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The Difference Between Genealogy and Family History and Why It Matters

The Difference Between Genealogy and Family History and Why It Matters

Some circles of the interwebs believe that the distinction between using genealogy vs. family history is merely a choice of terminology or semantics. For example, as defined by Merriam - Webster, you might be hard-pressed to eek meaning out of the distinction between genealogy, defined as:

1: an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or from older forms
2: regular descent of a person, family, or group of organisms from a progenitor (see progenitor 1) or older form : pedigree
3: the study of family ancestral lines
4: an account of the origin and historical development of something
and family history, defined as:
1: past occurrences (of a medical or mental health condition) in family members or past incidences (of a type of behavior) by family members 
2: a record of one's ancestors 

But other circles of the interwebs, myself among them, believe that our word choice is important and telling. I, and many others, think of genealogy as the finding of names and ancestral lines and family history as the stories and heritage that surround those names. One analog I've heard several people use in explaining the difference is comparing genealogy to bones and family history as everything else built upon the bones that makes a body.

Genealogy is essential in creating a family tree. But just like genealogy itself, a family tree gains more meaning as you actively engage in family history. The more I've learned about the distinction, the more I realize that I'm intimidated by genealogy... the searching and fear of not finding... but only excited by family history. I'm a story girl who can't wait to learn "what happens next," and that's what family history is all about. That being said, without understanding where these ancestors you learn about fit in the framework of your genealogy, it's not as meaningful, and that's where having a family tree chart hanging on your wall comes in incredibly handy. Ready to get started on that genealogy wall chart? Choose a starting template and let's get cracking! 

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That Wasn't Me, I Was Framed!

That Wasn't Me, I Was Framed!

Just like how what you wear affects how you look, how you frame a Family Tree Print is an important part of its presentation. Finding a good frame is hard.  If you want something plain you can just go to Michael's or Ikea, but if you want something unique it will cost you time and money. In an effort to save you both, we at Family Tree Prints have looked around to find some of the best frames at each price point; take a look!


Good - Vintage Gold Picture Frame $21.68 USD

Better - Fractal Burn Picture Frame $36.15 USD

Best - Chic Black Picture Frame $67.14 USD


Good - Black Contemporary Frame $24.26 USD

Better - Solid Wood Country Brown Picture Frame $37.18 USD

Best - Modern Stainless Silver Picture Frame $70.23 USD


Good - Wood Grain Picture Frame $36.74 USD

Better - Barnwood Ornate Rustic Off-White Picture Frame $48.78 USD

Best - Floating Acrylic Frame $74.95 USD

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Example of Family Tree: 5 Generation Family Tree Chart for Napoleon Bonaparte

Example of Family Tree: 5 Generation Family Tree Chart for Napoleon Bonaparte

When looking for names to use in creating examples of family tree charts to showcase (in this case, a five generation family tree chart!) we often turn to prominent historical figures whose genealogy is well-documented, because 1) we get to learn something about them and 2) there's normally a GEDCOM file we can import to have up to 9 generations of names pulled in in a flash--win!
With no further ado, we present a 5 generation family tree chart for Napoleon Bonaparte three ways.
5 Generation Family Tree Chart Variation 1: (Pictured above)
Initial Template: Evening Patriot
Font: Voltaire
  • Changed shape to be a 215 Degree fan (Advanced > Chart > Angle slider to 215)
  • Line width moved to 0 (Advanced > Chart > Line Width slider to 0)
  • Text decal added
5 generation family tree chart example
5 Generation Family Tree Chart Variation 2: 
Initial Template: Natural Stem
Font: Voltaire
  • Changed shape to be a 360 Vertical circle (Advanced > Shape > 360 Vertical)
  • Text decal added
example of family tree
5 Generation Family Tree Chart Variation 3: 
Initial Template: Dusky Iris
Font: Cinzel

Ready to get started making your own chart? Choose a starting template here.

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A Round Up Of 10 Of Our Favorite Real-Life Examples of Family Trees

We help you create gorgeous family trees that are just your style... so what do people choose? Here are 10 real-life family trees people have made using our family tree maker app.. and we're in love! Which best fits your unique style?

example of white family family tree print

Chart Made by: @two_sisters_and_a_story -- They also wrote a review! Read it here.

