Are you curious about how large your family is? Are you looking to record your family members or backtrack to older generations?
One of the most effective ways to do that is to create a family tree.
Below is a guide on how to make a family tree. We also included the benefits of creating a family tree and some tips in doing so. Keep reading for information on how you can confirm the family history.
1. What Is a Family Tree?
You might remember how you created a family tree as homework as a child. In those times, you would have only used the names in your nuclear family. That means you only included your parents and siblings in the chart.
Or, you might have had a different kind of family to organize in a chart. You might have extended up until your grandparents and cousins. Some may have created a single parent family tree or a stepfamily tree.
In any case, family trees are a common way of documenting your ancestry through a chart. You can give a family tree chart more detail by adding full names, birth dates, death dates, and marriages. The typical way of organizing it is to put each generation on a single level.
2. Benefits of Creating a Family Tree
Family trees allow you to track your ancestry and to know who your relatives are. Many people use families to keep track of their ancestral clans. Family trees are also a great way of discovering more about your own history.
Genetic studies reveal that certain groups have a variety of ethnicities in their ancestries. For example, the average African-American genome is 73.2% African, 24% European, and 0.08% Native American. Another interesting finding shows there are patterns in these genetic trends by state.
You may find it surprising how varied your ancestry is. Not only that but family histories can help you discover hereditary medical conditions you might otherwise not know of. Establishing lineage also impacts inheritance and rights to family property.
Long lost family members can also find their way back with a check on family history. Also, you never know how interesting your family background is until you do your research on it. You could be a descendant of Johnny Appleseed or Alexander Hamilton.
Read on below for a guide on how to make a family tree.
3. How to Make a Family Tree
Step one is to talk to your relatives about your family history. Making a family tree is easier for some. Those who have no contact with relatives anymore may find this a very difficult task.
Another way to do this is to scour your home for records of your family like family scrapbooks. Albums, old photographs, and family bibles are other relevant items you can look for. Don’t forget about diaries, letters, and/or memorabilia boxes.
You may want to look for vital documents as well like census records. These also include birth certificates, school records, and/or yearbooks. Having these documents help piece together a family’s history.
Drawing the Family Tree
Now, you can start putting together a more detailed chart of your clan. There are family tree templates available online for reference. You can also choose to create a chart style of your own.
The next step is to plan your family tree. Determine how complex you want it to be. Use the information you gathered as a basis for its complexity.
One way to go about it is to start drawing from yourself backward. If you have a complete record of the oldest generation, you can also start from there and go downward. Remember to connect family members’ boxes to each other using lines with or without relationship labels (spouse, children, etc.).
Add details like birth dates and, if applicable, death dates. If you want to, you can also add pictures of these family members.
It would also be a good idea to collaborate with other family members.
They can tell you things you didn’t yet know about your family history. Older family members can even help your backtracking easier. You also never know if someone made a family tree before and you could do add what you found out to it.
4. Confirming Your Lineage
One way of checking your ancestry is to undergo DNA tests. There are DNA test centers all over the US that help with family history research. You can also lookup DNA testing centers on the internet for one near you.
There are three types of DNA testing for tracing lineage. These are autosomal DNA testing, YDNA testing, and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) testing. All three can confirm your family history and the inclusion of members in it.
Organizations that help people find out about their family histories offer DNA-testing services. Using DNA testing is also a way of discovering your racial identity. You can learn more about DNA testing here.
5. Use Social Media
One way of finding family members is to use social media. As of 2019, there are 3.48 billion social media users in the world. There’s a chance that lost family members have their own social media account you can look up from home.
If a family member disconnects, the internet is a great way to look for and reconnect with them again.
It’s awesome to realize how big and diverse your family is in reality. It’s also fun to meet your cousins through social media.
A great way of keeping in touch with your relatives is by creating an online group. Use online features like Facebook groups and create a group chat for your clan. Use the chat to talk about your family history or talk about how to create a family tree with them.
As a note, it’s better to use these chats to call everyone for a family reunion. Sharing funny stories about your cousin or uncle is more fun when you do it in person. Use this media only if you are unable to call everyone together to meet.
Retrace Your Ancestry
That’s it for our quick guide on how to make a family tree.
We all know that family is important. Getting in touch with relatives becomes easier as the world becomes smaller. This is thanks to the technology that helps speed up the process of communicating with them.
We hope you enjoyed and learned from this article. Feel free to explore our other guides like this and discover more amazing facts.
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