Your Family Tree: A Generational History That Lasts Long Into Forever

Your Family Tree: A Generational History That Lasts Long Into Forever


A family with roots grows strong, and family tree lays out these roots for remembrance in and connection with the current generation and those to come. Spreading your lineage across a physical page illustrates relationships, common traits, health histories and more.

A family tree can help children see where they have come from, and help young adults recognize the foundation that impacts their current situations and their futures. Our lives weave story over story to create a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that the family tree holds in its framework. And, these stories last far into the future.


Tips for Designing a Family Tree

Perhaps the idea of a family tree project overwhelms you a bit, or maybe a lot. After all, generations of names, various technologies and a pile of dates offer enough reason to say, “I don’t have time for this.” But, be assured you can design a family tree.

Keep in mind:

  • Your family tree can be as simple or as complex as you decide.
  • You can record histories that you know or research more extensive information.
  •  It is meant to be fun.


How to Start?

Many Internet sources offer online and printable templates to help you draw out your family tree. But, let’s begin in a different direction. To get started, grab a pen, a large sheet of paper, like a piece of butcher or even wrapping paper, and a stack of Post-It notes. Then, take the following steps:

  • Determine your goal. For instance, a tree that you intend to print and frame requires less information for readability.
  • Decide the information to be included. Will your family tree offer only individual names or additional dates, places of birth and death, marriage and health information, religious preference, occupation, photographs and more?
  • Write each name and the information you choose to include on Post-It Notes.
  • Use the large sheet of paper to arrange the Post-It Notes on in the proper genealogical order and desired tree shape, whether horizontal or vertical.
  • Transfer the information to a printable template or transcribe it online for more permanent keeping.

Children and other family members may enjoy engaging in the puzzle-piecing that this type of  tree requires. The dialogue that arises through this activity bonds generations and passes down family history. Isn’t this the point? The framework of information means nothing without the relationships and stories that it represents.


Where to Find Online Templates

The Internet offers seemingly unending sources for researching and recording family history. If you are new to this technology, libraries and senior organizations in your area may offer courses. Or, you can check the following design sources:

Who to Include?

The contents of a family tree are personal to its creator. Knowing the reason why you are drawing a tree helps determine the generational reach and the broadness of relationships to include. For instance, projects aimed to engage grandchildren should include the family members they know and perhaps go back one or two unfamiliar generations.

Nontraditional family structures often throw off tree creators. Blended, adoptive and divorce situations prove best handled by personal preference and the context for which the family tree is being drawn up. Family Tree magazine offers helpful insights on this point.


Value to Family

Family is forever. This concept comes to life through the valuable information detailed on family trees. Details recorded and uncovered on a family tree for future generations include:

  • Recognition of fame.
  • Medical history.
  • Land ownership.
  • Proof of paternity or birth parents.
  • Religious association.
  • Family tradition.
  • Family culture.

Yet, perhaps the most significant values prove to be family connection and legacy. The relationships marked out by the family tree signify powerful factors impacting an individual’s current reality and future days. These qualities connect us, inform us and comprise our memories.


Medical History

Including medical information on your family tree offers critical insight to current and future generations. Being informed as to the history of certain conditions and diseases allows doctors to be on alert, and even run screenings that save patient lives. Be sure to understand the reasons why family medical history proves valuable and consider including it in your document.

To spread out a family tree between generations and tell stories of those that grace its limbs offers unforgettable family memories. And, if a dear one’s family has passed, what a precious opportunity to hear the stories of those filling their lineage. Do you need any more reason to start recording your history today?

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*This blog was first published here: Sunshine Retirement Living

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