the various options but this will take time to evaluate the results obtained from each.

Here are issues I have found so far:

Dates: events with start and end dates appear with an invalid date: eg I had an event of type “military service” and date appeared as “18 APR 1940 AND 9 SEP 1943” and flagged as invalid. If the date editor is invoked it shows the above string in the “text comment” field and the date type is “text-only” when it should be “span” and reading “from 18 April 1940 to 9 September 1943”.

Children order: children were not in correct order within families: fixed by use of “sort children in date order” add-on.

Media: media filepaths not correct as Genbox puts “pref” [and another?] prefix in the path instead of expanding the file reference to a full path. A global edit within Gramps to replace “pref” with the actual desired path prefix is required - it looks like the media manager tool can do this but haven’t done so yet. Unfortunately in Gramps media list the title also appears with a “pref”/ prefix
Other media entries have no path at all, just a filename - not sure yet if I can use media manager tool to fix this also.

Notes: Gramps contains notes not imported correctly caused by a Genbox facility for formatting text within boilerplate templates. For example a death event in Genbox has a cause of death field that is subject to a formatting template with name, death date and time etc: “[P] died <of [T]> [D+L]”. A note appears in Gramps with text like this:


	Records not imported into INDI (individual) Gramps ID I0052:
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2408: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2409: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2410: 5 DATE 2006-10-09
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2411: 6 TIME 18:59:00
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2414: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2415: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2416: 5 DATE 2006-10-26
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2417: 6 TIME 00:05:25
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2421: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2422: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2423: 5 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2424: 6 TIME 23:18:46
	Line ignored as not understood                                      Line  2427: 2 _PRIMARY Y
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2429: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2430: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2431: 5 DATE 2006-10-09
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2432: 6 TIME 18:59:20
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2434: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2435: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2436: 5 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2437: 6 TIME 23:18:38
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2443: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2444: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2445: 5 DATE 2006-10-26
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2446: 6 TIME 00:25:14
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2451: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2452: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2453: 5 DATE 2006-10-25
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2454: 6 TIME 23:43:22
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2456: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2457: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2458: 5 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2459: 6 TIME 23:23:13
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2461: 2 _DETAIL Influenzal Broncho-pneumonia
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2462: 3 SOUR @S203@
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2463: 4 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2464: 5 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2465: 6 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2466: 7 TIME 23:17:47
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2469: 4 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2470: 5 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2471: 6 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2472: 7 TIME 23:17:07
	Line ignored as not understood                                      Line  2474: 3 _PLACE Withington, Manchester, England
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2475: 4 SOUR @S203@
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2476: 5 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2477: 6 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2478: 7 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2479: 8 TIME 23:16:54
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2482: 4 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2483: 5 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2484: 6 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2485: 7 TIME 23:22:48
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2487: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2488: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2489: 5 DATE 2006-11-07
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2490: 6 TIME 23:16:21
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2495: 4 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2496: 5 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2497: 6 DATE 2006-10-25
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2498: 7 TIME 23:45:44
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2501: 4 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2502: 5 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2503: 6 DATE 2006-10-25
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2504: 7 TIME 23:45:02
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2506: 3 _DETAIL 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2507: 4 CHAN 
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2508: 5 DATE 2006-10-25
	Skipped subordinate line                                            Line  2509: 6 TIME 23:44:34
	Tag recognized but not supported                                    Line  2513: 2 _PREF Y

I don’t actually think this matters because the basic data is imported ok, so the issue simply becomes one of either suppressing Genbox from writing these “templated” fields or deleting them subsequently from Gramps. I have not fully investigated this yet.

A more serious issue is that Genbox objects typically have two main notes fields: one of which is labelled research notes, typically not printed in reports. In Gramps both notes for the object are imported with the same type, whereas the research notes should be imported with a type of “research”. As the two can no longer be differentiated once in Gramps this is impossible to fix given the thousands of objects impacted, and given that the research notes may contain sensitive information, and certainly text that should be suppressed from many reports, this is a serious problem.

Places: Places are imported but no place types have been imported. Perhaps because genbox types are not compatible with Gramps types? In Genbox the type represents a location usage or type such as “hospital” or “cemetery”. Genbox places are built up in a hierarchy: each place has a level, the lowest being place level: “local site”, up to “Nation/area” and a higher level place can have may different lower level places connected to it.

