Exploring the World of Stand-Alone Genealogy Programs

Are you curious about your family history? Do you want to delve into the stories of your ancestors and learn more about where you come from? Look no further than Gramps, a powerful and intuitive genealogy program that is available for free on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux/UNIX. Developed and maintained by a community of genealogists, Gramps offers a wide range of features suitable for both hobbyists and professional researchers. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of downloading, installing, and using Gramps to start uncovering the mysteries of your family tree. Whether you’re a seasoned genealogist or just getting started, Gramps has everything you need to make your research journey a success.

The Benefits of Stand-Alone Genealogy Programs Compared to Online Genealogy Websites and a List of Other Genealogy Software Programs

Genealogy is the study of family lineage and history. As technology continues to advance, many individuals are turning to online genealogy websites to trace their family roots. However, there are still many advantages to using standalone genealogy programs. Standalone genealogy software is a type of computer program that allows users to organize and manage their family history research. Unlike online genealogy websites, which require an internet connection and a subscription fee, standalone genealogy programs offer many benefits and features for a one-time cost.

One of the main benefits of using a standalone genealogy program is the level of control and privacy it provides. Many online genealogy websites require users to share their personal information and family data with a large audience, which can compromise privacy and security. With a standalone genealogy program, all data is stored locally on the user’s computer, providing greater control over who has access to the information.

Another benefit of standalone genealogy programs is their robust set of features. These programs offer a wide range of tools and features to help users organize and research their family history. From creating family trees to generating reports and charts, standalone genealogy programs provide many tools to help users with their research.

Some popular standalone genealogy programs include Family Tree Maker, Legacy Family Tree, RootsMagic, and Gramps. Each program has its own unique set of features, but they all offer powerful tools for organizing and researching family history. While there may be a higher upfront cost associated with standalone genealogy software, the one-time purchase can save users money in the long run compared to paying for a subscription to an online genealogy website.

My recommendation for a standalone program is GRAMPS which will be the topic of interest for this blog post.


Once you have downloaded and installed Gramps, you may want to consider some helpful tips for getting started with the program.

First, it is recommended that you start by creating a new family tree. This will allow you to start entering information about your ancestors and relatives. To create a new family tree, simply select “New” from the “File” menu and follow the prompts.

Once you have created your family tree, you can start entering data about your ancestors. You can add individuals, events, relationships, and sources to your family tree. It is important to be as detailed and accurate as possible when entering data, as this will help you with your research in the future.

Gramps also offers a wide range of reports and charts that can be generated from your family tree data. These reports and charts can help you visualize your family history and identify areas where further research may be needed. Some of the reports and charts available in Gramps include ancestor charts, descendant charts, fan charts, and timeline reports.

If you are new to genealogy or Gramps, it may be helpful to seek out online tutorials or user groups where you can get additional help and support. The Gramps website has a number of resources available, including user manuals, video tutorials, and a community forum.

Advantages Of Gramps

Gramps is a popular and highly regarded open-source genealogy software with many advantages compared to other genealogy programs:

1. Open-Source: Gramps is an open-source software, meaning it is free to use, and anyone can modify and customize the code as per their requirements.

2. Cross-Platform Compatibility: Gramps runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, making it highly versatile and accessible to a wide range of users.

3. Comprehensive Features: Gramps is a feature-rich software that allows users to store, manage, and analyze large amounts of genealogical data, including multimedia files and sources.

4. Flexibility: Gramps provides a high degree of flexibility to users in customizing the program to meet their specific needs. Users can create custom reports, charts, and forms, and easily import and export data.

5. Collaborative: Gramps allows users to collaborate and share genealogical data with other users through the Gramps Connect service.

6. Active Community: Gramps has an active and supportive community of developers and users, who provide regular updates, bug fixes, and technical support.

Overall, Gramps is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a powerful, customizable, and collaborative genealogy software.

Can I Import My GEDCOM Files?

