A family tree is an important part of genealogy research. It is something that genealogists spend a lot of time putting together and building up. At a glance, a family tree can show you exactly how a group of family members are related to each other. Family trees can become quite complex, but it is possible to make a basic family tree.
Start with yourself.
One piece of advice that has been given to new genealogists is to start with yourself. Begin your basic family tree with a square that represents you. Put it down towards the bottom of your paper (or at the “trunk” of the family tree).
A very basic family tree includes yourself, your parents, your grandparents, and your great-grandparents. You might have siblings, cousins, aunts, or uncles, but they are going to be left out of this basic family tree.
Use a ruler.
It can be very helpful to use a ruler to help you to draw straight lines. Everyone in your basic family tree will be inside their own box. There will be lines that connect some of the boxes.
Make a T.
Start with the box you are in. Make a small line that goes up from your box. Turn that line into a T by extending the line on the right and left side. You are going to put one box on the left side of the T and another box on the right side. This same process will be used to create the other “layers” of your basic family tree.
Gender is important. Male relatives go on the left side and get even numbers. Female relatives go on the right side and get odd numbers. For example, the box you just finished creating that is above, and to the left, of your box is where your father goes. The other one, on the right hand side, is for your mother. You get number 1 (no matter what your gender is).
Continue the process. Start at your father’s box, make a line that goes up, extend it to a T, and make boxes for his parents (your grandparents). Do the same process starting from the box that holds your mother’s name. Keep going until you add in your great-grandparents on both sides.
Add the numbers.
1 = you
2 = your father, 3 = your mother
4 = your paternal grandfather, 5 = your paternal grandmother
6 = your maternal grandfather, 7 = your paternal grandmother
Parents of box number 4 get number 8 for the father and 9 for the mother
Parents of box number 5 get number 10 for the father and 11 for the mother
Parents of box number 6 get number 12 for the father and 13 for the mother
Parents of box number 7 get number 14 for the father and 15 for the mother
Image by Biking Nikon SFO on Flickr.
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