• How to Make a Family Tree Chart

    I received an email today where someone who had previously downloaded a family tree chart had written:

    Personally what I have trouble with is where to put people on the tree. Is each tree for each branch of the family? For instance, my husband has 3 siblings, my father-in-law has 3 siblings. Where do I stop on the tree? Having the cousins listed is important.



    This is such a comment type of question (and something that drove me crazy when I was first starting trying to figure out how to make a family tree chart). Let me post my reply here under the suspension that this might also be a question you’ve had (or have).

    I replied …

    XXX, thank you for writing,

    You would find it helpful to review the family tree instructions. I wrote it to answer these specific questions. You can read about this download at the URL below:


    Let me try to answer your question here as well. When making a family tree chart, Your family tree is only parents. Your children are the 1st generation, you are the second generation, your two parents the 3rd generation, your four grandparents the 4th generation, your eight great grandparents are the 5th generation, etc. So… you typically don’t include brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, or aunts in YOUR family tree. The reason is that your family tree is a record of your direct ancestors. Your husband has a different set of ancestors. If you were to include your husband’s brother, for example, and that brother was married, your sister in-law’s parents would have no relation to you directly. Therefore, they don’t below on YOUR family tree.

    Does that make sense? That said; there is no reason why you can’t create a separate family tree for your husband or a sister or cousin (as you suggest below).

    Again, the URL above has a brief guide that covers some of the logistics around how to make a family tree chart and offers additional detail. If you decided to purchase it and it didn’t meet your needs, just let me know and I’ll refund your purchase right away.

    Good luck,


    Genealogy Beginner

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