When you decide to print your family tree, you will need to choose the type of family tree chart you would like to display. A pedigree chart is one of the most common and possibly one of the first types of genealogy charts you will encounter while creating your family tree. But how does it differ from the rest? What benefits are there to using different genealogy charts? First we need to discuss the different types of charts used in genealogy and how they can help you keep track of your many relations.
Types of Genealogy Charts
There are many different types of genealogy charts and chart views, however, they all revolve around the same information. All family tree charts are either a form of ancestor chart, descendant chart, or a combination of both. Some offer more detail while others are quite simple, and in some cases they offer the same information, but with a different view. Understanding the function of these charts and discovering the best view can help you decide which will work best for you. Below are some of the basic charts and styles you may encounter.
A pedigree chart is a chart that shows your direct ancestors going back in time. You or the relative of your choosing will be your starting point, then you move backwards by adding parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. A pedigree chart does not show siblings, aunts, uncles, nieces, or nephews, only ancestors. You may also find pedigree charts listed as ancestor charts or lineage charts and in both a horizontal view and vertical.
A descendants chart differs from a pedigree chart because it starts with a couple instead of one individual and works from the past to the present day. This chart shows every descendant of the couple as in their children, grandchildren, great-grand children and so on until it reaches you. These charts can be a bit overwhelming as you add to them since families of the past tended to be larger the than families of today.
A fan chart is a type of pedigree chart that is displayed in a fan view. It offers the same information as a pedigree or ancestor chart but allows the viewer a more separate look at their paternal and maternal ancestors. Fan charts can be created in a quarter, half, full, or even split view and color coded to show the different branches of a family.
Hourglass and Bow-tie Charts
Hourglass charts allow you to pick one ancestor and make a chart of their ancestors and descendants on one chart. The chart highlights the ancestor you choose and then like the shape of an hourglass, shows that person’s ancestors above them and their descendants below them on the page. A bow-tie chart is the same as the hourglass chart but is in a horizontal view (like a bow-tie) instead of the vertical view of the hourglass. These charts are great for display at a family reunion that centers around one common ancestor.
Family Tree Charting Software
If you use genealogy software for your genealogy research and data storage, chances are you already have access to family tree charting software. If not, there are some free options available online. Each software program has its own set of options, view, and styles so you may want to try more than one before making your final decision. Each person’s taste in software is different, so what works for me, may not work for you. Play around with them and have some fun, you may just find something you like better.
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