What is Family Tree?
A family tree is a visual representation of one’s ancestry. Most commonly used are charts that come with a box for each person that is connected to other person indicating relationships. Aside from the name, other information that each box may include are birthdates, birthplace, death dates, and other pertinent information, depending on the desired complexity of one’s family tree structure.
A generation is organized via a single level that’s easy to interpret at a glance especially when you want to see the ancestors preceded which generation because they are above them on the tree. Typically, there’s a horizontal line between two boxes indicating a couple, while a bracket from a couple to a lower set of boxes will show the children from that family. Although most family trees are presented vertically, there are some that were drawn sideways.
How to Draw a Family Tree
Before you draw your family tree, you need to get all the information about your family members first. There are many resources online that can help you – thanks to the advent of technology, most of our family records have been digitized. If you have money to shell out and would like to save time then you might want to consider Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org. However, if you prefer to find your family tree without paying, then Google is your best friend. Also, you might want to check these websites as well:
- US Social Security Death Index
- International Genealogical Index
- U.S. Federal Land Patent Records
- inGeneas Database
If you prefer the old school way, then you can simply talk to all your relatives, grandparents, even your neighbors. Gather as much information as you can. They’ll have stories, photos, documents, and memorabilia that you’d want to make copies. When I was young I created my own family tree using Microsoft paint. I still have the original print out (LOL). Your family, relatives, and distant relatives are the best source to get you started in creating your family tree journey. You’ll discover so many stuff from them and when you already have your own family tree.
If you want better representation, because my suggestion above is really not that presentable :). There are free tools out there. However, for you to decide which one to use, you need to know what your intention is. If it is for personal use, then a template from Family Tree Maker is a good option. If you’d want it to be accessible online and you’d want to it to your family, then FamilySearch.org is the best free resource. If you want a printable and a shareable family tree, then you might want to consider using Ahnenblatt!
Creating a Family Tree Best Practices
Whether you decide on using a family tree template or using software to draw your family tree, you’d still have to plan everything.
- Planning is important. Determine if it will be printed, framed for display, or it will be shared electronically.
- The level of complexity. If you know the level of detail that you’d like to portray in your tree, it will help a lot, in determining the level of research that you will you’ll need to do.
- Reach Out. In creating your in-depth family tree, you will need to contact your relatives as well as all the living individuals in your family circle.
- Check our family free templates, then use it as your guideline.
Family Tree Shop wants to help you with your family tree building process. Hope this article is helpful!