How to program a family tree


How to Make a Family Tree Chart

Reading time: about 7 min

Posted by: Lucid Content Team

In 1977, the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) gambled that a 12-hour miniseries based on Alex Haley’s best-selling novel, “Roots,” would be of interest to the general American audience. In an unprecedented move, ABC scheduled the series to be broadcasted over eight consecutive nights.

The gamble paid off as roughly half of the Americans alive in 1977 watched at least part of the series. 

The “Roots” miniseries was a cultural phenomenon that influenced millions of viewers to research their own roots. While writing the book, Haley did a lot of genealogy research at the National Archive, and after the series aired, letters to the National Archive tripled and applications to use the facilities increased by 40%.

If you are interested in your own family history, a good place to start is to create a family tree.

Family Tree Chart (Click on image to modify online)

A family tree is a visual representation of a person’s lineage, tracing relationships to common ancestors. Visually similar to an org chart, this diagram is usually presented in a tree structure starting with one individual as the root. From the root, lines representing branches terminate in boxes representing leaves. Each leaf represents individual family members with information such as birth, marriage, and death dates. 

A family tree diagram or genealogy chart makes it easy to record the people, places, and events that make up your family history and then share it with others. Learn how to draw a family tree (or get started faster with a few examples of family trees).

Why create a family tree?

If you are even a little bit interested in your ancestry and if you would like to gain some insight into who you are and where you came from, you may want to create a genealogy chart.

There are many reasons to make your own family trees:

  • It gives you a connection to your heritage.
  • It can help you trace genetics and family health concerns.
  • It is a good exercise for learning your family history in relation to historical events.
  • It is a good way to pique your children’s interest so they will want to learn about ancestors and preserve family stories.
  • It can be fun!

How to draw a family tree chart

A family tree can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. 

A simple genealogy chart may include you, your parents, your grandparents, and your great-grandparents. A complicated family tree chart may include you, your parents, your siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and so on.

How far you go and who you include is up to you.

Getting started

Before you jump in and start drawing your family tree, you may want to do a little planning. For example, you might ask yourself:

  • How far do you want to go back? 
  • Is there somebody in your family who already has this information to give you a starting point? 
  • What type of information do you want to include on each leaf (births, marriages, deaths)?
  • Do you want to add pictures of your ancestors to each leaf? Where can you find these pictures?

You also may want to determine in which direction you will draw the tree. In nature, trees grow from the ground to the sky, but on paper or the computer screen, family trees can develop from the bottom up, the top down, or horizontally. It could be a good idea to look at some examples of family trees to help you decide how your tree will be drawn.

There is not a single family tree definition that dictates what has to be included or what the family tree should look like. But note that if you simply want to chart relationships without digging too deeply, you may want to draw a simple kinship diagram instead. Kinship diagrams use basic symbols, lines, and letters to represent relationships to help you visualize your lineage.

Kinship Diagram Template (Click on image to modify online)

1. Gather information about your family

Write down what you know, ask family members to fill in the gaps, and find pictures and documents. Visit libraries and online genealogy sources to search for census records, news stories, land deeds, and other documents that can verify your ancestry.

Remember that you can only go back so far because of the limited availability of reliable records. You may have heard of some people saying that they have traced their lineage all the way to Adam and Eve. But in reality, it is very hard to find accurate records older than a few hundred years because many records have been destroyed in fires, floods, acts of war, and simple negligence. Some areas of the world were better at keeping and preserving records than others, so how far you can go back will depend on where your family came from. Most family tree outlines trace ancestry back three or four generations because of the limited information.

2. Draft a family tree outline

Compile all of the information you have and create an outline. Start drawing from yourself to your ancestors, or start with the oldest ancestor you know about and trace forward to you.

You can draw your family tree freehand using pen and paper or create a family tree online using Lucidchart and our family tree diagram maker. Through this visual workspace, you can select a family tree template online and modify it with a few simple clicks. 

