Types of Genealogy Charts

Genealogy charts make it possible for genealogists to keep track of and organize information they find. There are several types of charts that are standard in the genealogy community. It is useful to understand the purpose of each type of chart, as well as how to properly record information on them.

Pedigree Charts

Pedigree charts are diagrams of a person’s direct lineage for a specific number of generations (usually four or five, but sometimes as much as 15). Typically, you would begin creating a pedigree chart using yourself and working backward to your parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and so on.

Pedigree charts contain names, birth dates and locations, and death dates and locations of each person. New charts are created for the earliest ancestor’s on a page. Genealogists can easily spot missing information by creating a pedigree chart.

Decorative pedigree charts can be created, and are sometimes used for framing and showing off. One popular type of decorative pedigree chart is called a fan chart. While they are nice to look at, these charts are typically large and not appropriate to use as research aids.

Family Group Sheets

Family group sheets organizes each ancestor by their family, including parents, spouse, and children. The date and locations for each family members births, deaths, and marriages are typically included on these charts. Other information that may be included is baptism dates and locations, occupations, military involvement, religious affiliation, and burial date and locations.

Each fact that is included on a family group sheet should be accompanied by a full source citation. Citations not only add credibility to your genealogical research, but also help you to look back at information if there is ever a need to do so.

Descendent Charts

Descendent charts are typically created when a genealogist has been researching their family tree for a little while. They begin with a progenitor (the earliest known ancestor in a particular line), and include all, or most, descendents there after. Descendent charts usually list the name of each ancestor with the years they were born and died.

A variation of descendent charts is called a drop chart, or box chart. These charts are simpler than descendant charts because they list only one child of each ancestor. Therefore drop charts include only your direct ancestors. Like descendent charts, drop charts include the name and years of birth and death for each ancestor.