Missing data: It’s very difficult at this stage to see if any data is missing. I feel this is a real possibility either because it not in the Gedcom file - eg if I didn’t choose the required Genbox export options - or because Gramps couldn’t/didn’t import data in the gedcom file. All I can do is remain alert for any missing data.

I have no experience with Genbox, but out of curiosity I looked for information about its native database and found this technical doc for version 3.65:

www.genbox.com/technical/datastructure365.doc

If you’re able to query the database directly (or possibly access the tables through Excel or other software), that might help you verify that everything is being exported/imported. Or you might even be able to create your own export, thought that seems like a lot of work.

You haven’t said how much genealogy info you are trying to transfer but I assume it is far more than you wish to re-enter manually.

You seem to be an advanced user so perhaps you are willing to ‘go under the hood’? The gedcom file format is all just text, albeit with a very structured format. You could export your Genbox data and then manipulate that gedcom file before importing it to Gramps to fix some of the import issues. For example, for date spans, Gramps may be expecting “BETWEEN 18 APR 1940 AND 9 SEP 1943” so your export is missing the keyword BETWEEN*. With careful use of a search and replace utility, you could scan the gedcom file and insert the keyword in all the right places. If you have experience with ‘Regular Expressions or regex’ as used on unix-like operating systems, this isn’t all that hard to do. If you don’t know regex, it can be very confusing at first but there are tonnes of tutorials available.

Regarding the issue with Research notes, this could be a tough one. Opening the Genbox-produced gedcom with a text editor and finding one of these notes would be a start. If you can find some unambiguous way to identify Research notes from other notes, then you should be able to use a regex to mark them. Then a filter in Gramps would let you find them all after import and change the note Type.

Failing that, you may well have to delve into the Genbox internal file format as GeorgeWilmes suggested.

If you are interested in trying this avenue, perhaps others can suggest good tools in the Windows environment. If I were doing this in my Mac environment, I’d use the BBedit programmer’s editor as it has really nice regex search and replace built in–together with Undo! I’m sure there are comparable tools on Windows.

Craig

  • Needs to be checked–I didn’t verify how date spans are expressed in gedcom nor how Gramps imports them.
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Thanks George and Craig, appreciate your input.

George, thanks for that link, it’s useful.

Craig,

You haven’t said how much genealogy info you are trying to transfer but I assume it is far more than you wish to re-enter manually

Yes, 362 individuals and associated data.

You seem to be an advanced user so perhaps you are willing to ‘go under the hood’? The gedcom file format is all just text, albeit with a very structured format. You could export your Genbox data and then manipulate that gedcom file before importing it

Good spot, yes my background is in IT! Good idea of editing the gedcom file, I agree that could well be the way forward for at least some of the issues.

Regarding the issue with Research notes, this could be a tough one. Opening the Genbox-produced gedcom with a text editor and finding one of these notes would be a start

Good call. The bad news is that having looked there doesn’t seem anything to distinguish the two types of notes. Genbox allows an export containing either or both note types - maybe I could export people with just the research notes; edit all the notes (either in the gedcom file or in Gramps after importing) to have type “reseach”; take another export with just the “normal” notes, import, and perform a merge. It seems a very long shot that this would all work to plan but the alternative is to re-enter by hand (cut from Genbox, paste into Gramps) all the research notes. Not ideal but do-able, I probably don’t have vast numbers of research notes (I will check).

One question is: are research notes the same in Gramps as they are in Genbox, i.e. can they be excluded from reports?

I have now got rid of quite a few errors by not exporting change history data from Genbox. It’s going to be a case of working my way through the remaining errors and knocking them down one by one.

Have a good Christmas!

This actually sounds like a case where a merge might work. OTOH, I have never actually performed a merge in Gramps. Nonetheless, it is easy enough to create a test database in Gramps. I would transfer over ONLY the research notes to begin with. I’m not actually clear on the most efficient way to change the Note type to Research and to set them as Private.

After that, try merging with a database that has the other notes.

Easy to make suggestions without actually testing anything! :wink: Hope you find a workable path.

Craig

You may check whether the note type appears in the GEDCOM file when you export to a program like RootsMagic, or one of the others mentioned. And if so, you know how to process the GEDCOM file with a filter program.

There is not much risk of losing data, because most things that Gramps doesn’t recognize will be converted to GEDCOM import type notes, which are attached to the object where the unrecognized data was found.