Family Tree - Basic Genealogy (Click on image to modify online)Genealogy Chart Example (Click on image to modify online)Family Tree - Bowtie Genealogy (Click on image to modify online)

3. Add information to each leaf

Each family member will be represented by a shape connected by lines to represent relationships. Typically a box or rectangle is used to represent your relatives, but you can use any shape that you want to use. Each shape is a leaf on the tree. The shape you decide to use as leaves should be consistent and sized to include the information that you plan to put on your family tree chart. 

Place pictures, important event dates, and any other information you want to include in your leaf. As you put together this information, we would recommend a few additional guidelines:

Make it simple

If you want your family tree diagram to be useful to other members of your family, keep it simple so the information can be easily scanned and digested. Try to have each level of the tree represent a single generation so it is easy to trace relationships.

Don’t air your family’s dirty laundry

Who is going to be looking at this family tree diagram? There may be some family secrets that are not known to all living family members, so try to be sensitive about adding information that may not be too welcome to some of your relatives.

4.

Distribute your family tree diagram

This is the fun part—once you have finished your genealogy chart or family tree diagram, share it with your family members and give them a chance to reflect on their genealogy or learn new family stories. You can also invite them to provide additional information.

If you have created your family tree diagram online with Lucidchart, click “Share” to give family members access to collaborate on the visual with you or export your family tree to a number of file formats.

Discover your family history with Lucidchart

Use Lucidchart to easily make a free family tree chart. No matter what time zone your family members reside in, everybody with the permission to share and edit the document can open it, add notes, and modify or make corrections at the same time. It’s a good way to bring your family closer without being in the same physical location.

Sign up for a free account so you can start tracking your family history visually.

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How to Build a Family Tree: Tracing Your Ancestors

Identify What You Know and Use Home Sources

Personal knowledge can form the first limbs of your family tree. Begin at home by gathering and organizing your papers, make a simple chart or list, beginning with you, your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Search for the following: 

  • birth, baptismal, graduation, marriage, military, and occupational records
  • death certificates, burial records, and obituaries
  • yearbooks, newspaper articles, family letters, social activity mementos, sports awards, and other documents that might provide names, dates, and locations

Then look at your family’s religious records, old letters, photographs, and memorabilia. Print copies and label everything to document the source, and scan them when possible to save them digitally. Now you are well on your way to forming the branches of your family tree.

Next, contact family members and ask questions about their lives and those of other relatives. Interview all your oldest relatives first. Most of us later regret not doing that in time to learn from them. A sampling of questions might include the following:

  • Where did they live?
  • In what part of the country?
  • What kind of dwelling did they live in?
  • Did they move around while growing up?
  • When and where were their relatives born?
  • When did these relatives die, and where are they buried?

Take along some of your old photos and attic treasures to jog their memories. And be sure to ask if you may see their old family records, letters, photos, and memorabilia. These documents might help you expand your search. Take photographs of their mementos, records, and photos with your camera, phone, or bring a portable scanner. Document the photos you take with names, date, and place.

Listen to their family stories and make notes. Relatives often have different versions of the same story since each person remembers an event in his or her unique way, but these differences make it interesting! Share what you already know with them. Use a tape recorder or video camera if your relative feels comfortable with it—most mobile phones can make audio and/or video recordings today.  Make your initial visits short with someone you are just getting to know. Always ask for permission first before you make copies and take photos, videos, or audio recordings.

Record and Document Your Information

After collecting family information, it is important to record it correctly on forms referred to as family group sheets and pedigree or ancestor charts (download a free fillable NGS Pedigree Chart and NGS Family Group Sheet). Fillable forms let you type into them and save them digitally.

