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How To Make a Family Tree: How to create a chart for a family's genealogy (parents and children)?

How To Make a Family Tree: How to create a chart for a family's genealogy (parents and children)?

This blog post details how to create a chart 

featuring a family (parents and children) at the center. If you would like to format your chart to feature a husband and wife as the center of the genealogy chart, click here. If you would like to create a chart 

featuring a single individual at the center, click here.

If you're trying to create a family tree for a family, there are a couple things you should take into account when considering your formatting, but the primary consideration is if your family is still quickly growing and changing?

If your family is still growing...

and more children are expected with relative frequency, you may not wish you add each of the children's names to the chart in case it becomes outdated too quickly (depending on how often you want to update and reprint!) We find that it works for many families to simply treat the chart as they would if they were creating a chart for a couple, and then add a text decal such as "The Doe Family" to tie it together as a family chart.

add text decal to family chart

If your family has stopped growing...

(in terms of no longer adding additional children to the family, in-laws and grandchildren won't affect the chart formatting), you can continue to treat the chart as it were just for a couple as described above, or you could choose to follow the shape choices and recommendations for creating a chart for a single individual, and place all your children at the center. 

Pro tip: You may need to increase the center generation's radius to help all your children's names fit. Do this using the "Generation Width" slider at the bottom of the main "Chart" tab.

how to make a family tree with all your children's names

If you're looking for a run-down of many of the different options available for formatting a family tree chart for a little family, we'd recommend this blog post about creating a family tree chart for your parents, which is broadly applicable in terms of formatting!

 

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Need a 10 Generation Family Tree Chart? Here's a hack.

Need a 10 Generation Family Tree Chart? Here's a hack.

We recently had a customer write in who was working on an incredible family history project for which she needed a 10-11 generation family tree chart, rather than the 9 generations currently offered on our site. We put in a little back door for her, so we figure that if you're looking for a way to create a 10 generation family tree using our awesome family tree maker app, we'd leave this treasure map behind for you as well. Here's how you do it!

1. Choose any number of generations in the template you'd like to use as your starting template, and then click "Start from this template."

2. This will drop you in our family tree maker app. Click on the Advanced tab in the left hand side bar, and then choose the Chart tab within the Advanced Settings.

3. Move the Generations slider to 10.

Note: You CANNOT use the Generations slider in the main "Chart" tab to access 10 generations. Only the Generations slider on the "Chart" tab within the "Advanced" settings will give you access to it. ALSO, increasing the number of generations in your chart to 10 will increase the cost of your chart to $69.95

4. Import your names from FamilySearch or via GEDCOM upload, or enter your names manually!

Note: It's important to increase the number of generations to 10 before importing from FamilySearch, because only the number of visible generations will be imported. If your chart only has 5 generations when you import, and then you increase the number of generations visible in your chart to 10, you'll have to clear your names, and then reimport from FamilySearch to ensure the outer 5 generations aren't left blank.

And voila! Now you have a 10 generation family tree chart! Ready to choose your starting template? Click here!

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How To Make a Family Tree: Adding Marriage Dates, Birth and Death Places, and Vocations To Your Genealogy Wall Chart

How To Make a Family Tree: Adding Marriage Dates, Birth and Death Places, and Vocations To Your Genealogy Wall Chart

By default, if you're using our FamilySearch Integration or GEDCOM import functionality your ancestors' names, birth years and death years will be imported and added to your chart.

example of family tree - 6 generation genealogy wall chart

We made this choice to favor simplicity and consistency across a range of charts, but if you're looking to add more detail to your chart you absolutely can, and it's as easy as pie. Some things our community has wanted to add in the past? The month and date of the birth and death, a marriage date, the location of the birth, death, and/or marriage, and their ancestor's vocation or profession. While we'd highly recommend not including all of that information--let's face it, you'd have to make the text so tiny it would be illegible--you can add an additional detail or two to your chart. Here's how!

