How to make a family tree
Creating a family tree takes some work and research.
Making a family tree is a great project that allows you to learn more about your ancestry, background and past relatives. Working like a map, a family tree and its branches show how the people in your family are connected, where their roots are planted and all the leaves in between that make the tree bloom. Thanks to personal computers and genealogy software, discovering these connections has never been easier and making a family tree is more fun than it is work. Here are a few helpful tips on how to make a family tree.
Collecting information is the first step in putting together a family tree. Start by recording the information that you already know. Look through old family albums and ask the names of relatives in older photographs. Check the backs for additional information and work from there. Living relatives are a great source of information, as are old letters, papers and family movies. Make sure to document all your information.
Once you have exhausted your own sources, you will have to do some further research. The internet is a great resource and genealogy sites can help you trace your family back in time to discover whom your relatives were and where they made their homes. Family search is a terrific site and contains the largest library of genealogy records in the world. Before this kind of technology, researchers spent hours looking up library records, courthouse documents, cemetery ledgers and government files. Now this information is available with the click of a mouse.
Organizational sites such as uftree help you put your research and information together. This particular site has various templates that you can download as well as charts, a research calendar and research extract sheets to keep your information organized. The web site also has a correspondence record to help you keep track of people and sources with which you have already had contact. There are also many software programs devoted to family trees, which come complete with templates, forms and family tree design suggestions to help you put your own fabulous family tree together.
Designing the type of family tree you would like is the next step. The typical tree has the names of different generations on various branches with older generations placed on top branches and younger generations on the bottom, but this is not a rule. Your family tree can be anything you want it to be. Use your imagination and make it according to the things your family considers important. Does your family like sports? Are you animal lovers? Perhaps the nametags on the tree could be various sports equipment or favorite animals.
Another great way to personalize your family tree is to include photographs. If photos are available, placing them on top of the names of your relatives is a great way to see likenesses and similar traits that run in the family. How exciting to look at a picture of a great grandmother or grandfather and see some of your own characteristics, or to note that everyone has the same nose or high forehead? Although pictures may require additional work, if you can find them they really make a family tree special. For families whose pets are important, include them as well. After all, they are part of the family!
You can put your tree together the traditional way, using construction paper, and glue or you can make your family tree online. Software specifically designed to make family trees is an easy way to make a family tree. Whatever way you choose, remember that your family tree is all about you so personalize it any way you want. Making your family tree your own means branching out, so anything goes.
Include Important Information
Names, dates of births and deaths and living locations are all important things to include as are the relationships the people on your tree have with one another. Make sure to leave room on the tree for more additions.
Depending on the amount of room you have on your tree and how big the family tree will be, you can include short factoids about each of the family members. Did Uncle Frank win a medal in WWI? Did Aunt Margaret win a beauty pageant? Including these interesting pieces of information is a great way to personalize your tree and keep the personalities of your ancestors alive.
Don't have enough room to write down all that information? Place small drawings like a war medal for Uncle Frank or a tiara for Aunt Margaret next to the name on the tree. Discovering how to make a family tree means using your imagination.
One of the greatest parts of a family tree is the time you and your loved ones will spend together. Including children in the making of a family tree will help them feel connected to their families and allows them to continue the tradition with their own families. Soon you will have more than a tree; you'll have a forest!