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by Don Allingham
This is where you review the Unix (Linux and FreeBSD) versions of Gramps. Please go to the Gramps for Windows page to review the Windows version, or to the Gramps for the Mac page to review the Mac Version. Gramps is an Open Source project written in Python and is free. This is where you go to help with the development of Gramps. The Gramps project has a blog and a Reddit. See also Gramps Portable.

Free • Unix • Full Featured • Builds Website
Overall632.82 out of 52.82 out of 52.82 out of 52.82 out of 52.82 out of 5 2.82
201833.05 out of 53.05 out of 53.05 out of 53.05 out of 53.05 out of 5 3.05
201782.47 out of 52.47 out of 52.47 out of 52.47 out of 52.47 out of 5 2.47
Earlier522.96 out of 52.96 out of 52.96 out of 52.96 out of 52.96 out of 5 2.96

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63 Reviews of Gramps     RSS 2.0 RSS     Showing 1 - 20                   Add Your Review

Gramps Review by Linda Lindroos,  Mar 22, 2018

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Does everything you can think of. So it’s powerful, and in the IT world ‘powerful’ is the opposite of ‘intuitive’.

The program is written for those who (a) are prepared to put some effort into mastering it and (b) will appreciate being forced into good genealogical habits. NOT for those who think that sources and evidence are optional.

Biggest Pro: Powerful
Biggest Con: -

Gramps Review by Jim,  Feb 3, 2018

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Maybe it’s just me, but after 5 minutes of “oh that’s what that does” I found it easy enough to use. Perhaps as a Linux user I don’t expect everything to be (over)simplified, I don’t know. So far it has handled well over a thousand individual family records dating back to the 1700’s easily. It will store and output these records in various formats which comes in handy for putting online, and will display them in a couple of different ways to give copies to the relatives.

Biggest Pro: open source, works well with large quantities of data
Biggest Con: instructions could be clearer for beginers

Gramps Review by Andreas,  Jan 20, 2018

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

Terribly user-unfriendly, absolutely counter-intuitive.

You have to create events for basically everything, like births and deaths. I still couldn’t find out how add a normal parent-child relation. It’s just so incredibly frustrating.

Biggest Pro: I haven’t seen a single one.
Biggest Con: Userfriendliness, because there is none.

Gramps Review by Paradisaea,  Dec 18, 2017

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

I downloaded Gramps 4.2.2 on the strength of reviews. I quickly became frustrated by the unintuitive interface, and spent hours trying to get my head around it, entering data for only 12 people. The Help was very difficult to use: I found the best way was to google the problem and see what others had to say about it rather than use help. You almost need Help for the Help pages… One thing I could not solve: display of marriage of spouses on a tree, including dates and places. It appears you need to add “$m” or whatever into display controls but tried for hours and could not get it to work. At this point, after considering the generations in my tree and how short life is, I decided I needed to find something quicker and easier. I then found My Heritage Family Tree Builder (free version) and suddenly life changed. It was like emerging from the Dark Ages into the Age of Enlightenment. I have not looked back… Gramps is now a distant memory… Gramps for Geeks

Biggest Pro: Free, nested geographical locations
Biggest Con: Poor interface, difficult to use, poor Help, more work than I have time for.

Gramps Review by ian,  Oct 19, 2017

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

well that was an hour Ill never get back !! SO un user friendly im actually thinking of paying for ancestry!!

Biggest Pro: free but useless
Biggest Con: good luck

Gramps Review by zacktu,  Aug 3, 2017

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Gramps seems to be the default software for a major branch of my family so I decided that I would use it. ‘ve never used another genealogy program, so I can’t compare to any other. I use Ubuntu, so I installed gramps from the Ubuntu repository, as recommended on the gramps website. it’s version 4.2.2, and it appears to be very stable.

I spent probably two hours or more looking at “getting started” videos by two different people. The one I liked said to do all your work from the chart view. Enter yourself and then click on one of the (blank) parents. Now you can enter your parents and keep going up the tree from there. While entering each person you can also enter events such as birth and death immediately.

Biggest Pro: It’s free and does everything I want it to do. Perhaps that’s because I don’t know what I’m missing.
Biggest Con: It took me a while to figure out how to assign the same parents to two different people in the tree. Now that I can do it, it seems straightforward.

