Gramps – Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System

Today is last day of the longest winter in the last four years, in case anyone forgot. :)

Accidentally, I came over an excellent piece of software called gramps. Which is, as title abbreviates, “Genealogical Research and Analysis Management Programming System”. Something like this has been on my I-really-need-it list for a long time.

During the last visit of my and Olga’s parents, which was in summer 2002 for wedding, we extracted a real heap of data about our ancestors. I was planning to digitize the whole thing and publish it on the web for a quick reference. :) The software was missing and I was too lazy to write my own.

Now that I’ve got gramps, I jumped on the task and within the last couple of days added somewhat 190+ relatives. That’s not all that I have, but it’s a good point to pause and reflect on gramps. :)

First of all, the interface. With recent Eric Raymond’s rant about user friendlyness of open source software, I started to pay a bit more attention to the matter. Gramps has perfect interface. Yes, I meant it. Perfect. Default settings are decent and I didn’t have to change anything at all, as far as I remember. People are nicely grouped by surname. List of these groups is nicely broken into pages by the first letter of the surname. First name and gender correlation is immidately noticed by the program and used for defaults. For example, if I specify the name of the person to be Serguey, and gender to be male, then next time when I will enter another Serguey, gramps suggests male as a gender. There is a whole bunch of nit suggestions. For example, when I want am specifying that Mr.Serguey is married and I want to choose his partner, the list of choices has only females. Of course, that’ll be a problem with gay marriages happening all over the world, but this does not concern me at the moment. :)

Functionality of gramps deserves additional comments. Gramps keeps all it’s data in the XML database and can easily export it into web and many other formats. There are few import options, but since I had only pieces of paper to import from, I didn’t truly tried these operations. There are plenty of tools for analyzing the data, counting ancestors and doing all sorts of statistical crazyness. Automatic database integrity verification and repairs can be done.

Overall, I am rather impressed with the quality of this program, considering the fact, that I have never heard of it before. There are even few user manuals, but I haven’t touched them until now. :)

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