How to Create a Family Tree Chart

Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images

Creating a family tree chart is a good way to organize information about relatives and ancestors in the same family. Family tree charts are very visual and can include basic information such as names or detailed information such as dates and cities of both births and deaths. This activity is also a good way to teach children about their own family and relatives and how they are all connected. You'll find plenty of blank templates online, but drawing your tree from scratch allows you to customize it completely.

Gather the information you have about your relatives and ancestors. You'll need it to create the chart. You don't need information about every single relative, but the more you have, the more complete the chart will be. Gather at least the names of your relatives; if you have more information it can also be added to the chart.

Lay your large piece of paper or poster flat on a table. Draw a small box, about 3 inches wide and 2 inches tall, in the bottom center of the piece of paper. Make the box bigger or smaller depending on the amount of information you will add to the box. Write your name or the name of the person the chart is about. Write any other information you would like to add about this person.

Draw a second box just above and to the left of the first box. It should be about the same size as the first one. This is where you'll write all the information you have about the father of the person in the first box.

Draw a box for the mother of the person in the first box, just above and to the right of the first box. Write all the information you have about this person.

Continue to add boxes for the next generations, in the same way as you did with the first three boxes. Draw boxes for the parents of each generation right above their own children, with the father situated towards the left and the mother towards the right. Draw enough boxes for as many generations as you would like to include in the chart. Even if you don't have any information about a given relative — like if you know your grandmother had a sister but you don't know her name — draw a box for each one anyway.

Connect the boxes. Draw lines connecting each generation to the next. Draw diagonal lines, or draw a small vertical line from one box, followed by a horizontal line towards the box you would like to connect to, followed by a vertical line to the final box.