INSTALLATION (full tutorial on website and more)
GRAMPS is a full-featured genealogy program you can run on any computer operating system and it is FREE.
You can download it from the gramps.org website and install it on computers running on Windows, Linux or Macintosh.
I will not give the detailed installation procedure here since everything is very well put and detailed on their website.
For those who are dealing with Linux distributions though, let me tell you that this genealogy program is in most cases already there in the distro repositories.
If you don't find it there you can find it the Flathub repository .
Or you can install it from your terminal by typing this command line
(this procedure applies to the Debian-based distributions only) :
sudo apt install gramps
For those using Fedora or Arch-based distributions the GRAMPS packages can be found in the "software boutique" or "app store" or whatever it may be called depending on which distribution you are using. Just type "Gramps" in the search bar, the installation process will be launched and the genealogy program will be installed on your computer.
THE PROS OF THIS GENEALOGY PROGRAM
An efficient program to organize your genealogical data
A genealogy program can be used to compile, organize and visualize your genealogical research.
In that respect, GRAMPS is a real champion.
With that genealogical program you won't have a single screen view with multiple windows layouts.
Other genealogical programs like Ancestris, Heredis or Family Tree Maker especially affectionate this way of displaying things. But that is not the way GRAMPS does it !
GRAMPS will show you a Dashboard view first, with on its left columm, different tabs showing different categories.
You might find it confusing at first if you are not used to this way of visualizing your genealogical data : Why can't I see my tree right away ? Where is the root person or the family I'm working on ? How can I edit or update data ?
Actually, it is a very practical way to organize your data, you can for instance go right away edit and update your file sources or your file places names just with a double-click on the right tab.
This is the way to go if you have a very large file with thousands of names in it.
A multilingual program
GRAMPS is a available in several languages and can be tweaked with many tools and additional "gramplets".
This genealogy program does not just targets the English-speaking users but many others in the world as well. I regularly use it in French or Portuguese and it is very well put together.
Look for instructions on their website to add the different language packages.
In a nutshell, you have here an international genealogy program that can be tweaked as you like and that is FREE. This is more than what anyone could expect from a FREE program.
THE CONS OF THIS GENEALOGY PROGRAM
Not the easiest genealogy program for beginners
The way GRAMPS is displayed does not make it easy for beginners to start with.
Some users may prefer a single horizontal graphical tree view with an alphabetical index on the left or on the right like as it is done by other programs like Family Tree Builder, Heredis, Family Tree Maker , Roots Magic and so on ...
But for pro researchers who compile thousands of data and work on several families from the same genealogy file using GRAMPS can make their work more time efficient and more straight to the point. If you just want to update your sources or places list for instance or just organize your photo gallery you won't have to scroll down a long list of people names to add or update information.
Go straight to the point, click on the right tab and there you are !
Gedcom imports and notes
Some of you may already have a complete genealogy file and, still, may want to import it into the GRAMPS program. Most of the time you will use a 5.0 or 5.1 Gedcom file to import this file into GRAMPS.
Gedcom file import is very efficient and fast in GRAMPS. But, there is a big issue with people's individual notes. If you collected your data in another genealogy program before you probably have noticed that the individual notes are often attached to people in a note section.
This way you can check and update a lot of information on each person in your tree and have a brief summary of his / her main life events.
Well, notes are NOT attached to people ID cards in GRAMPS (they are all located in another Notes section) and this is NOT fine because you cannot waste time clicking on each note to check whose one it is, especially when you have a large file with thousands of people in it.
A rather vintage-looking display
Even if you can tweak some stuff in GRAMPS ( you can tweak the fonts sizes, the colours and shape of the graphical trees ...) GRAMPS is not the most beautiful genealogical software you will find in the market. It does the job and does it well but in a more practical than an aesthetic way.
But believe me ! I have seen worse ... even for genealogy programs you have to pay for.
GRAMPS is not the ugliest looking at all ! It is a bit vintage-looking but it can also be tweaked to your preferences.
HOW TO START USING THIS PROGRAM
As this genealogy program is not very intuitive you will have to learn one or two things to get started in the right way with GRAMPS.
Creating and Naming a file is the first step to follow whether you wish to import an already-existing Gedcom file or whether you wish to start from scratch and build a new family tree.
Gedcom file import
- On your computer screen , on the Dashboard view, go straight to Family Trees on the top left corner of the screen, a splash screen window will open, click on New and give a Name to your new genealogy file.
- Go back to Family Trees , scroll down and click on Import. Search for the Gedcom file you saved somewhere on your computer and import it into the GRAMPS program.
GRAMPS will then load your file and will show you a Dashboard view with, in the middle, the Top Surnames and statistics of your family tree file.
This is what it looks like , I'm showing you here a Gedcom file import for an Azores village I have been indexing for two years now : Castelo Branco as displayed on the top (and sorry for the page displayed in French here but this one is from a Linux-running laptop that installs by default the software in your own language and I am French, so you can guess ...).
-Follow the same steps as explained above , that is to say Creating and Naming a new genealogy file.
-Add / Update / Remove all the data about the people you searched for manually, one by one.
-This way, you will build your tree : you add birth, baptism, marriage ... data, going two, three ... generations back in time and gradually GRAMPS will display a family tree of 2, 3, 4 , 5... generations ...You can go back very far in time, add as many people as you wish but the graphical horizontal trees will only show you a 6-generation tree at a time.
A quick tour in GRAMPS
If you want to use an alphabetical index to find a person just click on People, if you want to work on his ID card click on Relationships, if you want to look for a family, click on Families, if you want to have look at a graphical tree or fan chart click on Charts and so forth...
To conclude this post, I would say that GRAMPS is a genealogy program that is worth checking and trying especially for those of you who want to build a new family tree from scratch and are willing to try the way GRAMPS helps you organize your research data.
If you already have a complete genealogy file I would suggest you just use GRAMPS as a extra genealogy program to help you focus on which data you have to update and what extra research you have to do in a very large family tree file.
But forget about Notes management in GRAMPS, GRAMPS shouldn't be your main genealogy program for that purpose. To avoid the mess, 'don't put all your eggs in the same basket' ... to make it clear, put your notes in another genealogy program which should be the main program you use.