Gramps Review by Petrus,  Jul 10, 2017

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

I empathise with the frustrations expressed in many of these reviews. I’ve been working with computers since the 1980s and teaching adults and children how to use programmes for all of that time. The lesson I take from that experience is that the people who write instruction manuals all know how to use the software and have lost the ability to predict where and how novice users will fail. Read the manual and encounter your first brick wall…

So it is with the online help for Gramps. Attempting simple actions turn into days of frustrated fiddling, until the light shines and you finally make a note of how to do THIS THING! If you can remember how you did it, of course. The documentation is a reference for competent users, not a how-to for novices, and words do have different meanings to people. For example, “family” in my country means children. In Gramps, it means a relationship between adults, to which children can be attached. That little mental block took a day to figure out, after which the floodgates opened. And who woulda thought that FILTER meant SEARCH?? Obvious when you know, but… that’s the point.

A suggestion to new users: download the on-line help sections as .pdf (there’s a button) and print out the section helpfiles at home. Then read them carefully, BEFORE doing anything. Don’t be fooled in to thinking you can get away with just concentrating on the highlighted important bits: the real information is often innocently hiding in a little sentence stuck in the middle of a lot of other words.

After entering databases with 500+ individuals, I’ve finally gotten to the point of being able to enter, edit and link entires, merge other databases and export information - but it isn’t intuitive at any step of the way and I learn more each time I use the programme. It is a very powerful programme and it really is worth persevering with. Courage! And sincere kudos to the developers.

Two thoughts: 1. Is it possible to automatically display AGE with names; 2. “Alternative marriage” seems a clunky way of dealing with non-marrage partnerships, or even the good old common law marriage. An editable function for that selectable list of relationships would be a big help (even just being able to add one local option to the fixed menu wouldn’t break the database structure).

Biggest Pro: Hugely powerful, with good report options.
Biggest Con: No “How-to” material for first users: bland and confusing GUI. Merge functions have unintended consequences.

Gramps Review by YAY,  Mar 18, 2017

3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5

I think GRAMPS is great other than the fact that the instructions aren’t very clear. I am having trouble figguring it out but like for most things I’m guessing it will just take time.
Also, I’m not sure if it’s something I did, but I can’t every see any siblings when I go to charts. It has it from the view of a specific person, but I would like to have it from an outsider’s view.

Biggest Pro: You can be very detailed…
Biggest Con: once you figure out how>

Gramps Review by Hugh,  Mar 3, 2017

Not Rated

I really am a glutton for punishment , another hour wasted and I haven’t worked out haw to enter my first person.
That with 2 windows open one is the instructions, how to confuse book.

Biggest Pro: free
Biggest Con: the instructions are as clear as a bucket of mud.

Gramps Review by Hugh,  Feb 27, 2017

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I have just wasted 3 hours trying to start my tree. No luck, just utter confusion.
As for the manual. Why use 1 word when 20 will do.
It is totally illogical and not user friendly.

I am quite sure that Gramps is a good programme if one is prepared to spend days and weeks learning how to use it. I suspect most people will give up.
What a pity.
This programme needs a major re write, suggest the authors have a look at other genealogy software where it only takes a minute to start using the software and entering data.

Biggest Pro: its free and open scource.
Biggest Con: Not user frendly and hard to learn.

Gramps Review by Hugh,  Feb 26, 2017

Not Rated

I am a long standing user of Linix.

I just downloaded Gramps as I was getting fed up with the rip off pay for programs.

First impressions.

It seems, extremity complex. All other programs ease you in gently with an opening page where you can enter your name, your fathers name etc. so you can learn on the job, so to speak. No here.

Not sure I want to spend hours trying to learn this program. But will try.

Biggest Pro: free
Biggest Con: far to complex no easy start.

Gramps Review by DukeTate,  Dec 24, 2016

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

It has a lot of bugs. GUI is not intuitive. There is no menu consistency between different screens.

Gramps Review by rstuff,  Oct 30, 2016

2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5

I had the same issues as sambram. The documentation is hard to understand. The examples are tiny and not marked to indicate what the documentation is trying to tell you. The software is not intuitive. I could not find a discussion forum for it. It may be able to do a lot of great stuff if you can figure it out but what a pain. I would like to see it succeed but I am sticking with PAF for now.

