Have you ever made a family tree at school? Well, to be honest, everyone has made it at least once during their school years. Tracing family ancestry can be really fun as well as very confusing; this is why family trees are created to help understand the entire lineage. You do not have to teach or explain your child about your fore fathers when they have seen the family tree themselves.

All of us are familiar with our line ancestors as they are directly related to us but the ones who came after them, may get a little tangled up. If you are also confused and mull over your ancestral history, then understanding a family tree is essential.

For example, you are at a gathering and a woman is sitting beside you and she is your grandmother’s sister’s daughter, but you may not know how she is related to you or vice versa? Won’t it get a bit awkward for you if you directly tell them you do not know them?

To help you avoid such awkwardness and discomfort, here is all you need to know about a family tree template and how to create one.

Family Tree Templates

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What is a Family Tree?

A family tree is actually a simple hierarchy which displays and shows all the members of the family together. It determines how they are associated with one another. Nowadays, the younger generation has no idea at all about their ancestors, relatives and distant members of the family; this is why a family tree can be one of the best ways to help them learn about the family and clan. Also, the best part is that the generation takes interest in understanding about their family history. Thus, the family tree can be the source to help them get familiar with the family members, no matter how distant they are.

With a family tree, children can even find out the background of their ancestors. When they know about the family members, they will likely easily recognize their distant cousins, relatives and people who rarely meet them. As they enhance their knowledge and help them get acquainted with their entire family, a family tree is also incorporated by schools in their coursework. Teachers at schools use interesting and different types of family trees to help children understand the entire family tree by highlighting members of the family. The family tree is very simple to create, starting with the head of the family, followed by the siblings and so on.

We have explained the formation of family tree in the next section. However, if you do not want to deal with the hassle of creating a family tree on your own, then you can download free family tree templates which are available online. You can find a family tree template on word which will be a blank family tree template for you to simply edit and save your time.

Benefits of Understanding the Family Tree

Studying and understanding family history is more than just gathering in historical knowledge. Rather, it actually builds relationships. A family tree and history helps you in learning the histories rather than just the names of the family members. Here are some reasons and benefits of understanding the family tree;

Brings You Closer

As they say, knowledge brings understanding. Similarly, when you learn about the names and stories behind your ancestors, those facts bring you closer, no matter how distant they are from you. The names from the past become real and alive when you get insights and lessons from the people in the past. Not only this, you tend to learn from the stories of your ancestors and likely follow their positives and neglect the negatives; to avoid the mistakes they made.

Sense of Peace

When someone enlightens you with thorough understanding and knowledge, you gain mental peace. This peace is because of the similar grounds and blood you share. Also, when you find your family heroes contributing towards a noble cause, it develops a sense of belonging and peace. Instead, there is not much need for conflict; instead, more focus on building and understanding relationships. When the current generation finds the older generation of people having a similar personality and experiences, they likely learn from them and follow their productive and positive ways.

Sense of Unity

When you understand about the hurdles one had in their relationships, your heart softens by understanding the sacrifices they made to improve the lives of their families. When you understand this, you likely forget about the contention and differences you had, making it easier to focus on common grounds and traits that is passed from one another.

Increased Love

Just like getting closer to the family members of your clan, it is likely that your love for your family increases, one which you may have never felt before. For example, you may have felt far away from your grandparents because of varied experiences but the understanding can bring you closer, hence increasing love between you both. The gap between the generations and their experiences stimulates appreciation for one another by providing familiarity in the first place.

Finding Distant Relatives and Cousins

When you explore your family history, you likely find your distant cousins and relatives you may not have heard of before. As mentioned above, a family tree template is a hierarchical representation showing all your family members. Therefore, it becomes easier for you to find your distant cousins and relatives. For example, one of your friends studying at high school is also your relative, but you never knew about it. Understanding the family tree will help you determine their identity and bring you both closer, making your bond stronger than even before.

While there are many reasons and benefits of understanding a family tree, the major benefit is to better understand the relationships which you were never aware of. By bonding with their distant family members, one can easily understand the relationships necessary for an individual.

Blank Family Tree Templates

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Relationship Between Science and Family Tree Templates

While family trees influence inheritance, they also help medical professionals answer questions. Family trees can be helpful to various individuals by providing clues to curing disease that are genetic and hereditary.

