December 24th, 2012

Adding Aunts and Uncles to Your Family Tree Chart

Adding aunts and uncles to a Family Tree Chart can prove both difficult and confusing.  There is a simple solution however, and the key is to choose the correct type of Family Tree Chart.

Once you’ve collected all of the information on your family, it’s time to place your relatives in your family tree chart. Most people find it easy to begin, placing themselves, their parents, and grandparents in the chart, but get confused when it’s time to add aunt’s uncles, and cousin’s. Often they find there is no room to insert them and become frustrated. Many people give up at this stage, but there is no need to. Actually there is a very simple procedure for placing extended relatives in your family tree chart.

Use a Descendants Family Tree Chart

One problem many beginning genealogists have when it comes to adding aunts and uncles to a family tree is finding room for them in their already “completed” chart. The problem originates with using the wrong type of chart to begin with. Most people begin with what is known as a Pedigree chart, the most basic and well-known type of family tree format. The problem is that a pedigree chart provides no room for extended family, and is only useful for recording direct descendants of a single bloodline. This type of chart is also for a single person, beginning with them, their parents, grandparents, and so on. It extends outwards through the generations to gradually include ancestors.

The secret to placing extended relatives in your family tree is to use a Descendants chart. A Descendants family tree chart begins with the oldest known ancestor, and descends inwards towards the individual. The secret to successfully charting a Descendants family tree is to complete all of your research first, or at least as much as you can. There may always be one or two missing links, but this is easily overcome by leaving a space or two to add new descendants as you discover them. Once you’ve done as much research as you can and collected enough information for three or four generations or more, you can begin filling in your Descendants family tree.

How to Fill in Your Descendants Family Tree Chart

You begin your Descendants family tree with the oldest known relative you have. Place their name at the top of the page. If they have a spouse, place the name of the spouse to the right if it’s a female, to the left if it’s a male and connect the two with a horizontal line. Next you will add their children. This is done by extending a vertical line down from the center of the horizontal line connecting the couple above. At the end of the vertical line you then make another horizontal line extending outwards. From this horizontal line you will draw a vertical line downwards for each child. The eldest will be on the left, the youngest on the right.

If any of the children has a spouse, you place the spouse next to them, on the right if male, left if female, and connect them with a horizontal line. Don’t connect any spouse with the horizontal line connecting the siblings however, as this will give the impression that a brother and sister married. Next you will draw a vertical line downwards from any of the siblings and their spouses, and again at the end draw a horizontal line with vertical lines from that horizontal one to include any children they had. You will complete this procedure as you work downwards from your descendants family tree chart until you reach the last generation.

If you wish to try this out with some free online genealogy software, you can do so at Family Echo. You simply insert the names of parents, then their siblings and spouses if they have any. The software will then construct a family tree that will clearly demonstrate how yours should look. If you haven’t yet completed your ancestry research, use our free family tree resources to do so. If you have completed your research and are ready to begin composing your family tree chart, you can use one of our Free Printable Blank Family Tree Templates to get started now.