Be sure to indicate a source for each fact.   Your goal is to document the details fully so you can pinpoint exactly where to find the records again. Then file the information in an organized way so that you can locate each individual in your ever-expanding collection. The best way might be to create a folder for each one (either on your computer or in your file cabinet) and include old photos of them, their families, homes, and cemetery markers, plus their important documents, letters, and memorabilia.  Add their stories—both those you heard as a child and those family members tell you.

Two books can help you fully understand how to document your genealogy work:

  • Mastering Genealogical Documentation, a NGS workbook by Dr. Thomas Jones, PhD, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA
  • Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills, CG, CGL, FASG, FNGS, FUGA

Prepare Yourself to Build a Strong Tree

The best way to start your family history and build a strong tree is to learn the basics of genealogical methodology.

  • Purchase “how-to” books. One such book is the NGS publication Paths to Your Past: A Guide to Finding Your Ancestors, 2018 Edition. Within its pages, readers learn about research techniques and sources.  A great starting place!
  • Then more in-depth is the “how-to” book, The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, 4th Edition, by Val D. Greenwood. It will be another great addition to your genealogy book collection. This is a comprehensive textbook with examples of case studies.
  • If you are an NGS Member, please take the free course that comes with your membership called Family History Skills.
  • Next, NGS members and non-members will benefit from enrolling in NGS’s Foundations in Family History education program, start with the Foundations 101 course and also consider the CGS course: Guide to Documentation and Source Citation course.

Decide What You Want to Learn

Pick an individual about whom your information is incomplete. For example, if you are missing information about one of your four grandparents, start with her or him. Try to obtain death, marriage, and birth records if available. Always work backward from the known to the unknown.

Step One: Vital Records Will Be Most Helpful

Your first step should be to obtain vital records if they exist. These include

  • birth
  • marriage
  • death
  • divorce records

Most U.S. states have kept modern vital records since the beginning of the twentieth century. States that were part of the original thirteen colonies are the most likely to have pre-1880 vital records and church records available. Publications such as The International Vital Records Handbook, 7th Edition, and the booklet titled Where to Write for Vital Records provide records descriptions, addresses, and other helpful information. There is also a digital 2014 version available on the Slideshare website from the Division of Vital Records.

Do a Google search for websites for each state archives to learn more about accessing vital records in a particular state.

The FamilySearch Wiki also offers a state-by-state outline of where to find various records for each state. Enter the country, state, or county name in the “Search by place or topic” box or click on the map.

Church and religious records for baptisms and marriages are often substituted for civil vital records before civil vital records were uniformly collected.  The best way to find religious records is to search in the county where the ancestor lived. Use a search engine like Google or WorldCat and use a search term with a county and state name, plus a religious denomination, as in “Methodist church and Franklin County, NY”.  Also check with a library, genealogical, or historical society where your ancestor resided for advice on where to find historical records for the religious denomination of interest.

Census Records from 1940 back to 1790

Another essential record group for genealogical research involves searching all available federal census records to glean personal facts about individuals and put together family groups. Federal census records and indexes 1790–1940 (excluding the 1890 census which was lost in a fire) are available online:

  • Ancestry (the free library edition, which contains census images, is available on site at many libraries and genealogical/historical societies, as well as at LDS Family History Centers)
  • FamilySearch (free access from home once you sign up for a free account; all census images, innumerable other databases, and collaborative family trees)
  • Findmypast (free at many libraries and LDS Family History Centers )
  • MyHeritage (free library edition is available at some libraries and at all LDS Family History Centers)
  • HeritageQuest (available at most libraries across the United States, many of which offer free digital access from home for many Ancestry databases, including census records, through your library card)

Census records can also be viewed on site at the National Archives and its branches.

State Census Records

Many states collected census information from their residents (and also what is called census substitutes) before 1790 or for particular years in-between decennial federal census surveys. The FamilySearch Wiki is a good source to consult for the full complement of records available, state-by-state.

The thirty-one Research in the States guidebooks from NGS also provide excellent record sources beyond federal censuses.

