The visual expression of a family’s history can be a powerful communication and research tool for the genealogist as well as the non-genealogist. Charts are an inspiring way to show a span of a family. Over the 15 years that we have been printing charts, we have had people ask us for all sorts of charts that have been used in many different ways. Whether you use a printing service, or draw one out yourself, charts can really help you discover your origin story and get more work done. Here are some of the basics to get your chart started:
Start with your siblings, parents and grandparents, then add in-laws and their ancestors and descendants, divorces, adoptive family lines, step-families, and even Pets! The beauty of creating a custom chart is you can go back as many generations as you want.
What to include?
You'll want to include the most basic information like birth, marriage and death dates and places to give a chronological and geographical frame of reference. You can add spaces to fill in missing information, but here are some ideas for information you can include: family quotes and titles, health issues or genetics, stories (how the couples met!), pictures, immigration (Mayflower, pioneer, first-families), ethnicity, languages, talents, religions, accomplishments and offices, quotes, maps, flags, military service, documents, current address, age, physical attributes, character attributes, religious events (baptism, bar-mitzvah, offices held), criminal records, royal lineage, education, occupations, nicknames, heritage and culture, personality, citizenship, telephone numbers and even social networking information. With this, you can be as detailed as you want. The more information you include about specific ancestors, the longer their stories will live on.