Where to Get a Blank Family Tree Chart, Plus 7 Genealogy Tips

If you’re looking for a blank family tree chart, you’ve come to the right place. The link below will take you to my website where you can download a simple four generation chart in PDF format for free.

After you do that, here are some important tips to help you fill it out correctly.

First off, in genealogy, a family is defined as a father, a mother and their children. The mother and father don’t have to be married to each other; they don’t even have to live under the same roof.

This “family” concept is the most comprehensive way of keeping track of any particular blood line, encompassing all children born between two particular people; right or wrong, legal or illegal, moral or not. What matters is the bloodline of each individual on your family tree and how they relate to you.

Genealogy Tip #1

It is easier to keep up than catch up.

Document everything. Yes, it is time consuming but not nearly as time consuming as having to re-research something you already spent hours on just because you forgot to get the page number. Do it right the first time and it will only take seconds as opposed to hours.

On your first blank family tree chart – also called a pedigree chart – you’ll need to fill in the Chart Number – which is 1. Then fill in “Pedigree Chart for (Your Name) who is person #1 on chart #1.”

Genealogy Tip #2

Start with yourself. No one knows you like you do. Or do they? After getting bit by the genealogy bug, some folks have learned that they were adopted or the man they thought was their dad was not. In my husband’s case, he was only the second generation to bear his particular last name, the original simplified courtesy of Ellis Island when his family emigrated from Holland.

On the far left of the blank family tree chart, in the first slot, write “#1,” and then PRINT the name that you were born with. As you progress into your research you will discover that many people have illegible handwriting and you will love those dear souls who printed. Handwriting has changed much in the last 200 years and there will be more changes in the next 200 years. Have mercy on your great great grandchildren who will be the keeper of this family tree you are starting. Some genealogists prefer to print the surname (last name) in capital letters.

Genealogy Tip #3

When you start to grow your family tree, it’s not only what you know about yourself, but what you can prove. Do you have your birth certificate? If so, extract the information that is found there. If you have an official state document, you can consider this “confirmed” or “documented” information. Make a copy of it and keep it with your pedigree chart. Do not keep any original documents in the family tree files that you take out of your home when you’re off doing research.

Over the years, genealogists have struggled with a consistent way to write dates. Slowly convention has evolved to the 2/3/4 formula: DAY (two digits) MONTH (three letter abbreviation) YEAR (four digits). The three letter abbreviations for the months are always the first three letters of any particular month. EXAMPLE: 31 MAR 1841.

In the space provided on your blank family tree chart, write down the date you were born: DAY MONTH YEAR.

Genealogy Tip #4

Before you record your birth place, there’s another rule to learn. When documenting any data, from dates to places, genealogists think: small, medium, large. A day is smaller than a month; a month is smaller than a year.

The same rule holds true for location. Village, town or city first. Follow that with the county if you know it. Then the state and country. Small to large. Example: Ann Arbor, Washtenaw, Michigan, USA.

Genealogy Tip #5

Our generation is not the first generation to marry multiple times, and as a genealogist one shouldn’t pass judgment on Great Granny Dupont who married seven times — once to a first cousin and once to her mother’s sister’s widowed husband. If you are currently married, or widowed, fill in the date that you married and where. Fill in the name of your spouse: first, middle and the last name that they were born with.

If you’ve been married multiple times and have had children with other spouses, print another blank family tree chart for each marriage and fill it in with identical information EXCEPT for marriage/spouse information. Label it Chart Number 1B (Spouse #2), 1C (Spouse #3), 1D (Spouse #4) and so on. Put the most current chart on top, this should be Chart # 1, and staple the rest together underneath. You’ll get to them later.

Genealogy Tip #6

Most blank family tree charts are filled in left to right.

So, take a step to the right and begin filling in the slot representing your parents, just like you did for yourself. On the topmost line, write #2 and your father’s information. #3 is for your mother. Remember that when filling in a chart, the males are always on top, with the “distaff side” (females), beneath. Apparently the “missionary position” has always dictated a woman’s place in history. Also, other than YOURSELF who is #1, the males will always be even numbers and the females will always be the odd numbers.

Genealogy Tip #7

Many genealogists enter information onto their charts in pencil. This is called “The Working Chart.” When they are certain that all information for that person is correct and documented, they reenter it into a new, clean chart in pen.