City Directories

City directories are directories that preceded telephone books, which were organized to find people and businesses . They arose from a need for businesses to contact customers, customers to find businesses, and for residents to find one another. Listings for individuals are organized alphabetically by surname and give a home residence and often an occupation, and place of business. Sometimes a listing will include the wife’s name and older children who may have been working.

City directories began to appear right after the American Revolution in larger cities and eventually spread to counties and towns. They were published yearly in most locations.  By the mid-1930s they were discontinued in favor of telephone books and Yellow Pages. City directories are an excellent way to track the movements of people between census years and to separate people with the same name by using addresses and occupations as identifiers.

The best source for discovering early city directories is Dorothea Spear’s Bibliography of American Directories through 1860. The Library of Congress has a full set of all copyrighted directories on microfilm or microfiche (and most directories are copyrighted). Internet Archive and the New York Public Library have been digitizing vast numbers of directories from microfilm, so check their websites for free access to digitized directories now online. Miriam J. Robbins’ free website Online Historical Directories is a growing compilation of online city directories throughout the United States.

The Family History Library has a comprehensive collection, including pre-1860 directories—search the catalog by [STATE], [COUNTY], [TOWN] – DIRECTORIES or click on the state name at the bottom of their United States Directories page. Ancestry, Fold 3, and other genealogy subscription services have more limited but useful collections of city directory records. Libraries often subscribe to databases such as these and may offer additional electronic resources with city directories that are free for patrons. Consult a reference librarian locally for more resources available to you.

The Courthouse

Having collected the basics about your ancestors, you are now ready to visit or contact the courthouse in the locality where your ancestor(s) lived. Wills, probate, and land records are useful for adding information about an ancestor’s life and family relationships, especially pre-1850 when other records may not exist. Call ahead to find where the records are housed as many older records are moved to other repositories if a courthouse runs out of room. At the courthouse itself, in the town or county archives, or in a local library, you may discover:

  • wills
  • probate
  • land records and deeds
  • surveys and
  • other records

The Handybook for Genealogists and Red Book: American State, County & Town Sources can help provide addresses.

If you cannot go to a courthouse in person, search the internet. Many town or county offices have digitized at least some of their records and made them available online. Check the local historical societies and the state archives to see if older records have been transferred there. Another option is to consult digitized microfilm of courthouse records on FamilySearch.org or see if a local Family History Center still has microfilm for the needed county court records. You may also consider a visit to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City (see below).

Library and Archives Research

Libraries and archives with major genealogical collections are an important way to develop your family history, particularly once you have traced your ancestors back four generations or more. Such collections include compiled family histories and genealogies, local histories, and reference materials that can be extremely helpful in your research. In addition, most libraries and archives have unique collections of unpublished materials including such things as Bible records, photo and newspaper clipping files, and surname files. Your local library probably belongs to a countywide web of digital resources that you can access from home using your library bar code. Library digital web products for patrons contain many genealogical resources such as online historical newspaper collections (i.e. ProQuest, Readex, New York Times Historical Archive), Federal Census free access (Heritage Quest), biographical profiles (i.e., Who’s Who) and much more.

NGS Book Loan Collection

If you cannot get to a genealogy collection or your library doesn’t have the book you want, ask if interlibrary loan (ILL) is available. The NGS Book Loan Collection, held by St. Louis (Missouri) County Library, offers interlibrary loan service to send books in the NGS collection to your local library, for your use. There are more than six thousand genealogies among the twenty thousand books in the collection, many of them circulating. This collection is open to everyone. If the book does not circulate, contact the library staff, they may be willing to copy specific information for your research needs.

Online Newspapers

Vintage and contemporary newspapers are being digitized continuously around the country. They can hold intimate details of our ancestors’ lives such as

  • a birth announcement
  • the story of a runaway bride
  • a big family reunion
  • the celebration of 50 years of wedded bliss
  • a death notice or obituary
  • trouble with the law
  • community involvement or political roles

There are many free collections, starting with the Library of Congress newspaper collection, Chronicling America.  Check Miriam J. Robbins’ state-by-state list of free United States Online Historical Newspapers. Look for local newspapers in the areas your ancestor lived. Many historical societies have preserved copies of early newspapers.

