Just looking for someone to interview from the Gramps Project (Genealogy Showcase invitation)

My name is Ed Thompson, and I am the owner of Evidentia Software. Evidentia Software will be rolling out a new Youtube channel in late summer/early fall. “Genealogy Showcase” will explore what is new, and not so new, in the field of genealogy software.

I would like to feature Gramps in one of the early episodes. I am reaching out to this channel to see if I can find the people behind gramps to help answer some questions about the history, motivation behind, and future of Gramps.

I would like to do a combination of email exchanges and live interviews to answer some questions, but line interview is optional.

Is this something a member of the gramps team would be interested in?

I will try to monitor for responses here.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Hi Ed,

You can read about the history of Gramps

Gramps officially started April 21, 2001 when Don Allingham shared his hobby project and you can read his blog entry on how it came about .

Kind Regards


I’m curious. Will this be a review of Gramps? Or will it cover strategies for using your products in concert with Gramps?

Will Evidentia v4 have an API that would allow a View mode or Gramplet to interactively leverage your features?

It is not about using my products with others. I am still working through the details, but I envision it looking at the motivation behinds its creation, demonstrating the software in action and identifying what makes it different from other programs in the same genre.

As to your second question, not on day 1, but I am open to that idea day 2.

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I, for one, would be very interested if Don Allingham’s dad could be interviewed. It was he who inspired Don to write the first tool, named it, & convinced his son to release the software publicly.

I hope both he & Don are doing well… but it has been quite a few years since Relativity conserved its energy into GRAMPS, now ‘Gramps’.

Perhaps you could entice Don & another early project contributor:
Alex Roitman
His LinkedIn profile lists Co-manager; GRAMPS project 2002 - 2006

However, I wonder if any of the current team might not be reluctant to take on becoming a public face of Gramps? They have already been generous with their involvement.

The downsides include being public whipping boys for not satisfying every expectation & being waterboarded for information/commitments about future development.

Of course, I’m not a Gramps insider and don’t know any of the developers personally. I’m just grateful enough to be protective of their energies. I’ve been invited to seminars, panels & interviews where every participant was abused by various sponsors with agendas. We all left wondering if we wanted to continue in such a community.

What features do y’all think separates Gramps from the pack? Preferably something that a non-developer would appreciate.

The most significant difference is the handeling of name standards, I have never used any software that have this kind of control of peoples names, name types and how to combine names, each part of a name can be defind with a type …

Same with the control of places, types of places, the hierachies, and the possibility to make different types of hierachies and embed a place to multiple other places based on time and periods of time …

The possibility to add unlimited notes, and citations to an Event …

the possiblitiy to add Events without first connect it to a person …

AND all the different Gramplets that gives a lot of extra features …

Next version will come with additional features for Places, and Event with Places as subject …

All the different reports and export functionality … there are no other genealogy software that do a full database export to readable formats, Gramps XML are unique …
We all knows that gedcom are lossy …
In addition Gramps support export to json, csv, raw, sqlite … it has multiple report formats, both complete web site generation and multiple static graph reports … export the graphs to graphviz .dot format and it can be imported to i.e Cytoscape, to create extended network graphs … AND ALL IN OPEN FORMATS …
… AND of course multiple text reports.

And as the last thing for now … it support multiple database backends …

Gramps are a REAL research platform, you can register data for more than “just” genealogy research, but the software can actually be used as a registration platform for humanities research and historical research … it still has some limitations, but Gramps, in difference to many other genealogy software are a work in progress …

The software and the people behind it deserve a long and great presentation :slight_smile:


And of course, as open source software, its completely free.


Yes of course … AND it has more feature for free than any of the paid software, AND better support than most of them …

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I don’t know about “long”… :wink:

Obviously a very passionate community - a strength.

