Family Tree Charts: The First Step in Your Search

Filling out a family tree chart, also known as a pedigree or ancestral chart, is a crucial first step in any family history search. This chart allows you to record the basic information you already know about family members, helping to focus your search on the gaps and questions in your knowledge and acting as a handy summary of your family history at a glance. We highly recommend that you add or change facts as you find more information, so that you can keep track of your progress and ensure that important facts are not lost along the way.


Click here to open a blank family tree chart that may be printed or saved to your computer.

Start by entering information about yourself (#1 on the chart) and work your way backwards in time to your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Wherever you don’t know an exact date, try to approximate the year, or at least the decade, of that event. Similarly, wherever you don’t know a specific place, enter the region or country if possible. If you have information on generations older than your great-grandparents, you may begin a new chart that traces the lineage of one of your parents or grandparents (that individual should be #1 on the new chart).

Please note that family tree charts do not encompass all family members, only your direct line of ancestors. Collateral relatives, such as aunts, uncles, and second cousins, may also be important to your family history search, as these individuals share common ancestors with you. You may include information on these individuals on the back of your family tree chart or print out separate family group sheets here.

NOTE: If you would like to fill in the fields by typing, you must open the chart in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not already have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer, you may download it for free here.