Gramps 4.1 Wiki Manual - What's new?

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This section gives an overview of changes since Gramps version 4.0. These changes are also detailed later in this manual. Users of Gramps upgrading from version 3.4 or 4.0 are encouraged to review this section to be sure to take advantage of these new features when they start using version 4.1.

Before you upgrade


Creating an archive alone to safeguard your data might not be appropriate before upgrading. In the unlikely event that Gramps 4.1 corrupts your database, it could also corrupt the archive. An backup of your data as outlined in this section is recommended.

Before you upgrade, make sure your family tree data is secure. The best way to do this is:

  1. Start Gramps 3.4 or Gramps 4.0
  2. Open your family tree
  3. Back up the family tree to the gramps xml format or the gramps xml package format (the gramps xml package includes your photographs and other media files associated with your family tree data). Backup your tree via menu Family Trees->Make Backup....
  4. Close this family tree and repeat the above steps for any other family trees you have
  5. Keep the resulting file(s) in a safe place

For more information, please review Backing up a Family Tree.

After properly safeguarding your data, proceed to install Gramps 4.1. Using your operating system's regular installation process to do this will in most cases ensure that the new Gramps 4.1 installation will not clash with your older version of Gramps. However, it may be safer to uninstall Gramps 3.4 before installing Gramps 4.1, or make sure you install Gramps 4.1 in a different location. This is always necessary if you are installing from the source code. For more information on installing Gramps 4.1, please see Downloading the latest Gramps

After you install Gramps 4.1, you can open your existing family trees and continue working. In case of problems (e.g., after a complete system upgrade), import the backup file(s) created above to recreate your family tree(s).


Once you open a family tree in a newer version of Gramps or using a newer operating system, you generally should not try to open that database using an older version again. As always, the gramps xml format is the format to use for the interchange of your data in such cases. There are tools to repair broken databases, but they are for expert users, so avoid needing them by following the steps above before you upgrade your OS or Gramps.

Visible changes to the core

Changes visible after the migration: interface, data.

Data Model

There are changes to the data model:

  1. Added Tags to Event, Place, Repository, Source, and Citation
  2. Source/ became SourceAttributes
  3. Added optional support for checksum on Media object
  4. Added PlaceRef and Place Hierarchies
  • A Family Tree cannot be opened in Gramps 3.4/4.0 and Gramps 4.1 without upgrade or downgrade.
  • A Gramps XML file generated by Gramps 3.4/4.0 is not identical to one generated by Gramps 4.1.

See detailed changes for more details on internal database.

Place hierarchies

Location model moves to a Place hierarchy model with levels (custom and common).

  • No more location fields
  • New place objects are created after the migration to the new model

Place type and place reference can handle place name.

  • User sets own rules for handling place hierarchies

The place object still contains a title field. This contains a full description of the place and is used in most reports.

Alternate locations have not been converted into new places in the hierarchy.

Places Tree View

See Hierarchical Place Structure for more details.

Navigator modes

By default, you can choose the navigator mode with the drop down.

Category navigator mode
Drop-Down navigator mode

The navigator modes are:

  • Category
  • Drop-Down
  • Expander
Expander navigator mode

Editors and Views


  • New Place References and enhanced Place Hierarchies
  • New pre-defined list of Place types + unknown and custom types support

Place Editor

Event, Place, Repository, Source and Citation

All primary objects have now a tag support


  • Advanced image selection functions and enhanced MediaRef Editor

MediaRef Editor

Source and Citation

  • Allow reorder Attributes in the Attributes tab (was Data)
Source Editor and related attributes
Citation Editor and related attributes

  • New pre-defined list of Attribute types + unknown and custom types support

Attribute Editor on Source or Citation edition

Reports, Tools, Gramplets

  • Tags report supports new objects having tag attribute: Event, Place, Repository, Source, and Citation.
  • Some debug tools move to new gramplets

Under the hood changes

Technical stuff

Python 3 support

  • Fix on code and unit tests.

New functions and widgets

Place object

  • New gramps.gen.utils.location module: Location utility functions.
  • New gramps.gui.editors.displaytabs.altnameembedlist module: EmbeddedList for handling alternate place names.
  • New gramps.gui.editors.displaytabs.altnamemodel module: Gtk.ListStore for handling place_names.


  • New checksum attribute to Media object (database and Gramps XML file format)

New checksum attribute into Gramps XML file format

  • New gramps.gui.widgets.grabbers module

New widgets for image selection

  • New gramps.gui.widgets.selectionwidget module

Date handlers

New methods are available.

  • Translations are handled by gettext files via DateString.
  • Better support for inflection rules.

See date handler.


  • Translation files handle some date strings
  • Limit usage of markup into messages for glade files, better separation of content (str) and style (GUI).

Database backend

Further information

More informations.


This database upgrade rebuilds list of custom events.



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