Stillbirth events in Gramps

I know there’s been some discussion on the handling of stillbirth events in Gramps, as well as a feature request. What’s the current status of that?

5.1.5 doesn’t support GEDCOM 7 (as far as I know), which defines a “stillborn” value for the AGE and TYPE attributes. In the meantime, what is the current best practices recommendation for dealing with stillbirth events?

(There are different strategies used by different people. I’ve been using a custom “Stillbirth” event. With an official standard for stillbirths, that will make it easier for plugin developers.)


Here’s my Feature Request and as such would not make it into the code until 5.2 at the earliest.

and the discussion here.

Dave: I saw those earlier. I definitely think it’s a needed enhancement. I would, however, prefer “Stillbirth” as the event rather that “Stillborn” for consistency with the event “Birth”. That is, “stillborn” is an adjective while other existing event names are nouns.

As far as I can tell, GEDCOM handles stillbirth events using attributes rather than a specific event, so I assume the enhancement will do the necessary conversions on both import and export, correct?

Is Gramps capable of simultaneously recognizing the date of a “Stillborn” type event as being “birth-related” and “death-related”?

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Brian: Good question. Off-hand, speaking from my short experience as a plugin developer, I think it would be best to treat stillbirth as just a death-related event. Otherwise, when querying birth & death information for a person, a special case would have to be coded for stillbirth.

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I have made this change (updated Github PR1148).

I am not a coder so all I have done for the feature request is to make it a coded event type and made it a fallback event for both Birth and Death. So with the single event entry for the person, the date will display as both the birth and death date in the People lists.

Before hacking the code, I had Stillborn (now Stillbirth) as a custom event. But when doing things like sorting children their Birth date would be empty Hence the desire to make it a fallback event.

For my needs, where it stands now meets my needs. The reports I use lists events as displayed in the person’s record and I do not use the available analysis tools or GEDCOM export or import. But I know other users do.

These other coding needs before this feature request can be implemented will require someone more knowledgeable to implement.

This issue was one of the reasons I first started using Stillborn. Some of the records I was finding were found with the Birth records while other were with other Death records. Now with the single event type, regardless of the source record they all get linked to the same event type.

I just did a test and the fallback dates do not return on filters based upon actual Birth or Death events. i.e. People with the <birth data>

Dave: Good point about the birth-order sorting. In that case, it does make more sense to treat stillbirth as a birth-related event.

Just saw a posting on the FamilySearch facebook group where a person was having problems converting a profile mis-marked as a Stillborn to a neonatal death. (infant lived 4 hours)

Their system has special handling for a stillborn and another for a miscarriage.

Their database was not allowing the change. It probably required an intervention by FamilySearch staff just as converting a Profile from dead to living requires assistance. (Any user who did not create the profile, would not be able to see it when the Profile was marked ‘living’.) Being a single-user database, we wouldn’t have the Admin level restriction. But I wonder if the reason is actually because the implementation is so many steps to convert the data that it requires special training.

So I suggest that we examine a FamilySearch instance of a Stillborn and discover how they implemented and how the GEDCOM is exported. Maybe we can dodge a bullet?