Sharing user access

Hi, I’m hoping to enlist other family members’ help in building my family tree. Gramps looks like a great package, but can I share editing access with other users?

I understand I could export my data to a .csv file or some other format and share that, but ideally we’d all work on the same live version here on Gramps. Is that possible?

Many thanks for your advice.

There are a small number of users using the Desktop version to access the same tree stored on a local network drive from different machines. But the most typical use there is a single user who uses different machines on occasion. Another case is when different users work on the same Tree but not at the same time since only one user session is allowed read/write access at a time.

More than one simultaneous user is not an option with the desktop fork.

However, since being released in 2022, the GrampsWeb fork has made great progress towards a collaborative solution. It runs on a server (which could be on your local network) and allows multi-user collaborative work with varying permission levels.


Hi Alasdair,

indeed Gramps Web could be a good option if you want to allow your family members to edit your tree. You can still synchronize it with your Desktop installation of Gramps (which is more powerful and feature complete) and use the online version for collaborative editing or (read-only) sharing.

Currently, installing Gramps Web is still not very easy. Self-hosting it requires some knowledge with docker and related tools. The easiest option at present is using the DigitalOcean “1-click app”.

We are also working on a hosted version where users can just sign up to create their Gramps Web instance (without installing it themselves), that should be ready later this year.


Thanks David. Sharing is a deal-breaker for me as this is a family project. When do you anticipate the hosted version will be available, and will it be possible to migrate to it from the current version when it arrives?

Have you thought about using Ancestry? It doesn’t have all the features that Gramps has, but it has features for sharing, all free.

Thanks for the response. I’m using Ancestry at the moment, but I’m not sure how much of the functionality I lose after the free access I was granted with my DNA test runs out.

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I’m using a free account, and I can invite others to work on my tree. And others can also invite me on theirs. And IMO, it’s the best option if you’re happy with the Ancestry data model, for the simple reason that there is no extra work in setting up servers and other things.

As far as I can check, there are no limitations on tree size, or anything else, so my counter question would be, why whould you use Gramps? There is other software that works much better with Ancestry, like Family Tree Maker and RootsMagic.

I use Gramps here, because it’s open source, runs on Linux, and it’s the best software for my language, which is Dutch. Keeping things up to date between Ancestry and Gramps gives me a lot of work though.

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@ennoborg the ambition of Gramps Web is to serve users who would like the convenience of online tree sharing and collaboration of tools like Ancestry, but want to retain full control, use open source tools, and have excellent integration with the best open source desktop app.

Sharing is a deal-breaker for me as this is a family project. When do you anticipate the hosted version will be available

The first version of multi-tenant support will actually be released this week, but it’s difficult to predict how long it will take until there is a reliable hosted version for users to sign up. I would guess 2-3 months.

By the way, comparing to Ancestry - a hosted Gramps Web will not be free either as hosting costs money, but it should be significantly cheaper than self-hosting an individual instance like on DigitalOcean that costs at least 6 $/month. The cheapest option is to self-host on a Raspberry Pi (this is what I am doing), but it’s only for advanced users.

and will it be possible to migrate to it from the current version when it arrives?

Good question, it definitely should, but thinking about your question I realized we are still missing some features. I opened two issues for it. Shouldn’t bee too much work actually.


I understand that, but that is much about ideology, isn’t it?

As far as I can see, my tree is more important than the software, so my choice is based on a couple of things, like the amount of control that I get, how easy it is, for me, and my relatives, whether it speaks my language, and can create reports in that, and other languages, in case I send them to relatives.

IMO, migration is only worth it, if you can answer all, or most, of these questions in a positive manner.

Different people will come to different conclusions and that’s fine. But I am not ideological. I just prefer my data to be in a format that is completely open.

That Gramps supports a large number of languages, also for reports, is well known to you.

But I fully agree that ease of use and convenience is key for users. This applies equally also to Desktop users considering to switch to Gramps.

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We have funds available. When you are ready we can host a trial for a limited number of users.

I’ll discuss this with the team and investigate any hosting upgrades required.

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Thanks. That’s useful.

Somehow related: Since I’m always updating my family tree, it’s near impossible to send new versions to the entire family all the time, much easier to export in PDF and multiple languages to my drive which also has a client app.

Does any of you know if there’s a quick button to mass export the family tree in multiple formats and languages ? Or even going as far as exporting for each living person in the tree a personalized relationship graph

For moving the file from the export folders to my drive I can surely figure out a way with apple scrips. I just wanted to ask if any of you knew of a relevant add on ? for this matter

Just to make sure. I really like Gramps, but keeping track of changes between Gramps and Ancestry is a lot of work, because your only means are GEDCOM files, and there are no easy ways to compare those, because of the large differences in GEDCOM dialects, and the fact that Ancestry doesn’t add modification dates to individual records. Migration is a good choice if you plan to make all changes in one place, on your desktop OR on-line, but if you make them in both places, which is very likely if you allow relatives to make changes on-line, it can quickly become a real mess.

If you are the author of the Family Tree, you have to have a lot of trust to allow others to change your work. You also need a lot of tools to track changes and be able to reverse changes. A multi-user community is a whole level altogether.

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A FaceBook group inquiry came up today and I realized that I had made some assumptions about the Sync.

Assume you have 3 family members sharing equal (or inequal) responsibility for data entry and updating the Gramps Web hosted site. Can ALL 3 synchronize, each to/from their own local Gramps instance, without interfering with one another?

Good question. In principle, yes - especially, say, if they are working on separate branches of the tree and not on the same objects, synchronization will work for multiple users. If they do work on the same objects, there will be automated merging which might or might not have the desired effect.

In general, if there are multiple editors, I would personally recommend to agree to do either work on separate branches of the family or to agree to do all edits on web (not on desktop), because then all others will see the changes in real time and there is much less chance of interference.

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Yes, I fully agree. Concerning the second part, I started implementing a feature in Gramps, but it will take some time until it’s final & released I guess:

This would make online collaboration in Gramps Web much more powerful, because we can display an edit history and undo selected edits.

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Where can we find the rules for automated merging?

Not expecting user docs but maybe a pointer to the code section? So we can see the order of operations and how data elements are weighted.

Good question.

For simultaneously modified objects, the sync addon just does merged_object = remote_object.merge(local_object), i.e. the local object is merged into the remote one, which is taken as basis.

The actual merging code is implemented in Gramps core, e.g. here for people: