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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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