Subscription databases that offer online historical newspaper collections such as Ancestry, Newspapers.com, FindMyPast, Genealogy Bank, and others, might be available at no cost if your local library has a subscription.

Foreign-language newspapers can be particularly helpful because the obituaries they print often mention the village of origin of the deceased. These newspapers covered the communities they served more intimately, so obituaries tended to be far more expansive than those printed in English-language newspapers for the same person.

If a particular newspaper important to your family research has not been digitized yet, it may be worthwhile to seek out the microfilm or original print copies as an alternative.

Family History Centers

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has microfilmed

  • vital, land, probate, tax, and military records;
  • state and federal censuses;
  • periodicals;
  • family and local histories; and
  • numerous special collections from all over the world

Many are housed in the FamilySearch Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah. Some of these vast holdings are available in digital form through the FamilySearch. org website and some on microfilm at the FHL, or the more than five thousand family history centers located throughout the United States and the world. Call your local center to get an idea of their holdings. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is worth the trip to access their full collections in one place. It is an accessible, easy to navigate city.

Genealogical Societies

Family history researchers should consider joining NGS and a local society.

NGS members receive outstanding publications and discounts on the following NGS items

  • online store purchases
  • courses
  • books
  • research trips
  • fees for the annual NGS Family History Conference

NGS members learn from

  • how-to and methodology articles,
  • online courses and resources,
  • conference sessions, and
  • social and digital media offerings

Another less tangible benefit of NGS membership is the camaraderie that our members experience with other like-minded family historians they meet through NGS—either through online educational courses, research trips, or in person at our yearly conferences.

Local society membership can be very helpful if they hold regular meetings with lectures and can give you guidance on local records. Consider joining a society for the area in which you are researching.

Learning More

At this point you have been working mostly on your own. You will probably benefit greatly from taking a more formal genealogy course.

NGS offers courses that provide you with the freedom to learn from home. The NGS Family History Skills online course—free to NGS members—is a good starting point for how to build a family tree. Next, investigate NGS’s building-block-study-program called Foundations in Family History, made up of three progressive parts:

  • Foundations 101
  • Foundations 102
  • Foundations 103

With Continuing Genealogical Studies, NGS also offers courses on specific topics you will want to learn more about. The thirteen course topics include

  • DNA and Genetic Genealogy
  • land and deed records
  • military records
  • documenting your work and adding citations
  • reading old handwriting and transcribing documents

Make sure you take time to go through the entire NGS Learning Center. You will find lots of details about our

  • online courses,
  • annual NGS Family History Conference,
  • genealogy related books, and
  • research trips.

You will also learn about our genealogy publications, including:

  • the scholarly journal with case studies, the National Genealogical Society Quarterly
  • NGS Magazine, which offers a wide variety of the most up-to-date topics and resources and
  • NGS Monthly, a digital publication to help you learn about resources and methodology for research

And if you are looking for answers to questions or making connections with other genealogists, NGS offers FORUM, an online platform for its members.  Its a great place to connect with others around the US and the world, share knowledge, and solve genealogical problems.

Also available are many, many Free Genealogy Resources. NGS has been building a repertoire of personalized learning tools so that everyone can learn in a way that suits them, and at every skill level.

Genealogical tree inside Git / Sudo Null IT News

Happy programmer day everyone! I wish you more bright "commits", accepted "pull requests", fewer unplanned "merges" and that your branches of life remain relevant for as long as possible. As an ideological gift, I propose the implementation of a family tree using the Git version control system. Well… that sounds like a plan!

For those who immediately understood everything, I post the source code of the generator: GenealogyTreeInGit and the family trees themselves - mine and the US presidents.

