Why use Gramps?

There is a “Why use Gramps?” section as the 1st two paragraphs of the Gramps wiki. But those scant musings are more about genealogy software than this particular tool.

Why use Gramps?

Most genealogy programs allow you to enter information about your ancestors and descendants. Typically, they can display family relationships through charts, graphs, or reports. Some allow you to include pictures or other media. Most let you include information about people even if those people are not related to the primary family you happen to be researching. And they may include features that let you exchange data with other programs and print different types of reports.

Gramps has all these capabilities and more. Notably, it allows you to integrate bits and pieces of data as they arise from your research and to put them in one place – your computer. You can then use your computer to manipulate, correlate, and analyze your data, rather than messing with reams of paper.

It needs to be reworked. But it is a preface so the passage needs to stay succinct while becoming more pithy.

In my mind, some of the key reasons are: privacy, control, self-determination, cross-platform sharing of research, and a desire to support the FOSS concept.

I’ve seen some people mention using Gramps as a collation tool. Some use it as a harmonizing pipeline, other as a destination. There was a thread on Facebook about How people got started with Gramps.

What are your reasons?

My main reason for using Gramps:
I wanted something that I could run on my computer and keep safe there and on my NAS and not require a company servers, so that made the web options a no go.

Compared to other local installed software, I did try those that had a trial feature but didn’t like most of them, I don’t quite remember why right now with all of them.

I remember I found Brothers Keepers too ugly and maybe Legacy too.

I did consider Family Maker 2019, it had nice looks but I don’t think it had any trial feature so didn’t check it out?

Considered Heredis too but don’t quite remember why I chose gramps over that.

I think I also wanted something that looked like that ability to make a webpage with tree in some form too, and Gramps seemed to have that, but I haven’t actually tried to do that, so might be good or bad, have no idea.

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My reason was very simple. I wanted a genealogy program that would run on Linux.

At the time I was looking (2004), there were a few other projects working on genealogy programs for Linux, but Gramps was the best, and has only continued to get better, so I’ve had no reason to check out any other options since then.

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For me there are some strong reasons to use Gramps: it’s powerful, it’s local app-based not web-based (which I want for reasons @emyoulation and @Mihle have already given), free, under active development, no vendor lock-in, open source.


Question from an online genealogy site user tonite:
“What is the best software for you, Gramps?”

From an Heredis user:
“The best software is the one with which you feel good
So for me not at all Gramps”

My answer:
“The one that does not restrict me, manages the different objects correctly, allows me to make the most of the results of my research already done thanks to its analysis tools in order to obtain the necessary leads for the following ones, and if in addition it is open …
Feel good, not part of my initial software criteria, for my sofa yes but not for my genealogy software”

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Decades ago, I started developing a small DB-based application for that but I didn’t foresee all the requirements. In addition, the DB engine (4D) had a rather unusual model and when I changed my computer(s) and switched to Linux, all my data was lost (no export possibility). This was not important as I had not really started genealogical research. At that time I discovered Gramps among the distro packages.

The principles were really more elaborate than mine. No workflow was forced on me. This is both a strength and a weakness. Weakness: there are several ways to record the data and when you start genealogical research, you don’t know which are good and experience-proven and which are uselessly contorted. Strength: you can put emphasis on whatever you want: people, events, places. And if you don’t find what you want you can easily extend through CUSTOM object categories.

One of the most valuable features for me is the (relatively recent) name management. Most other genealogical suites consider people have a single fixed name. This may be true for contemporary times where “red tape” has taken over our lives (where administrative records are the Truth and you air-breathers are wrong a priori) but when oral culture was predominant and language was a dialect with a strong local accent, you can’t rely on wording by a clerk who would interpret pronounced words under the light of his own background. Therefore, it is best to record all the variants of a name and see statistically which is the “reference” one.

I also appreciate the confidence level you assign to records. I complement this with a tag set to monitor visually (since tags can be associated with colours) my progress. Not sure this exists in other suites.

I recently started an interest in place history, i.e. local events which are mentioned in record margins. These shed some light on village life, link local affairs to History, witness village evolution, … I attach transcript of these to place records. Once again, would other suites allow this?

Globally, GRAMPS being FOSS, I have acces to the source code and can customise it to my desires.


I think the main reason for me is that Gramps has everything you need for genealogical research out of the box for free. Addons even extend the already rich set of features in Gramps. For many things Gramps has better solutions than other genealogical software.


My main reasons are:

  1. it is opensource, what means, that many people support the project and continued work on the project ist visible and one can expect, that this work will be continued even when the first generation of develpers does not continue working on the project (the software I choose thirty years ago stopped beeing adapted to new OS developments as the creator of sthe projekct died)
  2. it is widely compatible with the gedcom standard and it has an interntional background, what means that different cultural structures can be mapped (some German products misunderstand the gedcom definitions e.g. the meaning of education)
  3. Gramps helps to link and exchange with other genealogists by supporting the gedcom standard but offers a lot more possibilities. Covering different platforms and exchange formats is essential for this exchange. As well offeringthe use of different databases helps to find an develop individual solutions for individual problems.
  4. Nothing in the world is perfect, but the GRAMPs project offers so many solutions that (at leas) I myself always find a way to store and administrate all data I need in my genealogical research.

So: let me just say thanks to all those people who make it possible to use such a product!!!


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