What family tree template did they start from? Classic White

Key alterations: Changed shape to "180 Degree Fan" (Here's how!)


example of black circle family tree print in living room

Chart Made by: @momtheintern

What family tree template did they start from? Clean Blackboard

example of raspberry revelry family tree template

Chart Made by: @kaaitlyngraace

What family tree template did they start from? Whirligig Watermelon

example of white family family tree print

Chart Made by: @sydnistitches

What family tree template did they start from? Classic White

example of lady bug family tree print

Chart Made by: @michaelgladberry

What family tree template did they start from? Lady Bug

example of light circular family tree template

Chart Made by: @multipletakes

What family tree template did they start from? Natural Leaf

example of grey circular family tree print

Chart Made by: @lifewmylittles

What family tree template did they start from? Classic White

example of white circular family tree template

Chart Made by: @mytinyteachers

What family tree template did they start from? Classic White

example of purple and gold family tree print

Chart Made by: @cshibuta

What family tree template did they start from? Ripe Plum

example of white family tree template

Chart Made by: @ruthanne.strong

What family tree template did they start from? Classic White

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Filial Piety: Confucious' Legacy

Filial Piety: Confucious' Legacy

When we think about China there are a lot of things that come to mind: communism, manufactured goods, Donald Trump saying the word "China," the animated movie Mulan, take-out...the list goes on. However, a legitimately important, and often-overlooked, part of the Chinese identity is the family

The importance of family in Chinese culture dates back thousands of years but was truly solidified by the famous scholar Confucious. Among his many teachings, the concept of filial piety is likely the most prominent. Filial piety is respect for parents, elders, and ancestors. It is deeply tied to the concept of honor. This obligation to "make the family proud" is an integral part of Chinese culture, for better or for worse. In China, it is not unusual for several generations of family to live under the same roof. 

For many of us, the idea of spending our whole lives living with our parents and grandparents is more akin to a nightmare than a dream. Luckily for us, there is an easy way to honor our roots. Head to today and make your personalized Family Tree Print; with limitless color and design options, I know you will find the print that fits your style. And remember, Family Tree Print is more than a decoration or conversation piece, it is an heirloom.



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Family History As Art: Family Tree Graphic Design by a Stanford PhD Candidate

Family History As Art: Family Tree Graphic Design by a Stanford PhD Candidate

We believe in the power of displaying family history as art. We believe what you put on your walls says something about your priorities, and what you want others to know about you as well as what you like to be reminded of yourself. What does what's on your wall say about you?

Now let's take a step back. You can decide for yourself what you value, what your priorities are and what you want to have displayed on your wall. But whatever you choose, chances are you'd like it to be beautiful. If you want to hang a genealogy wall chart, for example, you'll want it to be readable, beautifully proportioned and pleasing to the eye. That's where family tree graphic design comes in.

You may not know this, but my husband Kesler (who is the other half of this team and built our family tree maker!) is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University in the field of human-computer interaction (HCI). The name is fairly self-explanatory. HCI is the study of how humans interact with computers and how that interaction can be improved. His specific area of study? Promoting creativity in design and helping novice designers create beautiful designs. 

Family Tree Prints isn't part of his research, but his expertise factored into how he built on family tree maker to ensure that you can truly create a genealogy wall chart worthy of classifying as "family history as art". Did you know that some constraints actually improve creativity? True story! Think of our family tree maker app as your assistant in family tree graphic design, and then use these 2 super-easy-to-follow hints I snagged from an expert to make sure your chart is picture perfect!

Hint #1: Spacing is king.

Yes, you want the names to be readable, but you also need to give them a little breathing room, so don't be afraid to make your generation's cells bigger to create some space! Make sure you check before downloading your chart that you don't have names that are so long they're running out of their cells too (unless that's the edgy look you're going for! Another place this is hugely importing is when adding a text decal. In general, you'll want to leave some space between the bottom of the chart and where you start your text decal.

Hint #2: Choose a readable font.

Mostly this means choosing an NON-CURSIVE font for the whole of your chart. Our family tree maker already constrains you in your font choices--remember constraints breed creativity--but we did still give you some cursive options. If you're a big fan of cursive, we highly recommend using one of the cursive fonts for a big, gorgeous text decal and choosing a more readable font for the body of the chart. Don't forget, however, this is a general guideline, not a hard a fast rule.