To flesh out birth and death dates more fully, just edit those individual fields within the main "Chart" tab.

how to make a family tree: before modifying dates how to make a family tree: after modifying dates

To add any of the other additional details (locations, marriage date, vocation, etc.) your secret weapon is that name text box.

The name text box is WYSIWYG editable just as any Word Document or email processor is. Type the information as you'd like it to be displayed in any given cell, and... voila. Here are a few examples.

example of how to make a family tree 1 example of how to make a family tree 2

example of how to make a family tree 3 example of how to make a family tree 4

To help distinguish the most important information (often the name) from the details, it may help to play with capitalization. By default, many templates change everything to uppercase, so if you'd like to change that choose Advanced > Chart > Choose "Normal" rather than "Uppercase" from the Text Transform dropdown at the bottom.

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Real Customer Question: Some charts have birth-death years and other don't. Do only certain templates display those dates?

Real Customer Question: Some charts have birth-death years and other don't. Do only certain templates display those dates?

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE when you ask us questions because we want to be sure you know exactly how to create a family tree that's perfect for your family. We figure if one person has a question, other's probably do too so we like to share our fleshed out answers with everyone in the hopes this may help someone in the future. Today's real customer question is:

Q: Some charts have birth-death years and others don't. Do only certain templates display those dates?

A: Nope! 

You can display dates for any generation on any chart you'd like. Here's a little tutorial on how to do that, but the short version is once you've chosen your template and are editing it in, you'll want to click Advanced > Generation > Choose an option "W/ Date" from the "Information Displayed" drop-down.

Do you have any other lingering questions? Feel free to browse our tutorials, or shoot us an email to support@familytreeprints.com, and we'd love to help you out!

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The 3 Most Common Mistakes Made Creating a Family Tree And How To Avoid Them

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Made Creating a Family Tree And How To Avoid Them

We've seen a lot of family tree charts in our day. If you want to be sure to create a wall-worthy chart, here are the top 3 common mistakes you'll want to be sure to avoid!

1) Names getting cut off

This is by far and away the most common issue we see. Each family is unique, and so are the names in each person's family tree, which means that no template will automatically perfectly fit each and every name in your genealogy. Take a quick look through your ENTIRE chart to find the names that are getting cut off entirely, or are overlapping with your dates. I have yet to see a single chart where at least one name didn't have to be modified slightly. When you do find a name/cell combo that isn't fitting perfectly, here are a few things to try.

  • Force the name onto multiple lines. You can do this by clicking on the name in the chart itself, and then making sure you're on the main "Chart" tab in the left sidebar. Then edit the "Name:" text field by simply hitting "Enter/Return" on your keyboard to force a line break where you'd like it. In our experience, this is the best solution 80% of the time. 
  • Change the generation width. This is particularly important for outer generations where there isn't room for a name to be broken into multiple lines, but can be used elsewhere as well. You can increase a generation's size up to 200 from the main "Chart" tab, but if you need a little extra room go to Advanced > Generation and use the "Generation Size" slider bar there.
  • Change the font size. You want to avoid shrinking font sizes wherever possible as this decreases readability, but in some cases, it's your best bet. Use the "Generation Font Size" slider on the main "Chart" tab to adjust.

2) Less Than Optimal Font Sizes

We've found a good rule of thumb to be to decrease the font size between 0-2 font sizes each successive generation. Avoid alternating between large and small font sizes, and try to avoid anything smaller than 12pt font if possible.

3) Misspelled names.

Whether you're importing directly from FamilySearch or a GEDCOM file, or manually inputting all of the names yourself, doing a final once-over on your chart to make sure you don't see any glaring spelling errors can make a huge difference. Pay special attention to the first 4 generations, where printed mistakes will be most evident since you and your family members will be most familiar with those names and they're printed the largest!

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Real Customer Question: Is it possible to list more than one first name in the bottom circle of the fan chart? My mother has three brothers and I think it would be nice to list all of them.

