Using the “People” view in Gramps

A few days ago, I was going through the people in my Gramps database and came across the entry for Ruth Kraaij, with a birth date of “calculated 1819”. I checked and noticed he didn’t have parents recorded. On a hunch, I looked him up on WieWasWie, and quickly found his birth record. I noticed that his parents, Lubbert Riksen Kraaij and Hijntje Rutgers (AKA Hendrikje Rutgers van Schalm) were already entered into my database. Within minutes, I downloaded Ruth’s birth record, updated his birth information, and added him as a child of Lubbert and Hijntje.

When your database grows, as mine has, to the size where you need five digits to count the number of people, there are likely to be at least a few unrecorded relationships like this. In this case, it was a parent-child relationship. But on my desk, I already have four pages of notes outlining more complex relationships between other people already entered in my database.

Here’s a screenshot of the “People” view in my Gramps database. I have it configured to show name, birth date, birth place, death date, spouse, and last changed. I often use the last changed date. By clicking on the column title, Gramps will order the records in that sequence. I then scroll down to the end, where I can see where I ended up in my previous session.

But consider the birth date column. Note a couple of things. First, a birth date in italics is actually a baptism date in those cases where a birth date is not known. Likewise, a death date in italics represents a burial date where date of death is unknown. For births and deaths in the Netherlands prior to 1772, this is very often the case.

A “calculated” date is computed by taking the date of some event and subtracting the age of the person at that event. In Dutch records, the quality of a calculated date can vary considerably. For marriage records, the bride and groom had to submit extracts from their birth records, and so their age at marriage can generally be counted on as accurate. Age at death, on the other hand, can often be off by a few years.

(By the way, when entering a calculated date into Gramps, all you need to type is “calc”. Gramps will fill in the rest.)

Sometimes, I’ll randomly go through my “people” view looking for possible avenues of investigation. The people with a calculated date of birth are often worthy of further study. I’ll look for these individuals in groups of people with the same surname living in the same general area. In my data, I have a lot of people who lived in Nijkerk, and it often takes little effort to link together people already recorded.

In the case of Ruth Kraaij, his daughter Hendrikje married my second cousin three times removed Evert Woudenberg. Ruth’s brother Rik Lubbertsen had a daughter, Aleida. She was the first wife of my great grandfather Manus van de Bunt.

Cheers! Hans


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