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Project

Family Trees

A traditional way to display genealogy, a fan chart begins with you and chronicles your ancestral lineage on both sides of the family.

Introduction

A family tree can be a beautiful work of art as well as an informative genealogical record. This fan chart and our hand-lettered tree are simple projects that yield striking results. Both plot ascendant lineage, meaning that they begin by charting the present generation at the bottom and expand upward as they go back in time.

Materials

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Print out our template, and enlarge it to the desired size on a photocopier. You can also have it reproduced on high-quality paper at an office-supply store.

  2. Step 2

    Start by writing your name in the circle labeled "First Generation" at the bottom of the chart. When writing the names on the chart, first enter them lightly with a pencil, then trace over them in pen; gently erase any stray pencil marks.

  3. Step 3

    The half-circle shape above your name is for your parents' names. Write your father's name on the left of the dotted line, and your mother's on the right, then fill in the date of their marriage on the dotted line. Your lineage on your father's side will branch out to the left, your mother's to the right.

  4. Step 4

    Fill in the names of their respective parents, and work back through the generations until you can go no further. You'll probably have some empty spaces because at some point you may have difficulty gathering the names of certain ancestors; these gaps of information are a part of every family's history.

Source
Martha Stewart Living, Volume 68 April 1999

Reviews (35)

  • camd38 27 Dec, 2012

    Anyone remember the very large family tree template sold on MS.com? It came with die-cut leaves that you could put family members' names on and there was also a genealogy half-circle like the one discussed here (I believe it provides space for 7 generations). Does anyone know where I can purchase that?

  • camd38 27 Dec, 2012

    Anyone remember the very large family tree template sold on MS.com? It came with die-cut leaves that you could put family members' names on and there was also a genealogy half-circle like the one discussed here (I believe it provides space for 7 generations). Does anyone know where I can purchase that?

  • camd38 27 Dec, 2012

    Does anyone remember the very large family tree templates sold on MS.com? There was a large tree with leaves you could put family members names on, and the genealogy half-circle template as well.

  • USMC1 26 Sep, 2012

    What have others done for trying to include siblings, or step parents/ grandparents? I would like to try and include everyone!! =)

  • Cathy Miller 18 May, 2012

    Great offer to someone who needs family tree templates when tracing their family. Thanks for sharing.

  • etite 1 Nov, 2011

    @artdork - I have 12 generations, but the chart only goes to 10. I have searched the internet to find a chart like this with 12 generations, and it doesn't exist. Can I pay you to add another 2 rows? and also to make the chart editable on the computer so I can enter the info digitally?

  • lgrubbs 12 Jun, 2011

    I would like to get the exact template for the family tree that is shown here on the website. Does anyone know how I can get that template?

  • artdork 29 Nov, 2010

    @KristenErin - The rectangular section underneath the chart is not part of the original chart, it was added on after the chart was made to include the following generations. I like the look of it as well, but considering I'm putting myself in as the first generation and I don't have any children, I had no need for it in the template I created. Sorry!

  • BennyEtienne 21 Nov, 2010

    Thank you SOOOOOO MUCH artdork for the remake of the template. My family is having a family reunion at christmas time this year and this chart is what everyone will be getting as a gift from me!

  • KristenErin 12 Nov, 2010

    Does anyone have a closer look at the rectangular section underneath the chart? It's not on the chart the site gives you and I'm not quite sure what goes there, but I like the look with it there.

  • wildaisme 28 Sep, 2010

    Seems to me a lot of sibling information is missing on this chart. The concept is great and will produce a nice piece of art to hang in a room. But this hardly a chart for an indepth geneology.

  • LindyLand 13 Sep, 2010

    Brother's Keeper, a genealogy program, used to include a fan chart that would automatically fill in from the information you enter. You could choose any font from your computer and could also print in any size/resolution. Places like cafepress.com offer affordable poster sized printing if you can't find large printing locally. All in all, I think you could produce something better than the template for this project.

  • joyfoss 13 Sep, 2010

    Thank you to artdork for going to the trouble to redo and post. I was able to download and will be getting started on filling it in. Thank you for being so talented to be able to do this.

  • MiChachothedog 12 Sep, 2010

    To she who is continually disappointed: Perhaps, it's your computer. I've never had any problems with Martha's website. Any problems have been mine. Fix your computer, duh!

