An introduction

I have recently started hacking on Gramps and I guess it is time to introduce myself to everyone.

I am a professional software architect and researcher. My research interests have mostly concentrated on the flexibility of very large scale software architectures. I have been programming in Python, both professionally and on Open Source projects, for about 5 years, although I have not done any Gtk programming before. On the Open Source side, I am the author of the GeoTypes package that extends the Postgres connector, psycopg, so that it can work with the geospatial types in the PostGIS; I also wrote PyRAPI which is a python wrapper for SynCE. Unfortunately, neither of these are very widely used.

I have also helped out on a couple of other Open Source project, including helping with a rewrite of the Digikam user manual.

Over the years I have written embedded software in C/Assembler for the automotive industry, Win32 C++ applications for salesman, Perl programmes for automated compiler testing and recently lots of Python code.

I have a seven month old daughter and I think that it was the arrival of her that sowed the seed for my interest in genealogy. I have only been researching my family for a few months now and I still have not exhausted the easily accessable online resources. The primary sources I have been working through are: UK Census (1871, 1881, 1891 & 1901) available at Ancestry; the Birth, Marriage and Death records available at Family Relatives and the remarkable FreeBMD project; and of course the LDS IGI records.

The furthest back I have got with any level of certainty is about 1730. On many lines I have exhausted these online records and I will have to get off my backside and start trawling through the record offices. Luckily for me all of my ancestors (that I have found so far) are from England so I don’t have to worry about accessing records in other countries.

I found Gramps whilst looking for a program to organise all the records I was gathering. I keep a paper file of all my records that I mostly generate from Gramps reports. I find that the paper file is much easier for browsing through and for showing relatives and friends. I have also lost too many disks and had too many failed backups to trust all the data to digital storage alone. So, I scribble on my paper records, copy the notes into Gramps and then reprint the written records for the file. I find this works for me, although it does eat printer ink!

As with most Open Source contributors I only have a limited amount of time available for hacking on code. I intend to continue to improve the ScratchPad and maybe to help by contributing in other areas of Gramps.

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