This 6-part article is here to help guide you along your journey of discovery, laying a firm foundation for you and your descendants to carry on the task for many generations ahead. Part 4- gave more details for finding documents about your family. Part 5- gives the big picture, literally.
Part 5- Let’s cover charts and designs to show off your family and add some unique items to include with it, should you want to fancy it up a bit. Family charts are a personal preference so you get to decide what kind of chart looks good to you? There are plenty of them for free online, such as fan chart, pedigree chart, double pedigree chart, family crest/shield chart, and child friendly charts. Maybe a timeline chart showing how your family progressed in world events, or just a timeline of your family through the years. A more challenging chart is a year calendar that has a month by month birthday chart to see who shares birthdays or anniversaries.
Perhaps you would like a more hands on creative approach by creating a realistic one dimensional tree, on which you will attach name place cards on each branch and root showing descendants and ancestors. Another creative chart is an old world chart. With this type of chart, you can get a replica of an old world map, one from the time period of your earliest ancestor. From there you can show the migration patterns, with or without dates, from the beginning to the present. Take this chart a little further, and you can take a current map to overlay it. Another great family chart or map is to get a local map of North America and show the migration from when the first ancestor came to America and follow their journey to where you are today.
Which chart you choose is up to you and you can certainly add more personal details to it. A photo of each family member on the tree, or a symbol of the type of work they did. How about an insignia of an organization they were active in, like the G.A.R., Freemason, Governor, military rank, Mayflower Society, or Rotary Club? You could also put a small family crest or badge on the chart next to each family member in that direct line.
Now you can get your family involved. Charts are a great way to get the family involved during family reunions, holidays, birthdays or anniversaries. You can do this by making an ancestor game: Create a second blank chart, make some name cards with their birth years, then have family members put the names where they think they belong and see how they do matching them. You should start with some primary names like grandparents. You could also make some copies of photos and see if they know what year the photo was taken or who it belongs to. Matching a list of jobs to your ancestors could also be fun. This will take a little bit of work on your part, but once it is created, it is a great way to tell your family story to each other.
The next, and final Part 6 of this series, is not the end of your genealogy search. What it is, will be how to share your findings in unique and creative ways, how to publish a book or booklet for your family and a little on traveling to other places, to walk where your ancestors walked.