Anyone who decides to do some genealogic research to create the family tree will sooner or later face the inevitable question: Which software is the right one for this task? I faced this question myself and had to decide amongst several decent available solutions, commercial and open source. So, how can you choose? It is a matter of criteria.
It depends on what features you consider important, what are your expectations from a genealogy program. What exactly do you intend to do with it. After a thorough research, I decided that Gramps was the right software for me.
Let me summarize what made me choose this program and present the factors that I consider very important (in no particular order).
Free and Open Source.
Gramps is a free and open source, community project. It is freely distributable under the GNU General Public License which means you can freely use it, copy it, share it and even change it.
Full Unicode support.
Language is not a barrier for Gramps. Whatever script you use Gramps offers full Unicode support. In other words, characters for all languages are properly displayed! Being a Greek user, this was one of the most important features for me.
Rich set of tools.
Gramps offers a rich set of tools. Research and analysis tools such as event comparison, finding duplicate people, interactive descendant browser, relationship calculator, data filtering, as well as tools for checking the database for errors and consistency.
With Gramps you have remarkable control over the produced graphs. You can define the family lines or even the individuals you want to include to portray relationships and you can create complex diagrams in the desired size and orientation, depending on your particular chart printing needs. This is also something that I considered very important. I don’t care much if I can have a fancy border around each box. I do however find it essential to be able to produce high quality, complex and fully customizable graphs in the size that suits my needs.
Wide variety of reports.
Graphical reports can present complex relationships easily. Text reports such as individual and family reports as well as detailed ancestral and descendant, kinship, database summary and anniversary reports are amongst the many available options. You can combine them into a single ‘book’ format. You can even export your family tree to a fully operational web page in a snap and share it with your relatives! Now, that is something that comes very handy. A tool that allows to easily present the outcome of your hard work to anyone interested, without special requirements; any pc with a web browser will do.
Translated in many languages.
Not an English speaker? No problem! Volunteers have translated Gramps into more than 25 languages, including my native language, Greek.
Gramps’ open architecture allows the use of addons to give you more tools to work with your genealogy data. There are plenty of third-party plugins to enhance the program’s functionality which may not be officially part of Gramps. Find the right ones for you or make a feature request to the developers.
Are you a Linux user? Gramps works with whichever desktop environment you prefer, be it Gnome or KDE. Are you a Windows die-hard fan? Or maybe a Mac aficionado? No problem! Gramps is the only true cross-platform genealogy application. Cool, isn’t it?
Pro’s and hobbyists.
Gramps developers strive to produce a genealogy program that is both intuitive for hobbyists and feature-complete for professional genealogists. There is a plethora of features, tools, fields and reports. It is only up to you how deep you will ‘dive’…
Gramps is a community project, created, developed and governed by genealogists. It is supported by a large genealogy community from all over the world. Users are encouraged to report bugs and request enhancements to Gramps.
In my opinion, which stems from the use of it, Gramps is a very versatile and robust piece of software with many interesting features. It is designed so that it can be used by anyone, regardless of ethnic background. There are, however, several competitors. It is up to you to search, test, compare. Define your own demands, your own “must have” features.
The choice is yours…