Thursday, September 17, 2009


GRAMPS is the Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System - Free genealogy software developed originally for Linux computers. (And obviously developed by people who like acronyms.) There is a Windows version, and recently they released a Mac Version.

At the top of the page one sees this warning:
Warning: this page describes the GTK-OSX port of GRAMPS to Mac, which is still under test. This page too is still under construction. The program described may not work as expected. Or even work. Use it on precious data at your own risk!
This warning indicates that the program isn't quite yet ready for everyone. But those who are more willing to experiment with software still being tested may be curious. Its test status relegates it to a secondary software program at this stage, but it is a free download, so there is no monetary investment.

The key, as the warning suggests, is not to use it with original data files. That is, export a GEDCOM file from your primary genealogy software, and use that GEDCOM with GRAMPS.

My primary software is iFamily for Leopard. Back in 2007 after trying out MacFamilyTree, Reunion, and iFamily, I decided iFamily had the most user-friendly graphical interface. For me the most important features are ease of entering data, and ease of looking up data. However, iFamily has lagged behind in the reporting features. I was satisfied with the reports it offers, but it doesn't provide "Register" or "Ahnentafel" reports, which are the standard for many professional genealogists.

GRAMPS does. For basic reports you can choose from Ahnentafel, Modified Register (NGSQ), and Henry numbering systems.

I like the "End of Line" report, which lists all ancestors of a specified individual for whom there are no parents recorded. I also like the Records Report which provides the top three records under the following categories: Youngest living person, Oldest living person, Person died at oldest age, Person married at youngest age, Person married at oldest age, Youngest father, Youngest mother, Oldest father, Oldest mother, Couple with most children, Living couple married most recently, Living couple married most long ago, Longest past marriage

From this report I learned my great grandmother, Margaret Denyer Van Every, was one month shy of her 15th birthday when she married, and two months shy of her 16th birthday when she had her first child. I knew she had been young, but I hadn't done the math. My great grandfather was five years older.

I also like the Fan Chart. Here's mine:

However, it does illustrate a flaw in the code, as it appears GRAMPS occasionally gets confused over which of several spouses the correct ancestor is. Here it lists my great grandmother, Margaret Jane Denyer, as the daughter of George Foster - who was the second husband of Sarah Ann Hartley, not her first husband, Ebenezer Denyer.

And its not just in the fanchart. I've noted in a descendant report that it included some stepchildren with the wrong parents. There may be other inaccuracies in the reports that I haven't noticed yet. So while the reports and charts available with GRAMPS are appealing, and show a lot of promise, it's probably advisable to wait for a little more testing before distributing the reports to family.

[Note: The above only refers to the Mac version of GRAMPS. The Linux and Windows versions of GRAMPS are outside of the testing stage, and I suspect do not have the same reporting flaws.]

1 comment:

Jasia said...

This was a really interesting article John. I've never heard of GRAMPS before. Thanks for enlightening me!