Real Customer Question: Is it possible to list more than one first name in the bottom circle of the fan chart? My mother has three brothers and I think it would be nice to list all of them.

Here at Family Tree Prints, we want you to be able to create a gorgeous family tree chart, exactly to your taste, so we love answering your questions! Since we realize that if someone asks a question, that probably means other people have the same one, we like to publish answers to fantastic questions here on the blog, so that everyone can benefit from the answers. Have a question of your own? Email us at support@familytreeprints.com!

Today's real customer question is...

Q: Is it possible to list more than one first name in the bottom circle of the fan chart? My mother has three brothers and I think it would be nice to list all of them.

A: Short answer... yes! 

This actually used to be a little trickier, but we recently pushed an update to make this easy peasy lemon squeezy. Just click on the center circle with your mouse and then make sure you're on the main "Chart" tab in the left sidebar. Under the "Name:" field, you should see a text box containing whatever information is currently displayed in the center circle. Now just type as many names as you'd like in the text box, uses space and returns as normal. Depending on how many names you're trying to include, you may need to adjust the size of your center generation, which you can also do from the main "Chart" tab, using the "Generation Width" slider bar.

tutorial image adding multiple names to circle center

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How To Make a Family Tree That's The Perfect Family Tree Gift For Parents

How To Make a Family Tree That's The Perfect Family Tree Gift For Parents

If you've decided to gift your parents the thoughtful and incredibly personal gift that is a custom family tree, here are just a few pointers on how to personalize the center of the chart to change it from YOUR family tree to YOUR PARENTS family tree. Your choice of which of these to implement will be highly dependent on which template you've chosen as well as your family's personal style, but we guarantee there's an option here that will make this perfect family tree gift for your parents picture perfect. 

Note: These options are based on the assumption that you've just imported your personal genealogy from FamilySearch by choosing yourself as the center of the chart, but are adaptable to other situations as well. For instructions of how to import your data for your parents family tree via FamilySearch read this post.

For each of the below options, you'll want to start by first removing your name from the center of the family tree. You can do this from the main "Chart" tab in the left sidebar panel. Simply select your name in the "Name:" field and delete!

Option 1: Change the cell color to remove the center.

remove center for perfect family tree gift for parents

This is our personal favorite way to adapt a chart for parents--classy, classic, easy and clean! To do this simply:

1. Click the "Advanced" tab in the left sidebar of the family tree maker.

2. Click the "Color" tab within the "Advanced" settings.

3. Make sure "Individual" is selected from the "Color Mode" drop-down.

4. Click on the center circle in your actual chart.

5. Click on the "Background Color" color swatch, and drag the color picker to white.

Option 2: Add all your siblings'/your parents' childrens' names to the center.

There are a couple different ways you can do this depending on how many siblings you have, and how much of each of their names you hope to include. 

If you just want to include your siblings' first names, just enter them in the "Name:" field of the main "Chart" tab in order separated by spaces. This will put each name on it's own line.

siblings name in the center of genealogy wall chartIf you'd like to include multiple names per sibling (first and middle, full name, etc.) you'll still enter them in order, separated by spaces in the "Name:" field of the main "Chart" tab, but you'll want to put a ~ instead of a space in between the portions of the name you'd like to stay on the same line. For example, if I'd like the names listed as:

George Will
Fred Bennett
Mary Jane

I would write:

George~Will Fred~Bennett Mary~Jane in the name field.

siblings as part of perfect family tree gift for parents

If this isn't working for you the way it's described above, you may need to change how information is displayed in the center cell. To do this, choose "Advanced" > "Generation" > Select "1st Generation" from the "Generation" drop-down > Select "Horizontal Multiline" from the "Information Displayed" drop-down.

