Before we dive into just how to make a family tree chart, we will take you through the meaning of a family tree chart.
What is a Family Tree and Why is it Important?
Many tools have been used to visually document a family’s ancestry or genealogy. The family tree is, however, the most common tool and can be used by both children and adults. A family tree can be depicted using a hierarchical structure of boxes showing family members.
The chart represents the family relationships in an easy to follow structure. This layout enables the viewer with a quick glance to establish which family members preceded which generation. This is made simple due to its structure as each generation is above or below the preceding or next generation on the family tree. The most common details included in the family tree include names, date of birth, date of death, birthplace and other information or data depending on the complexity of the family tree.
The use of horizontal and vertical lines show relationships within the family tree. For example, a close line between two boxes indicates a marriage, while a long line may represent a sibling. A line emerging from a couple meeting boxes on the generation below shows the children from that marriage or relationship.
How to Make a Family Tree Chart
The following steps below will guide you through the creation of your family tree chart. Also provided below is a template which already provides you with a nice starting point for your family tree. Alternatively, use online family tree software to create and print your family tree.
Step 1 – Deciding on the Number of Generations
This is normally the first step in the process. You can begin with your self as the starting position and decide how many generations you wish to build upward and downward on your family tree. Once you have decided on the generations begin to draw boxes to represent each family member.
Step 2 – Adding Family Members to Your Family Tree.
You should represent each member of your family with a box. Start with yourself and draw your parents above you, a box for each parent. Draw your siblings to each side of you, a box for each sibling. Next, add spouses to each family member with a spouse. Next, add children to each couple with children. Each connection or relationship should be displayed through the use of a line going directly from box to box.
Step 3 – Adding the Detail.
You can now begin to add family members details to your family tree chart. These details can include names, date of birth, date of death, birthplace and other information. Also, ensure you do include images in your chart. This may be accomplished through the use of software or simply cutting and attaching your image to a physical family tree.
It is important that your tree remains structured and each layer of your family tree chart is related to a specific family generation.
Hints and Tips on How to Make a Family Tree Chart
This section provides you with some quick tips to ensure you get the best from your family tree activity.
- It’s important to plan your family tree before starting. You should consider what is the purpose of your family tree chart? Do you wish to create a physical or digital version of your family tree chart? Do you wish to share your family tree chart in the future with other family members?
- Decide on the level of complexity and time you wish to include in the project. Researching your family history can often require a lot of energy and time. In this respect, it’s important to consider the number of generations, the level of detail and your own personal wishes before embarking on this project.
- Talk to family members about your family. Review old photos and question those individuals in the photos. There may be some additional clues or family members you are not acquainted with. Older family members can provide very useful input and will certainly help when you are considering how to make a family tree chart.
- Plan for your audience. Ensure that the family tree is fit for the audience with whom you will be sharing the family tree project with.