Names in Gramps

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The name of a person is a central concept in genealogy. In Gramps, you can enter name information in the Person Edit Dialog and from the Names tab or the Edit icon at the top of this dialog, you can jump to the Name Edit Dialog.

Person Edit Dialog (Gramps 4.0)
Name Edit Dialog (Gramps 4.0)

Name Types

A name is of a certain type. Some types are predefined:

  • Birth Name: Name given at birth to a child
  • Married Name: Name one adopts after marriage. In many cultures it is the habit the officially used name of the wife changes to (a variation of) that of the husband.
  • AKA: Also known as: another name under which the person is known

One can add name types. Eg, for some cultures, a new name is adopted after (adult) baptizing. So one could just type in a new name type 'Baptized name', which from then onwards will be selectable in the name type for this family tree. Some people have a preference for 'Nick Name' nametype, instead of AKA.

Names in a Name Type

Within a name type, you have several fields to identify uniquely the name.

Family Name

The family name is the part of the name that remains the same from parent (father) to child.

In the person view, people are sorted based on this family name. In the case of cultures which do not use family names, one can use the grouping feature in the Name editor to design a name under which to group people from the same family (eg, the patronymic).



Given Name

The given name is the part of the name of a person which is chosen freely by the parents.

Call Name

The accuracy of this section is contested --DuncanNZ 09:49, 26 August 2008 (EDT)

We need to look in the email archive for a proper definition by the people who requested this feature.

Call name is a transliteration of the German word Rufname or the Swedish tilltalsnamn. It is therefore sometimes a source of confusion. It is not a nickname, or necessarily the name someone is called.

This is not necessarily correct:

It is however a part or a variation of the Given name which is the officially used part of that Given name.

Among the formal forenames given at birth some cultures pick out a particular one to use for official and normal public use: the Call Name. (Think of it as analogous to the ancient idea that a person's public name is not his 'real' secret name, knowledge of which would give power over him to others). One of the formal given birth forenames is taken (typically *not* the first) as the Call Name: it is an official name frequently underlined in official documents. The concept is common in Northern Europe; the call name is often a saint's name or that of an honoured relative; or the first name may be the 'spiritual' name, while the call name is a secular one. There are contrasting views on whether a shortened form of a person's name can also be a call name; some consider that to be a nickname; as an additional complication, for example in Sweden, the (official) call name may be a name that is different from any of the forenames given at birth.



Origin Attributes

  • UNKNOWN: Unknown origin
  • CUSTOM: Custom user defined origin
  • NONE: no given origin
  • INHERITED: name was inherited from parents
  • PATRILINEAL: name was inherited from father's family name
  • MATRILINEAL: name was inherited from mother's family name
  • GIVEN: name was bestowed on the individual
  • TAKEN: name was chosen by the individual
  • PATRONYMIC: name is derived from father's given name
  • MATRONYMIC: name is derived from mother's given name
  • FEUDAL: name refers to the holding of land in a fief
  • PSEUDONYM: name is fictitious
  • OCCUPATION: name follows from the occupation of the person


A title given to this person. Titles often accompany names on all official documents, eg Sir, Dr., ...

Handling names

The Edit Person Dialog has fields to enter the standard name of a person. In this, the call name can be entered directly here. To refine the info about this name, one can click on the Edit icon to bring up the name editor.

Furthermore, one can add extra names in the names tab of this editor. To switch a new name to be the standard name, one needs to use the context menu (right click on the name), and select 'Save as default name'.


Nicknames can be handled in two ways; either as a name type: Add Name, overwrite 'Birth Name' with 'Nickname' in the name Type, or use the AKA default name type.

Alternatively, one can save the nickname as a new Attribute as part of the person information.

Name Grouping

In the name editor, one can override the default grouping of a person in the person view based on his Family Name. This is done by entering grouping information.