Option 3: Add a special character to the center.

how to make a family tree for parents with &Much the same as adding your siblings' names to the center of the circle, you'll just enter the special character (such as & or +) in the "Name:" field on the main "Chart" tab of the family tree maker. A capital letter (such as the first letter of your parents' last name also works well.)

how to make a family tree for parents with center initial

With just a single character, you'll probably want to increase the font size. To do this:

1. Click the "Advanced" tab in the left sidebar of the family tree maker.

2. Click the "Generations" tab within the "Advanced" settings.

3. Make sure "1st Generation" is selected from the "Generations" drop-down.

4. Drag the "Font Size" slider to the desired font size.

Option 4: Change the chart shape to hide the center.

Some chart shape templates are pre-built to hide the 1st generation altogether: 360 Horizontal circle, Half Circle fan and Half Circle Inverted fan.

shape to hide first generation of genealogy wall chart

change shape to hide 1st generation of genealogy wall chart

To change the shape:

1. Click the "Advanced" tab in the left sidebar of the family tree maker.

2. Click the "Shape" tab within the "Advanced" settings.

3. Scroll through the list and click on the desired shape.

 

Still have lingering questions about the best way to create the perfect family tree gift for your parents? Shoot us an email at hello@familytreeprints.com and we'd be happy to help!

 

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Beautiful Black Charts: How To Modify Three Family Tree Templates For The Ultimate Chart

Beautiful Black Charts: How To Modify Three Family Tree Templates For The Ultimate Chart

We've talked before about how gorgeous a little black chart can be, so we thought it only fitting today to showcase three charts that are riveting in black: a black circle chart, a black fan pedigree chart and a black bedazzled bug family tree template for kids! There's something about black and white that's just... classy and classic. And they're by far the most often used templates on our store, so we know you'll love them.

First off, the black fan chart. To make this variation, we started with the Clean Blackboard fan chart template and then performed just a few minor alterations.

black fan chart

Alteration #1: We hid the center circle (a.k.a. changed its background color to white via clicking on the center circle of the actual chart and then Advanced > Color>Background Color>Chose White)

Alteration #2: Added a text decal. For more specifics on how to do that, view our text decal tutorial here.

Next up... the black circle chart. This one started as our Clean Blackboard circle family tree template.

black circle template

Alteration #1: Modified the shape from a horizontal to a vertical circle (thus unhiding the first generation!) For a tutorial on how to change the shape, go here.

Last, but certainly not least is this adorable black bug chart. This one we started from our Lady Bug family tree template for kids and then went to town!

black bug family tree chart

Alteration #1: We changed the palette to black. There's a full tutorial on how to change colors here that you may want to reference, but the gist of it is once you're in the editor choose Advanced > Palette > Click the black swatch under the Solid Color heading > Click the thumbnail preview of the bug chart in black.

Alteration #2: We added color bands to the outside of each generation. To do this click on the individual cell you'd like to alter, then choose Advanced > Color > Click the color swatch under the heading Band Color > Choose what color you'd like your band to be. Then repeat for each individual cell. Once you've chosen a color once it will show up as a color swatch in your color picker to make it easier for you.

Alteration #3: We modified the line color to be a gorgeous purple tone. Again, you can reference this tutorial on color changes, but basically, you'll just want to stay in that same Color panel you've been working in and use the color picker under the heading Line Color to update it.

Alteration #4: We modified some of the text colors to give it a little extra pop. To do this, stay on that same Advanced > Color panel and just choose a color using the color picker under the Text Color heading. Again, this is cell by cell. To move to a new cell, just click on it in the chart.

Now you can make each and every one of these gorgeous black charts for yourself. If you're thinking about it, you should do it TODAY and take full advantage of our Black Friday Deal : 30% off your full order with code BLACKFRIDAY!

Coupon is valid through Saturday, November 25 at midnight PST.

 

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How To Make A Family Tree: DIY Rainbow Family Tree Chart

How To Make A Family Tree: DIY Rainbow Family Tree Chart

There are lots of DIYs these days, but did you know you can DIY within our family tree maker? That's right; the templates are just a starting point for the creative mind, although they also look fabulous without tweaking. So there's something for everyone.

