It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is never too early or too late to start researching your family tree.
As a precious example, Krystle, a 20ish year old student, made a chart of her family tree and posted it on her Live Journal blog, tracking her family back at least 3 generations.
You don’t have to get complicated about the process, but you do need more than first names and years in your family tree chart.
I highly recommend beginners build their own charts, and make them look like anything they want, but begin with the following basic information on each leaf on their family tree branch:
- Full Name (first, middle, last, etc.)
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Date of Death
- Place of Death
- Christening date and location (or equivalent religious events)
- Marriage date and location
- Spouse information
- Divorce date and location
- Additional marriage information
- Where they are living at the time of making the chart
Additional helpful information includes:
- School/Education dates, names, and locations
- Special training programs and classes
- Occupation(s) (names, dates, and locations)
- Where and when they moved (and why)
- Special honors, awards, and recognitions
- Religion and/or Religious Affiliations
- Memberships: Unions, Clubs, etc.
A small paragraph that describes their life would help, describing what they look like, why kind of personality and characteristics they have, and any special memories is always a treasure when found.
Keep in mind that this chart is not for you, your children, or even your great grandchildren. It is not for your mother, father, grandparents, or great grandparents. It is for the person, 50, 90, 100, 150 years from now who stumbles upon your chart and does the dance of joy that someone so long ago remembered who all these people where in the family, and that they were not forgotten.
I’ve found incredible leads in tracing our family history through the worn and tattered charts of children and old people found amongst our family papers.
Help family members in the future to rediscover their past and help them connect the dots in who these people where and why they are important to remember.
Most Recent Articles by Lorelle VanFossen
- The Myths and Mysteries and Hunt for Nicholas Knapp
- The Perpetual Calendar
- GenSmarts: Reminder to Not Assume
- Gensmarts Saves Your Family History Research Life
- Digging Through Historical Newspapers Online