Steps and Tips on Mapping Your Family Tree
Step 1: Gather Information for Your Family Tree
Start your family tree by doing some research. Try to gather together everything you have - photos, old documents, family heirlooms, videos and slides, if available. This might be a tough process. Check every possible corner, the filing cabinet, the discarded furniture in the attic or basement, and some old boxes or locker... Clues might be found on the back of the photos or even on a post card. Anyway, don't lose any possible material, the more resource you have, the more complete the chart will be.
Step 2: Decide How Far Back to Go
You have to decide how many generations you want to include in your family tree. Usually a family tree carries only a few generations due to limitation of the information you can get and the size of paper you use. Many people choose to go as far back as their great-great-grandparents and their siblings, or their great-grandparents and their siblings. These people have closer relationship than more distant relatives.
Step 3: Decide What Information You Want to Add
Besides the first and last names of your family members, you might want to add more details to make your family tree more informative, such as birthday, hometown, career...and for old people, record their marriage dates and death dates if applicable. When you finish the chart, you can keep it as a historical document for future reference.
Step 4: Find a Family Tree Template
There are dozens of family tree programs and software available on the internet you can use to present your family tree. Some are allowed to choose different formats and add backgrounds, so you will end up with a good-looking and functional family tree. Some good family tree software are not free. You can download a free trial version then decide whether to pay or not.
If you are looking for an easy-to-use and flexible family tree maker, Edraw is a great choice. Abundant built-in shapes and automatic connection function make drawing incredibly easy. It's designed with drag and drop function, which maximally saves your time and increase the efficiency. Easy to change the shape format and theme style as well. Some downloadable and printable family tree templates are provided freely, you can take a ready-made template to start your genealogy design.