Simple Tag Hierarchy

Continuing the discussion from Slow tags scrolling in Filters:

I’m using categories as prefix to tag names to sort them and create some kind of hierarchy:

  • PER: [tag name] => A tag for people category
  • PLC: [tag name] => A tag for place category
  • EVN: [tag name] => A tag for event category
  • ALL: [tag name] => General tag category e.g. ToDo

Doing the same thing but with the single lowercase letter.

  • s:Tag name
  • c:Tag name
  • e:Tag name
  • f:Tag name

For my universal tags I use a leading underscore; _UPDATE 1950. These would be short term tags so I want them listed at the top for quick access. Note: in the list view set tags, the underscore does not display in the tag list, but it does in the edit windows.

Update: Instead of using the underscore, I have replaced it with the tilde ( ~ )

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Perhaps some sort of parallel hierarchy should be implemented in Attributes?

And it would be useful to be able to convert a tag to an Attribute & back to a tag.

There will be times that you will need to slim down the list of Tags so that their display in Charts becomes less chaotic. e.g., on an ancestor fan chart, you might want to display tag color swatches indicate which generation emigrated and which had military service. But the other tags you might have (perhaps to indicate lineage branches, or as an export filter, or cause of death) would obscure that illustration.

So a tool which converted all the dozens of existing tags to attributes… without duplicating an attribute… would simplify things. But would have the same organizational needs being discussed for tags.

On a related subject… tags are a “convenience” organizational system. It is counterproductive to have each record marked as modified/updated when a tag is added or removed. The underlying data isn’t being changed, just its categorization. (e.g., when importing a GEDCOM, marking the import with a Tag & a Source citation should not disturb the “last modified” timestamp of the underlying record. Doing so would interfere with ability of a Merge tool to identify the freshest data.)

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This is a helpful discussion. I just want to add, for the benefit of users who are new to Gramps, that tags are “an organizational tool for data analysis … not real genealogical data” (unlike attributes), and therefore tags are not exported to GEDCOM. They serve a good purpose and are very handy, but users should be careful when deciding whether to use a tag or an attribute for a particular purpose. The decision is sometimes complicated by the very different means for creating, editing, and viewing the two types of data.


Is there a version of ancestor fan chart which allows displaying tags or are there any reports using them? I only remember the pedigree view and graph view showing them and some text reports listing them.

That tool shoudn’t be too hard to create. :smiley:

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I used a lot of Tags, now I try to replace them as much as possible with attributes. Managing them, especially when you have a lot of them, is tiring. Now I was creating an attribute of a certain type - it could be Tag, Workflow, … - and of a certain value. Before completing them I add them to the Collections Clipboard gramplet so that I can drag them onto other objects later.


I was anticipating an improvement similar to the Gramps 4.0 enhancement: Fan Chart – from-gimmick to research tool. It just makes a lot of sense to add an option for a Tag color to override the selected color scheme of the Fan wedges.

And my memory might have been tainted by the recollection of this fan chart from my grandmother’s 1989 research:

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Nice chart! The current fan chart does let you filter on tags, so you could use that feature to highlight the people who have the tag. Not quite the same as adding a colored dot, but could be useful. You can also filter on events, to highlight people with immigration or military service events for example, so that you don’t need to tag them in the first place. Or you could use a custom filter that looks for specific attributes (or tags, or events, etc.).


I’m using Gramps for years now and never recognized that you can highlight people in fan chart view using tags/filters. :sweat_smile:

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There is a Set Attribute Tool Addon which you could use for persons.

Wow. The thought of iteratively creating custom filters, running the tool, then clearing dozens of Tags is enough to scare any sane person away. Then doing that again in each category??? Nope, nope, nope.

Applying the tool is a fine process for one-off but is far too unwieldy to use systematically.

Maybe two tools are needed:

  • One tool to quickly convert tags to attributes (or back) without the need to create custom filters.
  • The second tool could be similar to SetAttribute converting tags to attributes (or back), but also allows finer options like only doing that on a filtered set of persons.
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I converted some of my Tags to Attributes.

I have a Tag for all of my main branches of the family tree. Sure, I know all the main surnames and where they fit but I am also searching out the many descendent lines. I have also extended out several of the in-law lines for my nieces and nephews, etc.

I started with the Set Attribute for the first family by creating the filter and set the attribute. Then on to the second family branch.

The problems, once a person has their first Attribute with the Type “Family” they cannot get a second attribute with the same type. I had to set the Type to “Family2” and then use the Type Cleanup to change “Family2” to “Family” and then do the same for the other branches of the extended family tree.

But I have used the family tags for my personal reference and for filtering and not used in reports etc. So then how to mark all these Attributes Private, I do not want these attributes printed in reports.

Needless to say, I came quickly back to using Tags for my family branches.

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You could use a different attribute name for each family branch. The attribute need not have any value.

Regardless of tags or attributes, do you use custom filters to identify who belongs to a given family branch, so that you can set the tag or attribute? And corresponding filters to find anyone who doesn’t belong but yet has the tag or attribute (in case people get moved between families), so that you can remove the tag or attribute?

I have a set of filters to find the active person’s grandparents and then bring those lines forward including spouses. I also have filters to tag any immediate in-laws.

Periodically I wipe the tags and reset to account for any edits I make as I attempt to document and prove the information in my large tree. I expanded existing research at the start of the internet when others were freely sharing their family trees. Trees that were rarely documented.

In the end, at least for this purpose, Tags are far easier to use and maintain.

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