Exporting to RootsMagic, which may understand the text formatting, and then exporting from that without formatting may also help to get rid of that. You can do all that with the free version.

Thanks ennoborg. I think the uploading of unrecognised gedcom elements as notes is an excellent idea in Gramps (though supporting these elements would be even better :grin:).

For info for anyone interested, I have analysed the extra “underscore” elements created in the gedcom file by my Genbox export, and they are as follows:

tag	Count - tag
_ADDR	3
_AGNC	1
_BIRTHGROUP	2
_CHIL	18
_CREATED	49
_CREDIBILITY	60
_DETAIL	762
_FATH	24
_FLAG	18
_FORWARD	6
_LEVEL	196
_LOCATION	1
_MEDI	1
_MOTH	22
_NAME	200
_PLACE	42
_PREF	245
_PRIM	144
_PRIMARY	27
_PRIV	15
_PUBDATE	92
_PUBLISHER	160
_PUBORIGDATE	1
_QUAL	24
_REFN	152
_ROLE	1
_SETTING	158
_SORTDATE	1
_SOUR	1
_SUBJECT	158
_SURETY	19
_TYPE	482
_WITN	38

I know at least some of these I can safely ignore (eg many if not all of the _DETAIL tags simply duplicate, in a formatted form, information that Gramps has already loaded anyway).

I’ll keep ploughing through this but it might be a while as I have other things that need my attention unfortunately and this looks like a longish job.

Some of these custom GEDCOM tags should be somewhat easy to convert with the SuperTool add-on.

Like the Witness _WITN should be a straight-forward conversion with an Event Role setting.

But it would be an interesting discussion if an experiment with a SuperTool conversion could be followed with adapting that code to fork a dialect GEDCOM importer.

Hehe, I know. And in some cases we do support exotic things, if there is a market for them, i.e. if they’re worth investing in, time wise.

And now that I know that you have an IT background … what would you think of trying some coding yourself? @emyoulation mentioned the SuperTool add-on, and I made my first steps in Gramps code with a modification of the CSV importer, I think, and I later add some pieces of code to import the _UID and _FSFTID tags as attributes.

To contribute to Gramps, you need to learn Python, but if you want to create a text filter to hack the Genbox GEDCOM file before import, you can use any language you like.

It would also be interesting what these tags are all used for. Some look familiar, and I saw some that may contain extra citation attributes, like they are suggested by the Gentech model. Others are a bit vague, like _TYPE, which can be used anywhere, and _PRIV, for which I assume that it means private, but this is easier for you to see, because you can see their context.

Some of these tags are quite odd, because they do exist without underscores too. And that suggests that the Genbox developers were a bit lazy with it.

Hehe, I know. And in some cases we do support exotic things, if there is a market for them, i.e. if they’re worth investing in, time wise.

I understand, and it’s great that there is active development.

And now that I know that you have an IT background … what would you think of trying some coding yourself? @emyoulation mentioned the SuperTool add-on, and I made my first steps in Gramps code with a modification of the CSV importer, I think, and I later add some pieces of code to import the _UID and _FSFTID tags as attributes.
To contribute to Gramps, you need to learn Python, but if you want to create a text filter to hack the Genbox GEDCOM file before import, you can use any language you like.

Yikes! I actually wouldn’t mind doing this but I have a lot of other things on the go, plus the learning curve involved so right now I can’t commit to it but I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. My coding days were about 25 years ago. I progressed to design and technical architecture work and retired a few years ago. I had a quick look at Python about a year ago just out of interest though I didn’t go beyond the basics. I’ll definitely keep this in mind - it would be a good excuse to pick up the python again (as it were) and contributing to a good project appeals. I’ll have a look into the SuperTool mentioned - I’ve only scratched the surface of Gramps so far so plenty to delve into!

It would also be interesting what these tags are all used for. Some look familiar, and I saw some that may contain extra citation attributes, like they are suggested by the Gentech model. Others are a bit vague, like _TYPE, which can be used anywhere, and _PRIV, for which I assume that it means private, but this is easier for you to see, because you can see their context.
Some of these tags are quite odd, because they do exist without underscores too. And that suggests that the Genbox developers were a bit lazy with it.

I quite agree and I’ll dig into each one to check. It’s even possible Genbox can produce others, as I didn’t use all of Genbox’s nooks and crannies. Knowing the product I doubt it’s because of shortcuts, it’s actually an amazingly complete product with a great deal of functionality and excellent charting capabilities. The UI could be a bit clunky at times and I could imagine a non-IT person might struggle with it but overall I felt it was/is a very powerful tool. It was a bit of a one-man product though, developed by Bill Flight, and he dropped off the radar around 2007-2008. The last update was November 2007. The website is still there but many bits of it no longer work. It would have been great had he bequeathed the codebase to an open source community to continue the good work but for whatever reason (and it was his own commercial product) that didn’t happen.

OK, I see what you mean, and he did produce very nice document about the structure of his database. My comments on the GEDCOM however are based on the experience that some authors can produce GEDCOMs that are much cleaner, with RootsMagic as an example. And I know a lot of other programs that use way more custom tags than I think are needed.

If you want, you can create an issue on our bug tracker, and attach a GEDCOM sample, so that developers can see a bit more about how relevant tags are used, and maybe we can figure out a way to recognize research notes, other than by having you putting a specific word in them. I have no idea how many you have, but knowing the size of your tree, I guess that there won’t be thousands of them, or would they?

Another option that I can think of is that you simply import all notes, and review them inside Gramps. You may have some specific words in those notes, and if you have, you can filter on those, and manually set the private flag on all notes where you need that. That’s just an idea in case you want to migrate fast.

Note that, if you do create a bug report, or feature request, you can mark any attachment as private, so that only developers can see that.

Just an idea.

I’ve seen Ancestris can load a Genbox Gedcom. Ancestris is another open source genealogy program. Working with no database, only storing information into a gedcom file near to gedcom standards, it needs to convert exotic gedcoms to use them. And Genbox is on its conversion list.

So, you could try to import your Genbox gedcom into Ancestris then to import Ancestris gedcom into Gramps.

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Plumber’s Nightmares in piping data always have extra potential for unexpected leaks.

The Gramps import has repeatedly proved that preserves data (with context cues) from GEDCOM tags that the importer does not recognize. I wonder if Ancestris does then same or discards (silently or noted in logs) data it wasn’t designed to import?

The page that Patrice mentioned is in French, but here’s the English one:

https://docs.ancestris.org/books/user-guide/page/migrate-your-genealogy-to-ancestris

It says that the program recognizes Genbox (and Gramps!) and because it uses GEDCOM as a storage format, you can actually see what it does with your data, with WinMerge, or whatever diff tool you like.

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@PLegoux thank you, that is a really interesting link. I think I will try that regardless and compare the results. If it really does make automatic corrections/conversions for the source systems quoted then this could be the way to go.

The question will be: if Genbox (or any other source system) outputs additional non-standard information to gedcom files, will Ancestris be able to refactor that data such that the resultant gedcom both captures all of it and reproduces it in the new gedcom in a way that Gramps can then understand and import. I could see this being the case if the original gedcom was simply malformed, but if it’s data beyond what gedcom was intended to hold - and beyond what Gramps was intended to hold / import - that might be less feasible for Ancestris to do (through no fault of its own). We’ll have to see!

@emyoulation I think it’s excellent that Gramps loads that information into notes in the way it does. Not only does it give confidence that no data is missed but it will also make it so much easier to go through the data afterwards and clean up any issues with an import.

@ennoborg re the research notes I don’t think that will be an issue for me to do manually. I’ll probably also need to set the private flag on such notes within Gramps (unless Gramps reports, like Genbox reports, can be configured to suppress them in reports).

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OK, nice. I think that the private flag is your best bet here, because our report plug-ins have different authors, so their behavior may be less consisten w.r.t. note types etc. than Genbox, because that is a single author program.

What you wrote here is the most important though, and even when a program stores everything it imports, what I know Gramps does, and what you can test with Ancestris yourself, any non standard item will most probably not show in the place where you were used to see that in Genbox. Examples are place hierarchies, which are supported by Gramps, but not at the GEDCOM level, and source hierarchies, for which Gramps has no support, or citation templates, which we experimented with. They were based on a subset of EE templates, which were too complex for me, especially because there were too many different terms to translate in all of our languages. I noticed that the template set in Genbox is much smaller, but I couldn’t download the full version in Dutch, so I can’t test their translations, if any. I also see no way to transfer the research log, unless that’s exported as notes.

Source wise, I think that Gramps is more advanced than Ancestris, so I think that even when you try Ancestris for GEDCOM migration, your software goal should still be Gramps, unless you find a way to convert your citation templates to RootsMagic or another competitor, but none of those support place hierarchies as good as Gramps.

