What Is a Family Tree?

A family tree chart is the most typical type of visuals used in documenting lineages. Most family tree diagrams are made with boxes or leaves connected with lines. They are linked together to represent relationships amongst kins. Each leaf or box can be added with names, birthplaces, birthdates, and other relevant information, depending on the intricacy of the family tree.

If you are interested in knowing more about your ancestry, taking an ancestry test is actually a good place to start. According to MIT Technology Review, more than 26 million individuals took an at-home ancestry test at the beginning of 2019. Looks like you aren’t the only one quite intrigued about your family history.

Types of Family Tree

Normal people use generic terms when it comes to a family tree. Most of us don’t typically use the proper names of different genealogical charts except for genealogists. The charts can be presented in a horizontal view, also. The following are family tree examples and types you can refer to:

Descendants Chart: This type of chart shows the proband’s descendants. The proband is the starting point of the genealogy. It is placed at the top wherein it presents all the children and their offsprings thereof. It has diverse numbering schemes. The Ancestor Chart: This kind of chart illustrates the forefathers of a person called a proband. Beginning from the bottom with the proband on the upper part to two parents, four grandparents, etc. The structure is identical for every individual while the Kekulé numbering scheme is applied to the ancestor tree chart.  Sandglass Diagram: This type of family tree is a combination of both descendants and an ancestor chart. The proband is placed in the middle of the diagramKinship Diagram: There are more variations that present blood kinship of a proband downwards and upwards with the offsprings of siblings. 

How to Create a Family Tree Chart

Proper planning is the first step you have to consider before making a family tree diagram. It is in the planning phase that you will determine the kinds of information you want to incorporate in each leaf. A family tree maker that is readily available on the internet is a useful tool. However, keep these guidelines in mind for you to come up with an excellent family tree that can grab anyone’s attention.

Step 1: Collect Information about Your Family Tree

Jot down what you know; then, ask members of the family to complete gaps or blanks, and look for documents and photos. You can do a quick online search for genealogy references or take trips to the library to find land deeds, old newspapers, census records, and any other document that can fill in the gap about your ancestry.

Step 2: Narrow down Your Search and Keep It Realistic

Bear in mind that you can only search as far as your resources can suffice due to the limited references you can dig down. You might have come across people who have traced their lineage all the way to Eve and Adam in the Bible. We may all be descendants of the first people on earth according to the Scriptures, but keep it realistic. In reality, it is impossible to look for records that are over a hundred years ago because records are tangible things that can be ruined by floods, fires, and other disasters. Documents can also be lost just by mere carelessness.

Step 3: Create a Draft of a Family Tree Outline

With or without a family tree creator, go back to basics. Integrate all the information needed to draft an outline. Begin by illustrating from yourself to your forefathers, or begin with the most ancient ancestor and trace them back to you. You can simply sketch a family tree chart by using only paper and pen or construct a family tree online by making use of a free family tree template and tweak it according to your needs. 

Step 4: Put Relevant Details to Each Leaf

Certain shapes linked by lines represent each member of the family. The lines are representations of the relationships among family members. A rectangle or box is normally utilized to represent relatives, but any shape can be applied to it. The shapes are the leaves of the family tree. The shape you assigned to the leaves must be used consistently. Determine the size that can fit any information you decide to place on each. Add important dates, photos, and other pertinent information you want to include in the leaves.

Step 5: Share Your Family Tree

This is the last step and the best part. Once you are done with your family tree chart, distribute it to your families and relatives. Let them experience traveling back in time by tracing your roots. Give them an awesome opportunity to reflect on their lineage and learn your family’s stories and histories. For the finishing touches, you can also let any family member or relative collaborate with you by integrating new information on the diagram. 


What is the thing to keep in mind when making a family tree?

Ascertain the level of difficulty. Finding the level of complexity you desire to emphasize in the family tree chart will help you determine the amount of groundwork and fact-finding to do as well as the time to put in. It will also influence the general design of the family tree diagram and its dimensions.

What are other guidelines and best practices when creating a family tree?

This is basic: don’t wash dirty linen in public. Don’t expose your family’s dirty secrets and unpleasant issues. Family tree charts are often prepared before family reunions. It will be a time to celebrate and to be reunited with your loved ones, so don’t rain on anyone’s parade. Be sensitive to not include any information that can humiliate anyone or put them in a vulnerable position.

What is the secret to an attention-grabbing, valuable family tree diagram?

Simplicity is key. If you yearn for your family tree chart to be useful and memorable to your family and relatives, keep it simple so every element and information incorporated are easier to see and remember.

How to simplify creating a family tree chart?

Make use of printable family tree templates. They can save time and effort since all you have to do is to download and tweak them according to your preferences.

Whether it’s a Kardashian family tree or a Targaryen family tree, all family tree diagrams including yours are interesting. A family tree chart is a convenient and practical tool for people to easily trace their ancestry as well as appreciate the visuals incorporated in them. Don’t get overwhelmed with drafting one. Browse through a wide array of family tree samples above which you can choose from as your family reunion is fast approaching. Download now!