Gramps Glossary

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This Glossary gives an overview of terms that appear in Gramps, with a short description, and a link to relevant articles.

For a glossary of genealogical terms, see Genealogy Glossary.

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(sec. obj.) - The Gramps concept of an Address is a particular location with an associated time frame. Think of it as a mailing address. It is intended to represent where a person lived and when the person lived there. The Address consists:
  • Date
  • Street Address
  • Locality
  • City
  • County
  • State/Province
  • Postal/Zip code
  • Country
  • Phone
Not to be confused with a place which has a fixed position (its location). Use this with care. For genealogical research you can also use the residence event coupled with a place. For mailing (email, postal), add an address to a person or repository.
(event role) A term to refer to the role of an assistant.
process of making something English
(sec. obj.) - Attributes are for something permanent, or at least somewhat permanent: eye color, blood type, etc. Usually you would have not more than one of each attribute type for a person/family/etc.


(event role) A term to refer to the woman a marriage ceremony who will have the role of wife in the marriage. See also: mother.


(event role) A term describing a role of the person who performs a rite, especially referring to a priest at the Eucharist.
(Citations prim. obj.) - Contains the information related to a citation into a source.
(event role) A term applied to a religious person regardless of religion. For example, a monk or priest. See for more details. See also: celebrant.
This indicates a user defined type, as opposed to types that are predefined in Gramps.


(sec. obj.) - Dates in Gramps are much more complex than just a month, day, and year. Dates are always in a particular calendar, can span a time frame, can be approximate, and have support for many other subtleties specific to genealogy data.
  1. acronym: deoxyribonucleic acid
  2. a nucleic acid that carries genetic information
acronym: Document Type Definition


(Events prim. obj.) - Contains the information related to an event.
A defining moment in a person's life. See events for the use in genealogy, for predefined events in Gramps and suggested naming for common events.
event role
The role a person plays in an event. In Gramps an event can be linked to as many people as desired. Each person will play a different role. Event role captures this. Some common roles are predefined, others the user can add by just typing in the appropriate role.
event type
The general denominator to which an event belongs, e.g., a christian, civil, tibetan, ... marriage, are all denoted by the event type marriage. See events in Gramps for an overview.


  1. Family (Family prim. obj.) - Contains the information specific to relationships between people. This typically contains one or two parents and zero or more children.
    A Family is a core concept in Gramps. It depicts the basic relations between people. Commonly this will contain a father, a mother and some children, however, it con also contain only parts of this (e.g., two brothers, a mother and child). People can be part of several families (adoption, remarried, ...)
  2. Family (event role) An event can be coupled to a family, denoting that the entire family was involved in the event. Typically the Marriage event will be coupled to a family with event role family


  1. acronym: Genealogy Data Communication
  2. a format for exchanging genealogical data. The open specification for the GEDCOM format was developed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) as an aid to genealogical research. The last standard release was version 5.5 in 1996 with a 5.5.1 draft update presented for comment in 1999. As an Open Standard, there are extensive and constantly changing incompatibilities between implementations and data loss when transferring GEDCOM formatted data between competing software tools is common.
(event role) A term to refer to the man at a marriage who will be referred to as husband after the marriage. See also: father.







personal name based on the name of one's mother
(Media prim. obj.) - Contains the information related to a media object. This includes images, documents, or any other type of related files.


(Notes prim. obj.) - Contains the information related to a note.



personal name based on the name of one's father
(People prim. obj.) - Contains the information specific to an individual person in the People category.
(Places prim. obj.) - The Gramps concept of a Place is a particular location independent of time. Over time, the same Place may have different address information due to changing borders and political situation. For example, Leningrad and St. Petersburg represent the same place, but with different names. Places in Gramps are stored in a hierarchy. A Place consists of:
  • Descriptive Title
  • Name
  • Type (such as country, state, county ...)
  • Longitude/Latitude
  • Code (such as a country code or postal code)
  • A list of alternative names for the place
  • A list of regions which enclose the place
primary object
Primary objects are the top level objects. They contain a hierarchy of secondary objects, and can be referenced by other primary or secondary objects. In the Gramps database, primary objects and the secondary objects that they contain are stored as separate records. Each primary object type is stored in a separate table. See Using database API, Primary Objects (see also secondary object)
The primary objects are: Citations Citation, Events Event, Family Family, Media Media, Notes Note, People Person, Places Place, Repositories Repository, Sources (v3.4.x) Source, * Tag.



(Repositories prim. obj.) - Contains the information related to a repository.
see event role
linguistic representation of a word in the Roman (Latin) alphabet


secondary object
Secondary objects are contained within other objects, and cannot be referenced directly. They can contain other secondary objects. Examples include: Name, Date and Address. See Using database API, Secondary Objects (see also primary object)
(Sources (v3.4.x) prim. obj.) - A person (family, friend, another researcher), thing (book, magazine newspaper, census), or place (courthouse, church, library, genealogical/historical society) from which information comes, arises, or is obtained.


(Symbol question.svg prim. obj.) - Contains the information related to a Tags.




(event role) The term that applies to the people asked to be present at an event so as to be able to testify to its having taken place


acronym: Extensible Markup Language



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