Maintaining a sense of who you are and where your family comes from can be enlightening both for your own purposes, but also for those of your descendants and anyone who wants to understand more about your family line. A family tree is the primary tool to do so and can truly display the history as well as the personality of your relatives.
What is a Family Tree?
A family tree is a chart that is developed for the purpose of documenting a family lineage and history and tracking it inn easily digestible form. Family trees can be simple or complex and can highlight information that can help to shed a light not only on the past of your family, but the future family challenges as well.
Critical Information That is Often Included in a Family Tree Chart
A family tree can include a variety of information about a family. Often the names of individuals, the relationships between different family members, their dates of marriage and death, and their age at death are documented. In addition, their professions, a history of any genetic maladies or illnesses, and a personal factor about the person is documented in a family tree as a way of memorializing or personalizing the tree..
Fact Gathering for Your Family Tree
It is one thing to say that you want to develop a family tree, and another to actually go about building it out. Building a family tree chart can be a time consuming process. Luckily there are many different ways to go about it.
The best place to start is with your current generation and then to work backwards in time. You will obviously have great deal of knowledge about your generation and your parents and can therefore build it upwards from there Fill in the information that you were interested in accumulating about each person and then move upwards to earlier generations. Contact and interview any living relatives that you may be familiar with and fill in the dates and information that is accessible to you.
If and when this proves to be a dead end, or if you are skeptical of the information that you receive, you can fact check it with various third party sources that will help to legitimize the information you gather. Birth, marriage, and death certificates are all commonly used as tools for identifying the family history that you gathered, and are sources for further investigation.
Once you have the names of the relatives that you are investing, then you may be able to research the family line through ancestry websites that search documents that scour public records including ship voyage lists, as well as other publicly filed document sources. As you amass a significant amount of data on your family history you should be able to fill in data that can be used to build up your family tree in new and interesting ways, furthering your research attempts.
Documenting Your Family Tree
Computer software programs can be used to document the information that you are looking to put into a family tree and can be used to print out more formal versions of the family tree once it is complete. A virtual family tree is more dynamic and easier to manipulate and adjust to fit your family and the information that comes available as you research more and as your family grows.