Cleaning up a GeneWeb database

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This article explains how to clean up a GeneWeb database using command lines. This action is also available through the gwsetup interface.

As you progress in the modification of your base, some issues may crop up:

  • After a lot of modifications, response time may increase.
  • If you add or modify families, consanguinity does not appear anymore or is incorrect.
  • If you suppress persons or families, the corresponding space in the base is not reclaimed (the total number of persons in the base does not vary after suppressions).

To correct all these problems, it is necessary to clean up the base.

Cleaning with the consang command

A first action can be performed with the consang which will recompute consanguinity for the whole base and improves access time. If your base is named toto, the command is:

consang toto

The execution speed of this command depends largely on the size of your base. During this process, update possibilities are prohibited. If you try to execute an update through a second window of your browser, which is perfectly accepted in other circumstances, a message will instruct you to try again later.

You may terminate this process at any time by typing Ctrl + C in your terminal window. The consanguinity computation will not be finished, but the base will be cleaned up. You may relaunch consang after and the program will resume from its last interruption (unless you have made some family modifications, in which case it will restart from scratch).

Cleaning through saving and restoring a base

A deeper clean up can be achieved through a gwu et gwc sequence which recreates a fresh base. A side benefit of this approach is to produce a source file using the GWformat which is the preferred archival solution. In this process, it is recommended to name the new base differently from the old one to avoid problems should any of the steps fail:

gwu toto >


gwc -o titi

Note that during this process, any isolated person (someone not belonging to a family, nor witness or relation to someone else) will disappear from the base. See connectivity for a deeper discussion about paths between persons and base topology.

Here, a fresh version of toto is created with the name titi. You can then verify the correctness of titi, and if you are satisfied, you can suppress or archive with a time-stamp toto.gwb, then rename titi.gwb into toto.gwb.

The execution of gwc produces also a file with extension .gwo which you can suppress, as well as the .gw source files (which you could also archive with the appropriate time-stamp).

If you want the consanguinity information, you must run consang on the new base.

GeneWeb Manual

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Use and manage genealogical databases

Technical annex