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Creating a Family Tree

Creating a family tree is a fun and educational pastime that will allow you to delve into the history of your family, your ancestors, and all those people who have branched out into the large collection of people known as your extended family. These easy to read and easy to create charts of your genealogy are engaging ways to begin your studies of your own family. And, by creating a family tree, you can add your own piece to your family's historical record.

When creating a family tree, the easiest place to start is with the person you know best: yourself. Write your name in a rectangle on a sheet of paper. Draw a vertical line from that rectangle. Then draw a horizontal line at the tome of the vertical line such that it forms a T-shape. Draw rectangles on the right and left ends of the cross of the T. In the left rectangle, put your father's name, and in the right, your mother's.

The next step in creating a family tree is to draw a horizontal line extending across the base of the T. Draw as many vertical lines from this horizontal line as you have siblings. At the end of each vertical line, draw a rectangle. In each rectangle, write a sibling's name. The family tree for your immediate family is now complete.

Now you can go further in creating a family tree. From both your father's and mother's rectangles, draw the T-shape and rectangles that you drew above your own rectangle. Put the names of your father's parents on your father's side and your mother's parents on your mother's side. At the base of each T, put horizontal lines with vertical lines extending down for each of your father's siblings and your mother's siblings. Place the required rectangles at the ends of the lines and fill in your aunts and uncles.

Now you can attach various aunts and uncles by marriage to their respective spouses with horizontal lines. Extend vertical lines from each horizontal line and extend them out to include each of your cousins. The format will become clear as you are creating a family tree for your particular family.

The structure and format for these trees should be fairly clear. Horizontal lines mean marriage. Vertical lines illustrate descent. Thus, the various generations of your family will begin to demarcate themselves and you will be able to see how you are connected to all of them.

Creating a family tree is a fun little way to show the depth of your known ancestors and the breadth of your extended family. And as you fill in everyone you know, you can ask for more information from family members to find out new names and new people that will extend your family out that much more. And with each successive generation added from your family's history, you will be able to extend your family tree out to third, fourth, fifth cousins and beyond. Just start with who you know and you will soon learn things that you never imagined.

About the Author is a categorized resource directory to help explore the world of genealogy, or family trees, including the history of our ancestors.


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