Add a witness

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How to add a witness to an event.

Highlighted - "Witness" role in dropdown from Event Reference Editor and highlighted Share an existing event button on Event tab of Edit Person.

Create the witness as person

We strongly suggest to add the witness related to the persons in your family tree. So go to the People category view, and add them. In many cases, the only information you have of that the person is his name, and a date on which he was certainly alive.

Create the event

Start by creating the event that will have a Witness Role in addition to the default Roles. The Witness will hold a secondary (shared) role for the event but the primary Roles for the event should be defined first.

(By default, a Marriage event is added in the Family Editor and has a Family default role, meaning that both spouses of that family hold primary roles in the event. Meanwhile, the record about the filing of a Will event is added in the Person Editor for the testator and holds a Primary role by default.)

Event Roles are easy to change

Events shared via drag'n'drop from the Clipboard will default to Unknown. Those shared from the Object Selector will have a Primary or Family role.
The Role can be changed from the default at the top of the Event Reference Editor.

Add all people to the marriage event

Now, share this same event with the witness if this person is in the family tree. However, assign that person a "witness" role in the event.

You can do this by selecting the witness from the People category view,

People Category - Tree View - Grouped People

then in the person editor select the Events tabs, and select STOCK_INDEX (used for share)Share an existing event.

"Events" tab from "Edit Person" - dialog - example

From the Select Event selector chose the event you just created,

Select Event - selector - example

and in the Event Reference Editor set the Role to Witness from the dropdown list.

Event Reference Editor - dialog - default

The event is now a shared event.

Alternative: don't create a person

Some people are averse to adding people to their family tree they only have a name of. First, allow us to point out why you should nevertheless make a person:

  • Gramps supports this
  • You might encounter the same person again in your research. Having him in the person view increases the likely-hood of you recognizing it is the same person as the one that appears as witness.
  • The Find Duplicates tool has more information to work with.

If you nevertheless want to record the witness, without creating a person, use the attribute tab of the event instead. You can add to the event in the attribute tab, the attribute of type witness, and with as value the name.

Alternatively, you can just record this information in a note attached to the event.

See also