  • haf2beme2 12 Sep, 2010

    Let me start with I love you Martha. I enjoy your craft projects best. I do have suggestions that would improve my experience. SEE NEXT TWO COMMENTS...

  • haf2beme2 12 Sep, 2010

    I am continually disappointed by the functionality of this web site. To start with the pages load way too slow.

    When I click on a link in my email for a craft I expect to have the page with the project open.

  • haf2beme2 12 Sep, 2010

    Instead you have to click on another link to open the page with the instructions and yet another for the pattern if one is needed.

    This page has offered sill more disappointment by having a pattern that doesn?

  • mb73 12 Sep, 2010

    THANK YOU artdork!! I wanted to give this as a gift to my best friend (who is about to have a baby), and your template is PERFECT! Thanks so much!

  • bowyer 12 Sep, 2010

    thank you for the real chart @artdork. How do you get it printed? Email it to the print shop? What size do you tell them and type of paper? Sorry but I'm not really good at this. I am however great at genealogy.

  • jbunker 7 Sep, 2010

    Wow, great work artdork! I have printed and can't wait to use the family tree template you created! vwgryl- try leaving off the http:// when you copy and paste the addresse into the address search box. This is how I got to it.

  • Jend222 3 Jun, 2010

    artdork - you are a superstar!

  • vwgryl 3 Jun, 2010

    @Artdork- I couldn't access the family tree you created :( I'd love to see it!

  • artdork 28 May, 2010

    @StarGaiz, @RarelyPosting - I was also frustrated that the template given did not look the same as the one in the picture, so I spent all day yesterday recreating a new template that looks significantly more like the one in the picture. I have uploaded it here as a .jpg file: http://www.csh.rit.edu/~thfemale/family_tree.jpg It was made to fit a 20x28 frame. Hope you like it! :)

  • StarGaiz 1 May, 2010

    Ugh, it keeps chopping off my comment- the short of it was, please visit my post here: http://boards.marthastewart.com/topic/148684
    I couls use your help :)

  • StarGaiz 1 May, 2010

    Oh I'm so thrilled to find your comments! I've since gathered more info,

  • StarGaiz 1 May, 2010

    Oh I'm so thrilled to find your comments! I've since gathered more info,

  • RarelyPosting 27 Apr, 2010

    ethie02 - looking at the chart in the magazine issue you can see that the original was a regular fan chart that was filled in by the designer's great-aunt. When he updated it for his family, he added the handle (the box beneath the central circle) to fill in the people that have come into the family since the original fan was created.

  • RarelyPosting 27 Apr, 2010

    The above fan probably isn't available. The 1999 issue states the "chart was a fixture of Eric Pike's childhood home...Eric's great-aunt first discovered the large blank chart at Goodspeed's bookstore in Boston...the Pike's old fan chart fell off the wall and was retired to a closet where Eric unearthed it recently. As a surprise for his parents, he decided to re-design the chart...Eric's new version was executed using pen and ink, with watercolor and ink washes for shading. Maybe make your own?

  • StarGaiz 22 Mar, 2010

    This is beautiful in the photos, could someone on staff please help me find out where to purchase that template pictured above, or even the contact for the photo credit itself, so I could hunt that down?
    I appreciate this great idea and the nice template you offer, but I would rather love to emulate the example you give above, rather than use the modern looking template you have linked.

    Thank you so much!
    -Krystal :)
    ArmstrongKW@jbu.edu

  • bkl0v3r 14 Mar, 2010

    I agree with mychildren'smom, I would like to purchase one too. I had one but in the military it was misplaced.

  • WindDancing 2 Mar, 2010

    The Family Tree Fan is a wonderful idea!

  • mychildrensmom 19 Nov, 2009

    There used to be a framed matted family tree chart you could purchase thru MS Living but I can;t find this anywhere. Does anyone know how I can find it?

  • alabamalady 15 Nov, 2009

    I love this idea as well. I have seven children, four of whom have new babies this year. I would love to give this as a gift to each of them, but I can't get the template to print. Have checked all computer settings, printer, paper, ink, etc and all are fine. Has anyone been able to get the template to print?

  • hppyjessa 10 Nov, 2009

    That's for your own kids! Let the family tree continue! :)

  • ethie02 17 Jun, 2009

    i love this idea but can't quite make out what the box below the central circle is intended for, as it's not shown in the template. any guidance would be much appreciated!