Which family tree chart should I use?


07 August 2019
Chart-76235.jpg Family Tree Chart
Confused about the many different genealogy charts that are available? Here's our expert help!

This get-started guide presents the different options to help you decide which family tree chart is best for you – whatever stage of family history research you’re at.

The examples below are not for download, just for illustration. However, if you'd like to get a FREE downloadable pedigree chart, just click here.


Pedigree chart

Perhaps the most recognisable family history chart, the pedigree chart allows you to see your ancestors at a glance, with yourself and your parents on the left of the page, and descending generations displayed working towards the right of the chart. Don’t worry about any gaps in the information, just enjoy filling in what you know and then the chart acts as a visual reminder of ancestors you’ve yet to find.




Eight or ten-generation pedigree chart

Once you get the genealogy bug you’re sure to want to continue back in time, moving from your great-grandparents down the centuries. If you’re a keen researcher with hundreds of ancestors, sooner or later you’ll want to invest in an eight-generation or ten-generation chart as a long-term project that can keep you busy for years!

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Fan chart

This type of chart is perfect for anyone who’s getting started in family history or who likes a layout where the base individual (you) is listed at the bottom of the chart, with subsequent generations presented fan-style in a semi-circle or circle.




Working chart

Whichever chart style you decide to go for, it’s useful to buy a working chart that you can use on the go, at archives and libraries. Use a pencil to note down details as you discover them and then you can transfer the names and dates to your main chart once you’re back at home. Look out for charts packaged in a keepsake tube – making them both portable and squash-proof!




Deluxe chart

Your main chart is your ‘deluxe’ version, where all your verified names and dates are kept. You can use this both as a work in progress and as a display piece, particularly if you choose an acid-free paper version so that it stands the test of time.





Children’s chart

Want to get the next generation involved? Children are often drawn to charts designed around the shape of a tree, where ancestors are added to the branches, showing clearly the relationships between the different ancestors. Make it even more fun by adding on photos as well as names and dates.





Write in pencil until you’re sure of your facts and then use an archive-quality pen so that your names and dates stand the test of time.


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