Pedigree or Family Tree Charts

The chart you begin with is a pedigree chart, an ascendant chart. On it you start with yourself and work back in time, generation by generation, filling in your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on, as far back as you can.

^ Genie Jargon

1 yr A pedigree chart starts with you and shows the line of your direct ancestors. It is sometimes called a family tree, lineage, or ancestry chart.

Think of the pedigree chart as a shorthand master outline of your bloodline. A quick glance at it alerts you to the blank spots in the information you are gathering. This in turn helps you develop your research plan. When you notice that Great-Grandma Diana's maiden name is blank or that there is no marriage date or place for Grandpa Guy, you have a clear picture of the information you still need.

A pedigree chart begins with a subject and works back through the generations.

Paternal Family Tree Pedigree

The format of a pedigree chart is always the same: your name (or the individual whose ancestry you are tracing) is on the first line, your father's name (or the subject's father's name) is on the upper line, your mother's on the lower line. The upper track in a pedigree chart is that of the father's (paternal) line. The lower track is the ancestral line for the mother's (maternal) line. You are number 1 on this chart. Your father is assigned number 2 and your mother number 3. On a pedigree chart the numbers for men are always even numbers, and the numbers for women are odd.

As you can see, you quickly run out of space for all your ancestors on a four-generation chart. To list the additional generations, you must create additional charts.

In numbering the pedigree chart, you are number 1 on chart 1. One of your greatgrandfathers is number 8 on chart 1. You will need to make a new chart to continue with his ancestors. That great-grandfather (who is number 8 on chart 1) will become number 1 on chart 2. Be sure to make a reference on chart 2 that he is also number 8 on chart 1, so you can easily follow the line in connected charts.

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