Gramps 3.3 Wiki Manual - Probably Alive
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The living status of the people in a Gramps database is important when you need to share your data with others, but want to protect the details of those that are alive. It is also employed in some reports. For these reasons, Gramps has some tools to help you determine if someone is alive. This page details those tools.
How does Gramps know if someone is alive?
A simple way to tell if someone is alive is to see if they have a death event, or a death-related event (such as a burial). However, it is probably true that many people in your database don't have such events, as you may not know any details of their death. If you know someone is dead, it might be a good idea to create a death event. You can also go back and add useful details (such as date and place of death) once that is known. Adding events for people known dead, even if they contain no exact details, is somewhat useful. However, Gramps can also add events with estimated dates (or not) for you (described below).
Requiring a user to manually add a death event to a person (so that they would not be considered alive) would be very painful---one would have to enter details on many people. Recall that if someone is considered alive, then their details should be prevented from being shared when exported. Therefore, Gramps has a function that can compute whether someone is probably alive based on their event dates, or their relations with people who may have event dates. This can be a time-expensive function to execute, but saves you a lot of work.
The probably alive function can check to see if a person was alive on any specific date, or during a time span. This is used in the Age On Date Gramplet, described below. Normally, the system will estimate birth and death events, and see if a date falls between those two.
However, there is one special case: if you are looking for people probably alive today and they have a death event, then they are considered dead no matter what (even if the event doesn't have a date). Therefore, you will get different results if you see who was probably alive yesterday (or last year) as compared to who is considered alive today. The reason for this is that if you have a death event, you know that a person died in the past, but you don't know when. If you look to see if a person was alive in the past (yesterday and prior) then you can not say for certain if they were dead then without knowing a death date.
The algorithm that Gramps uses to determine if someone is alive uses year estimates for average lifespan and other details. You can change these estimates by going to Menu -> Edit -> Preferences -> Dates.
If you want to know the details of why Gramps thinks an individual is alive or dead, you can use the Calculate Estimated Dates Tool (described below) to get an explanation. This will show the estimate birth and death dates, and the relationship to someone who has an event date on which these are based.
Probably Alive Proxy
The first tool is the "Probably Alive" proxy. This is used automatically whenever you export your data to a format that supports the ability to restrict details on living people. The proxy wraps the database in a layer that prevents access to sensitive details of living people, such as their given name, and their events.
Age On Date Gramplet
See Age on Date gramplet. Note: can use date spans.
See Calendar gramplet.
Probably Alive Filter
Note: Today's date is treated specially.
Calculated Estimated Dates Tool