Can you tell a bit more about your use of place and source hierarchies, templates, and maybe also assertions? They will all end up in notes somewhere, when used, but I have no idea how big the problem really is.

Excellent reply @ennoborg.

I think that the private flag is your best bet here, because our report plug-ins have different authors, so their behavior may be less consisten w.r.t. note types etc. than Genbox, because that is a single author program.

Understood, thanks.

even when a program stores everything it imports, what I know Gramps does, and what you can test with Ancestris yourself, any non standard item will most probably not show in the place where you were used to see that in Genbox

That’s a great point. It struck me soon after posting that Ancestris may do exactly that with non-standard items; and that if it does then there wouldn’t really be any benefit to using it as Gramps imports everything anyway - in the form of a note if it doesn’t recognise an item of data, which has the great benefit of being very visible and, importantly, located with the data (individual etc) it relates to. This will make it very easy to clean up the data after the import, and indeed it makes it easy to clean up on an ad-hoc basis as I come across it, so I don’t need to clean up everything at one go (I’ll probably retain the import log just to keep track of which items I have left to clean up).

place hierarchies, which are supported by Gramps, but not at the GEDCOM level, and source hierarchies, for which Gramps has no support, or citation templates

Genbox actually seems fairly basic when it comes to templates. I believe one can only create templates for events and sources; the templates don’t do a great deal other than customise field labels on the input dialogues and set defaults (which is still quite useful). For the most part I have used the standard templates Genbox came with but I have modified or created some, I think, to suit UK official forms and sources. I will need to check closely that the information has transferred in a way that makes sense for various event types and source types.

Genbox does use hierarchical place definitions, which I have used whenever possible. I like it that Gramps does the same thing - I come from a relational database background so the principles of 3rd normal form are something I see a lot of benefit in so having a higher level place eg town with sublocations below it makes sense to me and it’s a shame the hierarchy is lost on transfer. But again it should be easy enough to fix as I go along without needing to fix it all in one go; I have a few towns where many ancestors lived so fixing these few will bring 80% of the benefit.

I also see no way to transfer the research log, unless that’s exported as notes.

Again a very good point, I had forgotten about those. Fortunately I didn’t use them extensively - for no good reason except force of habit I tended to use separate to-do lists. Upon checking I see I have 19 research targets and 9 projects (in Genbox speak) which isn’t too bad. Does Gramps have support for this, I couldn’t see anything obvious? If Gramps has good support for this I’ll re-input manually and transfer my to-do lists as well so I have everything in one place. Otherwise I’ll centralise it all in a separate to-do list.

Source wise, I think that Gramps is more advanced than Ancestris, so I think that even when you try Ancestris for GEDCOM migration, your software goal should still be Gramps, unless you find a way to convert your citation templates to RootsMagic or another competitor, but none of those support place hierarchies as good as Gramps.

That is my thinking too. Plus I prefer to go with an open-source product, as long as it works for me, and Gramps seems to be what I’ve been looking for. I will miss Genbox but I think I must bite the bullet and move to a modern, supported, platform.

Can you tell a bit more about your use of place and source hierarchies, templates, and maybe also assertions?

I’ve probably covered these points above - as Gramps supports similar event types to Genbox and is structured in a similar way I’m hoping these will come across ok.

By assertions, do you mean citations? Genbox has a fairly straightforward structure of citations, [item] 1:many [citation] many:1 [source]. It looks like Gramps is similar. At a glance citations and sources have been loaded more or less ok, but I will need to check sources and citations very closely as Genbox and Gramps differ considerably in their detailed implementaion.

For example: Genbox has a multi-layered approach to recording surety, whereas Gramps looks fairly simplistic? Just a confidence level on the citation?

On a separate topic I’ve noticed that when Gramps has multiple dialogues open and overlapping the one that has focus does not always come to the foreground, which I find odd, and it makes it difficult to work with? But that’s an issue for another time, it’s not transfer-related.

Thank you for your insightful replies, they are much appreciated.

No, I literally mean what you can see in the first tab of the Insert Source Citation dialog:

I switched the program from Dutch to English to be able to use the right terms, and this seems to be the tab where you assert that the claim made in the source applies to the subject, like a person or an event, or something else. This part of the process is not covered by Gramps in such a structured way, and I assume that this was adopted from the Gentech model. You can of course cover the subject in a note, and Gramps has enough note types to cover that. And I see other things in that dialog, like in the Names tab, which are covered when you use the forms gramplet, but that gramplet is higly dependant on the source type. We also don’t have the features that you have in the Formatting tab. Our formatting is fully automatic, based on the data in the source, citation, and repository.