When you create a family tree chart, you can likely resolve your genetic disease or diagnose how likely it is that you have the disease or it can pass on to your future generation. For example, if your spouse has high blood pressure issues, it is likely that they can pass it your children too. Understanding the health problems with the family tree can help you make important decisions in life.

Types of Family Tree Templates

People normally form family tree charts on their own but they may not know the typical types of family trees. They are listed as under;

1. Ancestor Chart

This is one of the family tree types that display the ancestors of an individual. It normally starts from bottom with the pro-band (person’s wants to know their ancestor chart) leading upwards towards their parents, grandparents, fore-fathers and so on. The structure is in ascending order.

2. Descendents Chart

This is one of the types of family trees that follow a descending structure. This template displays the descendants of the pro-band. It normally starts from the top showing all the children and the children of the forefathers.

3. Sandglass Diagram

This is a combination of both the types mentioned above; an ancestor and descendent family tree. It shows the pro-band in the middle and then shows the ancestors, children and relatives over and below their name.

4. Other Types

While the 3 types mentioned above are the main types of family trees, there are also some other types also of family trees to track your relatives and research about them. They are listed as under:

  • Five Generation Ancestor Family Tree: This is the form of family tree that highlights the statistics of the ancestors on the five generations of your family.
  • Stepfamily Tree: This is again another type of family tree that highlights the information about the step family members in your ancestry.
  • Biographical Family Tree: This form of family tree is also a source of learning for the current generation. It highlights the education, marriage, children and military services.
  • Family Group Sheet: Next in the line comes the family group sheet which is especially designed to record all the necessary information about a nuclear family.
  • Relationship Chart: This chart helps you figure out and understand how one is linked to the other.
  • Adoptive Family Tree Chart: This form of family tree chart provides information about the person’s adoptive and biological parents.

Family Tree Examples

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How to Make Family Tree Templates?

Now that you have understood how important it is to make a family tree, you must also teach yourself or your children about the past generations. If you are interested in making a family tree template on your own, here are the easy steps to follow;

Step # 1: Gather Information from Family Members

The first step to writing or creating a family tree is to gather information from your family members. You should make a list of all your family members such as;

  • Parents
  • Brothers
  • Sisters
  • Step or half siblings
  • Children
  • Grandparents
  • Cousins
  • Aunt
  • Uncles
  • Nephews
  • Nieces
  • Yourself (most importantly)

Beside their names, you must also write things about their medical history and health (to consult about gene-related issues if one desires).

Step # 2: Come Up With the Symbols to Distinguish Relations

Now that you have gathered all the information about the relatives and family, it is time to come up with symbols to distinguish the family relations. The efficient way to draw your family tree is to use symbols to distinguish between the relationships. Here are the symbols you can use to differentiate the between genders, living or a dead person, identical twins  and so on;

  • Square for males
  • Circle for female
  • Triangle for unknown gender
  • A diagonal line through a square for a deceased person
  • Dashed line through a square for adopted child
  • Rectangle for identical twins
  • Diagonal line through a rectangle for non-identical twins

While these are just a few shapes to help you how to distinguish between the relationships, you can use other shapes as well or make up your own.

Step # 3: Draw a Family Tree

Now that you have decided upon the shapes, it is time to draw the family tree chart. You should start with yourself because it is easier that way. You can either place yourself in the middle or the bottom of the page. If you place yourself in the middle, then it is obvious that the older generation will go above you while the ones younger than you will go below. Also, your siblings (even half, step and adopted ones) will come next to you.

Additionally, your parents will come above you while their siblings will be drawn next to them, following the same pattern as of your siblings, called as your aunts and uncles. Furthermore, the children of aunts and uncles will be your cousins and will be drawn under their names. While this may be the pattern you have to follow for both your maternal and paternal side until you complete and cover all your parents’ siblings, you have to draw your maternal and paternal grandparents over your parents also. Putting all of this together will make a family tree.

Family Tree Samples

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Final Word

Every family has relationships and a story to tell. So, what is yours? Let your generation understand and explore the inspiring stories by understanding your family tree charts. If you are excited to know and dig into the far depths of your family, then download free family tree templates from our website easily. You can find blank family tree templates in word format in order to quickly create a family tree by simply editing the template and feeling proud of your ancestors!

TemplateLab September 19th, 2016

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