Whether you need a family tree for a class project, a heritage scrapbook or a place to record information you've found in ancestry records, finding a printable family tree is a simple solution. You can even save some time with a free online family tree template that allows you to customize the graphics, ancestor details or number of generations.
Track Down a Template
Find blank family tree forms at craft or scrapbooking stores, or check online for free downloadable family tree templates, available on websites such as MyHeritage.com, TheTreeMaker.com and SmartDraw.com.
Choose a template that allows you to customize the family tree for a specific number of generations and add details for each ancestor such as birth, marriage and death dates and locations. Keep an eye out for a printable blank family tree that allows you to input the information before printing it, or that lets you to adjust the size to suit your handwriting style.
Add an Artistic Touch
Now it's time to think about how you want your tree to look. If you're going for an antique feel, for example, you might print your blank family tree on translucent vellum. If you plan to include your tree in a heritage scrapbook or baby album, it might serve you best to print it on heavyweight, acid-free card stock.
If you're presenting the family tree as a gift for a grandmother, on the other hand, you might consider printing the document on printable fabric (available at office supply and craft stores) and enclosing it in a beautiful frame.
Bring Your Tree to Life
Now it's time to add the "family" part to your family tree. Complete your tree by allocating a horizontal line to each generation, with lines or boxes for each individual's name. Visually connect the generations and individuals to demonstrate parent-child relationships, spouses and siblings. Typically, once you're done creating your family tree, the oldest ancestors will be at the top, and the youngest generation of kids will be at the bottom.
Fill out your family tree using an archival pen to prevent fading and preserve the information for future generations. Use clear printing instead of fancy calligraphy so the names, dates, locations and notes will be easy to read.
If your ancestry records have some gaps, go the extra mile and check out Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org to learn more about your family history. In this way, your family tree can be much more than just an art project – it's an opportunity to learn more about where you and your loved ones came from.
Make copies of the completed family tree for other family members, and scan the family ancestry information into your computer to save on a compact disc. You may also wish to store an extra copy in a fireproof safe.
Some online family tree websites also feature printable family ancestry research forms that allow you to record the sources of your information. Include these details in your heritage scrapbook, too, in case future generations want to use the same sources or confirm your findings.