How to Create a Family Tree Online

Copyright © 2009 by Aurelio Locsin

Creating a family tree explains your origins and how you fit into the grand scheme of history. You can hire a genealogist to do the legwork or you can buy an expensive software program to automate the process. You can also create a family tree online for free.

Gather all of your family information by talking to relatives and close family friends. Use email to conveniently document the information in writing. Try the phone for those older folks who are unfamiliar with a computer. You're looking for names, relationships, dates and locations.

Browse to Family Echo, whose link is under Resources. Create an account if you want to save your family tree. Personal details appear on the left of the page while the tree that you're creating appears on the right. When you start, the tree contains only one box marked "Me."

Click "Edit My Details" on the left and enter your name, gender and birth date. Note that the box on the right now contains your full name. To add more details, click the "Contact" or "Biographical" tabs. You can ignore blanks to fill them in later. Click the "Okay" button to save your work.

Click "Add Parents." A blue box representing your father and a pink box representing your mother join your box in the family tree. To enter the details of a particular person, click on his box. Enter that person's information on the left just as you entered details about yourself. If the person is deceased, remove the check mark from "This person is living." Then enter his death information.

Click "Invite" to share the family tree with the person currently being edited. A small message area appears asking you to enter that person's email address. It also leaves space for a short message, which you can use to ask for more details.

Add more people to the tree by clicking their boxes and editing relationships. You can add parents, spouses or partners, siblings or children by clicking appropriate links. Don't forget to press the "Save" button occasionally to store your creation. You can move the tree around by holding the left mouse button down and dragging it.

Adjust the view as needed by selecting options on the bottom right. For example, you can control the number of generations to show and the text to display in the family tree.

Share your family tree by clicking "Download/Export This Family" on the left. Your download options include dynamic HTML for adding to a website, GEDCOM for use with standard genealogical programs, or plain text for viewing on word processors. Click "Done" when you are finished with the download.