Ready to make your very own genealogy wall chart? I thought so! Choose the template you'd like to start from here. 


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How Knowing Your Family History Can Help You Date Successfully

How Knowing Your Family History Can Help You Date Successfully

We have all dated. It's a lot of work. A lucky few of you have made it through the gauntlet and found someone that is willing to put up with you for the rest of your life, maybe even forever. But, for the rest of us, we are still looking. For many of us when we think about dating, we get anxiety. We get so worried, "Am I good enough?" "Will I ever find someone I like, or that likes me?" "Is it even worth it?" It's tough. But hey, we have a reason to hope! That reason is family history. Wait, what? Hear me out. Two words: confidence and priorities

Confidence. In several studies performed with both men and women, it has been found that confidence is one of the most desirable traits in a potential partner (Disclaimer: confidence does not mean being cocky, it means having good self-esteem). So how do we gain this sometimes-elusive confidence? Learning about our roots. As we learn about those who came before us, we learn how they overcame the trials they faced in their own lives and can draw inspiration from them to overcome our struggles. If they could do it, you can do it. And remember, every single one of your ancestors found someone. If they didn't you wouldn't be here. If they could do it, you can do it.

Priorities. One of the hardest parts of dating is finding the way to present ourselves in the best possible light, without being dishonest. You want your date to know the best you, but also to know the real you (honesty is always the best policy). The way to show the real you and the best you is to make sure that your date understands your priorities. If you mostly talk about work, you show that it is your priority. If you mostly talk about money, you show that it is your priority. If you mostly talk about family, you show that is your priority. Our purpose in this short life is to grow in and eventually create a family. Everything else, however important, is a secondary purpose. As you realize and possibly reevaluate your priorities you will have more success in forming meaningful relationships.

As we make learning about family history a priority in our lives we find confidence and realize our priorities. Confidence is attractive. You are special. You came from somewhere and you were made for something. You have the knowledge and experiences of generations of great men and women behind you. You are great, and there are people just as great out there for you. Never forget that. 

At least in my case, if I don't have something to remind me, I will forget. So I designed my personalized Family Tree Print at and hung it up in my room so that I always remember that I can do it and that one day there will be branches of that tree coming from my name. And if I can do it, you can do it. 

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What's On Your Wall?

What's On Your Wall?

We have all seen the CaptialOne commercials with Alec Baldwin, Samuel L. Jackson, and other A-List celebrities, which all end with the catchy phrase "What's in your wallet?" Although what is in your wallet is of significant interest to me, today I look to pose a different question, "What's on your wall?" The things we put on our walls say a lot about us. And no, I'm not talking about your Facebook wall, the things it says about you are another conversation entirely. I am talking about the walls of your home, apartment, or office. 

For example, if you have a photo of your family on your wall, you are telling people that your family is important to you. If you have a record framed on your wall, you are telling people that you like music, and perhaps a certain musical group in particular. If you have a poster of Justin Bieber on your wall you are clearly telling people that you have no shame. If you have a flag on your wall, you are showing people your nationalistic or regional pride. If you have an oil painting of yourself hung up in a prominent place in your home, no matter how tasteful, you might want to work a little on humility.

No matter who you are, you use your walls to tell people about yourself, or at least the version of you that you want people to see. I, for example, have posters of my favorite cars and actors (Mercedes-Benz 300SL and Sean Connery, respectively), the flag of my beloved Argentina, and a Family Tree Print on my wall. What does that tell you about me? First of all, that I have a love for fast European cars and aging British actors with taupes. Second, that I was a missionary in Argentina. Third, that I love my family and cherish my heritage.

What does having a Family Tree Print on your wall tell people about you? In my opinion, it makes you extremely cool, and that alone should be a reason to buy one. But in addition, it tells people that you understand where you came from and that you respect those who came before you; most of all, it tells people that you love your family. So go check out today to make your custom Family Tree Print. It is our goal as a company to help you express your individuality, with our plentiful chart-customization opportunities, while at the same time helping you show (and remember) that your life is based on the heavenly foundation we all share, the family.