In addition, I implemented a simple social graph . It displays not only the degree of kinship, but also the status of relations between descendants, displays such events as marriage, divorce, the birth of a child, as well as contributions to the relationship of certain parties.


Git


For better or worse, Git is somewhat like a winning state: it allows you to change history, namely change dates, messages, and commit authors. But on the contrary, it helps in that it allows you to add family members as if they were the authors of events made on a specific date.

I started with a simple one: I wrote a few commands and voila - the fragment of the tree is ready. Excellent. Now we need to do this with the entire army of relatives. I will gladly write 200 lines of commands for them, in which you can get confused, and for the presidents - all 10K!

Added me to the list of idiots? Cross out. Of course, I automated the process and wrote an application to convert genealogical data into a sequence of git commands. There are several formats for such data, I chose GEDCOM .


Gedcom


I implemented all this disgrace on .NET Core - it is convenient and cross-platform. There are several C# libraries for parsing and processing GEDCOM, such as GeneGenie.Gedcom, gedcomx-csharp. I decided to write my own based on GedcomParser. Well, because it has a fatal flaw ... Actually, no: I wanted to better understand the format myself and get rid of all dependencies, which would make it easy to port the project to other languages ​​\u200b\u200bif desired. 93, and I realized that this approach is not entirely correct, since when crawling in depth, I would not have to mess around with dates at all. I will correct later (but this is not accurate).


Initialization

All that is required at this stage is to initialize the repository:

 mkdir Family cd Family git init 

Events

All events are bypassed and committed in this part of the script. The following commands were used for this:


  • git checkout --orphan branch_name
  • git merge @[email protected] --allow-unrelated-histories --no-commit
  • git commit -m "msg" --date "" --author "name " --allow-empty

The first, checkout , creates a branch for each person. The --orphan flag allows you to create orphan branches, i.e. Branches without parents. An orphan branch is created once - upon subsequent switching checkout this parameter is omitted. Ultimately, almost all commits have parents, with the exception of the most distant ancestors, because for them the earlier ones are unknown.

The second command, merge , merges the parents and creates a child. We will write in the commit message Birth - birth with the corresponding year. We also specify the flags --allow-unrelated-histories and --no-commit to be able to merge orphan branches and to commit changes later. Some children are adopted, so we will write Adopted for them. It's funny, but Git allows you to create Swedish families, i.e. merge multiple branches at the same time. And the branches are genderless, which will appeal to fans of "parent 1" and "parent 2".

Finally, the third command, commit , creates a commit with message -m , date --date , and author --author . As already mentioned, Git allows you to replace the message, author and date of the commit. Moreover, Git allows you to create commits without files with the flag --allow-empty and without messages with --allow-empty-message . The author also needs to specify an email, but Git accepts an empty one - you just need to pass <> . Unfortunately, Git does not respect old people: for some reason, the commit date is limited from below to January 1, 1970 - an earlier date will not be displayed correctly. However, everything is not so scary: you can simply write down the real date in the description. However, Git believes in the future and accepts dates in the future - check out my Git son. Single mothers and fathers, by the way, can also be created.

Other events besides birth are recorded in the social column: baptism, change of residence, education, marriage, divorce, death, funeral. After death the branch enters the digital paradise subsequent events cannot appear in the branch, except perhaps for the funeral. On the server, such a branch can generally be sealed, i. e., made a protected branch (do not worry: in the future it will be possible to "resurrect" if necessary).

The "Wedding" event has two ancestors - spouses. And "Divorce" has one ancestor - the previous event "Wedding". It is necessary to work on family life as well as on children, so we can say that after the wedding there is also a new descendant - "relationships" that end after a divorce. Well, they resume again after the following wedding-divorce cycles. In addition, several people can participate in a relationship (merging several branches).