Gramps supports importing GEDCOM files, which makes it easy to transfer your genealogical data from other programs into Gramps. To import your GEDCOM file into Gramps, go to the File menu and choose the “Import” option. Then select the GEDCOM file you want to import and follow the prompts to complete the import process.

Keep in mind that not all genealogical data is supported by the GEDCOM format, and some information may not transfer perfectly between programs. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to back up your data before importing it into any new program, just in case something goes wrong during the process.

Overall, Gramps makes it easy to import GEDCOM files and start using its powerful genealogy tools and features, so don’t hesitate to give it a try if you’re looking for a new program to manage your family tree.

Importing Your GEDCOM File

Importing a GEDCOM file into Gramps is a straightforward process. Here are the steps:

1. Open Gramps and create a new family tree or open an existing one.

2. Click on “File” in the menu bar and then click on “Import”.

3. In the Import dialog box, select “GEDCOM” as the file type you want to import.

4. Navigate to the location on your computer where the GEDCOM file is stored.

5. Select the file and click “Open”.

6. The GEDCOM Import Options dialog box will open. Here, you can select the import options you want to use. These options include how you want to handle duplicate individuals, how you want to handle conflicting data, and whether you want to import multimedia files.

7. Once you have selected your import options, click “OK” to start the import process.

The import process may take some time depending on the size of your GEDCOM file and the speed of your computer. Once the import is complete, you should see your family tree in Gramps with all of the individuals, families, and other data from your GEDCOM file. You can then start using Gramps to further research and organize your family history.

Sheets & Charts

Gramps offers several pre-built charts and forms that you can generate from the data you have entered into the program. Some of the charts include:

1. Ancestor chart

2. Descendant chart

3. Fan chart

4. Hourglass chart

5. Relationship chart

6. Timeline chart

Some of the forms that can be generated include:

1. Family group sheet

2. Individual summary sheet

3. Relationship sheet

4. Research log

Additionally, Gramps also allows you to customize and create your own charts and forms using the Gramps Graphical Report Editor.

Can I Download Blank Forms?

You can also download blank forms and charts from Gramps. In fact, Gramps has a built-in feature that allows you to generate and print various types of blank forms and charts such as pedigree charts, family group sheets, and more.

To download these forms and charts, you can follow these steps:

1. Open Gramps and select the person or family you want to generate the form or chart for.

2. Click on the “Reports” tab in the main menu.

3. Select the type of form or chart you want to generate from the list.

4. Customize the options as desired, such as the number of generations to include in a pedigree chart or the level of detail to show on a family group sheet.

5. Click “Generate Report” to create the form or chart.

6. Once the report is generated, you can choose to print it or save it as a PDF file.

If you need a specific type of form or chart that is not available in the built-in options, you can also search for third-party templates online and import them into Gramps.

How To Create a Family Tree

Here is a step-by-step method to create a family tree on Gramps:

1. Open Gramps and click on the “People” tab.

2. Click on the “Add” button to add a new person to the tree.

3. Enter the person’s information in the pop-up window that appears, such as their name, birth date, and any other relevant details.

4. Click on the “Relationships” tab to add the person’s parents and spouse (if applicable).

5. Click on the “Add Parent” or “Add Spouse” button, and enter their information in the pop-up window that appears.

6. Repeat the above steps for each person you want to add to the tree, adding their relationships as needed.

7. To view the tree, click on the “Graph” tab and select “Pedigree” or “Descendant” view.

8. You can also customize the appearance of the tree by selecting different themes and layouts from the options menu.

9. To export the tree as a file, click on “File” and select “Export,” then choose the file format you want to use (e.g. PDF, PNG, or SVG).

That’s it! With these steps, you should be able to create a basic family tree on Gramps.

Creating a Family Group Sheet

Also, here is a step-by-step method to print out a Family Group Sheet in Gramps:

1. Open the Gramps program and go to the “People” view.

2. Find the person whose Family Group Sheet you want to print out.

3. Right-click on the person’s name and select “Show Family”.

4. In the Family view, click on the “Reports” button in the toolbar.

5. Select “Family Group Sheet” from the list of available reports.

6. In the “Options” tab of the report settings, select the options you want to include in the Family Group Sheet, such as spouse information, children, and sources.

