Family Tree Charts – How to Use Free Family Tree Charts

If you have ever thought about tracing your family history, then a great place to start is with free family tree charts. There are many of them available for download online. While they are just blank family tree templates, they give you a great starting point because they allow you to graphically grow your family tree. However, in order to get the most out of them, you need to pick the best style for your level of experience and know where to obtain the information you need to complete your chart.

Choosing A Family Tree Chart

You will find the family tree charts you need on a good genealogy or obituaries website like Obituaries Help. There are several styles to choose from, so have a look at a few before you start. The simplest style is a pedigree chart that begins with a single entry, your name and birth date on the left hand side of the document. Another common pedigree template is called a landscape pedigree. This one branches upwards.

Yet another popular and easy to use version is the bowtie family genealogy chart. This one gets its name from the fact that it resembles a bow tie, with a single entry in the centre and increasing numbers of entries to each side. These typically come in three or four-generation styles and are perfect for beginners.

If you are very ambitious or have some experience, you may want to download a version that extends to even more generations. You can find templates go up to ten generations. Be warned, though, these ten generation circular ancestor templates are not for beginners! Since they are all free, start with a basic pedigree or bowtie and proceed from there.

How to Get the Information You Need to Fill in Your Family Tree Chart?

The first source of information will be publicly available official birth, marriage and death records. Each of these will contain vital information. Law in the U.K. has mandated all of these documents since 1837, so you should be able to complete or nearly complete a four-generation tree with these alone. Your parents or grandparents may even have their own birth certificates still in their possession. If not, you can easily obtain them for a small fee.

While the registration Acts were enacted in 1836 and 1837, they did not become mandated as compulsory for all citizens of England and Wales until 1874. Prior to that time, they were requested by the Registrar of the districts at his discretion. Therefore, you might find some gaps in your search if you are looking for records before 1874.

Almost without a doubt, once you start using family tree charts, won’t want to stop as soon as you hit your first dead end. There are many other online sources of information besides birth, marriage and death certificates. A good newspaper obituaries site, for example, can find obituaries that go back generations. These are rich sources of information. Keep on digging. No doubt you will eventually go back to the free templates and find a six, eight or ten generation tree to extend your ancestral knowledge even more.

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