That’s right. In this area, Gramps stays pretty close to standard GEDCOM, meaning that except for attributes, which are available in almost every object, we haven’t added any field ourselves. We are quite standard compliant in that way.

There is one odd thing in Genbox that I don’t understand, and that’s the idea that sources can link to higher level sources. It’s a feature that I can’t find in version 3.7.1, even though it is mentioned in the comparison table on the web site. What I see is more like what I also see in RootsMagic, where you also have a master and a detail source, meaning that it is a two level system, and no more. An that is not a real link, like it exists in the DeadEnds model.

This means that, evidence wise, moving to Gramps is sort of a step back, also because we have no templates yet, and no automatic import of unrecognized tags in attributes, which would be nicer than putting those in notes.

We have tasks, implemented as notes and a To Do Gramplet, but no research log, but I think that you already wrote that you can store that outside Gramps.

OK I see what you mean. I have done any actual research for years so I’ve got out of the habit of thinking in a genealogical way! But yes I understand about the assertion and that it is supported one or more citations of evidence contained in sources.

How do I use them? You probably noticed that Genbox allows every detail of a record (an event for example) to have a separate assertion and citations. Place, date, church, witnesses, etc - they can all have their own assertion citations. A birth certificate for example can provide multiple items of data. Genbox has a nice short cut where you can “pin” a source and just click next to every data item on the event that is supported by that source to rapidly populate the assertion citations.

It looks to me that Gramps has a more broad-brush approach and only records a citation against the event as a whole? So I need to check how this gets exported/import into Gramps, I’m guessing it will record multiple, duplicated, citations as the detail level effectvely gets rolled up to the record level.

Both Gramps and Genbox allow multiple citations for an assertion if many sources support the same assertion so that shouldn’t be a problem.

As regards your other points, I think these are things to add to the growing list of things to check!

There is one odd thing in Genbox that I don’t understand, and that’s the idea that sources can link to higher level sources. It’s a feature that I can’t find in version 3.7.1

Yes, it’s not truly hierarchical. Each source type is defined as being at one of three levels: Document (level 1), Document in Source (level 2), or Source (level 3). It’s defined against the source type, not the individual source. To quote the help text:
The **Document** level is generally for unpublished, loose documents (not part of larger works). The **Document in Source** level is for documents that are part of larger works, where the larger work is represented as a separate source record (at the Source level). The **Source** level is generally for published works. It can also be used for a collection of documents.

Well, sort of. Source references (citations) are always treated as a whole, in the sense that you can’t cite a part of a source in another way than putting that part in a citation. But you can add citations to names, places, etc., so it’s more than just events.

The most important issue that I think that you need to deal with is that Gramps does not support the data model that Genbox uses for the evidence part, which seems to be based on the Gentech model. And as far as I can see that model never really caught on, in the sense that none of the popular desktop programs actually use it. And I write desktop, because popular web sites like Ancestry, FamilySearch, and My Heritage, do use a model where one can match extracted person data with persons in a tree, and actually create new entries from that data.

On the desktop however, there are very few programs that can do this, and the most well known (at least to me) are Clooz and Evidentia, which are designed to combine evidence and export that to a GEDCOM file that you use with a classic desktop program. And in this area, there is only one program that is designed to do everything in a single program, and that’s Centurial:

https://www.centurial.net/en

The problem with Centurial however is, that it’s another closed source project, handled by one man, just like Genbox, and its GEDCOM import capabilities are awful. It needs more than an hour to import my tree, which has about 12000 persons, and when I have the patience to do that, I end up with a situation where I can’t even find my citations! In other words, it’s just another vendor lock-in, as you can read in this review by Tamura Jones:

So in the end, it’s up to you to decide what you want. If you want the security of open source, you can move your data to Gramps, but in that case you need to accept that our evidence model is largely GEDCOM based, so you have to live with the citation fields that we offer, and the fact, that you need to move all your evaluatiions to notes. We have no evidence management like the programs that I mentioned have, and the discussion that I started on evidence in the Ideas section also sort of died, which tells me that most people are perfectly happy with the classic source citation model.