Would you agree or disagree with the following two statements:

  1. Gramps is designed for “Linux first” (playing on the “mobile first” mantra)
  2. Gramps is a software developers genealogy program

Gramps used to be Linux first, but I only use it on Windows 10, and have had very little problems …

There are some special things that still need to be compiled to run, but that is for users with “special needs” …
There will always be a little difference between Linux, Mac and Windows installations/user experience, and Gramps have a somewhat steeper learning curves than many “paid” genealogy software, but the benefit are all the flexibility and all the features that you get … I still find “new” features and learn new ways to do things, and I have used Gramps 5 since one of the first Beta (more like alfa), I went from Legacy to Gramps and even though I still use Legacy for some things, Gramps are my first choice …

In addition to all the features, the main reasons for me using Gramps are the open formats it use for reports and export …
Graphviz .dot files can be imported to Cytoscape for more network graph research, the CSV, xml or json exports can be imported and used in excel, Openrefine and with some rework also in Gephi, Cytoscape, Constellation or yEd, or Draw.io as some example of software for extended graph drawing and analyzing …

With a few more features, Gramps will be a full featured software that can be used in most humanity research, not only genealogy … (my personal opinion) …

AND Gramps are the closest you come to a event based genealogy research tool this days …

Personally I combine Gramps with Zotero and as a side software I also use Clooz, in addition to the gnetwork graph tools I already have mentioned …

I have tested Evidentia to, but at the moment I do not have much research that need that approach, but I liked what I saw, so if you somehow can do some sync magic with Gramps, I’m sure I will buy a license … I just have to admit that I dont like the limitations of gedcom as a format for transfer data AT ALL …

I don’t think Gramps is a “Software Developer Software”, I think it is a software for serious genealogists and for people who want to have control over and own their own research data and that do not want/demand sync with the 3 big ones online … ,

Hi Ed,

I would respectfully disagree with both of those statements.

  1. Gramps appealed to me because I’m a Mac user. The Windows version seems to be popular, too, based on discussions on this list.

  2. And while I think Gramps’ open-source nature inherently appeals to genealogists who happen to be software developers, there are frequent discussions about keeping things non-techy for general users.

Gramps is indeed a desirable genealogy program for software developers and Linux users, but that shouldn’t scare away less technical users on other platforms.

I appreciate your insights (and agree with you about GEDCOM, I don’t store anything as GEDCOM, though I have to allow import/export,

I appreciate your insight.

Yes, I know you dont store anything as gedcom, and I know you need to use it to transfer data … sadly …

Support the Gramps XML format :slight_smile:
Someone need to be the first … :slight_smile:


Regarding who uses Gramps; it is difficult to be sure, but looking at downloads of our latest release from Gtihub/SourceForge:
Windows 40,000/3095
Linux (deb file) 3000/620
Mac (dmg file) 19000/490

I suspect that Linux use is higher than indicated above because many Linux repos also have older copies of Gramps that people might be installing, and that we have no visibility into.


Thanks for sharing that!

The developer documentation is much more expansive about using Linux tools & processes when beginning as a developer. However, the User releases have become pretty much simultaneous for Linux , Windows & macOS. And features aren’t added without cross-platform compatibility.

The only place I can say Linux users have a definite advantage would be in the file Save & Open dialogs. Those have a Linux flavor to them and have better support for Linux network paths & aliasing.

2 others strengths are in localization & flexibility.

There are a wide variety of languages supported.

And there are different ways to do a lot of basic tasks. We aren’t constrained by the commercial marketing mantra of ‘our approach is a unique value & is the ONLY way things should be done.’ Instead, there’s an appreciation that not everyone has the same goals. Any user can customize or add attributes with no programming. (Want to store ICD-10 codes with your Cause of Death records? Just add an item to the Attributes tab. Want another gender or Place type? Just type it in and it will be added to the Pull-down menu.)

Another distinctive feature is the Books. These allow a collections of Reports to be run. So a clan’s Family Historian (or a professional genealogist) could design a standard collection which generates a ‘deliverable’ customized to a individual or sept. This could been a collation of a dozen reports in a specific order & layout. It might even include multiple variants of entire Gramps report-generated websites. (It is easy to use the Book to make a consistent output format. Learning to make the report collection automatically re-focus the “central person” filters is a bit more involved… similar to learning to use a mailing list to create form letters & envelopes in MS Word.)

Once I get a rhythm going I want to do a compare/contrast on the website generation features of programs. I may do the same on reporting in general. I won’t be able to cover everything a program can do.

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