7. In the “Filters” tab, you can choose to include or exclude certain individuals from the Family Group Sheet.

8. Click the “Generate” button to generate the report.

9. Preview the report to make sure everything looks correct.

10. Click the “Print” button to print out the Family Group Sheet.

By following these steps, you should be able to print out a Family Group Sheet for any individual in your Gramps database.

Creating an Adoption Form or Sheet

Gramps has several pre-defined forms, including forms for family groups, ancestors, descendants, and more. However, there is no pre-defined form for adoption of children. You can create a custom form for adoption if you wish, using the Gramps built-in form editor.

To create a custom form for adoption, follow these steps:

1. Open the Gramps program and go to the “Edit” menu.

2. Select “Edit Person” and choose the person you want to add adoption information to.

3. In the “Events” tab, click the “Add” button and select “Adoption” from the list of event types.

4. Enter the relevant information, such as the date, place, and adoptive parents.

5. Click “OK” to save the adoption event.

6. To create a custom form that includes the adoption event, go to the “Reports” menu and select “Custom Report”.

7. In the custom report editor, choose the person you want to generate the report for and select the “Individual” report type.

8. In the report editor, click the “Add Section” button and choose “Adoption” from the list of available sections.

9. Adjust the settings of the report as desired, such as fonts, margins, and layout.

10. Click “Preview” to see a preview of the report, and then click “Print” to print the form.

Note that the exact steps for creating a custom form in Gramps may vary slightly depending on the version of the software you are using.

Other Marriages

Unfortunately there is not a separate sheet or form for other marriages on an Individual Record Sheet. However, you can create custom attributes and events to record information about an individual’s other marriages.

To create a custom attribute or event for other marriages:

1. Open the person’s Individual Record Sheet.

2. Click on the “Edit” button in the toolbar to enter edit mode.

3. Scroll down to the “Attributes” or “Events” section, depending on whether you want to add a custom attribute or event.

4. Click on the “Add” button to add a new attribute or event.

5. In the “Type” field, enter a name for the custom attribute or event, such as “Other Marriages”.

6. In the “Value” field, enter the information about the other marriages, such as the name of the spouse and the date of the marriage.

7. Click “OK” to save the new attribute or event.

Once you have created the custom attribute or event, it will appear on the person’s Individual Record Sheet and can be printed out along with the rest of the information on the sheet.

Where To Download Gramps

You can download Gramps from the official website at https://gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php/Download. The website offers downloads for Windows, Mac, and Linux/Unix operating systems.

Gramps also offers a User Manual, which you can download from the official website at https://gramps-project.org/wiki/index.php/Gramps_5.1_Wiki_Manual. The manual provides detailed information on how to use Gramps, including step-by-step instructions for various features and functions. It is available in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, and more.

As of May 2023, the most current stable version of Gramps was version 5.1.5 in February 2022. However, it is possible that a newer version has been released since this blog post. You can check the Gramps website at https://gramps-project.org/ for the latest information and downloads.

In conclusion, Gramps is a powerful, user-friendly, and feature-rich genealogy program that is available for free on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux/UNIX operating systems. It is created and supported by a community of genealogists who strive to make the program accessible to users of all levels of expertise, from newcomers to seasoned researchers. With its intuitive interface and extensive functionality, Gramps can help you track and organize your family history research, and it is compatible with other genealogy software via the use of GEDCOM files. If you are looking for a reliable and comprehensive genealogy program, Gramps is definitely worth considering. So why not give it a try and see how it can help you discover more about your family’s past?


Published by Darrell Gibbs

A father of three children and five grandchildren who retired in 2015 and began a career as a non-fiction writer in genealogy resource ebooks for new family historians. Aspiring towards the future as a Historical Fiction Author of his premier book "Wessex Reign".

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