Gramps 5.1 Wiki Manual - What's new?

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This section gives an overview of changes since Gramps version 5.0 These changes are also detailed later in this manual. Users of Gramps upgrading from earlier versions are encouraged to review this section in older user manuals to be sure to take advantage of these new features when they start using version 5.1.

Before you upgrade

Prevent Data Loss During Upgrades

Creating an archive before upgrading might not be sufficient to safeguard your data.

In the unlikely event that Gramps 5.1 corrupts your database, it could also corrupt the archive. making a 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 your existing version of Gramps (Gramps 3.4 or Gramps 4.2 or Gramps 5.0)
  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. Note what will not be included during a backup.

After properly safeguarding your data, proceed to install Gramps 5.1 using your operating system's regular installation process. In most cases, this will ensure that the new Gramps 5.1 installation will not clash with your older version of Gramps. However, it may be safer to uninstall Gramps 3.4 before installing Gramps 5.1, or make sure you install Gramps 5.1 in a different location. This is always necessary if you are installing from the source code. For more information on installing Gramps 5.1, please see Downloading the latest Gramps

After you install Gramps 5.1, 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

Details of changes to the data model (if any):

  1. No change

  • A Family Tree cannot be opened in Gramps 3.4/4.0/4.1/4.2 and Gramps 5.1 without upgrade.
  • A downgrade can only be accomplished by exporting XML and importing to the previous version.
  • A Gramps XML file generated by Gramps 3.4/4.0/4.1 is not identical to one generated by Gramps 5.1.
  • Gramps 5.1 is now python3 only

See detailed changes for more details on internal database.

Primary changes

  • SQLite is now the default database backend rather than BSDDB. You can still choose to use alternative database backends. BSDDB remains available as a standard alternative. For power users, PostgreSQL and MongoDB are available as experimental third-party addons.

The developers believe that SQLite may have fewer database corruptions that prevent easy recovery.

  • Options for automatic backup periodically and on exit. The Backup on exit is the default.
  • Config: new database-backup-use-compression option


  • New color schemes allow a light and dark choice.
  • Additional color indications in graphs for Home person, Unknown Alive, Family, Family divorced.
  • Add "within <n> km/miles/degree" filter
  • Ability to be able to enter comma separated latitude/longitude pairs
  • Sidebar resizes better, position is remembered
  • Person SurName editor is more intuitive to use.
  • View Buttons order no longer changes with different startup.
  • Better progress indication for long running operations
  • Windows remember size/position
  • add FanChart2Way
  • Add kmls for the geography places view.


  • ability to search alternate place names when selecting place

Reports, Tools, Gramplets

  • new genealogy tree report
  • Place format editor and option for many reports
  • Date format Editor and option for many reports
  • option how to report living people for many reports
  • ReorderIDs tool has been upgraded; can now work around customized IDs (like GetGov IDs).
  • Narrative web has additional options and appearance changes.
    • Allows output in different language
    • Date output option
    • Statistics page
    • Add option to Include all / unreferenced Media objects
    • relationship to central person on individual pages
  • Add thumbnail size option to family lines graph
  • Enhance the Descendant Report and Detailed Descendant Report
  • Complete Individual Report add options
    • enable to include or exclude Person and Family Notes
    • add option to include or exclude census data
    • option to include relationship to center person
    • options to include GrampsID, Tags, Attributes
  • Include all place types in place report
  • Relationship, Family Lines, Hourglass Graphs options how lines are drawn


New Addons

  • Quilt Chart view: The view shows a quilt chart visualization of a family tree
  • Plugin Manager Enhanced: An Addon/Plugin Manager with several additional capabilities
  • Sandclock Tree: Sandclock tree using LaTeX genealogytree
  • Import and Merge tool: Compares a Gramps XML database with the current one, and allows merging of the differences.
  • Check Associations data: Will check the data on Association for people.

Under the hood changes

Technical changes.

  • Numerous changes relating to support for other database backends (SQLite, PostgreSQL, MongoDB etc.).
  • Alerts on certain database corruptions (handles to non-existent objects) that were previously suppressed are now regarded as errors. It may be necessary to run the Check and Repair tool to fix exceptions with a corrupted database.
  • Fixes to prevent the user from closing or changing the database during long running operations.


  • Support python3 only. (Python2 support dropped ahead of the Jan. 2020 EOL zero hour)
  • Need GTK+ 3.10 and PyGObject 3.12 or greater versions

Further information



  • Update translations: ca, cs, da, de, en_GB, eo, fr, fi, hu, is, it, lt, nb, nl, pt_BR, pt_PT, ru, sk, sl, uk, vi



  • See items related to Gramps 5.1 on the Gramps issue tracker.
  • See additional information see the changelogs for the maintenance releases of Gramps:

What Was Once New

The Previous Release page includes links to bullet lists of changes in major releases and maintenance releases over the years.

However, the What's New? pages in the superseded version of the wiki manual for each major releases can provide greater detail:

A compact overview of enhancements was first added to the manual in 2010. For the first 3 years of the wiki, it was necessary to review the entire manual.

The initial MediaWiki documentation was begun in 2006. Prior to the 2.9 edition of the manual, the documentation was distributed with the Gramps software. The downloadable manual was eliminated with the Gramps 3.0 version.

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