A family tree is a chart showing the basic hierarchy of all the members belonging to many generations of a particular family. The diagram helps the audience understand the relationship between the people who are members of that given family, starting from the ancestors down to the current descendants.
With that said, if you have no idea about your ancestors, and/or some relatives or distant members of your family, referring to your family tree can be an excellent way to educate yourself.
What is a family tree?
Also referred to as a pedigree chart or a genealogy, a family tree is a chart that represents family relationships in a convention tree structure. It indicates how family members are related to each other, from close family members and close relatives to distant members and ancestors. Unlike the past, where the immediate and extended family lived together like a close family unit, nowadays most people, especially the younger generation, mind their own business. A vast majority of them only know their immediate family members. That is why there are many cases of people dating and even having kids only to find out later that they are related.
A family tree is particularly helpful to the younger generation, a majority of whom know little about their ancestors and extended family at large. A family tree not only provides information about the family history but also brings people closer to their families. Creating a family tree is simple and straightforward and can be done by one who is interested in knowing more about their family members.
Family Tree Templates & Examples
Below are various family tree examples and templates you can refer to get started. These FT examples and templates are in Word and PDF formats to make your work easier.
Simple Family Tree
- MS Word
Blank Family Tree
Example of a Family Tree
Family Tree Outline
Family History Chart
Family Tree or Pedigree Chart
Family Tree Generation Landscape
Types of Family Tree Templates
There are nine types of family tree templates with ancestor charts, descendant charts, and sandglass diagrams being the main templates. Ancestor charts display the ancestors of a person, whereas descendant charts show the descendants of a particular individual in descending order. The sandglass template, on the other hand, is a combination of the two prior templates above. Then we have the following sub-family tree templates;
- Five-Generation Ancestor Family Tree – Displays no more or less than five generations of a particular family lineage.
- Stepfamily Tree – Includes members who are not biologically linked to a given family lineage. The members are as a result of a step relationship(s) such as step-siblings, step-parents, etc.
- Biographical Family Tree – It’s a family tree that goes further to show the different biographies of the included individuals.
- Family Group Sheet – This is a family chart that shows the parents and children in one family with details about the names, dates, and places of births, marriages, and deaths(if applicable) of the individuals in question.
- Relationship Chart – This chart shows how each member of a family tree is related to another.
- Adoptive Family Tree Chart – This chart helps viewers understand an individual’s biological as well as adoptive parents.
Family Tree Chart 1
- MS Word
Family Tree Word
- MS Word
Generation Family Tree
Family Tree Chart 2
Modern Family Tree
- MS Word
Benefits of Understanding the Family Tree
There are a few benefits of knowing your family tree;
- It allows you to know your roots well and to connect to your heritage.
- It can enable you to trace the genetics and health concerns of your family lineage.
- Knowing your roots brings a sense of belonging.
- It can help you establish connections that can benefit you in many aspects of life, including career and so on.
- Knowing your family tree enables you to avoid unacceptable social acts such as incest.
Children Family Tree
Family Tree Chart 5
Wuthering Heights Family Tree
Importance of a Family Tree
Now that you know what a family tree is, you may be wondering what its benefits are. Besides helping you understand your family history, a family tree will also help you build a better relationship with family members. Below are the benefits of learning about the family tree.
- It brings you closer to your family. One of the benefits of understanding the family tree is that it helps to bring you closer to your family. You will learn more about your family history, name your ancestors, some interesting facts about your extended family and also learn important lessons that will help you become a better person. This will help you become closer to your family.
- It brings a sense of identification. Another benefit of learning about a family tree is that it gives a sense of identification. People tend to identify with their family more when they learn more about their ancestors, where they lived, and where they came from.
- It strengthens bond. The family tree will help you know more about your family and where you came from. Knowing more about your family history may help strengthen the bond and increase the love that was not there before. For instance, learning more about your grandparents may help you relate with them better, thus strengthening your bond.
- It helps you know family members that you didn’t know existed. The family tree will help you discover distant cousin and other relatives that you didn’t know they existed. A family tree template will show you your family history and your family members, meaning you are likely to discover relatives and distant cousins that you may not have known existed.
How to Make a Family Tree Template
A family tree can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. It all depends on who you want to include in it. For example, a complicated family tree chart may include you, your siblings, your parents, your relatives, both close and distant(e.g. cousins, aunties, uncles, in-laws), your grandparents, your ancestors, and your great-great ancestors. A simple tree chart, on the other hand, may comprise of you, your siblings, your parents, your close relatives, and your grandparents.
Depending on who you want to include in the chart, the first step to making a family tree chart is to gather the necessary information about the people you want to feature. You can consult the people around you who you think may be of help, including your parents and senior relatives.
After that, the next step is to choose a template you would like to use. Remember that there are many different types of family tree chart templates from which to choose online. All you have to do is search for possible templates in the right places.
After you find a desirable template, fill in the blanks with the details you gathered earlier. Depending on the complexity of your chart, the details may include the names of your siblings, parents, relatives, and so on, not forgetting your name.
Is there a family tree template on Word?
YES, there is a family tree template on Word. Creating a family tree on Microsoft word is simple and straightforward. All you need to do is follow the two simple processes give above.
- Open Microsoft Word, click then insert menu and then choose SmartArt graphics.
- Enter the name of family members in the editing box. Before you enter the name, decide on the number of generations to show and keep them at the same level.
How to Fill in Family Tree Template
- Write surnames in capital letters
- Write middle names if you know them
- Always write nicknames by denoting them in quotation marks e.g. Mark, “Mr. Fixer” McConnell
- When filling in the name of ladies, write their maiden name, as opposed to their married names.
- Format date in this order: Day/Month/Year
- List locations in this format: City/ Township/ County/ State/ Country
Types of Family Tree Templates
There are three main type of family tree templates. They include:
- Ancestor chart. This type of family tree usually shows the ancestors of an individual known as proband. It usually starts from the bottom with the proband upwards to two parents, four grandparents and so on.
- Decedents chart. This family tree usually shows the descendants of a proband. It usually starts with the proband at the top, followed by other siblings and so on. It has a descending structure, meaning starts from the top going down.
- Sandglass diagram. Sandglass diagram is a combination of descendant and ancestor family tree with proband the middle. Relatives, children, and ancestors are usually over and below proband.
Tips to Make a Family Tree
- Begin with what you know. i.e. You and your immediate family members
- Ask the extended family for help
- Check other websites to find out what other people have done.
- Get your information from accurate sources such as census, birth, death, or marriage certificates, among many others. These documents can be accessed for free or for a small fee online.
- Be patient. Uncovering genealogy usually takes time.
Things to Avoid when Making a Family Tree
There are a few things that can otherwise hinder you from creating a useful family tree if not avoided. They include;
- Consulting with the wrong persons who may provide information that is not entirely accurate.
- Typos in names or dates inaccurately.
- Cooking up figures with regards to ages.
- Omitting family members just because you don’t like them or of any other factor.
- Including sensitive details belonging to your family members, such as their physical addresses, financial credentials, medical history, and so on.
If you want to learn more about your family, including knowing all your family members, learning your family’s history, and much more, then a family tree can help you. The parent can also create a family tree to educate their kids about their family. A family tree does not just focus on the immediate family members but also focuses on distant cousins and relatives. This means you will know all your family members better, leading to a deeper sense of belonging.