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Where to Print Your Printable Genealogy Chart

Where to Print Your Printable Genealogy Chart

Our family tree maker app makes it easy to create a gorgeous custom family tree in the form of a high resolution, print-ready download in just minutes. Chances are, you'd then like to actually print it out and hang it up--good thing you have oodles of choices.

Local Printer or Big Box Store = Nice and Cost Effective

This is typically your cheapest option. In printing our own charts (we're still college graduate students!) we've headed to our local print shop or Costco and had them printed on poster paper. Here's a little run-down of sample pricing for you:

16x20 Poster 20x30 Poster
Costco $6.99 $9.99
Walmart $12.86 $18.86
Sam's Club $6.96 $9.96

Note: These prices reflect pricing on 9/28/2017.

What kind of paper is it printed on?

Costco/Walmart/Sam's Club also have other sizes available  and often offer add-ons such as mounting (usually printed on archival quality paper) and framing if you'd prefer not to do it yourself. Printing options such as canvas, metallic or acrylic printing are also available if you're interested in testing the boundaries of different media (price range ~$45-100), but we've found poster printing and framing works great. The biggest size all three of these offer is 20" x 30", which is plenty big for most people.

MPix = Higher Quality & More Options 

Mpix offers a variety of options, including poster, photograph finish, wood and metal prints, as well as a variety of framing options. Their basic photograph print is done on archival quality photo paper. We love the  framing options they have right there on their site so you can do everything at once!

 16x24  24x36  36x48 
Poster (Lightweight Poster Paper) $26.99 $28.99 $26.99
Photograph Paper $22.79 $57.59


Also, if you subscribe to their newsletter you can get some pretty decent discounts to bring down the price a bit.

mpix for printable genealogy chart

Artifact Uprising = Gallery Quality & Sizing Galore

If you're looking for a giclee print on archival fine art paper this is for you. We're also huge fans of the variety of sizes Artifact Uprising offers (including squares you don't have to cut down yourself!) and the fact that you can take care of framing all in one fell swoop if you so desire.

Size 16x20 24x36  40x30
Price $39 $68 $85


artifact uprising for printable genealogy chart

Do you have somewhere you love to print? Tell us in the comments so that others can benefit from your expertise when they get their own printable genealogy chart?

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Why Knowing Your Family History Is Important: You Need The Ingredients To Make The Recipe

Why Knowing Your Family History Is Important: You Need The Ingredients To Make The Recipe

For any of you who have cooked before, you understand that to end up with a certain dish, you have to add certain ingredients. You cannot use the ingredients to chocolate chip cookies and end up with a salad (at least not a salad by any nutritionist's definition). However, when you combine the ingredients to chocolate chip cookies in the proper form and fashion, the final product is a delicious treat (infinitely better than a salad of any kind).

In the creation of that final product, each ingredient brings its qualities to the table. In a similar vein, we are the wonderful final product of each ancestor that came before us. We are the warm chocolate chip cookie, and I think we can all think of an ancestor that was the salt. As we learn more about our family history, we learn about the ancestors from whom we gained some of our qualities.

For example, I am an athlete. I have played soccer for my whole life. Throughout my career, I participated in national final-four tournaments, won a State Championship, broke several state records, received All-American honors, and much else. Neither of my parents is particularly accomplished as athletes, so it must have come from somewhere right? 

After a little searching, I discovered that my great-grandfather was a two-sport athlete at the Division 1 level, as well as being a member of the rulemaking committee for what is now known as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). This was an exciting discovery for me, not only did I discover where my talents came from, but I also felt a deep connection with one of my ancestors. This bond gives me pride in my heritage and a confidence that I can succeed with my athletic talents at higher levels.

Although I might have missed the boat on inheriting the genius mind of my grandfather, I still see and recognize other aspects of my personality and character that I have in common with him and many others before him. This connection that I feel with my family, and the love I have for them for making me who I am, helps me appreciate my family history and want to share it with the whole world. If only there was a way...

Luckily for me, and you as well, there is a way! Go visit right now and check out all our color and design options, so you can create and order the Family Tree Print that perfectly complements your style. Think of your Family Tree Print as the recipe that made you. And you are amazing, so that's a recipe worth sharing. 

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