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Sources play a key role in genealogy.


Sources are anything (personal testimony, video recording, photograph, newspaper column, gravestone...) from which (genealogical) information can be derived.

Once you add a Source to a Gramps Tree, that Source may be used for simplifying Citations and be organized in Repositories.

It is useful to make the following distinctions between sources:

  1. Primary source: firsthand evidence of history, made at the time contemporary to the event. For example, diaries, certificates, newspapers, ...
  2. Secondary source: accounts of history based upon primary and other secondary sources, offering new information such as commentary and analysis. Examples include history books, genealogical publications,...
  3. Tertiary source: a selection and compilation from primary and secondary sources. Tertiary sources may collate, extract, excerpt, quote or reference other sources. For example, library catalogues, bibliographies, ...

Most important genealogical sources

Official documents

Religious documents

Legal documents

  • Court cases
  • Notary documents
  • Probate records


  • Passenger lists
  • Record of landing


  • Census records
  • Property documents
  • Phone books
  • City directories

Final resting places

  • Cemetery list of interments
  • War graves


Personal Documents

  • Diaries
  • Correspondence
  • Household bills

Other Possible Sources

  • Bibles
  • Stories
  • Publications
  • Photos
  • Employment information
  • Medical records
  • DNA
  • Voter registration records
  • Genealogical society records
  • Oral recordings

See also