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How to Write a Genealogy Report

by Maya Austen

Instead of presenting your family history in the form of a chart, as with a family tree, a genealogy report presents your family history in the form of a biographical narrative. Each page in a genealogy report is dedicated to telling the life history of one of your relatives--who he was, where and when he was born, who he married, how many children he had and what their names were, when he died and anything else you know about this family member or ancestor.

Organize the information you have collected about your family history. Give each relative in your family their own folder. Place copies of the notes and documents or document references that directly relate to that relative in the assigned folder.

Group your folders according to generation. For example, every relative in your parent's generation should be in one group. Every relative in your grandparent's generation should make up another group.

Begin your genealogy report with the oldest generation of your known family history. At the top of the page for each relative in this oldest group write "Generation No. 1." Pages for your relatives in the succeeding generation will have "Generation No. 2" and so on. Under the generational heading, type the name of the relative whose biography you are about to present.

Pull a folder for a relative in the oldest generation group and write the biography for that relative. The basic information you should include (if you have it) is what the person's full name was, when and where she was born, her parents' names, who she married (if she married), when and where she was married, when and where she died and the names and birth dates of any children. If any of this information is not known, you can simply write "Unknown" in the place of specific information. An example basic biography might read as: "MILLIE LOUISE PARKER was born in Hattiesburg, Virginia on March 19, 1862 to Unknown. She married JOSEPH WILLIAMS at Saint Peter's Baptist Church in Durham, North Carolina on Unknown. She died April 4, 1913. She had six children..."

Incorporate any additional information you have about that relative into the biographical narrative. This could include occupation, group affiliations, what cemetery he was buried in, addresses where he lived, immigration dates, military service, illnesses, family anecdotes about him and name changes.

Cite your sources. Include a footnote or end note marker next to any piece of information in the biography that you found while researching documents, such as census records or marriage licenses. In the footnote, state what the document is and where you found it.

Continue your genealogy report by creating a new page for the next relative in that generation group. When all the relatives in the oldest generation group are done, move on to the next generation group. Continue until you've completed all the groups.

Items you will need
  • Computer
  • Word processing software

About the Author

Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.

Photo Credits

  • Altdeutsches Lexikon - Definition Familie image by theogott from Fotolia.com