Biggest Pro: open source
Biggest Con: non intuitve, documentation, no user forum

Gramps Review by sambram,  Sep 30, 2016

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

I tend to agree with others that this software is “unusable”. I initially entered my tree by importing a .ged file from MyHeritage. Apart from over 40 errors about unreadable lines with no explanation, Gramps appeared to import a lot of my data OK, including spouses and dates and places of marriages. However trying to enter a spouse with a data and place of marriage using Gramps menus proved impossible for me to fathom. I could enter a spouse, and separately enter an event called Marriage with a date and place, but could not get Gramps to list the spouse and the marriage details in the same way as the imported data from MyHeritage. this leads me to conclude that Gramps stores them as separate unrelated data items? In any case, the help is useless, since it says that next to the Family lable there is an [Add] button or [+], when in fact there is only a [-] (minus) button. I eventually found the Add Partner button on the (Mac) top menu bar, but even this does not have the functionality described in the Help files.
I’m sure this is a powerful tool, but… (a) is its data structure compatible with other tools so that imported data is represented in the same way as in-tool entered data? and… (b) I get the feeling after an hour or two plugging away that the best way to enter data is to use another tool (e.g. MyHeritaage) and import to Gramps using .ged flles…. Or (hey) I could just use another tool.

Biggest Pro: looks powerful
Biggest Con: impossible to use with any confidence I am doing it right.

Gramps Review by rci,  Sep 29, 2016

1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5

this has to be the most UN-intuitive program I’ve ever seen. Whoever maintains this dinosaur needs to think……. the very first thing a person needs is a way to start a family tree but instead of naming a file and starting to fill in the info on the person you’re starting with, it takes you on some round about journey that isn’t clear nor intuitive. The help file isn’t very helpful either. Linux needs a genealogy program but this one needs to be rebuilt or rearranged or something to make it usable…..

Biggest Pro: free
Biggest Con: how do you get started ???

Gramps Review by Gail T,  Aug 21, 2016

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Works really well, no installation issues both Gramps 4.2.3 and Gramps 5.0.0-alpha1. For those of you reviewing I suggest mentioning what version you tried as older version do suck a bit.

Biggest Pro: Free, wide range of reports and addon
Biggest Con: Workflow could be improved, too many clicks (So do yourself a favor and install the 3rd party “Form Addon’s”

Gramps Review by J T Waterfield,  Jun 20, 2016

Not Rated

So I tried this after the Windows version (which didn’t work, see other review). I’m sorry, I reckon I’m pretty good with software, but this just proved impossible to set up. I’m full of admiration for those who build and maintain software that is good enough for others to use, and I’m sure this is as good as lots of people report, but it just isn’t going to work for me.

Biggest Pro: Free?!
Biggest Con: Couldn’t get it installed.

Gramps Review by Martin H. Watson,  Jun 15, 2016

4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5

Mark Twain said something like “When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years.”

6 months ago, as a total novice genealogist but with a lifetime in IT tech support behind me, I looked at GRAMPS and thought it looked slick but bewildering. I put it to one side and started using ‘My Family Tree’ by Chronoplex, which was simple, and easy for me to input my limited data, 90+ records. 6 months later I was finding it a bit limited, and wanted greater customisation, and web publishing options. I imported my GEDCOM data into GRAMPS and after just an hour, experimenting with it, and generating reports and HTML pages, populated with my own real data, I am stunned. It will take a long time for me to fully understand and exploit all the functionality, but I am totally converted to GRAMPS. Remember to keep a initial GEDCOM file, so that when you are fully familiar with it, you can start again from the GEDCOM file, after trying lot of experiments. If you’ve tried it before and not liked it, try it with your current GEDCOM data file. I never give 5 stars to any review unless it comes with free beer. 4/5 is as good as I ever give.

Biggest Pro: Free and sophisticated, and well worth persevering with.
Biggest Con: Hard on beginner genealogists and/or those with limited IT knowledge, but one day, you see the light. Wow!

Gramps Review by Ben Weston,  Apr 20, 2016

5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5

I migrated my family tree from Family Tree Maker to Gramps recently and I have become very impressed with it. At first it felt a bit clunky but after a very short while I started to appreciate its depth and power. It is very flexible and now I have learnt the basics using it is very straightforward. I am quite a light weight in the world of genealogical research but I get the feeling that Gramps is suitable not only for relative novices, such as myself, but also contains features that will satisfy serious researchers.

Biggest Pro: The ability to tailor the views of almost every screen using gramplets.
Biggest Con: Takes a while to discover all its features and how to access them (thanks be to Google).

Gramps Review by Dawn Dove,  Feb 21, 2016

Not Rated

Well after reviewing the web for a couple of days I thought to load Gramps and give it a whirl..After 5 hours I have given up.
Consistently locked my file and secondary pop windows are hidden behind the main screen. Not intuitive for this old dog although I grew up with DOS and have upgrade my knowledge for 20 years.
This may be a great program but I ended up wiping off my system.

Biggest Pro: sorry too frustrated to give a thumbs up.
Biggest Con: Wanted a simple family tree on digital to give to kids.

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