A month or so ago, someone asked if we had a rainbow template since her daughter LOVES rainbows. While we don't have a template for that (yet!) for now you can DIY one and it looks absolutely fabulous! You can watch the making of the chart below in 5 minutes, but (full disclosure here) I did speed some parts up, so the entire process took me about 20 minutes, including some final tweaking I did before finalizing the chart as shown above. If you want a chart EXACTLY like this here are all the details.

BAND COLORS
Red: HEX FF6767
Orange: HEX FCB900
Yellow: HEX FCE770
Green: HEX 95D847
Blue: HEX 0693E3
Purple: HEX C371FF

CHART FONT: White

CENTER FONT: Black

LINE COLOR: White

LINE WIDTH: 10

To create the family tree print...

1) Start with any 7 generation fan chart.

2) Cell by cell go through and change the background color and the font color. To do that, just click on the Individual Tab in the left sidebar, and then click the color swatch under Background Color and Text Color respectively. Once you've selected those colors, click into the next cell in your chart you'd like to change and do the same thing again.

3) Once you've colored all 6 color bands, make sure the center circle has a white background, and you can play with the radius of that circle to broaden the rainbow arc on the Generation Tab (select First Generation from the drop down).

4) Final touches include changing the font size for each generation as desired to maximize readability (on the Generation Tab), changing to whatever font you'd like to use (on the Chart Tab--I used Montserrat!), and adjusting Line Width (on the Chart Tab)! Now your family tree print is complete!

This post is part of our Art With The Chart series. To view more creative ways to personalize your chart, click here or to view more tutorials, visit our Tutorial Help Center!

 

Let us know how your DIY Rainbow turned out in the comments below! Can you think of another clever DIY idea using a fan chart? 

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3 Reasons to Use a Pedigree Chart Maker

3 Reasons to Use a Pedigree Chart Maker

Why bother using an online family tree maker? Mostly because it's no bother at all, only a lot of fun, but here are our top three reasons why!

1. It's faster than hand-writing on a paper chart (and easier to correct mistakes).

This is the way it used to be done. It's how my mom created her gorgeous genealogy wall chart 15 years ago (as well as one for her mother-in-law!) By hand. The final product? A wonderful heirloom. The process? Painstaking. And if you make a mistake there's very little you can do about it. By using a family tree maker online (like Family Tree Prints!) you can pull in up to 10 generations of genealogy in just a few minutes using one of our integrations, format to perfection and then click order. Want to make one for your mother-in-law? Just change who's at the center of your chart, click order again, and voila. It only took you 3 minutes to create a gorgeous and meaningful gift they'll appreciate forever. #timesavingwin

personalized whale family tree template for kids

2. You can personalize to your heart's content.

There are lots of family tree templates online you can buy and either print off and handwrite; add the names yourself manually using Adobe Photoshop or an equivalent tool; or pay the vendor to add the names for you after you fill out an Excel sheet with all your genealogy. But what if you like the idea of this template a lot, but you wish they had it in blue?

Note: If you'd prefer to fill out an Excel sheet and have us add the names for you, we'll do that too! Just visit our Etsy store.

Using Family Tree Prints you can start from any of our templates but they're just a starting point. From there you can change the shape of the chart, the color palette, the line thickness, the font, etc until you have something that perfectly matches your personality, family history, and home decor. What if your style changes in 5 years and the chart you picked no longer matches? Either move it to another room or just create a new one--you can do it in just a few minutes!

3. It makes creating your own genealogy wall chart completely unintimidating.

Anything you can do in under 3 minutes can't be that intimidating, right? Creating a genealogy wall chart used to require either copious amounts of time (to do it yourself) or copious amounts of money (to pay someone else to do it for you). Now, you can do it yourself, saving time and money, and still end up with a beautifully professional product? Get stuck with the process? Check out our tutorial help center!

 

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