Finalization

Let's add a cherry to the cake: we will backup the repository and upload all the people to GitHub, GitLab, or any other server that supports Git. You can push all the branches one by one, but we will push them all with a magic command, which is much faster and easier:

 git remote add origin https://gitlab.com/KvanTTT/Family.git git push origin --all -u 

To generate a normal family tree, pass the flag --only-birth-events when starting the generator. In this case, one commit per person (birth) will be created. Otherwise, social network social graph will be generated.


Examples

As a small example, which will at least open everywhere, I created my family tree, and as a large example, the tree of US presidents (2145 people). They are available in the Kochurkins and Presidents repositories, respectively. To create mine, I used the geni.com service, from where I exported the tree to GEDCOM. The generated genealogical repository creation script is available in Gist.

On GitHub, and on GitLab, you can navigate through ancestors and descendants. This is similar to the Familypedia or WeRelate genealogy wikis. True, gith(x|l) are somehow more advanced: trees are easily pumped out of them (using the command --clone ). And most importantly, you can open the entire graph at once. (In existing genealogical programs, for some reason, it was difficult to open even small graphs in full. ) Moreover, this can be done using various tools (web service, Git Extesions, Sourcetree, GitKraken and others). In addition, these services are free to use, unlike most genealogy services.

Remarkably, even some semblance of analytics is available in githubs: you can find out who has the most Instagram life eventful life. Well, or the most open: the Insights tab displays a list of people in descending order of commits.

Unfortunately, the large trees of GitHub and GitLab do not display correctly, but they are stored correctly - you can tighten the repository and see for yourself. Here is what my tree looks like in the gitlab web interface:0003


Problems

It's not very clear how to complete the story from the roots. For now, you have to generate it entirely from a GEDCOM file. I do not rule out that this can be done using a tricky rebase - you can experiment and tell us in the comments. It would also be nice to rewrite the code to make it "commit-driven" rather than "event-driven" because this is more natural with regard to the git: in fact, the branches in it are a sequence of commits, not individual entities. I also thought about how to bind tags and submodules, but so far I know how to do it better.


Conclusion

If we expand the idea of ​​family trees further, to web services for developers, then with the help of issues you can start different global tasks and distribute them over different milestones (milestone): childhood, youth, adulthood, old age.

In addition to family trees, you can turn other loaves of bread into trolleybuses. Git can also be mastered by housewives in order to build relationships between the heroes of Brazilian TV series :)

Practical Use: This warm-up helps you better understand the git, its commands, and the GEDCOM family tree description format.

The source of the article itself is available on GitHub - send a pull request there if you find errors or want to add content. To convert to the habr.com format, the MarkConv library is used.

How to make a genealogical tree of family and clan

How to keep the memory of the past of your family? Collecting old photographs and yellowed letters in boxes on the mezzanine is not the best option: in a couple of generations, your descendants will hardly guess who these smiling people from black and white cards are. How about translating that memory into something meaningful, like a real family tree? Its creation will be an exciting quest for the whole family, and in the process of immersing yourself in your own story, incredible discoveries can await you all.

Building a family tree is not easy, but interesting. To do this, you will have to conduct a comprehensive study, collect all the data and photographs, and then try to create a family tree with your own hands from all this.

In our article you will find not only tips for finding information about ancestors, but also various tree design options. We have also prepared for you two templates for filling in the family tree - for children and for adults.

How to make a family tree with your own hands

Where to start

Before you begin, you must determine for yourself why all this is needed. Are you in the mood for deep exploration, or is your goal just to share stories about your parents and grandparents with your children?

A well-defined goal will help you achieve the final result faster.

Think of a plan, break it down into small steps so you can easily track progress. And this will add to your motivation not to give up halfway through - believe me, you will need it.

Finding information about relatives

Once you've decided how far you want to go, the most interesting step is gathering information about relatives and distant ancestors. You will surely learn many funny and touching stories and find some distant relatives living on the other side of the world. Or maybe even reveal a family secret - who knows? To find as much information as possible and understand how to make a family tree of a family, use the following methods:

  • Questioning relatives

Start your search by interviewing your next of kin. Organize family tea gatherings with grandparents - they will be happy to share valuable memories. Arrange a video conference with those who live in other cities and countries, or just write to them on social networks.

  • Family archive analysis

Carefully study all documents, letters and diaries that have been preserved in your family. In birth, marriage and death certificates, passports, employment records and diplomas, you will find answers to key questions that are important for the pedigree. These records will help restore information that loved ones could not remember. Look through old photographs: perhaps the grandmother forgot to tell about her second cousin. Already at this stage, you can choose photo cards for your family tree.

  • Internet searches

Browse various genealogy websites and related resources for historical information. For example, the website "Feat of the People" provides open access to archival documents about the exploits and awards of all soldiers of the Great Patriotic War of 1941–1945.

Register on several thematic forums. For example, on the All-Russian Genealogical Tree forum, it is possible to search for a specific person by last name, regions and countries.

Try to find distant relatives of your generation on Odnoklassniki or VKontakte. But do not forget that in a correct genealogical research, any information must be confirmed by archival certificates.

  • Collection of information in registry offices and archives

If you are looking for information about marriage, dates of birth or death, please contact the registry office. If a relative has something to do with the army - for example, is a veteran of the Second World War - make a request to the military registration and enlistment office at the place of residence, service or conscription. But keep in mind: in order to obtain documents of deceased relatives, you must prove your relationship with them, providing, among other things, your birth certificate.

Don't hope for a quick result when searching for genealogy in archives. The process can take months or even years. But the information you find can greatly advance your research.

  • Contact the experts

If you don't want to spend time building a family tree, contact the professionals. Archives staff, designers, and specialty companies will help you find the information you need and create a family tree. In addition, with their help you can create a family tree book, a film presentation and even a family coat of arms.

What are the types of a family tree

There are several methods for compiling a tree.

  • Descending tree

The family scheme is formed from an ancestor to descendants. This design method allows you to visually trace the history of the family from distant times to the present day.

  • Pedigree

Compiled from a person to his ancestors. Such a structure will be especially convenient for those who have not yet completed the search for information and are consistently moving from the known to the unknown.

  • Round table

It is built in a circle, in the center of which one of the children is placed. The second, outer, circle is divided in half and the data of the mother and father are recorded in it. In the third circle, cut into four parts, grandparents are indicated. Then a fourth circle is added, which is divided into eight parts, and so on. This type of tree is quite rare. But this scheme is the most compact.

How to arrange a family tree

  • Genealogical tree on computer

Programs for creating a family tree will help you save time and get a guaranteed result. Use the MyHeritage online service or GenoPro, Family Tree Builder or Tree of Life software. Choose a template, enter your pedigree data and enjoy the result.

You can also find or draw an empty tree yourself in a graphics editor.

  • DIY family tree

Get creative with your family tree results. We have selected a few examples for you to inspire.

Family box

For each ancestor, a box is wound up or one cell is allocated, in which documents, photos, objects are placed. By opening such a box, you can touch the past and find out what kind of person your ancestor was.

Family tree made from local materials

This design option is perfect for a kindergarten or school project.

Family Tree Album

Decorative Stand with Photo Frames

How to Use the Family Tree Template

We have prepared two templates that both kids and adults will love.

Open Tree Template for Adults

Open Tree Template for Children

Templates can be used both electronically and in print.

  • Print out a blank template and include drawings or photos of yourself and your ancestors.
  • Use a photo editor and paste the scanned images into a template. Print the result.

Filling out a template in Picverse Photo Editor

In Picverse Photo Editor you can not only edit pictures and insert them into a template, but also restore old photos.

Check out our sample of filling out the template - it will be easier for you to figure out how to draw up a family tree correctly.


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